Some of the Best Things to Do in L.A. This Weekend

Also, a film festival celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Americana in the Park, and more
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After a long pandemic shutdown, Los Angeles is open—and that means there’s fun stuff to do all across the city. Still not ready for in-person partying? That’s cool. We’ve sprinkled in some virtual and car-bound events too.


Hola México Film Festival

Friday, September 17 through Saturday, September 25

What better way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month than watching compelling films that highlight and uplift the community’s culture? Hola México Film Festival, the largest Mexican film event outside of Mexico, will be showing 21 new and recent Mexican films—including opening-night feature Perdida and closing-night feature Chilangolandia—from September 17 through 25 at Regal Cinemas LA Live. The 13th annual fest also includes opening and closing ceremonies at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. [More info and tickets]

Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion 

Saturday & Sunday, September 17 & 18 

Spend the weekend showing off your knowledge of old-school cars and watching hot rods and classic cruisers defy gravity at the annual Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion event in Ontario. The event includes two days of contests, live entertainment, and food, and of course the stars of the show: vehicles from the years 1900-1988. The family-friendly event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on historic Euclid Avenue and the downtown streets near Ontario Town Square. [More info and tickets]  

Golden State Tattoo Expo 

Saturday-Sunday, September 17-19

Get inked or simply admire other people’s ink at the Golden State Tattoo Expo at the Pasadena Convention Center. Inked magazine’s weekend of festivities is being hosted by artists Nikko Hurtado and Carlos Torres, who’ll be joined by artists and art collectives from all over the country. Tickets start at $30 per day to enter the convention. [More info and tickets

California Coastal Cleanup Day 

Saturday, September 18

September is Coastal Cleanup Month and to celebrate the effort, volunteers will be coming together on September 18 to remove trash and plastic pollution at beaches and waterways throughout the state. The purpose of the volunteer event, which was organized by the Ocean Conservatory, is to bring awareness to “the marine litter problem and [provide] a community event for direct involvement.” To find a cleanup site near you, visit the California Coastal Commission’s website. But don’t worry if you can’t make it on the 18th. You can participate any day in September—and beyond—by getting together a group of family and friends to clean your neighborhoods, parks, and other local areas. [More info

So-Cal Hoedown

Saturday, September 18

The fourth annual So Cal Hoedown returns on September 18 with a day filled with live music from punk rock, psychobilly, rockabilly, and ska legends at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Featuring live performances from Suicidal Tendencies, the Horrorpops, Face to Face, the Untouchables, TSOL, Fishbone, So-Cal Hoedown will also have three stages, tons of food trucks, craft beer, a lowbrow art exhibit, and cool retail vendors. Tickets start at $54.06 and kids under 10 are free. [More info and tickets]

York Theatre’s 98th Birthday Boo Ha-Ha

Saturday, September 18

Join the Bob Baker Marionettes and the Los Angeles Theater Organ Society (LATOS) in celebrating 98 years of the York Theatre, which opened its doors in 1923 as a “high class vaudeville” venue showing first-run films. The festivities will include a live organ performance by the LATOS’s Mark Herman, seasonal (spooktacular!) puppet performances, and a live score of Buster Keaton’s “The Haunted House.” The party starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $20. [More info and tickets]

Asphalt Comedy 

Saturdays through October 30 

If you’re craving some laughter, but don’t feel comfortable sitting in a comedy club around strangers just yet, try visiting the new outdoor theater experience Asphalt Comedy. Tammy Jo Dearen and Nikole Larson’s L.A. pop-up series, which was born during the pandemic, is returning for seven weeks of comedy starting September 18 and continuing through October 30. The seated, outdoor event will feature a different lineup each show, with comics like Iliza, Chris Redd, and Atsuko Okatsuka. Showtimes are 7 and 9:30 p.m. with tickets starting at $30. Food will also be available for purchase and alcohol is complimentary (you read that right!) with purchase of ticket. [More info and tickets

Americana in the Park

Sundays through October 10 

Despite the season winding down, it still very much feels like summer in L.A. If you’re in the mood for Americana music in the park, check out this four-part series that runs every Sunday from September 19 through October 10 in Gandara Park from 3 to 6 p.m. The family-friendly concert, which showcases a diverse lineup of Southern California artists, explores the range of Americana music and its roots in traditional African, Appalachian, blues, and bluegrass, to its modern forms of folk, and country music. Plus, it’s free! [More info and tickets]

Masanga Marimba Ensemble
Photo Courtesy of Americana in the Park

HEALTHFEST L.A!

