Announcing The OC's Signature Culture & Entertainment Events For 2016

This post contains affiliate links and our team will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links.

Southern California’s most exciting and unique 2016 events include The OC Marathon, The OC Fair, World-Famous Musical Theater Shows, Historic Celebrations, Art Walks & Film Festivals, Restaurant Week, Yacht Race, Jazz Weekends, Food & Wine Events, Hotel Openings and the Return of the Swallows – all taking place in the cities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Buena Park and the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Located in the heart of Southern California, Orange County boasts an incredibly diverse array of culture and entertainment events, openings, shows and celebrations both inland and along the coast appealing to families, visitors and locals alike. For more info Check-out:


  • OC Marathon, May 1 – The 2016 OC Marathon marks the 12th year of the race. Last year, the course passed through Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Santa Ana. There will be a full-marathon, half-marathon 5K and kid’s run.

The OC Fair & Event Center Events include:

  • OC Fair Imaginology, April 15-17 – The OC Fair & Event Center invites students and their families to go “full S.T.E.A.M. ahead” for three days of competitions, exhibits and activities all designed to explore the fun of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, arts and math.) Exciting workshops, build-your-own scarecrow contest, scavenger hunts and hands-on activities and more will fuel imaginations.
  • OC Fair, July 15-Aug 14 – The annual OC Fair returns with 23 days of food, rides, shopping, exhibits and animals. Enjoy world-renowned performers in the Pacific Amphitheatre and exciting events in The Hangar and Action Sports Arena. The 2016 theme is “Get Your Fair Face On” and pre-sale tickets begin Feb 29.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Events Include:

  • Wicked, Feb 17-March 6 – Winner of more than 100 international awards, including a Grammy® and three Tony Awards,® Wicked is “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster,” says the The New York Times.
  • Cinderella, April 19-May 1 – Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is the Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical from the creators of the The King and I and South Pacific. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, transformations and all the moments you love, plus some surprising new twists on the classic fairy tale.
  • Andre Watts Plays Beethoven, June 2-4 – Andre Watts is one of the most celebrated and beloved piano superstars. In his hands, Beethoven’s revolutionary piano concerto is a fitting farewell to the season.
  • The Sound of Music, July 19-31 – Tony Award®-winning director Jack O’Brien directs this brand new production of The Sound of Music. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award®-winning Best Score.
Apr 19, 2004; Newport Beach, CA, USA; HISTORIC LIDO THEATER during the premiere of 'She Said'. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Erik S. Neldner/NBFF/ZUMA Press. (©) Copyright 2004 by Erik S. Neldner/NBFF
Apr 19, 2004; Newport Beach, CA, USA; HISTORIC LIDO THEATER during the premiere of ‘She Said’. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Erik S. Neldner/NBFF/ZUMA Press. (©) Copyright 2004 by Erik S. Neldner/NBFF


  • Newport Beach Restaurant Week, Jan 18-Jan 31 – Celebrating 10 years of good taste in 2016, Newport Beach Restaurant Week is Orange County’s longest running Restaurant Week event. The 14-day dining event begins Monday and showcases Newport Beach as one of Orange County’s premier dining destinations, offering a wide variety of upscale culinary experiences. Participating restaurants will offer special prix-fixe menus with lunch available for just $10, $15, $20, or $25; and dinner for $20, $30, $40 or $50.
  • Newport Beach Film Festival, April 21-28 – The 17th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival hosts thousands of talented filmmakers, industry professionals and cultural tastemakers at nightly events, including the renowned Opening Night Gala under the stars at the prestigious Fashion Island in Newport Beach.
  • Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, April 22 – This 125-mile overnight race provides the perfect mix of fun and adventure as racers decide whether to head off-shore for stronger winds or to sail the rhumb line towards the finish. With over 50 trophy categories and numerous classes for monohulls, multihulls, and cruisers, the opportunity to “take home the silver” makes this race appealing to all levels of participants, from first-time racers to experienced pros.
  • Balboa Island Art Walk, May – The 22nd Annual Balboa Island Artwalk is the premier showcase for talented local artists and marks the start of Balboa Island’s summer season. This fine art show features 100 artists exhibiting paintings, fine jewelry, blown glass, sculpture, and photography. Spectators will enjoy live music throughout the day, plus family-friendly rides and shops.
  • Hyatt Regency 2016 Newport Beach Jazz Festival, June 3-5 – Southern California’s most scenic jazz festival returns! Kick-off summer with a star-studded lineup of professional musicians. Dance on the lawn and enjoy delicious food and drink selections at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach.
  • Newport Beach Wine & Food Festival, Sept 30-Oct 2 – World-class food and wine event along the bay, featuring live cooking demos from celebrity chefs, local restaurants, wine tastings and great jazz.


