The Best Summer Concerts in Los Angeles

A guide to L.A.’s summer concert series

The season of music en plein air is here. Spend an evening taking in these summer concerts at museums, cultural institutions, gardens, and even shopping malls. The majority of these events are totally free; we’ve noted where RSVPs or tickets are required.

Summer Concerts 2019

KCRW Summer Nights

This year marks the 10th anniversary of KCRW’s Summer Nights concert series, and they’re celebrating in style. Shows take place at locations around the region, including two new venue partnerships in Long Beach, and shows at the station’s brand-new HQ in Santa Monica. As always, the shows are all-ages and free with RSVP.

6/1: Harriet Brown, KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad (One Colorado Old Pasadena)
6/8: KCRW DJs Travis Holcombe & Novena Carmel (Chinatown Central Plaza)
6/15: Girlpool, KCRW DJ Chris Douridas (One Colorado Old Pasadena)
6/28: KCRW DJs Garth Trinidad & Aaron Byrd (California African American Museum)
7/11: TBA (Hammer Museum)
7/13: KCRW DJs Jason Bentley & Garth Trinidad (Chinatown Central Plaza)
7/18: TBA (Hammer Museum)
7/25: TBA (Hammer Museum)
7/27: KCRW DJs Mathieu Schreyer & Anthony Valadez (POW! WOW! Long Beach)
8/1: KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox (Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara)
8/3: TBA (KCRW HQ, Santa Monica)
8/10: KCRW DJs Raul Campos & Mathieu Schreyer (Chinatown Central Plaza)
8/3: TBA (KCRW HQ, Santa Monica)
8/17: TBA (KCRW HQ, Santa Monica)
8/21: TBA (Santa Monica Pier)
8/28: TBA (Santa Monica Pier)
9/7: KCRW DJs Raul Campos (Downtown Long Beach Buskerfest)
9/4: TBA (Santa Monica Pier)
9/5: KCRW DJ José Galván (Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara)
9/11: TBA (Santa Monica Pier)
9/18: TBA (Santa Monica Pier)
9/25: TBA (Santa Monica Pier)

Off the 405 at Getty Center

We named this one our favorite museum after-hours programming, and it’ll only take one visit to see why. Take the sweeping beauty of the Getty Center, add a sunset, a refreshing cocktail, and a cool band, and you’ve got a perfect summer night.

5/18: Sasami, Linda Nuves of Chulita Vinyl Club
6/22: L’Rain, No Sesso DJ Set
7/6: Cate Le Bon
7/27: Lala Lala, Harmony Tividad of Girlpool DJ Set
8/24: San Cha, La Mera Candelaria, DJ Brown Amy
9/14: Ex Hex

Music at LACMA

Friday night jazz at LACMA is the best-known of the museum’s music series, but it’s not the only way to catch a concert. In addition to that lovely week-ending tradition, don’t miss series dedicated to chamber music, Latin sounds, and other genres.

5/10: Greg Reitan
5/12: John Bayless
5/17: Cannonball/Coltrane Project
5/19: Antonio Lysy and Daniel Gledhill
5/24: Otmaro Ruiz
5/25: Conjunto Oye!
5/26: Honors Ensembles from the Colburn School
5/27: Salt Petal
5/31: Dwight Trible
6/1: Oscar Hernández
6/7: Ernie Watts Quartet
6/8: Rogê
6/14: Clayton Cameron Sextet
6/15: Chino Espinoza
6/21: Danny Janklow Quintet
6/22: Francisco Torres Latin Jazz Band
6/28: Andrea Miller
6/29: Justo Almario’s Afro-Columbian Band

FigFest at FigAt7th

The DTLA shopping complex becomes a concert hall on June nights with live music and DJs. Before and after the show, you can hang out in a beer garden and play some lawn games.