Sunday, September 19 

Kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month, the producers behind the Fiesta Broadway street festival are taking over the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument/Olvera Street yet again with HEALTHFEST L.A! The free one-day event—which brings together music, food, games, and shopping—is designed to get Latino Angelenos healthy again while celebrating Hispanic heritage, culture, and tradition. Health screenings and testing, education about COVID safety, and economic aid, and recovery resources will also be available at the event, which runs from noon to 6 p.m. [More info]

Bite-Sized Fair

Through September 26

The L.A. County Fair is scheduled for May 2022, but you don’t have to wait that long to enjoy ooey-gooey delectables, mouth watering sweets, adorable farm animals, and carnival rides. The Bite-Sized Fair, which, as the name suggests, is a mini version of the full-scale event, is taking place September 10 through 26 and only costs $2 for entry if you purchase your tickets online. [More info and tickets]

Troubadour Theater Company’s LIZASTRATA

Through October 2

After an 18-month hiatus, the Getty Villa is celebrating the return of live theater with the L.A.-based Troubadour Theater Company’s LIZASTRATA. The ancient comedy production, which will be set to a mash-up of Liza Minelli’s greatest hits, will be held Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from September 9 through October 2 at the outdoor venue. [More info and tickets]

The Last Cruze at California African American Museum

Through March 20, 2022 

Stopping by a local museum to view artwork by diverse artists is always a good idea—and it’s free! LaToya Ruby Frazier, an acclaimed artist from Chicago, is bringing her traveling exhibition The Last Cruze to the California African American Museum beginning this week through March 20, 2022. The exhibit, which includes 66 photographs, video, and an architectural installation, chronicles the lives of workers at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, that shut down in 2019 due to the global outsourcing of labor, the growing demand of electric cars, and other circumstances. [More info]

Corey Pemberton, Home/Body

Through October 18

Mixed-media artist Corey Pemberton is debuting his first West Coast solo exhibition at UNREPD in Melrose Hill. According to Pemberton, “to feel ordinary is a luxury,” and that’s what he tries to channel and celebrate in Home/Body. Through a series of portraits, Pemberton “extends that luxury to people in his life whose bodies and identities fall outside of traditional raced, gendered, and sexualized boundaries of ordinariness,” according to the gallery’s website. Home/Body runs from September 18 through October 18, and entrance is free. [More info]

Maurice, 2021 by Corey Pemberton

Shaadi Immersive Dance Experience

September 17-18 

Become a part of a Indian wedding party as dancers perform throughout the private grounds and Victorian mansions of Heritage Square Museum for Blue13 Dance Company’s Shaadi immersive dance experience. “Shaadi,” which is Hindi for wedding, will also feature live dance performances, drinks, and a live DJ. Wedding guests will be able to pick which characters in the story to follow—in socially distanced pods—throughout the immersive experience. Tickets range from $10-$75. [More info]

Shaadi
Photo Courtesy of Blue13 dance

An Octoroon at Fountain Theatre 

Through September 19

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s Obie Award-winning play makes its Los Angeles debut on the new outdoor stage at Fountain Theatre this weekend. A riff on the 1859 play The Octoroon, An Octoroon was hailed by the New York Times as “a work based on a terminally dated play from more than 150 years ago may turn out to be this decade’s most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today.” [More info and tickets]

