For an exhaustive list of events beyond those noted here, check http://events.frommers.com, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world.
Tournament of Roses, Pasadena. A spectacular parade marches down Colorado Boulevard, with lavish floats, music, and extraordinary equestrian entries, followed by the Rose Bowl football game. (It's tradition among parade-goes to camp out along Colorado Boulevard the night before in order to secure a good spot.) Call tel. 626/449-4100 or visit www.tournamentofroses.com for details. January 1.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Parade, Long Beach. This annual parade down Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Anaheim Street ends with a festival in Martin Luther King, Jr., Park. For more information, contact the city manager at tel. 562/570-6711. Third Monday in January.
Bob Hope Classic, Palm Springs area. Celebrating its 52nd year in 2011, this PGA golf tournament raises money for charity and includes a celebrity-studded Pro-Am. For spectator information and tickets, call tel. 760/346-8184. Mid- to late January.
Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Santa Barbara. For 10 days every year, Santa Barbara does its best impression of Cannes. There's a flurry of foreign and independent film premieres, appearances by actors and directors, and symposia on cinematic topics. For a rundown of events, call tel. 805/963-0023 or visit www.sbiff.org. Late January to early February.
Chinese New Year and Golden Dragon Parade, Los Angeles. Dragon dancers and martial arts masters parade through the streets of Downtown's Chinatown. Chinese opera and other events are scheduled. For this year's schedule, contact the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at tel. 213/617-0396 or visit www.lachinesechamber.org. Late January or early February.
National Date Festival, Indio (Palm Springs area). Crowds gather for 2 weeks to celebrate the Coachella Valley desert's most beloved cash crop, with events like camel and ostrich races, the Blessing of the Date Garden, and festive Arabian Nights pageants. Plenty of date-sampling booths are set up, along with rides, food vendors, and other county-fair trappings. Call tel. 800/811-3247 or 760/863-8247, or visit www.datefest.org. Two weeks in February.
Northern Trust Open Golf Tournament, Pacific Palisades. The PGA Tour makes its only Tinseltown appearance at the Riviera Country Club, overlooking the ocean. Expect to see stars in attendance. For information, call the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce at tel. 310/454-6591. Mid-February.
Mardi Gras, West Hollywood. The festivities -- including live jazz and lots of food -- take place along Santa Monica Boulevard, and in the alley behind Santa Monica Boulevard. Contact the West Hollywood Convention and Visitors Bureau at tel. 800/368-6020 for details. Late February or early March.
Los Angeles Marathon, Downtown. This 26-mile run attracts thousands of participants, from world champions to the guy next door; the big day also features a 5K run/walk and a bike marathon on the same route. The run starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier. Call tel. 310/271-7200 or visit www.lamarathon.com for registration or spectator information. Mid March.
California Poppy Blooming Season, Antelope Valley. Less than an hour's drive north of Los Angeles lies the California Poppy Reserve, part of the state park system. In spring, miles of hillside blaze with brilliant hues of red and orange, dazzling the senses of motorists who flock to witness the display. For information and directions, call tel. 661/723-6077. Mid-March to mid-May. For information on the annual California Poppy Festival, held at full bloom (usually in mid to late Apr), call tel. 661/723-6077 or visit www.poppyfestival.com.
Toyota Grand Prix, Long Beach. An exciting weekend of Indy-class auto racing and entertainment in and around downtown Long Beach draws world-class drivers from the United States and Europe, plus many celebrity contestants and spectators. Contact the Grand Prix Association at tel. 888/82-SPEED (827-7333) or www.gplb.com. Mid-April.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio. Known in colloquial terms as simply "Coachella" this now 3-day extravaganza has become one of the biggest music festivals in the country. People travel from all over the States -- and all over the world -- for the diverse array of talent. Everyone from Paul McCartney and Madonna to Kraftwerk and Daft Punk have performed on one of the five stages within the Polo Field grounds. For ticket information, log on to the official website, www.coachella.com. Mid-April.
Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Irwindale. This annual event -- one of the largest and oldest in the country -- takes place at the relatively hidden Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area. It features an Elizabethan marketplace with costumed performers. The fair provides an entire day's activities, including shows, food, and crafts. You're encouraged to come in period costume. For ticket information, call tel. 626/969-4750, or log on to the national website, www.renfair.com. Weekends from early April to mid-May.
Cinco de Mayo, Los Angeles. A weeklong celebration of the Mexican victory over the French Army in 1862 takes place throughout the city. There's a carnival atmosphere with large crowds, live music, dancing, and food. The main festivities are held at El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park in Downtown; call tel. 213/628-1274 for information. Other events are held around the city. The week surrounding May 5.
National Orange Show, San Bernardino. An Inland Empire tradition since 1911 -- when there were more orange groves than houses in Southern California -- this weeklong county fair includes stadium events, celebrity entertainment, livestock shows, crafts and food booths, and carnival rides. Call tel. 909/888-6788. Second half of May.
Venice Art Walk, Venice Beach. This annual weekend event gives visitors a chance to take docent-guided tours of galleries and studios, plus a Sunday self-guided art walk through the private home studios of more than 50 emerging and well-known artists. For details, call the Venice Family Clinic, which coordinates the event (tel. 310/392-8630), or visit its website at www.venicefamilyclinic.org. Second half of May.
Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade and Festival, Shoreline Park, Long Beach. This event features rock and country music, dancing, food, and more than 100 decorated floats. Call tel. 562/987-9191 or visit www.longbeachpride.com. Second half of May.
Doheny Blues Festival, Doheny State Beach, Dana Point. This festival features great live music (past acts have included the likes of Little Richard, Los Lobos, and the Black Crowes) on three stages -- blues, rock, and soul -- at a waterfront grass park. Arts and crafts vendors, memorabilia, and unique displays surround the International Food Court, with restaurants and beverages of all types. Proceeds benefit local charities. Call tel. 949/362-3366 or log on to www.omegaevents.com. Mid- to late May.
Playboy Jazz Festival, Los Angeles. Bill Cosby is the traditional master of ceremonies, presiding over the top jazz musicians at the Hollywood Bowl. Call tel. 800/745-3000. Mid-June.
Christopher Street West Festival and Parade, West Hollywood. For more than 40 years, this West Hollywood event has been one of the largest lesbian and gay pride festivals and parades in the world. Outdoor stages, disco- and Western-dance tents, food, and revelry culminate in Sunday's parade down Santa Monica Boulevard. Call tel. 323/969-8302 or log on to www.lapride.org. Early to mid-June.
Los Angeles Film Festival, Los Angeles. With attendance of more than 60,000, the festival showcases more than 175 American and international indies, short films, and music videos during the 10-day event. Call tel. 866/345-6337 or log on to www.lafilmfest.com. Mid to late June.
Mariachi USA Festival, Los Angeles. At this family-oriented celebration of Mexican culture and tradition at the Hollywood Bowl, festival-goers pack their picnic baskets and enjoy music, folkloric ballet, and related performances by top grupos. The all-day, all-night celebration is one of the largest mariachi festivals in the world. For tickets, call tel. 800/MARIACHI (627-4224) or 323/850-2000 (the Hollywood Bowl), or log on to www.mariachiusa.com. Mid to late June.
Lotus Festival, Echo Park. Celebrants gather to witness the spectacular blooms of Echo Lake's floating lotus grove. In keeping with the Asian and South Pacific islands theme, the festivities include tropical music and entertainment, ethnic foods, exotic birds, and plenty of lotus-inspired arts and crafts for sale. Admission is free. Call tel. 213/413-1622 for information, or log on to www.laparks.org/calendar/lotus/lotus.htm. Second weekend of July.
Beach Festival, Huntington Beach. Two weeks of fun in the sun featuring two surfing competitions -- the U.S. Open of Surfing and the world-class Pro of Surfing -- plus extreme sports like BMX biking, skateboarding, and more. The festival includes entertainment, food, tons of product booths and giveaways -- and plenty of tanned, swimsuit-clad bodies of both sexes. For more information, call tel. 714/969-3492 or log on to www.surfcityusa.com. End of July.
Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach. A 70-year tradition in artsy Laguna, this festival centers on a fantastic performance-art production in which actors re-create famous old-masters paintings. Other festivities include live music, crafts sales, art demonstrations and workshops, and the grass-roots Sawdust Festival across the street. Grounds admission is $4 to $7; pageant tickets range from $15 to $150. Call tel. 800/487-FEST (487-3378) or 949/494-1145; there's online info at www.foapom.com. July through August.
Nisei Week Japanese Festival, Los Angeles. This weeklong celebration of Japanese culture and heritage -- and L.A.'s oldest ethnic festival -- is held in the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Plaza in Little Tokyo. Festivities include parades, food, Taiko Drum performances, arts, and crafts. Call tel. 213/687-7193 or log on to www.niseiweek.org. Mid-August.
Los Angeles County Fair, Pomona. Horse racing, arts, agricultural displays, celebrity entertainment, and carnival rides are among the attractions at one of the largest county fairs in the world, held at the Los Angeles County Fair and Exposition Center. Call tel. 909/623-3111 or visit www.fairplex.com for information. Throughout September.
Long Beach Blues Festival, Long Beach. Great performances by blues legends such as Etta James, Dr. John, and the Allman Brothers make this an event you won't want to miss if you love the blues. The event serves cold beer, wine, and food throughout. Call tel. 562/985-2999 or log on to www.jazzandblues.org. Labor Day weekend.
Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival, Los Angeles. This event pays tribute to the roots of jazz in gospel and blues, as well as celebrating the avant-garde and Latin jazz scene. It's also a great opportunity to visit the Watts Towers. Call tel. 213/847-4646 or log on to www.wattstowers.us. Late September.
Catalina Island JazzTrax Festival, Catalina Island. Contemporary jazz greats play at Avalon's legendary Casino Ballroom. This enormously popular festival takes place over 3 consecutive weekends. Call tel. 866/872-9849 or visit www.jazztrax.com for advance ticket sales and a schedule of performers. Three weekends in October.
Hollywood Film Festival, Hollywood. More than 50 films from the U.S. and abroad are screened, with celebrities in abundance. There's also a variety of workshops and marketplaces for aspiring actors and filmmakers. Call tel. 310/288-1882 or visit www.hollywoodawards.com for info and tickets. Mid-October.
West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, West Hollywood. This is one of the world's largest Halloween parties. More than 500,000 people, many dressed in outlandish drag couture, party all night along Santa Monica Boulevard. Call tel. 310/289-2525 or visit www.visitwesthollywood.com for info. October 31.
American Indian Arts Marketplace, Autry National Center. For more than 20 years, this showcase of Native American arts and culture, has included traditional dances, music, and arts and crafts, as well as a chance to sample Native American foods. For further details, call tel. 323/667-2000. First weekend of November.
American Film Institute's Los Angeles International Film Festival, Los Angeles. Some of the biggest names in the international film community gather to see new movies from around the world. Call tel. 866/AFI-FEST (234-3378) or visit www.afi.com for info and tickets. Early November.
Catalina Island Eco Marathon, Catalina Island. Participants run on the island's inner roads, challenging trails, and even attempt to best the "Catalina Crush" hill at mile 19. There's also a 5K and 10K course. Call Spectrum Sports at tel. 909/399-3553 or visit www.catalinaecomarathon.com. Early November.
Doo Dah Parade, Pasadena. This outrageous spoof of the Rose Parade features such participants as the Briefcase Precision Drill Team and a kazoo-playing marching band. Call tel. 626/590-1134 or visit www.pasadenadoodahparade.info. Near Thanksgiving.
Hollywood Christmas Parade, Hollywood. This spectacular, star-studded parade marches through the heart of Hollywood. For information, call tel. 866/727-2331 or visit www.thehollywoodchristmasparade.com. Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Sailors decorate their crafts with colorful lights. Several Southern California harbors hold nighttime parades; participants range from tiny dinghies with a single strand of lights to showy yachts with Nativity scenes twinkling on deck. Call the following for phone numbers for information and exact times: Ventura, tel. 805/382-3001; Marina Del Rey, tel. 310/670-7130; Huntington Harbor, tel. 714/840-7542.