Don’t fret just because it’s back-to-school time and hellishly hot in L.A.: There’s still plenty of summer left stuffed into August and, most importantly, tons of free things to do this month. From an avocado fest to a pair of summer concert kickoffs, these are the best ways to make the most of your month without breaking into your wallet.
Aug 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
“Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983”; The Broad
See this superb exhibition during its final month, with free admission all-day every Thursday.
Stand Upstairs; Upstairs
Head atop DTLA’s Ace Hotel for this free stand-up show held on the first Thursday of the month.
Silver Lake Picture Show; Sunset Triangle Plaza
Liven up your Friday night with a free screening of The Big Lebowski during the finale of this outdoor series.
Aug 3, 4
Avocado Festival; Angel City Brewery
Savor Southern California’s green staple with avocado-flavored popsicles, beers and more.
Aug 3, 4
My So-Called Life 25th Anniversary Screenings; Paley Center
The Paley Center celebrates the short-lived but groundbreaking ’90s teen drama’s 25th anniversary with a weekend of episode screenings.
Aug 3, 10, 17
Pershing Square Downtown Stage; Pershing Square
Close out the free Downtown concert series with sets from REO Speedwagon, Blues Traveler and more.
The Sesame Street Road Trip; Woodley Park
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to… a pop-up, kid-friendly festival that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street?
Black Rainbows; Rose Room
This pop-up pays homage to the iconic Vans Era shoe with a week and a half of skate demos, panel discussions with Vans designers and skate legends, art and music workshops, film screenings and live musical performances.
Natalie Palamides; The Los Angeles Theater Center
See Palamides record a new comedy special as Nate, one of her high-concept, audacious characters.
Nisei Week Japanese Festival; JACCC
Celebrate Japanese culture with displays of martial arts, tea ceremonies, flower arranging and more.
Aug 11–Sept 29
“Offal”; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
Don’t expect Insta-ready scenes in this food-inspired art exhibition. Instead, “Offal”—as in, yes, butchered entrails—tackles some of the most taboo topics related to food, with works from 44 L.A. artists.
Echo Park Rising; Various locations
Celebrate the Eastside’s music scene with three days of free shows all over Echo Park.
Aug 15–Sept 8
The IT Experience Chapter Two; Hollywood and Vine
Come one, come all to this sure-to-be-terrifying carnival inspired by IT Chapter Two.
Aug 17, 18, 24, 25
Hermosa Beach Summer Series; Hermosa Beach Pier
This free music-and-comedy series makes its beachfront debut in August, with tunes from Atlas Genius, the White Buffalo, Mariachi El Bronx and Iglu & Hartly, plus stand-up from Jamie Kennedy and Steve Byrne.
CicLAvia: Meet the Hollywoods; Various locations
Pedal along Santa Monica Boulevard, Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard in this car-free route through West Hollywood, Hollywood and East Hollywood.
Aug 21–Sept 25
Twilight on the Pier; Santa Monica Pier
The free oceanfront concert series returns, kicking off this month with Rostam and Helado Negro.
Off the 405; Getty Center
Enjoy a free outdoor concert from San Cha and evening views of the city at this summertime series.
Level 8 Drive-In; The Grove
See a free screening of Back to the Future (with a DeLorean photo op) at this pop-up drive-in theater atop the Grove’s parking garage.
Aug 28–Sept 5
The Music Center Plaza Reopening; The Music Center
The half-century–old Music Center Plaza unveils the results of its 20-month renovation with a slew of free outdoor celebrations.
Through Aug 3
Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Group Show; Corey Helford Gallery
About 100 artists from around the world have reinterpreted images of Hello Kitty and her friends into their own aesthetic through paintings, sculptures and animated works.
Through Aug 3
Power to the Parks; Subliminal Projects
Celebrate one of this country’s greatest assets—our National Park System—with this gallery show in support of the National Parks Conservation Association.
Through Aug 4
U.S. Open of Surfing; Huntington Beach
Hit the beach to cheer on the country’s biggest pro surfers at this annual competition.
Through Aug 20
Moonlight Movies on the Beach; Various locations
Pack up your folding chairs and head to Long Beach for this unique outdoor screening series.
Through Aug 22
Skirball Cultural Center Sunset Concerts; Skirball Cultural Center
Grab a seat in the Skirball’s courtyard for the finale of this free concert series.
Through Aug 30
Dance Downtown; Grand Park • The Music Center
Brush up on your dance steps during this free Downtown tradition, which returns to the newly renovated Music Center Plaza on August 9.
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.
Through Sept 7
KCRW Summer Nights; KCRW Headquarters
Bust a move as this beloved live music and DJ series continues with nights at KCRW’s new Santa Monica headquarters, including a set from Andrew Bird on August 17.
Through Sept 14
ALOUD: Branching Out; Various locations
This free conversation and performance series hops around town with chats about movies, theater, music and more.
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.