Things to do in Los Angeles today

Today's best things to do in Los Angeles—including free and cheap activities, concerts, screenings, shows, parties and more. It's your social emergency savior.

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Tonight's best film screenings

Still from "Mary Poppins." Costumes from the movie will featured in the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition.

Still from "Mary Poppins." Costumes from the movie will featured in the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition. Photograph: courtesy of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Hollywood Costume

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures 6067 Wilshire Blvd
  2. Thu Oct 2 - Mon Mar 2
Buy tickets

SpectreFest: Metropolis

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
Skirball Cultural Center

Skirball Cultural Center Photograph: Cbl62/Wikimedia Commons

  1. Skirball Cultural Center 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd
  2. Thu Oct 23 - Sun Mar 1
Buy tickets
Giuseppe Makes a Movie.

Giuseppe Makes a Movie. Photograph: Courtesy Giuseppe Makes a Movie

Giuseppe Makes a Movie screening

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice
  1. Nuart Theatre 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard
  2. Fri Oct 17 - Thu Oct 23
Buy tickets

Tonight's best shows and performances

Choir Boy

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

"Choir Boy" is making its way to LA with Jeremy Pope leading the performance as the talented Pharus Young. The play takes place at an all-boys black prep school where gospel music reigns as a school tradition. Written by award-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, this coming-of-age story follows a charismatic young man who struggles to rise above others' jealousy and establish himself as the leader of the choir. Bring the family to catch this musical play before it packs its bags for another city. 

  1. Geffen Playhouse 10886 Le Conte Avenue
  2. Tue Sep 16 - Sun Oct 26
Buy tickets
Halloween Horror Nights.

Halloween Horror Nights. Photograph: Courtesy Universal Studios

Halloween Horror Nights

  • Price band: 3/4

More so than the city's other haunted attractions—even those at big tourist parks—the one at Universal Studios feels a bit over-branded. Many of its mazes are based on franchises, such as AMC's The Walking Dead, The Purge and Alien vs. Predator. They do make for some pretty fun walk-throughs, but there's something about that level of corporate partnership that just ceases to be scary. New this year: a creepy clown maze with music by Slash.

  1. Universal Studios & CityWalk 100 Universal City Plaza
  2. Fri Sep 19 - Sun Nov 2
Buy tickets

Knott's Halloween Haunt

  • Price band: 2/4

Also known as Knott's Scary Farm, the Halloween Haunt goes all out with more than 1,000 monsters roaming mazes, "scare zones" and live shows. It's one of the largest (and oldest) Halloween events held at a theme park. New additions this year include zombies, an evil tooth fairy and Southern voodoo. But for something familiar, check out the return of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, for a twice-nightly big top show.

  1. Knott's Berry Farm 8039 Beach Blvd
  2. Thu Sep 25 - Sat Nov 1
Buy tickets

Dark Harbor

  • Price band: 2/4

The only thing better than a haunted attraction is a haunted attraction on a giant boat. You'll find all the usual horrors here—fog, mazes, and now with 33% more monsters!—as well as a vintage Ferris Wheel and a full bar. What sets Dark Harbor apart is its use of its surroundings; the dark, cramped confines of the Queen Mary are already pretty spooky even without monsters—just be prepared to climb a lot of skinny staircases. There's also an R.I.P. Lounge (see what they did there?) if you're looking for a first-class experience (fewer monsters, more booze, made-to-order taco station). Tip: Arrive before 8pm for $20 "Happy Haunting Hour" tickets.

  1. Queen Mary 1126 Queens Hwy
  2. Thu Oct 2 - Sun Nov 2
Buy tickets

The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord

  • Price band: 3/4

So you take a founding father and two novelists and put them in a room, and what do they do? Apparently they debate religion, politics, art and more in a battle of wits—what more would you expect from some of the most creative minds in history? Spend a couple hours with Jefferson (played by Larry Cedar), Dickens (David Melville) and Tolstoy (Armin Shimerman)—talk about a good Facebook status—in this thought-provoking comedy during its month-long run at the Geffen Playhouse. 

  1. Geffen Playhouse 10886 Le Conte Avenue
  2. Tue Oct 7 - Sun Nov 16
Buy tickets

Photograph: Courtesy Pippin The Musical

Pippin The Musical

  • Price band: 3/4

Magic. Acrobats. Revolution. Need we say more? Brace yourself for Pippin, featuring Kyle Selig (from The Book of Mormon tour) as Pippin himself. He will act alongside Tony-winner Andrea Martin, playing his grandmother Berthe and Sasha Allen, a finalist on The Voice. Expect the show to break down barriers and walls (specifically, the fourth wall) and entertain you with the exciting tales of a performance troupe. Sing along to “Magic To Do” and “On The Right Track” and enjoy the extravaganza! Buy your tickets in advance and get there early to avoid losing your seats. Recommended for ages 9 and up. 

  1. Pantages Theatre 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, between Argyle Avenue & Vine Street
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sun Nov 9
Buy tickets

Photograph: Courtesy Kat Edmonson

Kat Edmonson

  • Price band: 2/4

Kat Edmonson’s “Lucky” got some traction thanks to its exposure on the Toni Collette TV series United States of Tara. Her voice—a distinctive mix of pixie coo and bluesy crackle—floats through all kinds of hep retro material on her new album, The Big Picture. With thick sax, schmears of strings and spy guitar, it's a fantastic audition for the next Bond theme. Behold the nymph-like Texas native at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetary Oct 23.

