August 4, 2021

Fun + Unique Events to Ride Out the End of Summer

It’s true August is hot and dry. It’s the tail-end of summer,  you feel like you’ve done everything, and yet it feels like the season is slipping away. But there is so much more to do! August is the best month to eek out every morsel of summer fun that you can before the realities of school, work, and life set in again. With things mostly open again, there’s plenty to do — including outdoor movies! — both around 1133 Hope and Downtown L.A. and beyond. Make the most of it with these fun events below.

Photo courtesy Grand Performances

Grand Performances at California Plaza

August 7-September 25

Head to the newly renovated California Plaza stage near MOCA, The Broad, and Angel’s Flight for this free outdoor concert series. Even though the shallow water separating the stage from the audience is now a proper event lawn, seating is still limited to the ampitheatre and spaced for socially distanced enjoyment. There’s always a great lineup of diverse bands and DJs, with dance parties fully welcome.Take the Metro Red or Purple line to get there (get off at Pershing Square), or ride Angels Flight up from across the Hill Street side of Grand Central Market. Grab goodies to go from there, or hit Pez Cantina near the concert. 

Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival

August 7-September 5

Each summer, Bard fanatics watch their favorite works come to life at the historic Old Zoo in Griffith Park. The Independent Shakespeare Co. puts on lively productions, including this year’s featured run of The Tempest. If you’ve been before, something to keep in mind: Because of renovations, the stage is slightly farther up the hill at the Old Zoo, which has more limited seating. While performances are free, reservations are required for pods that hold up to four people. Tickets are available one week prior. 

Photo courtesy The Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles

Dance DTLA at The Music Center

Friday nights, August 13-September 10

Leave your inhibitions at home, grab your dancing shoes, and let loose at The Music Center’s free, joyous mashup of music and movement. Each week features a different theme — from cumbia to disco to Bollywood — with live bands and free dance lessons. 

Summer Soundwaves at The Music Center

Saturday nights, August 21 + September 4

Listen to a pair of summertime, family-friendly concerts on the Music Center’s Jerry Moss Plaza during this new outdoor series. Check out the Afro-Mexican sounds of Las Cafeteras on August 21, or and sets from JLin and a host of DJs, including DJ Clent and DJ SWISHA, on September 4.

Photo courtesy State Fair Ent.

State Fair at Santa Anita Park

Daily through August 22

If you’re hankering for that true taste of summer — fried food on sticks, preferably — head to this new fair in the SGV. Not as big as the L.A. County Fair, which was canceled this year, or the O.C. Fair, but it has a little bit of everything you come to expect from a fair: rides, food, live music, and more.

Photo courtesy Manuela

Tropical Nights at Manuela’s Garden Bar

Through August 27

Manuela at the Hauser & Wirth complex is already one of DTLA’s most beautiful outdoor restaurants. This Friday night series takes place in the Garden Bar, an offshoot of the restaurant and regular bar nestled in the property’s scenic garden, with tiki-inspired cocktails, new beer menu, and bites from chef Kris Tominaga. The Garden Bar is regularly open for walk-in dinner on Fridays (5:30-9pm) and brunch and dinner on Saturdays and Sundays (2-9pm).

Photo courtesy The Broad

Fourth Fridays at The Broad

August 27 + September 24

Spend evenings in a courtyard outside the Broad, listen to DJs, sip cocktails from Otium, and generally have a lovely summer night. You don’t need a ticket for the plaza activities, they’re needed to walk through the galleries, where you’ll see dancers performing in front of the art. To enter the museum during extended hours, visitors must reserve free general admission tickets, which are released the Friday before each event at noon.

DTLA Proud Festival

August 27-29

LA’s beloved grassroots LGBTQ+ festival returns to Pershing Square this month with three nights of entertainment. On Friday, it’s all ages fun plus a special screening of the full-length documentary, PROUD in a Pandemic. Saturday and Sunday gets hotter with a diverse array of stage performances, DJs, local bars, community booths, art installations, LGBTQ+ vendors, food trucks and everyone’s favorite pop-up waterpark dance party, Summertramp. Capacity will be limited, so get tickets ahead of time. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required.

Photo courtesy Grand Park

Sunday Sessions in Grand Park

August 29

Wind down the weekend with a four-hour afternoon dance party in Grand Park. A full lineup of DJs will be spinning sets to celebrate the roots of house music a la soul, funk, and disco. Bring your own picnic or hit one of the food trucks parked on site. 

Vegan Playground Summer Nights

Wednesdays through September 22

​​This Wednesday night market at Boomtown Brewery in the Arts District celebrates everything plant-based with a 20-plus rotating lineup of vegan vendors. Admission (5–9pm) and parking are both free, and kids and dogs are allowed.

Featured photo by Joe Cicarelli/Unsplash