If you're looking for a deep connection with nature, you could strap on hiking boots and head for the hills. Alternatively, you could head to Wildling Museum to catch glimpses of the wilderness as seen through the eyes of artists. Since opening in 2000, the museum has hosted more than 40 exhibitions such as the Santa Ynez River Watershed or Irish artist Patrick O’Hara’s Art of California Native Plants. Now located in modern, spacious quarters in Solvang, the museum also hosts workshops, lectures, and family events.
Hand-thrown ceramic vases, custom-stained glass lamps, blown glass, and textiles. The Craft Festival's 200 booths boast the handcrafted bounty of artisans from seven western states. The festival, which takes place semi-annually in Reno and Las Vegas, sources strictly local work—you won't see anything imported or mass produced along its aisles. Instead, you'll find artists who are passionate about their craft, whether it's creating unique jewelry, custom painting T-shirts, or painting works of art.
Fresh Fest 2012 treats hip-hop and electro fans to a night full of funky beats and throbbing lasers fit for all ages. Master mixers and mash-up maestros DJ Eon and DJ Flamezz keep strobe lights stoked and frisky feet dancing with a surplus of pulsating club beats. Grab some glow sticks at the door ($5, not included in today's Groupon) and dance to the laser lightshow before preventing sweat droughts with available water, pop, or energy drinks. Unlike most dance parties, no alcohol is allowed at Fresh Fest 2012, allowing crowds to have fun without the threat of an intervening Eliot Ness.
Tequila and Taco Music Festival's Mas Margaritas aims to fill attendees' entire afternoon with a celebration of Mexican food and culture. Held at upscale shopping and dining center The Collection at Riverpark, the festival moves along to a soundtrack of live music and the clinking of glasses. Though craft beer is available, the focus is on margaritas—each crafted by acclaimed bartenders using top-shelf tequila and mescal. Gourmet street-style tacos provide the ideal pairing for drinks and the ideal decoration for any hats with a wide enough brim. Meanwhile, art and craft vendors put their handmade wares on display. Even though celebration is its own reward, the festival goes one step further by donating proceeds to the Food Share local food bank.
Beer, music, and more beer—that's the focus of the California Beer Festival. Over the course of two days, the festival gathers up more than 85 craft beers. Brewers such as Lagunitas Brewing Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, and Santa Cruz Ale Works introduce fest-goers to small-batch lagers, pilsners, and IPAs. On Saturday, the Craft Beer Heaven event gives guests the inside scoop on the booming craft beer industry. On Sunday, participants can pair sips with gourmet burgers and sliders while dancing to a live soundtrack by tribute bands paying homage to the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, and Michael Jackson.