6/7: Cherry Glazzerr, Lily
6/14: Oddisee, Good Compny, Sudan Archives
6/21: Buscabulla, Reyna Tropical
6/28: STRFKR, De Lux

Summer on 7th

This once-a-year event is a summer tradition–and raises money for a great cause. Tickets ($45-$110) benefit Inner-City Arts, bringing arts education to underserved local kids. The event is a great party, with live music, DJs, art installations, plus some of the city’s best food and drink (think Guerrilla Tacos, Manuela, Everson Royce Bar, etc).

6/8: Best Coast, Shannon and the Clams, J.Rocc, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dublab DJs

Levitt Pavilion Concerts

The Levitt Pavilion summer lineup includes 50 concerts from June to September. That leaves room to represent an eclectic mix of styles and genres, with something to appeal to all. Performances take place on an amphitheater stage with an open dance area up front, surrounded by a grassy area for blankets and picnics (skip the wine though; this is a kid-friendly, booze-free venue), ringed in with lush trees and great sunset views. Shows are free, online RSVPs are encouraged.

6/1: Tijuana No! con Ceci Bastida, Dub 8, Blanco y Negro
6/2: Rumbankete, Chris Acosta
6/6: Pride in the Park with Jarina de Marco and Sister Mantos
6/7: Pride in the Park with Amara la Negra and Late Night Laggers
6/8: Filipino Independence Day Celebration: Ruby Ibarra, Gingee, Rani de Leon
6/9: Manila 2 MacArthur Park: Joel Quizon, Bibak, Rocksteady Rondalla
6/13: Gabriela Penka, La Infinita, Maria Blues
6/14: Josef Leimberg, The Breathing Effect, Todd Simon
6/15: Unlock the House: Blaqpages’ Trybvl and Amp Collective
6/16: We Are One: One Globe Radio, Larchmont Charter Samba School
6/20: Mike Watt and the Missingmen, Bastidas!, Don Bolles
6/21: The Slackers, The Bubba Master
6/22: 36th Annual Radiotron
6/23: Sonidos Salvadoreños
6/27: South Central Skankers, Roncovacoco, The Meddlers
6/28: Lido Pimienta, Delsonido, Subsuelo
6/29: La Tumbadora, Berendo Middle School Band
6/30: Band Camp
7/4: Black Nile, Benedek, Linafornia
7/5: Willie Chambers Band, Claudia Lennerar
7/6: Trish Toledo with Thee Confidentials
7/7: Gusto Guatemalteco
7/11: Jen Awad, Cutty Flam
7/12: Draemings, Vaya Futuro, El Mañana, Bananaleafboy, Xolo
7/13: The Lions, Chris Murray Combo, Queline
7/14: Tamal Festival with Mariachi Divas
7/18: Almalafa, Sonido Mundial, Anesthesia
7/19: Los Master Plus, Late Night Laggers
7/20: KXFest: Day One
7/21: KXFest: Day Two
7/25: San Cha, Jonny Kosmo, 5:4:1 by Pauline Jay
7/26: The Expanders, Jr. Thomas, The Volcanos, Terry Dactyl
7/27: L.A. Bollywood, Discostan
7/28: Ethiopia Day
8/8: Vel the Wonder
8/9: Genitallica, Forajidos
8/10: Flor de Toloache
8/11: Mundo Maya Celebration
8/15: Fartbarf, Numb.Er
8/16: Tomasa del Real, El Licenciado, Subsuelo
8/17: Boogaloo Assassins, Clifton aka DJ Soft Touch
8/18: Natives in the Now: Raye Zaragoza, Tracy Lee Nelson
8/22: No Parents, Fatty Cakes, The Puff Pastries, The Witching Hour
8/23: Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra, Nina Cole
8/24: Pato Machete, C-Minus
8/25: “L.A.’s Got Talent”
8/29: La Resistencia
8/30: Afrobashment: Zongo Sound System, DJ Rampage Global
8/31: La Sonora Dinamita, Gazoo
9/1: Wonder-Full in the Park: A Stevie Wonder Tribute Party

Grand Performances

Eclectic and global, Grand Performances gathers the crowd around a manmade pond in the center of California Plaza in downtown L.A. The programming includes concerts as well as dance, storytelling, and family entertainment.

