During the first full week of September, spend some time enjoying the great outdoors, dining on new food, pampering yourself and giving back to a stellar organization. Early in the week, locals and visitors can view some locally-inspired artwork, attend an exciting musical show at South Coast Repertory, enjoy a grand opening with free lunch at Miguel’s Jr. and pamper yourself with cocktails and spa treatments at Monarch Beach Resort. Later on, choose between the annual Tall Ships Festival at the Dana Point Harbor, the Pacific Symphony’s Tchaikovsky Spectacular or the PMMC’s summer gala—or don’t and attend all three.

Monday, September 4

(Credit: Tom Swimm)

“California, The Golden State”
The CAP Gallery
260 Ocean Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 533-7507

One of the most thrilling art forms is plein air painting. Giving the viewer a glimpse of a specific place at a specific time, plein air paintings typically depict the most beautiful scenes. Although next month marks the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association’s annual invitational, plein air art can be found in Laguna almost all year round. This month, through September 30th, art lovers can visit the juried exhibit “California, The Golden State” an The CAP Gallery on the 2nd floor of the Wells Fargo Building. Tom Swimm’s “Point Lobos Grandeur,” the first prize winner, will be on display, as will second and third place pieces, “Batiquitos Lagoon Evening” by Fernando Micheli and “Eucalyptus Glow” by Kirsten Anderson. Each of these landscape paintings highlights the beauty of our state.

Tuesday, September 5

(Credit: Danielle Bliss/SCR)

South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 708-5555

While Segerstrom Center for the Arts is known for having outstanding stage musicals, South Coast Repertory also has live gems that sparkle—especially this month. Catch the Tuesday night preview performance of “Once” at 7:30 p.m. The famed play is based on the movie of the same name, with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová. In the show, a Dublin street musician known simply as Guy meets a Czech woman—Girl—and she inspires him to keep creating music when he was just about to throw in the towel. The romantic story runs on the Repertory stage through September 30th; opening night is Friday while Saturday marks the first night of regular performances.

Wednesday, September 6

(Credit Miguels Jr.)

Attend A Grand Opening
Miguel’s Jr.
19620 Beach Boulevard
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 888-2255

The grand opening of the new Miguel’s Jr. in Huntington Beach will take place on Wednesday, bringing with it a flurry of events to celebrate the occasion. Located in the Newland Shopping Center, the eatery features some original murals depicting Huntington Beach hotspots, crafted by local artist Dave Avanzino. At 10:30 a.m., founders Mike and Mary Vasquez plus CEO Javier Vasquez will be present for the ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by a complimentary lunch for everyone in attendance. Miguel’s Jr. serves a selection of homestyle Mexican food, including burritos, tacos, quesadillas, salads, nachos, tostadas and more. The new Huntington Beach location will also feature a new beverage menu, complete with fresh squeezed lemonade and housemade horchata.

Thursday, September 7

(Credit: Monarch Beach Resort)

Sip and Spa
Miraval Life in Balance Spa
1 Monarch Beach Resort North
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 234-3206

This Thursday, stop by Miraval Life in Balance Spa at the Monarch Beach Resort for Sip and Spa, a weekly event that takes place between 2 and 8 p.m. Guests who sign up for the special event will earn a number of perks, including a 50-minute personalized massage or facial. Following the spa treatment, take advantage of spa facilities—from the sauna and the steam room to relaxation lounges, it’s the perfect way to unwind for a day. If you’d prefer to get some exercise in, the spa’s fitness classes are also included in the price of the event. As part of the Sip and Spa program, guests will also receive an artisan cheese plate paired with a glass of wine or Champagne.

Friday, September 8

(Credit: Ocean Institute)

Tall Ships Festival
Dana Point Harbor
24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 496-2274

The always-exciting Tall Ships Festival in Dana Point is one of the most anticipated of the year in Orange County. The Ocean Institute partners with the county and OC Parks to present this celebration of California maritime, gathering locals and visitors at the harbor for a three-day adventure. The Parade of Sails will kick off the weekend on Friday, giving guests the chance to climb aboard and sail with the armada. There will also be craft beer tastings on Friday evening, thanks to breweries like Bottle Logic, Laguna Beach Beer Co., Sierra Nevada and more. Throughout the next two days, there will also be chances to have breakfast with a mermaid, view a cannon battle, visit pirate encampments and more.

Saturday, September 9

(Credit: Pacific Symphony)

Tchaikovsky Spectacular
Pacific Amphitheatre
100 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 708-1500

The end of the summer has arrived—at least for the Pacific Symphony. And, as always, they’re set to end it with a bang. The Tchaikovsky Spectacular will take place under the stars at the Pacific Amphitheatre, marking the end of the orchestra’s first year at its new home venue. Conductor Carl St.Clair will lead the symphony as they perform music by Shostakovich and Prokofiev. Van Cliburn gold medal winner Yekwon Sunwoo will also be playing at the Saturday night event, presenting Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2. At the end of the night, the symphony will be joined by the Huntington Beach Concert Band to perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture while cannons booms and colorful fireworks light up the night sky, signifying the end of the orchestra’s summer season.

Sunday, September 10

(Credit: Pacific Marine Mammal Center)

PMMC Endless Summer Gala
The Ranch at Laguna Beach
31106 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-3050

Laguna Beach’s Pacific Marine Mammal Center works to rescue, rehabilitate and re-release marine life in the area. Their annual summer gala takes place this Sunday, so come by and help the impactful group raise funds for their research, education and rehabilitation programs at the gala. Named Endless Summer, the event will be from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m and take place at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. It will consist of fine dining in support of these incredible creatures. There will also be a variety of live music throughout the night, performed by Surf’s Up, a Beach Boys tribute band. Guests can also support the PMMC with another fundraiser, the annual Shopping Extravaganza on October 7 at the Outlets of San Clemente.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.


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