Navigating Laguna Beach's Summer Festivals

Art is profoundly rooted into the life force of Laguna Beach, deeply connected to all other parts of the body. The beaches and protected landscapes are natural works of art that serve as inspiration for other art forms. Laguna's downtown serves as a stomping ground for local artists and artisans to showcase their craft.

I've also always believed that food is an art, and California Cuisine takes that meaning to the next level where chefs use innovative ingredients and techniques as tools to create masterpieces for you to consume and enjoy. When Laguna's first art gallery popped up in 1918, the Laguna Beach Art Association stated their goal was, "to advance the knowledge of, and interest in Art, and to create a spirit of cooperation and fellowship between the painter and the public."  Exactly 100 years later, the founding association would not only be pleased but overwhelmed by the thriving art community, the way artistic expression takes shape in various forms, and the celebration of art through large festivals that take life in the summer. Whether it's the art of cooking, fine art, or performing art, allow us to help you navigate your way through Laguna's amazing festivals and some fantastic food offerings to keep your mind and stomach satiated all day.

Festival of Arts

In a delightfully clean and modern open-air space, Festival of Arts showcases original fine art from 140 Southern California based artists through this juried show. Don't miss out on Festival of Arts' large section dedicated to exhibiting student art from grade school to high school. Not only will you get to see wonderful and creative pieces, but you will experience the festival and community's commitment to engendering and empowering young and promising talent.

After exploring the different exhibitions or maybe taking an art workshop or class, head to Terra, their newest dining destination. When you dine on this large and bright alfresco patio, you'll get glimpses of Laguna's naturally beautiful landscape, making Terra, a Latin word meaning land or earth, the ideal designation for this elegant space. The cuisine itself is California inspired: fresh and focused on using sustainable ingredients, with a unique artistic lens to match the artwork. Festival of Arts is also home to Pageant of the Masters, a matchless show that literally brings famous works of art to life. For a classy date-night out, head to Terra's full open bar to enjoy a drink and some tapas before this one-of-a-kind experience. If you prefer a quick grab 'n go meal, visit Gina's Pizza for salad and pizza offerings.  

Laguna Art-A-Fair

While Festival of Arts is dedicated to displaying local fine art, Laguna Art-A-Fair curates art locally and from around the world, jurying in 125 artists and artisans each year. In addition to fine art, Art-A-Fair also features luxury home design, highlighting how art is a key component in designing and decorating a home. After discovering the various displays and watching many artists paint or create new works, head to the back of the site where you will be greeted by a gorgeous garden-like setting with lush foliage and a flowing waterfall.

Within this, you'll find Seven7Seven, named after Art-A-Fair's address, a charming and cozy spot featuring salads, sandwiches, burgers, and baked goods. Grab a seat to savor a Spiced Carrot Cake and Coffee, while you take in the serene European-inspired scenery. As you exit Laguna Art-A-Fair and make your way over to Sawdust Art Festival, be sure to check out some of the murals on various buildings outside of the festivals. Presented by Laguna Creative Ventures, these colorful and vibrant creations stem from some of the world's biggest artists.

Then, head on over to Another Kind Café, a family-owned Vietnamese spot whose food and interior is artful in design. While the dishes represent traditional recipes passed down through family, the plating and colors pop in a way that is almost too pretty to eat. The interior of the café itself is heavily inspired by the sister's, a professional interior designer, aesthetic and background, as well as their dad's personal antique furniture collection.

Sawdust Art Festival

Finally, head to Sawdust Art Festival where you will feel most connected to the town's culture and community. This nonprofit organization only promotes art created by citizens of Laguna Beach. Out of the three festivals, Sawdust is the only non-juried art show, making it the most diverse in terms of art media; from sculptures to paintings and jewelry to handmade clothing, a wide variety of local artists flourish in and share their craft.

As you walk along sawdust-covered paths, discover various live music performances, exciting classes, a popular enclosure with curious eyes peeled on a professional glassblower, and a relaxing eucalyptus grove with waterfalls. While there are several food and drink options to choose from, we loved GG's Mediterranean Gyro Pita Sandwich, an ideal and marvelously flavorful handheld bite to casually nosh on as you explore. For wine lovers, Sawdust also offers a Sip, Talk & Walk Tour on Wednesdays with a guided art tour paired with a complimentary wine tasting.

Whenever you decide to visit, be sure to share your experiences with us on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM by tagging us @VisitLaguna and utilizing our citywide hashtag, #MyLagunaBeach.


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About the Author
Caitlin Sakdalan

Caitlin Sakdalan

Caitlin Sakdalan is a social media influencer and food writer. Through her passion for food as an experiential connector of people and cultures, coupled with expertise in social and digital, she shares her extensive food knowledge and experiences to thousands of followers daily. Caitlin is one of Dovetale's "5 best Influencers to watch in 2017," and her photography is featured on Tasting Table, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and other online outlets. Follow her on Instagram @befatbehappy.

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