Mostly free and not to be missed
Don’t be fooled by May Gray. Summer is just around the corner. In Los Angeles, that means 90-degree temperatures—and an amazing lineup of outdoor movies, concerts series, and seasonal markets that help make the sticky, sweaty days a lot more bearable.
Best of all, many of the events are free and take place in especially picturesque locations.
Listed below are some of the best outdoor events series that LA summer has to offer. It’s not a complete list, rather a jumping-off point or a fun resource for those looking to branch out from their usual summer rut. Have a suggestion to add to the list? Post it in the comments.
And, for more inspiration on ways to enjoy LA’s warm weather, check out the Curbed city guide to Los Angeles, which is updated seasonally.
Free | Various | Various
KCRW puts on a helluva party almost every Saturday night, starting June 1. These events are like big block parties featuring KCRW-curated bands and the station’s beloved DJs. This year, Summer Nights is taking place in venues across Los Angeles, including Chinatown, Pasadena, the California African American Museum in Exposition Park, downtown Long Beach, the Hammer Museum, and Santa Monica Pier. The series kicks off in Old Town Pasadena with performances from Harriet Brown and Girlpool.
$21 | 6:45 p.m. Saturdays | Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Think of this as a giant community picnic with all of your friends, dead or alive! It’s a quintessential Los Angeles experience, one that should not be missed. At nightfall, movies are projected on the back of the cemetery’s massive mausoleum, and while you pay up front for admission, the best part about Cinespia is that you’re allowed to bring in your own picnic, including booze! Kettle corn and other snacks are available for purchase.
Free | 5 to 10 p.m. Thursdays | Yamashiro Hollywood
The night market is tucked into the Hollywood Hills, at the iconic Yamashiro restaurant, making it a solid contender for the LA farmers market with the best view. Though there are some candle and honey sellers, vendors are mostly food trucks offering prepared foods from a roster of tasty spots. There’s valet parking, but also a $10 shuttle that runs every 15 minutes from Mosaic Church (7107 Hollywood Boulevard). Walking is always an option (consider hiking up the hill from Metro’s Hollywood and Highland station), and it’s free.
Free | 6 p.m. Fridays | Smidt Welcome Plaza, LACMA
Jazz at the Miracle Mile museum is an institution, running for more than two decades. With shows on Friday and Saturday evenings, a little jazz in the outdoors, alongside fantastic architecture, is a chill way to unwind after a long week. Upcoming shows include pianist Otmaro Ruiz, drummer Clayton Cameron, and vocalist Andrea Miller.
Free | 6 p.m. various Saturdays | The Getty Center
For all those on the Westside who don’t want to slog too far on a cool summer night, there’s Off the 405, a summer concert series at the Getty Center. The unwaveringly hip lineup—L’Rain, Cate le Bon, Lala Lala—ends at a reasonable 9 p.m. on Saturday nights, a perfect jumping off point for a late night or a prelude to tucking in early.