California Art Fairs: Your Guide to One-of-a-Kind Art Experiences

There are myriad good reasons to visit California. While there is much to appreciate about the larger cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, which are phenomenal art destinations, for this foray into the fun world of art fairs and festivals, we're focused on locations that are a bit off the beaten path.

The southern and central California art fairs and festivals we're highlighting span the range from contemporary to traditional fine art, and provide the perfect opportunity to experience art against the backdrop of gorgeous natural settings. The related culinary and entertainment elements make each show special and a true arts immersed experience.


Palm Springs Area Festivals“Warm Summer Day in California, Noon” by UGallery Artist Suren Nersisyan

The Coachella Valley is known for its warm, desert climate, resort destinations like Palm Springs, and the iconic Coachella Music Festival. The valley is also peppered with charming communities which host an impressive list of exceptional art festivals.

Indio Southwest Art FestivalPhoto credit, City of Indio

Art patrons will love this four-day annual event which takes place every January at the beautiful Empire Polo Club, a breathtaking outdoor setting with perfect mountain views. With over 200 featured artists, the art festival is considered among the best juried art fairs in the country and includes live music and other entertainment. Art enthusiasts can peruse traditional and contemporary art including pottery, fine art, and jewelry.

Indian Wells Arts Festival

Billed as an unparalleled art fair experience, the Indian Wells Southwest Arts Festival is one of the largest fairs in the Palm Springs area. The international festival takes place annually in April at the beautiful Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Ranked among the top 100 best fine art shows in the nation, the event features museum-caliber artworks and engaging exhibits. Newbies and seasoned collectors alike can shop a variety of art including paintings, sculptures, and wearable art fashion.

La Quinta Arts Festival

The La Quinta Art Celebration has been named the #1 fine arts and crafts fair in the United States and is held for several days each March and again in November. Located between Indio and Indian Wells, La Quinta is a resort city with a gorgeous natural landscape. The festival is relatively new among California’s visual arts fair offerings and includes top-notch culinary and entertainment experiences.


Central Coast Art Fairs

Ojai Art in the Park

As we've previously shared, Ojai is a picturesque mountain town known for its “calming vortex," with a reputation as a great place to experience art.Ojai Art in the Park, photo by Ben M, Yelp UserOjai Art in the Park is a fine arts festival that takes place each Memorial Day weekend in the lush green setting of Libbey Park. The festival features art in a variety of mediums and is free to attend. It includes food booths and a children's area with engaging demonstrations, so bring the whole family and breathe in the fresh air and good energy.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Art Festival



For several days leading up to the Carmel, California art festival, juried artists utilize the beautiful coastal city’s incredible natural landscape as inspiration for their on-the-spot creations. They later display their artwork as part of the festival which is available for purchase during the event. The annual festival held each May in Devendorf Park raises funds for the local Youth Arts Collective.

There are many more great options to choose from including art fairs and festivals that we haven’t talked about in-depth but are worth a mention, such as the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, the Beverly Hills Art Show, and Los Altos Art and Wine Festival, just to name a few. Check out the full list of the golden state's art fair offerings.


Not able to make it to the west coast any time soon? You can also explore original artworks online from the comfort of your home on UGallery's website.