  • Guinness World Records Documentary “The Biggest Board” Debuts, Jan 21 – The new documentary short, The Biggest Board: Surf City USA’s Epic Ride, exploring Huntington Beach’s journey to winning two surfing world records in June 2015 for “Largest Surfboard” and “Most People on a Surfboard at Once” and will premiere in Huntington Beach the evening of Thursday, January 21. On Friday, January 22, at 10am, the Big Board will be installed at the International Surfing Museum in Downtown Huntington Beach, where visitors can engage with the latest icon of California’s surf history. Tickets are available to purchase for $50 online.
  • Pacific City Opens New Retailers, Eateries and Accommodations, Early 2016 – Situated right on Pacific Coast Highway with unobstructed beach views, Surf City USA’s newest shopping, dining, and lifestyle destination Pacific City debuted in November 2015 and continues to open retailers, dining and accommodations in 2016. Pacific City’s retail hub houses 191,000 square feet of unique shops and eateries, featuring an upscale Equinox fitness facility and spa along with such iconic brands as H&M, West of Camden, and M.A.C. Cosmetics.
  • Paséa Hotel & Spa Opens, Early 2016 – Emerging early 2016, Paséa Hotel & Spa will bring together modern style, coastal comfort, and stunning oceanfront views, embodying the spirit of this classic California beach town. Located just steps away from Pacific City, at the heart of a vibrant emerging community in Huntington Beach, Paséa offers 250 spacious guest rooms and suites, all with ocean views; 11 meeting rooms and over 34,000 square feet of event space; a signature restaurant with floor-to-ceiling views and more.
  • Huntington Surf & Sport Welcomes Channel Islands, Hurley and Volcom Flagship Stores, 2016 – Family owned and operated Huntington Surf & Sport’s downtown Pierside Pavilion is redefining the specialty retail experience with a $10,000 renovation which includes an even bigger location featuring Channel Islands, Hurley and Volcom flagship stores along with the largest inventory in the entire surfing world.


  • The Irvine Museum, 2016 – Dedicated to the preservation and display of California art of the Impressionist Period (1890-1930), The Irvine Museum is embracing a principal role in the education and furtherance of this beautiful and important regional variant of American Impressionism that has come to be associated with California and its remarkable landscape. The Irvine Museum invites you to share this experience in 2016 and enjoy the splendor and power of art as it relates directly to California. Admission is free.
  • The New Swan, Summer 2016 is a venue unique to Orange County, and indeed to the world of theatre. The 15-ton, modular mini-Elizabethan theater was a dream of UC Irvine’s Department of Drama in 1965 when the university was founded, and in the winter of 2011 this dream was brought to vivid life. New Swan Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to the investigation and production of Shakespearean plays and relevant theatrical works. Summer 2016 tickets may be purchased through the box office: (949) 824-2787 or online.



  • Teatro Martini, a New Dinner Show, 2016 – Visitors (ages 18+) are invited to Orange County’s hottest new dinner show, Teatro Martini located in Buena Park, home of Knott’s Berry Farm and Medieval Times. This new vaudeville variety act gives guests a night full of laughter, world-class magic, astonishing musical performances and dazzling aerial acts. Indulge in an upscale five-course meal and try one of their signature cocktails from master mixologists.
  • Knott’s Boysenberry Festival, March – Every March, guests can wine, dine and buy boysenberry-inspired products at Knott’s Boysenberry Festival. Guests will enjoy a variety of gourmet food, wine and beer offerings including grilled meats smothered in Boysenberry BBQ sauce, freshly baked desserts and specialty drinks. Visitors will also enjoy entertainment, live musical acts and performances by Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang.
  • Knott’s Scary Farm, Sept-Oct 31 – Knott’s is home to the largest Halloween event on earth, Knott’s Scary Farm. Since its humble beginnings in 1973, Knott’s Scary Farm has grown to be the largest, most creative and attended Halloween attraction in the world. Every year, Knott’s Berry Farm is transformed with 13 themed mazes, 7 live shows, and 4 scare zones featuring hundreds of free-roaming monsters. Knott’s Berry Scary Farm Haunt opens in September through October 31.
  • Silverado Days, Oct 15-16 – This Buena Park festival takes place the third weekend in October at William Peak Park and draws over 80,000 people. Visitors can participate in the world amateur arm-wrestling championship, a professional horseshoe or pie-eating contest, hog calling and much more. With over 20 rides, 16 food options, 20 games and 90 arts and crafts booths, it’s fun for the whole family.


  • Saint Joseph’s Day and The Return of the Swallows Celebration, March 16 – Don’t miss this world-renowned annual historic celebration. Festivities include ringing of historic bells, live mariachi music, Flamenco dance performances and other guest speakers and special school performances.
  • Twelfth Annual Battle of the Mariachis Festival, May 14 – A friendly competition of young, mariachi musicians celebrating talent, interpretation and inspiration within one festival.
  • Music Under the Stars, Summer 2016 – Concert Dates: June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, and August 20 – Saturday evening summer concert series hosted in the courtyard of the historic Mission. Concert gates open at 5:30pm; Music from 6:30pm-9:30pm.
  • Romance of the Mission Benefit Gala Concert and Dinner, Sept 16 – The most exclusive gala benefit hosted in Orange County every year features a pre-show hosted reception, extravagant entertainment in the Great Stone Church and the most romantic dinner-setting display.
  • Christmas at the Mission, Dec 3 – Mission San Juan Capistrano is proud to participate in San Juan Capistrano’s annual Christmas tree-lighting festivities. Bring the whole family to this event as we invite the public to celebrate the holidays with us.

Make sure to visit for more info on these events and more.