The Best Things to Do in L.A. in July

An LGBTQ film showcase, a Lotus Festival, and a whole bunch of outdoor music

Summer is finally here, and that means it’s time for fireworks, festivals and concerts beneath the stars. From music to movie screenings, here are the best things to do in L.A. this month.

Black Nile

July 4

Brothers Aaron and Lawrence Shaw blow genre barriers to bits with a sound that fuses hip-hop, funk, and dub into jazzy improvisations. If you prefer your fireworks to be musical, this Independence Day show is not to be missed. Levitt Pavilion.

Independence Day Fireworks

July 4

Innumerable fetes will light the Southland skies for America’s original Conscious Uncoupling. Our picks? Indulge in history aboard the Queen Mary, party at DTLA’s Grand Park with live music and a 75-foot Ferris wheel, or freak out with Nile Rodgers and Chic at the Hollywood Bowl.

Chrissie Hynde

July 6

The voice of the Pretenders makes her Hollywood Bowl debut with a full orchestra. Expect Hynde to unleash her swagger on such classics as “Brass in Pocket” and “Back on the Chain Gang.”

Tony Bennett

July 10

Traditional pop’s ageless wonder, Bennett can still wrench longing and heartache out of the hoariest corners of the Great American Songbook. The Bowl is the perfect setting for his canonical interpretations of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and other classics.

Hannah Gadsby

July 12-13

The game-changing Tasmanian jokester brings her soon-to-be next Netflix special, Douglas, to the Ace Hotel, where she’ll aim her comedic crosshairs at homophobia, art history, and all your expectations of stand-up comedy. 

Cyndi Lauper

Saturday, July 12, and Sunday, July 13

Girls just wanna have fun—that and a string section. The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra joins the ’80s hitmaker for a night of timeless pop classics, from “True Colors” to “Time after Time.”

Meshell Ndegeocello

Saturday, July 13

Deploying her rubbery bass lines and husky vocals on everything from jazz to funk to R&B, Ndegeocello is a true original. Her recent album, Ventriloquism, takes sultry songs by Sade and TLC to even more seductive depths.

Lotus Festival

July 13-14

Pegged to the seasonal blooming of the lotus blossom, this fam-friendly event celebrates Asian and Pacific Island cultures— focusing this year on the Thai community. Enjoy music, origami workshops, gift boutiques, food vendors, and, if you’re feeling competitive, a dragon boat race.

Friends! The Musical Parody

July 16-August 4

A send-up of the seminal ’90s sitcom comes to the Kirk Douglas Theatre, where it’ll re-create a decade of the series’ highlights with an uncensored song-and-dance twist. In other words, imagine Andrew Lloyd Webber doing “Smelly Cat.”


July 18-28

The leading LGBTQ film showcase promises to outdo itself with a slate of more than 150 features, docs, and shorts presented throughout L.A. Don’t miss the opening- and closing-night galas, which have previously screened such gems
as Studio 54, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and Other People.

Hugh Jackman

July 19-20

Greatest Showman stans, eat your heart out: The criminally talented Aussie actor hits the Hollywood Bowl with songs from his underappreciated P.T. Barnum biopic, Les Misérables, and, who knows, maybe some Wolverine karaoke (OK, probably not, but let us dream).

KX Fest

Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21

Koreatown rapper Dumbfoundead headlines this two-day celebration of Korean music, art, and culture. Expect generous servings of K-pop, R&B, and DFD’s patented brand of smart, soulful hip-hop.

Dudamel and Yuja Wang

Thursday, July 25

Any chance to see Gustavo Dudamel conducting the L.A. Philharmonic is one you should seize, but this pairing with Chinese pianist Wang is especially intriguing. They’ll be reprising their performance of composer John Adams’s latest piano concerto, which they premiered at Walk Disney Concert Hall earlier this year to rapturous reviews.

The Raconteurs

Friday, July 26

After an eight-year absence, Jack White’s grungy power-pop quartet with cofrontman Brendan Benson is back and ferocious as ever on new rave-ups like “Sunday Driver.”

Queen Nation

Sunday, July 28

If anyone can compete with Rami Malek’s Oscar-winning turn as the late Freddie Mercury, it’s Gregory Finsley. The front man of this long-running Queen tribute band channels Freddie’s soaring vocals and strutting stage presence with uncanny accuracy.

RELATED: The Best Summer Concerts in Los Angeles

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