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25 free things to do in Los Angeles this September 2019

Santa Monica
Photograph: Courtesy Jack Finnigan

With the arrival of Labor Day, summer may seem to be slipping away—but there are still plenty of seasonal free things to do in September after the long weekend. From a surf competition at a dog beach to a car-free fest in Santa Monica, these are the best ways to make the most of your month without breaking into your wallet.

Through Sept 1
Free Shakespeare in Griffith Park; Old Zoo

Bard fanatics, flock to Griffith Park and bring along a blanket for free outdoor performances from the Independent Shakespeare Co.

Sept 1
Delicious Vinyl West Adams Block Party; Delicious Pizza
Celebrate West Adams’ rich culture at this hip-hop pizza joint’s block party, with headlining sets from Big Daddy Kane and Mr. Vegas

Through Sept 2
Fiesta Hermosa; Downtown Hermosa Beach

Roam the 400 stalls at this arts festival, sample the fine foods and listen to the music—and then take a dip in the nearby Pacific.

Through Sept 5
The Music Center Plaza Reopening; The Musis Center

The half-century–old Music Center Plaza unveils the results of its 20-month, $41 million renovation with a slew of free outdoor celebrations.

Sept 6–22
Light the Barricades; Grand Park • Natural History Museum • Annenberg Community Beach House

The Annenberg Space for Photography is mounting its first citywide public art installation with a trio of illuminated walls.

Sept 7
Ever Present; Getty Center

Scope out an evening of performances inspired by Mort Garson’s Plantasia, a ’70s electronic album designed to help plants grow.

Sept 7
“Judy Chicago: Los Angeles”; Jeffrey Deitch

Survey some of the feminist artist’s early works, from her time spent in Los Angeles and Fresno between 1965 and 1972, including a mix of paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations and documentation of Chicago’s environmental and fireworks projects.

Sept 7
KCRW Summer Nights; 1st and Linden Ave, Long Beach

Bust a move as this beloved live music and DJ series wraps up in Long Beach during Buskerfest.

Sept 14
Entertainment on Draft; Alamo Drafthouse

Swing by DTLA’s new Alamo Drafthouse for a free-to-enter rooftop food fest, featuring a DJ set from Questlove and a screening of Tastemade’s new documentary Funke.

Sept 14
Off the 405; Getty Center

Catch a performance from Ex Hex and a DJ set by King Tuff during the closeout of this free summertime concert series.

Sept 14
Proud Picnic + Movie Night; Grand Park

Celebrate the freedom to love whomever you please at this LGBTQ picnic, which includes a selection of short films as well as a screening of Changing the Game, a documentary about transgender high school athletes.

Sept 14
Tarfest; La Brea Tar Pits

Pay tribute to L.A.’s bubbly asphalt pools with this annual afternoon of live music, DJs, dance and live artwork.

Sept 15
COAST Open Streets Festival; Santa Monica

Bike, bus, Metro or walk your way to a free and fun means of exploring the beautiful city of Santa Monica at this annual open streets fest.

Sept 15
Glendale Open Arts & Music Festival; Downtown Glendale

Get to know Downtown Glendale at this free community festival with music, arts and craft markets, beer and wine gardens and more.

Sept 15
Long Beach Zine Fest; Expo Arts Center

Meet more than 120 local writers, designers, cartoonists and artists at this showcase of independent publishing.

Sept 21
Museum Day; Various locations in L.A.

Art lovers can spend a day at select museums for free during this one-day event hosted by Smithsonian magazine. 

Sept 22
Barnsdall Art and Craft Fair; Barnsdall Art Park

Peruse gifts for sale from Barnsdall’s students and faculty at this free fair next to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House.

Through Sept 25
Twilight on the Pier; Santa Monica Pier

The free oceanfront concert series continues this month with shows from A-WA, Hollie Cook and more.

Sept 25
Level 8 Drive-In; The Grove

See a free screening of Iron Man (with a roadster photo op) at this pop-up drive-in theater atop the Grove’s parking garage.

Sept 28
Surf City Surf Dog; Huntington Dog Beach

Start teaching your pooch how to carve waves for this annual K-9 surf competition.

Sept 28, 29
Watts Towers Day of the Drum and Simon Rodia Jazz Festival; Watts Towers

Get your feet stomping at this annual duo of pan-African and jazz festivals.

Sept 29
Abbot Kinney Festival; Abbot Kinney

Take every artsy street fair you’ve ever attended and add in innumerable food trucks plus all the stereotypes about Venice.

Through Nov 24
Second Home Serpentine Pavilion; La Brea Tar Pits

A criss-cross of airy rainbow tunnels have made their home at the La Brea Tar Pits this summer.

Free concerts; Various locations

Listen to some tunes without breaking the bank with free shows at the Echo, the Satellite, Grand Park and more.

Free museum days; Various locations

Make the most of free days at LACMA, the Natural History Museum and more, plus always-free museums like the Hammer, Getty and Broad.