Jazz at LACMA Limited Edition

Fridays through October 29

There are few things more pleasant than kicking off a little early and taking in a jazz concert in front of Urban Light at LACMA. The series is back for its 30th season, but with a new limited-capacity and ticketed (but still totally free) format for safety purposes. Tickets are already sold out for this Friday’s performance, but you can RSVP for future Fridays to see acts including Phil Ranelin and Leslie Bee. The shows are free and start at 6 p.m. [More info and RSVP]

immersive van gogh
Photo courtesy Immersive Van Gogh Los Angeles

Immersive Van Gogh

Through January 2022

The old Amoeba in Hollywood is looking mighty different these days. After a long build out, the space’s hallowed confines reopen this weekend as the home of Immersive Van Gogh, a walk-through experience that lets you hang out in Van Gogh’s most famous paintings (and even correspond with a AI version of the long-dead Dutchman). Opening weekend is sold out, but the show is open through the beginning of January 2022. [More info and tickets]

Nothing But Blk Flea Market

Ongoing

Many Black-owned businesses saw an influx of business following the global civil rights protests last summer. But that support shouldn’t stop a year later—or ever for that matter. Melanin Market L.A. makes it easy to support Black-owned businesses and vendors at their Nothing But Blk Market, which features an array of products ranging from jewelry, organic food and beverage, and beauty products. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Outdoor Promenade. [More info]

Smorgasburg L.A.

Sundays

Like most other things that are good, Smorgasburg L.A. had to pack it in and endure a long hiatus thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Sunday, July 4, the Brooklyn-transplanted outdoor food market returned to ROW DTLA with a bunch of new vendors, including some you’ve probably seen on Instagram and have been dying to try, like fried fish sandwich pop-up Little Fish and Caribbean street food pop-up Bridgetown Roti. According to organizers 75 percent of the markets former vendors will be returning too. The market runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and entry is free. [More info]

Pop-Up Drive-Ins and Outdoor Movies

Ongoing

Theaters are opening up again, but there’s still plenty of fun stuff to see at pop-up drive-ins and outdoor pop-ups throughout the region. This weekend’s offerings include Good Will Hunting, Top Gun, and more. [More info]

Chocolate Sundaes Comedy at The Laugh Factory Hollywood

Ongoing

This one of a kind comedy show, which features a mix of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming comics, takes place every Sunday at the infamous Laugh Factory on the Sunset Strip. Recent performers include the likes of Kevin Hart, Katt Williams and Tracy Morgan. It’s also not uncommon to catch a celebrity in the crowd as folks like Beyonce and husband Jay Z, Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner have showed up. [More info and tickets]

Chocolate Sundaes
Photo courtesy of chocolatesundaes.com/hollywood

Rights and Rituals: The Making of African American Debutante Culture

Through February 27, 2022

Debutante balls have existed since the 18th century, but there’s nuance to how they evolved in America. This exhibit at the California African American Museum takes a closer look at the role debutante balls have played in Black life, particularly in L.A., through photographs from the 1950s and ’60s culled from libraries and collections, in addition to gowns, souvenirs, oral interviews, and other objects. [More info]

Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK

Through 2023

Composer and sound artist Ellen Reid has created a soundtrack for your next walk in Griffith Park. Download the SOUNDWALK app to experience a public work of audio art that’s determined by which way you decide to walk (using GPS). “We miss our communities, and we miss the very thing that makes our cities special: the people,” Reid says. “I hope SOUNDWALK will inspire us and make us feel connected to something larger than ourselves.” [More info]

Vineland, Paramount, and Mission Tiki Drive-Ins

Ongoing

Pop-up screenings sell out fast, but the L.A. area’s stationary drive-ins don’t require advance tickets and have plenty of great movies to check out—and double features galore. It’s a throwback that’s become very welcome in the era of social distancing.

Stream away…

Ongoing

Check out what we have in this week’s roundup of streaming recommendations because sometimes the best things to do are the most low-effort of all.

Looking for even more things to watch, eat, and do during the COVID-19 outbreak? Check out our Inside Guide.


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