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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Long Beach Zine Fest; Expo Arts Center
Meet more than 120 local writers, designers, cartoonists and artists at this showcase of independent publishing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.