There is no better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a Capitola Art and Wine Festival weekend.
This annual September tradition is full of fun, sun, relaxation, food, and play. We go every year and below is a quick guide to navigating a weekend around Capitola.
The beautiful seaside hamlet of Capitola offers visitors a unique world along the coastline of Northern California, just 5 minutes from Santa Cruz and 30 minutes from San Jose / Silicon Valley, you will feel a world away.
Here are the highlights from our 37th Annual Capitola Art and Wine Festival experience.
Kicking off the Capitola Art and Wine Festival Weekend
The weekend kicked off with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on the Esplanade, Paradise Beach Grill. The grill offers a wide variety of amazing seafood dishes. I chose the Coconut Prawns while others dined on Macadamia Ahi Tuna and the Louisiana Steak Salad. Their Clam Chowder should not be missed! Most Thursdays through Sundays they highlight local musicians, check their website for event schedules.
Best breakfast in Capitola
On the morning of the festival we always head to one of our favorite breakfast spots, Zelda’s on the Beach. We start the day with Bloody Mary’s all around, accompanied by their warm Blueberry Muffins. It just doesn’t get any better than that. They have a full breakfast menu and also serve lunch and dinner.
You’ll love the service, smiling faces, and scrumptious breakfast menu. Enjoy dining on their large outdoor patio, which has the most amazing views of Capitola beach, the painted houses, and the Capitola wharf.
A day at the Capitola Art & Wine Festival
After breakfast head out to the festival! The Capitola Art and Wine Festival combines art, food, wine, and entertainment. It’s a great time to wander and enjoy the talents of 160 artists and taste the wines from 22 wineries from the Santa Cruz mountains.
Enjoy the variety of food and the culture from the colorful local artisans in the marketplace. From morning into the evening you can wander, sip, swirl and shop the day away. You probably find yourself purchasing some jewelry, art, or tasty treats. We certainly did!
Enjoy the local talent at the Festival
As you stroll through the village you can find plenty of local talent to enjoy! The Great Morgani is an accordion-playing former stockbroker turned street artist who wears colorful costumes every day!
On Sunday, start the day with the sounds of Santa Cruz Pipes and Drums. They march on the Esplanade around 11 am, serenading everyone with their bagpipes, to open the day of fun and enjoyment.
Where to stay in Capitola:
After a fun-filled day at the festival, we head back to our rental house along the Soquel river, just steps off the Esplanade. You can find quaint family homes available for rent on VRBO. We love to relax and vacation on the river, while being just steps away from all the action. Some rental properties provide canoes, kayaks or paddleboards for your use. Most have barbecues available!
Recipes for a great “night in” with friends:
Saturday night we always plan to “cook in” and enjoy great food and good wine with amazing friends. When you’re right on the water what better way to spend the evening? No driving and lots of good conversations. This is our idea of a dream night!
This year the dinner menu included Steamed Clams in Garlic Butter and Chardonnay along with Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce, and Watermelon Feta Salad, all served with the most amazing Garlic Bread! A perfect end to a perfect day.
All of these amazing dishes are easy to make at home too!
Mornings mean Homemade Bloody Mary’s
The weekend would not be complete without our Homemade Bloody Mary’s by the river and a walk on the beach. You might find yourself feeding the ducks.
Please join us next September for a fun weekend at the Capitola Art and Wine Festival. We will be ready with a cold Bloody Mary for you!
Check the Capitola Art and Wine Festival website for full details on future festivals: https://capitolaartandwine.com/