6/1: COLA 2019: A Night of Spiritual Jazz, Poetry, and Literature
6/21: Dance DTLA: Bollywood
6/23: Grand Park Sunday Sessions
6/28: Dance DTLA: Bachata
7/5: Dance DTLA: Line Dance & Two Step
7/12: Dance DTLA: Hip Hop
7/19: Dance DTLA: Argentine Tango
7/21: Grand Park Sunday Sessions
7/26: Dance DTLA: Disco
8/2: Dance DTLA: K-Pop
8/9: Dance DTLA: Salsa
8/16: Dance DTLA: Motown & Funk
8/18: Grand Park Sunday Sessions
8/30: Dance DTLA: Cumbia
9/22:Grand Park Sunday Sessions


Wicked Paradise

Splash in the pool while top-tier DJs spin at this summer music series based at Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood. Entry is free with RSVP; an upgraded $15 ticket guarantees entrance even if you show up late.

5/25: Miami Horror
5/27: Classixx
6/15: Le Youth

Sunday Afternoon Concerts at Mount Wilson Observatory

Head to the mountains for this monthly concert series that takes place from May to October inside the dome of the historic Mount Wilson Observatory, home to two of the largest telescopes in the world. Each performer plays two sets, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., which are ticketed separately ($50).

5/5: Celebrating the Music of Django Reinhardt and Stephanie Grappelli
6/2: Mozart & Britten Oboe Quartets and Beethoven String Trio
7/7: Music by Danaë Vlasse, Todd Mason, Bruce Babcock, Mark McEncroe, and Anthony Constantino
8/4: Schubert String Quintet in C Major
9/1: Bach Chaconne Arrangement for Two Cellos), Barrière Sonata, and Offenbach Duets
10/6: Mozart and Brahms Quintets for Clarinet and Strings

Subaru Summer Jazz Nights at Hollywood & Highland

It may not be the Hollywood Bowl, but the Hollywood & Highland Center holds its own as a summertime destination with this outdoor jazz concert series. The programs is curated by KJAZZ 88.1 and Rum & Humble, and if you make a $14 donation to charity partner Project Angel Food, you can enjoy your music in a proper chair with wine and cheese service provided by Wolfgang Puck Catering and One Hope Wine.

7/9: TBA
7/16: TBA
7/23: TBA
7/30: TBA
8/6: TBA

Descanso Gardens Summer Nights

Descanso Gardens is one of Los Angeles’ most beautiful settings, making it a perfect venue for light summer music. Entry is free and picnics are allowed, but be sure to reserve a ticket online in advance of the event.

6/6: Louise Cruz Beltran
6/13: The Katie Thiroux Trio
6/18: Mariachi Divas
6/19: Summer Songs
6:20: Yuko Mabuchi
6/25: Angel City Chorale
6/26: Summer Songs
6/27: Mon David
7/2: California Feetwarmers
7/3: Summer Songs
7/4: Lao Tizer
7/9: Boogaloo Assasins
7/10: Summer Songs
7/11: Abe Lagrimas Jr.
7/16: Briseyda Zarate
7/17: Summer Songs
7/18: Molly Miller
7/23: Dance India
7/24: Summer Songs
7/25: Dayren Santamaria
7/28: The Flashdance DJs

Sunset Concerts at Skirball Cultural Center

For the 23rd year, Angelenos will gather in the courtyard of the Skirball Cultural Center for a summer of music. Concerts start at 8 p.m., but if you arrive early you can visit the museum’s exhibitions and purchase food and drinks from Zeidler’s Cart. Be aware, this series at the Skirball is free–but parking will set you back $15 per car.

7/18: Gaby Moreno, DJ Mamabear
7/25: Río Mira, DJ Reyes
8/1: The Klezmatics, DJ Maral
8/8: Cha Wa, DJ Dr. Fuzzy 
8/15: Tamar Ilana & Ventanas, DJ Glenn Red
8/22: Josef Leimberg, DJ Novena Carmel 

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to 2019’s Outdoor Movie Screenings

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