The parking garage at the Grove has some surprisingly spectacular city views from its top level, which makes it the perfect spot for this new pop-up drive-in movie theater. On the last Wednesday of the month all summer long, the shopping center is hosting free screenings with designated spaces for cars, as well as plush lounge seats if you decide to Uber over there instead. In addition to complimentary popcorn and soda, you’ll find a famous movie car at each event (think the “Greased Lightning” convertible for Grease and the DeLorean for Back to the Future) thanks to a partnership with the Petersen Automotive Museum and O’Gara Coach. Reservations are already all booked for the first screening, so be sure to step on it for the others.
One of L.A.’s best free live music offerings, Jazz at LACMA has featured such legends as Wayne Shorter, John Clayton, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, Billy Childs, Arturo Sandoval, Cannonball-Coltrane Project and Ernie Watts. Celebrating over two decades at the museum, the program continues to be one of the museum’s most recognizable (and beloved) programs. It’s a celebration of L.A.’s finest jazz musicians, and more than 42,000 visitors attend the program annually from April through November, making it a true L.A. rite of passage.
The newest flea market on the block, the Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire is bringing records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminster Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the neighborhood’s famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.
The term CicLAvia (Spanish for “bike way”) can also be used to describe a temporary closing of L.A.’s streets. The event—inspired by the first Ciclovías in Bogotá, Colombia—welcomes bikes, tricycles, skateboards, strollers and smiles (sounds cheesy, but it’s true) to ride a rotating cast of car-free routes. While most rides center around Downtown, past events have taken the event to Wilshire Boulevard, Venice and South L.A. Expect music, street performances and food trucks, as well as general whimsy and shenanigans. Shop owners and restaurants along the CicLAvia route will also open their doors. It goes without saying that you should bike or take the Metro to your desired spot along the route.
Everyone’s favorite NPR affiliate has a hand in over a half-dozen summer concert slates at locations like One Colorado, the Hammer Museum and KCRW’s new Santa Monica headquarters. But the party-till-midnight bashes at Chinatown Central Plaza have become a particular favorite. Familiar KCRW personalities like Garth Trinidad, Travis Holcombe, Anne Litt and Jason Bentley spin the tunes at these food truck-fueled block parties. Regardless of the location—including the oceanfront offshoot, Twilight on the Pier—you really can’t go wrong with any evening spent at Summer Nights.
Celebrate the photographers responsible for helping to define hip-hop’s visual identity with this display of unedited contact sheets for famous photo shoots. Author and curator Vikki Tobak has assembled over 140 works from more than 60 photographers alongside rare videos, memorabilia and music. The era-spanning exhibition features photos of both the anonymous faces who showed up to hear early hip-hop at clubs and roller rinks in the late-’70s, as well as the genre’s biggest stars: Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Salt-N-Pepa, Kendrick Lamar, Cardi B and more. You’ll spot instantly recognizable images, as well as behind-the-scenes moments, like Nas in the studio recording Illmatic and Kanye West getting a haircut during the cover shoot for The College Dropout. The exhibition pulls from a visual book of the same name, and it features a few Annenberg-only additions, including a contact sheet of Nipsey Hussle driving around town with his daughter sitting in his lap, as well as a photo of Mac Miller playing piano that was the inspiration for a memorial mural on Beverly Boulevard.
Summer's just heating up, but thanks to a new nightlife partnership it's set to be scorching: Santa Monica mainstay the Bungalow teamed up with beloved radio station KCRW to throw a night market every Thursday just a block from the beach. KCRW's no stranger to killer programming and putting on a great party (see also: Chinatown Summer Nights), and now, every week at the Bungalow you can expect KCRW DJ sets, plus to-be-announced live performances that take over the Fairmont Miramar scene. Once all that dancing's worked up an appetite, you can hit the food trucks and take a seat at one of the picnic tables spread throughout the space (or, you know, just camp out at a picnic table all night long—we wouldn't blame you if you're just here for the food). What's more, this event is family-friendly and free to enter for all ages. The fun runs every Thursday into fall, from 5 to 10pm.
