Ferndale is known for well-preserved Victorian buildings, which are also known as "Butterfat Palaces" due to their construction during an epoch wherein considerable wealth was generated in the dairy industry, especially during the 1880s. The entire town is an historical landmark (see California Historical Landmark No. 883).
Ferndale is also the endpoint of the annual Kinetic sculpture race as well as being the town where the first race began when Hobart Brown was challenged to race his odd-looking five-wheeled bike down Main Street on Mother's Day, 1969 by local sculptor Jack Mays.
Ferndale is a popular film location and is featured in movies like The Majestic with Jim Carrey, Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman, Salem?s Lot starring David Soul and James Mason and Joe Dirt with David Spade. It was also used as a location twice by the Star Trek franchise, once in Star Trek: The Next Generation and once in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Ferndale is also the hometown of Chef, Restaurateur and Food network star Guy Fieri.
The Humboldt County Fair is held every August at the county fairgrounds on the edge of Ferndale, and feature the only horse-racing events in the county along with the standard fare of agricultural, pastoral and artistic contests, carnival games, carnival amusement rides, and commercial or non-profit booths.