  1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery 6000 Santa Monica Blvd
  2. Thu Oct 23
Buy tickets
Buzz Osborne

Buzz Osborne Photograph: Courtesy the Melvins

The Melvins

  • Price band: 2/4

Having taken major inspiration from grunge icons and fellow Pacific Northwesters like Nirvana and Soundgarden, Buzz Osborne and his crew of metal rockers are still a benchmark of the punk and noise scenes, some thirty years after first forming. The Montesano group returns to play as brutally as possible from their extensive catalogue of albums, including their most recent release, Hold It In. As of now, tickets are sold out, but we imagine you'll find a few floating around the Internet if you look hard enough.

  1. Troubadour 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, at N Doheny Dr
  2. Thu Oct 23
More info

SpectreFest: Metropolis

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Fritz Lang's masterpiece, Metropolis, employed nearly 37,000 actors, took a year and a half to produce and nearly bankrupted the studio—but Lang's influential dystopian epic still haunts film history. Set in the year 2026, in a future society divided between a master race of capitalists who rule from towering high-rises and the enslaved masses who toil in sprawling subterranean factories, the film focuses on the struggle between the pacifist, Lower City activist Maria, and her evil robot double who incites the worker slaves to self-destruction. Get a unique take on the silent sci-fi classic at this Cinefamily screening, with a live score from Stones Throw Records' synth wizard Chrome Canyon.

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio Photograph: Courtesy TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Brooklyn heroes TV on the Radio—for years indie rock's brainiest It band—celebrate their new fifth LP, Seeds (their first since the 2011 death of former bassist Gerard Smith) with an atmospheric desert gig. They pay a spiritual (and physical) visit to Pappy & Harriet's to play a new batch of undoubtedly rich material; from the sound of their sharp, energetic new single "Happy Idiot," it seems we have a lot to look forward to. This Pioneertown show is reportedly sold out, but you might still be able to find a ticket or two in the usual online places.

  1. Pappy and Harriet's 53688 Pioneertown Road
  2. Fri Oct 24
More info

Today's best food and drink event

Game Night at Grand Central Market

  • Free

It's about time GCM extended its hours, and to celebrate, LA's oldest public market will be home to game night every Thursday from 6pm to 9pm. Select eateries will be open through the night, including Eggslut, G&B Coffee, Sticky Rice and Olio GCM (check their website for the full list). Test your friendship with a game of Uno, get NC-17 with a pint of Cards Against Humanity or bond with the family over Scrabble—game night is perfect for anything from a platonic night out to a first date (hopefully it won't be ruined by a heated match of Jenga).

  1. Grand Central Market 317 S Broadway
  2. Thu Jul 31 - Thu Dec 24
More info

Tonight's best comedy show

Comedy Palace

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This weekly comedy showcase in Los Feliz hosts one of the most stacked lineups of stand-ups this side of the 101. Located above a Chinese restaurant, the free Comedy Palace attracts a steady stable of late night show regulars every Thursday as well as surprise guests—you never know when Patton Oswalt will drop in or Maria Bamford will mount a month-long residency. It's worth every penny... if it actually cost you any to begin with.

  1. The Palace 2112 Hillhurst Ave
  2. Thu Oct 23 - Thu Dec 25
More info

Today's best arts and culture

Still from "Mary Poppins." Costumes from the movie will featured in the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition.

Still from "Mary Poppins." Costumes from the movie will featured in the "Hollywood Costume" exhibition. Photograph: courtesy of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Hollywood Costume

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The last stop of this exhibition's world tour is at the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures—in the Wilshire May Company building next to LACMA. It's a collaboration between the Academy and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. See some of the film world's most well known costumes in person, and get to know the designers who made them a reality. In addition to the 150 costumes in the original show, the Academy will add 50 more to this exhibition from its collection, including Dorothy's ruby slippers and her blue gingham dress. Watch the trailer (for the exhibition, of course—it is the Academy after all) and make sure to book your time-slot tickets in advance.

  1. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures 6067 Wilshire Blvd
  2. Thu Oct 2 - Mon Mar 2
Buy tickets
Skirball Cultural Center

Skirball Cultural Center Photograph: Cbl62/Wikimedia Commons

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The rise of Nazi Germany drove numerous artists to flee Europe and settle in America, where they helped create Hollywood's Golden Age. The Skirball Cultural Center celebrates these émigrés through an exhibition featuring the works of notables such as Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder and Marlene Dietrich. You'll have the opportunity to see clips of anti-Nazi, comedy and flim noir movies starring these "exiles and émigrés" as well as costumes, manuscripts and photos—with contributions from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences library—that'll give you a comprehensive look at early 20th century cinema.

  1. Skirball Cultural Center 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd
  2. Thu Oct 23 - Sun Mar 1
Buy tickets
Detail from Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocks, illustrations by Dan Christensen and story by Jamie S. Rich, 2014

Detail from Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocks, illustrations by Dan Christensen and story by Jamie S. Rich, 2014 Photograph: courtesy of the Skirball Cultural Center

The Noir Effect

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Accompanying the Skirball's "Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950" exhibit, "The Noir Effect" promises an insight into the impact of the film noir genre on American culture. Take a look at the femme fatales, private eyes and anti-heroes of early 20th century films such as Chinatown as well as graphic novels—think Spiderman Noir—photography and contemporary works and how they permeated the art, media and pop culture of American society. 

  1. Skirball Cultural Center 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd
  2. Thu Oct 23 - Sun Mar 1
Buy tickets


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Alma

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  1. 952 South Broadway Ave
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Church & State

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  1. 1850 Industrial St
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Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen

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  1. 1119 Wilshire Blvd
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Papilles

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  1. 6221 Franklin Ave
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