As spring approaches, head outside to celebrate with a variety of festivals, parades, parties and other unique activities—free of cost.
March 3
Community Yard Sale
Center Street Promenade, Anaheim

Shop for unique goods while mingling with neighbors at this citywide yard sale, where Anaheim residents will sell used items that include everything from furniture, clothing and household items to electronics, collectibles and rare antiques.

March 3-4 and 10-11
Festival of Whales
Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point

For two weekends each March, the Dana Point Harbor is transformed into an ocean paradise, where guests can enjoy a parade, a sand sculpting competition, outdoor art lessons, stand-up paddleboarding clinics, a street fair, live music, whale watching tours and much more.

March 4
Lantern Festival
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

This family-friendly event, organized by the Pacific Symphony, honors the Year of the Dog with a Lunar New Year celebration taking place later than most. The free event offers culturally relevant musical performances, dance lessons, lantern decorating stations, riddles and more.

March 4
Raspberry Jam
Discovery Cube, Santa Ana

As part of a worldwide event taking place in more than 100 different spots on the same weekend, Discovery Cube’s Raspberry Jam celebrates the art of coding with hands-on games, educational workshops, meet and greets with famous coders and raffles for Girl Scout cookies.

March 10-11
Kite Party
Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach

Hosted by the Kite Connection, this fun event is exciting whether you’re watching or participating. Nearly 100 experienced kite fliers from all across the country will put on a show next to the ocean and there will be kite kits for sale for those who want to try it on their own.

March 16
Celebrate Pat Nixon’s Birthday
The Nixon Library, Yorba Linda

In honor of former first lady Pat Nixon’s birthday, enjoy free admission to the library and museum as well as access to special events like a program led by author and television host Maureen Nunn, a longtime friend of the Nixon family who will discuss Pat’s time as America’s Ambassador of Goodwill.

March 17-18
Public Train Rides
Fairview Park, Costa Mesa

Members of Orange County Model Engineers offer free public train rides on the third weekend of the month, where guests can sit atop large-scale model trains that are maintained by the club. Enjoy two loops around the park, with only five to six riders per session.

March 18
Cherry Blossom Festival
Huntington Beach Central Park, Huntington Beach

Now in its fifth year, this special event is held in conjunction with Huntington Beach’s sister city, Anjo, Japan. Enjoy a variety of cultural activities, from Japanese music, dance, food and artwork as well lessons for kids on calligraphy, origami, painting and more.

March 24
Swallows Day Parade
Downtown San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano

Each year in the springtime, the Fiesta de las Golondrinas in South Orange County celebrates the return of the swallows to the local mission. Part of this tradition includes the Swallows Day Parade— the nation’s largest non-motorized parade—and the Mercado Street Fair that follows.

March 31
Easter Party
Kaleidoscope, Mission Viejo

Enjoy a holiday-themed party at this local shopping center, complete with an Easter egg hunt. Starting in the courtyard, children will receive passports revealing which stores will be handing out candy-filled eggs and other prizes. Following the hunt, take advantage of complimentary photos with the Easter Bunny, face painting, a petting zoo and a balloon artist.

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.