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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/aepg

April 2021 events calendar for Los Angeles

Plan your month with our April 2021 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and our favorite concerts

By Michael Juliano

It’s another Coachella-free April, but Angelenos still have plenty of reasons to sing the month’s praises: Both the weather and L.A.’s reopenings are on the up, so you have plenty of excuses to spend more time outdoors. A free desert art fest, the return of major museum exhibitions and a trio of theme park tasting events all have a place in our April events calendar, much-needed rain showers be damned.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2021

The best events in L.A. this April

Desert X installation view of Nicholas Galanin, Never Forget. 2021.
Photography by Lance Gerber. Courtesy the artist and Desert X.

Desert X

Art Installation Various locations in L.A.,

The desert-spanning biennial is back, with premieres of site-specific works from a slate of 13 artists. For its third iteration, Desert X will once again stage free outdoor installations across 40 miles of the Coachella Valley. Check out our preview of all of the installations.

Made in L.A.
Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano

Made in L.A.

Art Contemporary art Multiple venues

The Hammer Museum’s latest biennial of emerging and under-recognized L.A. artists finally makes its debut, and this year with a parallel exhibition at the Huntington Library.

Yoshitomo Nara
Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Yoshitomo Nara

Art Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Miracle Mile

This Yoshitomo Nara exhibition has been sitting there, just waiting to welcome visitors for about a year now. But finally, LACMA is set to reopen on April 1—and along with it, this exhibition of 30 years of works from the wildly popular Japanese artist, channeled through the lens of his longtime passion for music.

LA Times Festival of Books
Photograph: Courtesy Marie Astrid Gonzalez

Festival of Books, Stories and Ideas

Things to do Festivals Online, Los Angeles

New name, sort-of-same beloved literary event: Bibliophiles typically flock to the USC campus for this L.A. Times-curated event, which has now added “Stories & Ideas” onto its bookish title. But for the second striaght year, the typically in-person book fair will now be held virtually. So while you won’t be able to roam stalls from booksellers, you’ll still be able to catch a week of streaming readings and panels from the likes of Zooey Deschanel, Don Lemon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Meena Harris and more.

Cinespia drive-in
Photograph: Courtesy Cinespia/Kelly Lee Barrett

Cinespia Drive-In

Movies Greek Theatre, Griffith Park

L.A.’s favorite cemetery screening series has left gravestones behind for now, but it’s been resurrected as a drive-in just outside of the Greek Theatre. Expect some familiar Cinespia fixtures at each screening, including DJs, a concession stand and meals that you can pre-order.

Outfest Fusion
Courtesy Outfest

Outfest Fusion

Things to do Festivals Multiple venues

A more slimmed down version of its summer fest, the inclusive Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Film Festival is providing a platform for 10 feature-length films and 41 shorts from a diversity of filmmaker. You can watch all of them online from April 16 to 20, or head to Exposition Park for a pair of drive-in galas.

Warner Grand Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Tom Ipri

The Oscar-Nominated Short Films screening

Movies Animation Warner Grand Theatre, San Pedro

Take the time to support the little guy by heading to San Pedro’s Warner Grand to see the Oscar-nominated films in the “Shorts” categories—you know, the ones you hear about for the first time on Oscar night that look really good, and you swear you’ll Netflix but then can’t find and totally forget about and never see.

Magic Castle comedy show
Photograph: Courtesy Stevo Rood @aroodphoto

Magic Asphalt: Drive-In Comedy Under the Stars

Comedy Stand-up Magic Castle, Hollywood

Nope, this isn’t an illusion: A stand-up comedy show is setting up in the parking lot of Hollywood’s most whimsical clubhouse for magicians. The sets will all be blasting through your FM radio during multiple nights of drive-in sets at the Magic Castle.

Sogo Roll
Photograph: Courtesy Sōgo Roll Bar/Ren Fuller

Taste of the Eastside

Restaurants Street vendors Various locations in L.A.,

Taste of the Eastside is back, but this time it’s popping up for dine-in, takeout and delivery and spots all over Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Highland Park and Eagle Rock. Eastside-dwelling foodies (alright alright, Westsiders are welcome, too) can take advantage of limited-time dishes like Go Get Em Tiger’s chile-queso breakfast burrito; Masa’s trifecta of salad, deep dish and bread pudding; and a “winesplaining” class from Vinovore.

It’s all for a good cause, too: 25% of your total order will be donated to No Us Without You and Silver Lake’s Rose Scharlin Cooperative Nursery School.

Roy Choi at the new Hawaiian-themed A-Frame.
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Sound Bites

Things to do Talks and lectures Online, Los Angeles

KCRW’s music and food teams are coming together for this series of three, free streaming events that take stock of where we go now after a year without traditional restaurant or live music culture.

For the first event on April 22, Good Food’s Evan Kleiman and KCRW program director of music Anne Litt host a conversation with chef Roy Choi and John Gourley from Portugal. The Man.

Show more

Looking for some more ideas this month?

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Dine outdoors


Not quite ready to eat inside of a restaurant? Here are some of our favorite spots for alfresco eats in L.A.

Krispy Rice sushi delivery
Photograph: Courtesy Krispy Rice

Or order takeout


You’ve eaten through two bags of beans and six cans of chickpeas. Now what? You leave it to some of the city’s top restaurants and bars, who are making your social distancing as painless as possible.

Photograph: Shutterstock

And make sure to add in a booze order, too


Some of L.A.’s best restaurants and bars have your back when you need a stiff drink at home. Restaurants and bars can now deliver alcohol to your door—whether it’s craft beer, wine or house-made cocktails—as long as they’re offering food, which means we can finally sip from some of our favorite spots in town from the comfort of our own couches.

Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

Go to the drive-in


Cinephiles, rejoice! You can watch a movie from somewhere other than your couch at L.A.’s half-dozen or so old-school drive-ins.

Street Food Cinema
Photograph: Courtesy Street Food Cinema

Or head to one of these pop-up drive-ins


Alfresco screenings usually pop up across the city well past the summer season. But this year, with most screenings pivoting to drive in formats, it seems like we still have months of movies to look forward to.

Palos Verdes
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Kaity O’Keefe

Take a scenic drive around L.A.

Things to do

Finally, our automobile-addicted culture has an upside: You can see some of L.A.’s most stunning scenery safely from your car window. With traffic still relatively low, you may be inclined to drive as far as you can, but we’d stick to whichever scenic drive in our guide is closest to your area. Drive safe!

Runyon Canyon
Photograph: Benny Haddad

Go for a walk or hike

Things to do

Runyon’s open again… yay? But for real, we’re so thankful that we have access to some many incredible trails in L.A. (assuming you’re following proper social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering).

Huntington Library
Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano

Find some peace at a botanical garden

Things to do

If your neighborhood isn’t conducive to walking and you’re looking for a wide-open outdoor space, most major gardens are open again. Do note that tickets are limited and must be purchased online. And remember to keep a safe distance from other visitors.


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