Here Are the 12 Best Things to Do in L.A. in September

Your guide to the month’s can’t-miss events in and around L.A.

Can you feel that crisp fall air? Just kidding, but September is still going to rule. The best events this month include a color run, a beach clean-up, the L.A. County Fair, and the L.A. Film Fest.

Ain’t Too Proud 

August 21-September 30 

If Jersey Boys was your jam, chances are you’ll get behind this musical about the Temptations at the Ahmanson. The legendary group’s story is told through some of its most recognizable hits, from “My Girl” and “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” to— yes—“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” After its L.A. run, the show is of to Broadway.

L.A. County Fair 

August 31-September 23

More than a million people roll through this 19-day celebration of gut-churning rides, midway games, and all things fried. The theme this year is Route 66, so expect tributes to Main Street America with classic cars and candy shops.

Native Gardens 

September 5-30

Jason Alexander, the man best known as Seinfeld’s George Costanza, returns to his theater roots as the director of Karen Zacarías’s new comedy at the Pasadena Playhouse. Sexism, racism, and privilege come to the fore when two sets of neighbors clash over planting flower beds.


September 6-16

The era of remarkable television marches on, and the Paley Center for Media is here to document it all. Show up at its Beverly Hills digs for premiere screenings of shows from Netflix, the CW, Fox, and all the other usual suspects, as well as panels with the stars from BoJack Horseman; I Love You, America; and others.


September 6-29

It’s no Acropolis, but the amphitheater at the Getty Villa is about as close as you’ll get without splurging on a plane ticket to Athens. Settle into that seat cushion for a performance of Euripides’ tale about Dionysus, the Greek god of wine; go on a Thursday to experience the museum’s Nectar of the Gods sunset-dining situation, which includes pre-show hors d’oeuvres, wine, and beer.

L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade 

September 8

You’ve got four hours to scarf in the name of a good cause at this fundraiser for the fight against childhood cancer at UCLA’s Royce Quad. Chefs, bartenders, and vintners abound, so save room—a tall order with pros like Zach Pollack (Cosa Buona) and Nancy Silverton (Mozza) on the bill.


September 8
To celebrate its one-year anniversary in DTLA, the Institute of Contemporary Art (née the Santa Monica Museum of Art) is hosting this popular benefit art sale that’s all about trusting your instincts. More than 400 works by established and emerging artists are up for grabs, each priced at $500 flat. The catch: The artist’s identity is kept secret until the piece is purchased.

California Coastal Cleanup Day 

September 15

Burn enough calories to justify several brunch mimosas at this annual event. There are some 1,000 volunteer sites up and down the coast, but team up with the folks at the Aquarium of the Pacific and you get the bonus of ogling their shark lagoon when you’re done.

L.A. Film Festival 

September 20-28

Film Independent’s flagship event moves from summer to fall and brings some programmatic shifts with the seasonal swap: A new section of the festival focuses on VR and immersive storytelling. On top of that, catch select screenings at a new venue for the event, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Pop-Up Magazine 

September 29

The celebration of journalism and storytelling returns to the Theatre at Ace Hotel for its “fall issue.” Mixing elements of This American Life with the Moth, the multi media readings range from tear-jerking to wisecracking. Catch it live or don’t catch it at all—none of the stories are recorded for future generations.

The Color Run 

September 29

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In the endless effort to make running feel fun, the folks behind this 5K in Huntington Beach douse racers in brightly colored powder at every kilometer. (The first rule of the Color Run: Wear white for best results.) Once you’ve crossed the finish line looking like a sweaty rainbow, stay for a massive dance party with even more color throws.

Los Angeles Chocolate Salon 

September 30 

Cocoa fiends can find nirvana at this annual event, where masters from Mignon Chocolate, Marti Chocolatt, 3D Candies, and others take over the Pasadena Convention Center. Listen to talks with chefs and authors while you indulge in all the samples you can handle.

RELATED: What to Do, See, and Eat at the L.A. County Fair

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