Flavors of Laguna's tasting tours meander to well-known Laguna Beach restaurants as well as eateries kept quiet by locals, with tastings of a wide variety of cuisines along the way. Though stops can vary, past trips have seen tour-goers dig spoons into Dolce Gelato's creamy handcrafted treats, sample sizzling dishes at La Sirena Grill, or cozy up to the horseshoe island bar at Lumberyard. (Wine or beer tastings are available for an extra fee.) Between bites, guides point out major sights during casual strolls around Laguna's streets, ensuring that tours, like city maps made of chocolate, are informative as well as delicious.
The Laguna Art Museum began in 1918 as a small gallery in a converted cottage, where local artists would display and sell their pieces to the public. As the exhibits and collections grew larger over the next several decades, the founders moved the gallery into a larger, custom space, and eventually transformed it into a museum celebrating the development of Californian art from the 19th century to the present. The museum currently boasts a permanent collection of more than 3,500 works, as well as rotating exhibits that track the evolution of artistic expression.
To further its mission of spreading public appreciation for local art, the museum hosts informative lectures and open-house receptions. The museum’s Carole Reynolds Art Research Library also intrigues readers with more than 5,000 books, many of which chronicle the history of Californian art.
Having grown up on a farm in central Canada, Marlowe Huber already knew about crop harvesting and soil when he began making wine in the early 1980s. He refined his skills still further by studying oenology in Vancouver before embarking on his first wine-business venture with his brother, Darren. Together they ran two wineries in British Columbia for 15 years before opening Laguna Canyon Winery in 2003.
Today, staffers pour out a diverse selection of Laguna Canyon wines at two tasting rooms in downtown Laguna Beach and at the winery itself. Marlowe and Darren also collaborated with marine artist Wyland to create his Wyland Cellars label, whose bottles he adorns with colorful undersea scenes. Grapes for these wines are sourced from low-yield growers in Napa and Sonoma valleys, who cultivate subtle flavors by hand-picking and home-schooling their fruits.
The Festival of Arts has showcased the paintings, sculptures, and creations of local artists in an outdoor gallery alongside hands-on workshops and live music shows for 79 years. A carefully curated bumper crop of local artwork from 140 artists brightens gallery walls in a spectrum of styles, from romantic gemstone jewelry and modern abstract painting to neo-classical busts of Colonel Sanders. Mere blocks from the ocean, the exhibits ring a spacious lawn, which brims with spectators for the festival's many events, including celebrity meet and greets, live jazz concerts, and eco-friendly fashion shows. During daily workshops, spectators become participants, stretching fingers into paint, pressing prints, molding clay, and post-modernly trying to eat a bottle of glitter. Check the calendar for daily events.
Dedicated to spreading nautical know-how, Aventura Sailing Association has been supplying aspiring seafarers with sailing instruction, boat rentals, and knowledgeable skippers since 1976. Captain Mark Howe helms the association's sailing school, which instills students with safety guidelines and sailing theory in a classroom setting before taking to the waves for hands-on experience with navigation and popular pirate songs. Instead of suffering the expenses of boat ownership, Aventura Sailing Association members are free to rent vessels from the association's stable of well-maintained 30- to 43-foot sailboats, paying only for the time spent atop the waves. Membership ($55 for each additional month) also grants discounted pricing on sailing school, access to various sailing events, and the opportunity to shadow more experienced sailors and glean subtle tricks of the trade.