Autumn Moon Festival
Sept. 6-7
San Francisco

With roots that date back more than 1,000 years to China’s Song Dynasty, this spectacular street fair in the center of Chinatown celebrates the end of the summer harvest with colorful parades, martial arts exhibits, a showcase of Asia’s traditional healing arts, and plenty of food and drink. www.moonfestival.org

The Monterey Jazz Festival
Sept. 19-21,
Monterey, California

Not only is it the world’s longest-running jazz festival, but it’s also considered to be the premier scene for current and future icons of jazz. Held at the Monterey Fairgrounds, it serves up cool sounds, conversations, workshops, exhibitions, and international foods. www.monterey

The Mayor’s Thames Festival
Sept. 13-14

Highlights of this annual charity festival include the seriously amusing Thames Duck Race, with thousands of yellow plastic ducks bobbing down-stream from Waterloo Bridge, and the final night’s Lantern Procession, a shimmering parade of creative lanterns and magical creatures. www.thames festival.org