LA city guide: 75 things to do in the summer

Use this LA city guide as your road map for things to do in the summer and ways to explore the City of Angels.



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Go to an LA pool party

Los Angeles provides a pretty much endless summer, but when the actual season rolls around, you'll find the best of LA's nightlife at the pool. The season officially kicks off with a splash of pool parties thrown at shindig-friendly hotels around town. If you’re looking to lounge (or dance) by the pool, music in ear and cocktail in hand, be prepared to arrive early or grab a hotel room the night before, as most parties cap out at 500 people. Of course, the fastest way to a coveted cabana or table space is via bottle service packages, which can run hundreds of dollars, but you'll buy the best seat in the house. Regardless of how you get in, here are some of the best summer pool parties in LA.


Groove to KCRW's Summer Nights in Chinatown

  • Free

KCRW is treating LA to free Summer Nights events all over town, and this all-ages monthly Saturday event in Chinatown is definitely among the most lively of the bunch. Show off your moves on the dance floor to top KCRW DJ sets and live bands, browse local art at the LA Craft Experience market, sample some food-truck grub or authentic Chinese cuisine from surrounding restaurants and party ‘til midnight in the heart of this historic neighborhood.

  1. 943 N Broadway
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Flaunt your skills at SaMo's swings, rings and ropes

  • Free

The original Muscle Beach (located on Ocean Front Walk, off Appian Way between Pacific Terrace and Arcadia Terrace) has plenty of regulars, gawking tourists and a healthy crowd of amateurs. On weekends, you’ll see some amazing beach gymnasts and the vibe is friendly—be courteous and don’t hog the ropes, and they’ll offer tips or share handfuls of chalk (you can also usually find chalk left in the sand near the ropes swings).


Stock up on books for your summer reading list

Looking for lit? If you're book shopping in Los Angeles, look no further. We've found the best shops and independent retailers offering art books, travel guides political tomes and children's tales. Check out these top 20 Los Angeles booksellers for the best bargains, out-of-print titles, author readings and community events.


Picnic at Silver Lake Reservoir

Silver Lake's Reservoir has two dog parks (one big one small), a basketball court, playground and field for the kiddies, and a 2.2 mile trail around its entirety. A great place to bring kids, dogs, a picnic, or a running club. The Reservoir is also home to The Meadow, a soft, grassy knoll overlooking the water where visitors can lounge, picnic, or play a game of frisbeeor bocce. Note: no pups allowed.


Listen to music under the stars

  • Free

Every Thursday, head to the Santa Monica Pier for free bands on the beach during their Twilight Concert series. Pack a picnic (and arrive early to get a spot on the sand near the speakers) to enjoy as the local talent plays sunset sets with crashing waves in the distance—it's a quintessential LA music experience.

  1. 200 Santa Monica Pier
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Shop, eat and play at the new FIGat7th plaza

  • Free

Head on over to DTLA’s FIGat7th shopping plaza this summer for some of the best free music programming of the season, nearly on par with KCRW and the Getty with the caliber of artists it has wrangled for its Downtown Festival’s inaugural year. On the schedule are Friday night concerts by beloved acts like Akron/Family and PAPA, as well as everything from student Shakespeare productions, angel wing art installations, a farmers market, "Kids Club" activities and nifty restaurant deals (2-for-1 Sprinkles cupcakes anyone?).

  1. 735 S Figueroa St
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Grab a pint at a top LA biergarten

Sure, LA may not have grilled fish on sticks as they famously do in Munich, but the spirit of Oktoberfest is in effect year-round at these seven biergartens. Stop in for a beer and wurst. You may even momentarily forget the annual fall Bavarian revelry taking place 6,000 miles away.


Take your pup to the beach

  • Critics choice

Leo Carrillo has the best of both worlds—a well-equipped stretch of sand with seclusion and scenic beauty. Stretching one and a half miles across the north tip of Malibu, you'll find enough quite from the rift raft of Santa Monica beach warriors and crowds of Surfrider. Long boarders can paddle out for mellow waves—it gets no more than chest-high at this point break—while nature lovers can explore tide pools on the rock-dotted coastline and a nearby trail. Groups can make use of the on-site camping grounds, picnic area, RV lot and token-operated showers. And don't forget Fido: This is one of the rare beaches where dogs (leashed) are allowed to roam north of the lifeguard tower.


Get a free outdoor workout at the park

  • Free

Get moving this summer without shelling out for excessive gym fees. Visit two of DTLA’s major parks for free fitness lessons three times a week. Pershing Square is offering free “Peace Tranquility” yoga every Sunday morning (BYO mat/towel) and fun Zumba dance lessons every Wednesday evening, while Grand Park has a very popular Boot Camp every Tuesday evening. You’ll achieve that beach body in no time.

  1. 210 W Temple St
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Users say

Jack 10
Jack 10

"85 to be exact" ...well