The summer of 1985 is descending upon Santa Monica this month—and it’s bringing a few Demogorgons along with it. The upcoming third season of Stranger Things finds the Hawkins, IN crew out of school and hanging out at the fictional town’s new mall, and Netflix is transporting those throwback summer vibes to the Santa Monica Pier with a Stranger Things-themed carnival takeover. On June 29 and 30, you’ll enter the pier’s parking deck to find games, a slime-filled dunking booth and dessert from Scoops Ahoy, the ice cream parlor slated to feature in the third season. Other pop-ups include the Demogorgon-filled Curiosity House, the win-a-BMX Hawkins Bike Shop and a bunch of live entertainment: a performance from the Hawkins High School Cheerleaders, ‘80s cover bands, food eating contests, magicians and more. In addition, you’ll find Stranger Things-inspired takeovers of some of Pacific Park’s existing amusements: The landmark Pacific Wheel Ferris Wheel will dress up as the Hawkins Wheel and the Playland Arcade will become Hawkins’ Palace Arcade. Admission is totally free; just swing by the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 from 11am to 9pm.
Each summer, Bard fanatics watch their favorite works come to life at the historic Old Zoo in Griffith Park. Independent Shakespeare Co. puts on a series of lively productions each week, inviting audiences to take a seat on the grass (read: bring a picnic blanket) and enjoy performances like this season’s headliners: Twelfth Night and Pericles. Insider tip: Before the show starts, grab a bite from the concession tent, which features sweet treats from the Village Bakery & Cafe, homemade kettle corn and more.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the UCB franchise’s longest-running, most beloved showcase starts when a base cast of the theater’s current top-brass—including founding UCB members Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts—takes the stage. Then they introduce the surprise celebrity alumnae and friends who will be joining them (think Horatio Sanz, Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally). And finally, another special guest takes the stage, a non-improviser (think Flea, Cat Power, Rebel Wilson, Lena Dunham) who opens the show with a personal story, that’s deftly mined for laughs by the players. But you have to go to find out who’s there—that’s part of the fun. Looking for a cheap night out? Sunday shows are free, but seating is first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early.
Known for using nude bodies as her canvas, Huanca’s site-specific performance piece will fill the Marciano’s theater gallery, a former gathering place for the Freemason’s secret order of men, with painted female models.
David Hammons is one of the most important American artists today, though you wouldn’t necessarily know it. An artist of his stature would have been recognized by now in major museum surveys, but as one of the first African-American artists to have emerged in the context of Conceptualism, he has always remained elusive and apart from the largely white art world as matter of strategy. This show at Hauser & Wirth marks his first L.A. exhibition in 45 years.
The Argentine painter’s abstract-leaning canvases incorporate layers of architectural plans and cartographic maps.
Scope out geometric sculptures in this first U.S. solo exhibition from Castillo, a collaborator with the Cuban Modernist Los Carpinteros collective.
Hello Kitty is turning 45 years young, and to celebrate, Sanrio is partnering with the Boyle Heights-area Corey Helford Gallery to host a tribute exhibition. 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. Swing by on June 29 for an opening reception, with limited-edition prints and an appearance by Hello Kitty.
Nina Chanel Abney curates a show of 33 friends and peers who contribute figurative paintings and sculptures that combine visual panache with wokeness.
See a slate of fashion-inspired films at the Grove on Thursday nights during this free screening series from Who What Wear.
The Music Center offers a free, joyous mash-up of music and dancing all summer long, with different themes (90s, line dancing, cumbia, etc.) and free dance lessons plus live bands. Head to Grand Park and join in the fun—no dance experience required.
Dive into the founding principles of the influential German art school at this Getty Research Institute exhibition, which includes over 250 rare prints, drawings, collages, notebooks and ephemera from the Bauhaus’s founding and early years.
Nosh on bites from a rotating lineup of food trucks during this monthly hangout just outside the Rose Bowl, complete with foot golf, outdoor games, moon bounces, photo ops and stadium tours. Even entry is through the northern end of Lot K, just southwest of the stadium.
Acquaint yourself with the real and fabled beasts of the medieval world, like unicorns, lions and griffons, through a mix of 100 paintings, illuminated manuscripts, sculptures and more.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery present this annual premiere of new works from a dozen handpicked local artists.
The Original Farmers Market is host to a plethora of fun, family-friendly outdoor events, and its summer music series are some of its best. Take a load off at the end of the work week and stop by the West Patio from 7 to 9pm to hear live music during or after your shopping trip or dinner al fresco.
The best things in life really are free—love, happiness and an evening spent watching movies on a giant inflatable screen at the beach. On select dates from June until August, pack up your folding chairs, grab your kids and head to Long Beach for this unique outdoor screening. Thanks to Alfredo’s Beach Club, you can give your babysitter the night off while you and the fam enjoy a host of kid-friendly flicks. Bring your own picnic, or munch on eats from the nearby snack stand. You’ll find the event hitting Granada Beach, Cherry Beach and Shoreline Village.
Spend an evening outside the Natural History Museum with live music, garden-inspired cocktails, hands-on science projects, botanical tours and food trucks.