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BeachLife Festival
Photograph: Courtesy JP Cordero

September 2022 events calendar for Los Angeles

Plan your month with our September 2022 events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, festivals and concerts

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
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September may signal the end of summertime, but you’d never know it based on the weather. It’s arguably the optimal time to visit one of L.A.’s best beaches while the water’s still, relatively speaking, warm and not overrun by crowds. On the other hand, if you’re feeling like you already have a foot in the fall, it’s time to start making plans to go apple picking. And if you’d rather skip town, take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to squeeze in a day trip. But don’t worry, there’s no shortage of other local fun in L.A. in our September events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Full events calendar for 2022

This September’s best events

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Universal City

Ready or not, spooky season is slowly stalking its way ever closer. The clearest sign? Universal Studios’ annual Halloween Horror Nights is here, with haunted houses and mazes inspired by the Weekend (yes, as in “Blinding Lights” singer the Weeknd), HalloweenThe Black PhoneFreak and the classic Universal Monsters.

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  • Art
  • Painting
  • Little Tokyo

The Chicana muralist and Great Wall of Los Angeles artist brings her collaborative mural to the Geffen. A two-and-a-half-decade-long project, The World Wall: A Vision of the Future Without Fear features nine 10-by-30-foot panels that Baca worked on with collaborators as the toured the globe, displayed here in a cathedral-like installation.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Angeles National Forest

Listen to classical and jazz in a dome more than a mile above L.A. during this mountaintop concert series. The Mount Wilson Observatory is hosting monthly concerts this summer (after an abbreviated version of its season last year) inside the dome of its 100-inch Hooker telescope, which was the largest telescope in the world for much of the first half of the 20th century.

  • Music
  • Dance and electronic
  • Hollywood

Drummer and button-pusher for indie-megastars the xx, Jamie Smith (Jamie xx) turns his talents toward the dance floor with his solo records with a stripped-down mix of shuffling kicks and snares, sub bass, steel drum melodies and bare vocal samples. See him at the Hollywood Bowl with support from Caribou.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Inland Empire

Desert Daze is your antidote to the typical desert gathering (think a noisier, more indie lineup than Coachella and less dirt than Burning Man). As for the lineup, Tame Impala (performing Lonerism in its entirey) tops the weekend along with Iggy Pop and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, plus sets from Chicano Batman, the Marías, Sky Ferreira, BADBADNOTGOOD, JPEGMAFIA, Mild High Club and more.

  • Movie theaters
  • Outdoor
  • Griffith Park

For dinner and a movie, all in one, just follow the food trucks. During the spring, summer and fall, Street Food Cinema throws together a series of outdoor parties—usually alfresco, sometimes in a drive-in format—that include screenings of some of our favorite movies, paired with an assortment of gourmet food trucks and even a live music performance from a cool local band. The screenings are held in venues across L.A. and alternate from week to week, so make sure to check the schedule. Some of the outdoor venues are dog-friendly, allowing you to bring your four-legged cinema lover along.

See more of this season’s outdoor movie screenings in L.A.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Griffith Park

This haunted Griffith Park hayride once again returns to the mid-’80s fictitious town of Midnight Falls, which borrows a little bit of the road culture of Sons of Anarchy and the isolation of Twin Peaks. The Old Zoo tradition, which has been running for well over a decade now, centers on a relatively lengthy hayride, which runs on select nights from September 23 to October 31.

  • Art
  • Film and video
  • Little Tokyo

A formidable storyteller who employs lo-fi filmmaking to call out systemic racism and America’s social problems, Garrett Bradley became the first Black woman to win Sundance’s directing award for her incarceration documentary Time. For her first solo museum exhibition, a selection of recent single and multi-channel films and videos will be on display at the Geffen, including America, a visual archive of early African American cinema.

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  • Theater
  • Interactive
  • Pomona

Delusion, an interactive seasonal event that combines elements of immersive theater with a more story-based approach to a walk-through haunted house, will again take over the Phillips Mansion, an 1875 estate in Pomona. “Valley of Hollows,” which opens on September 15 and runs through Halloween, will unfold a tale that’s technically a sequel to last year’s ghost story—but you won’t need to be well-versed in that one to keep up with this supernatural tale of 1970s cults.

  • Things to do
  • Quirky events
  • Woodland Hills

Hatched out of the hunger for car-friendly trick-or-treating options, this former Halloween drive-through is back again in Woodland Hills as on-foot adventure. Haunt’oween will celebrate spooky season with a walkthrough that features tons of pumpkins, a trick-or-treating–filled town and an illuminated carnival, plus face painting, performances, games and food trucks.

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  • Things to do
  • Chinatown

Take advantage of extended hours at a bunch of Chinatown galleries, shops and restaurants during this Friday night event series. You’ll find most of the galleries along Chung King Road, with other businesses in Chinatown Central Plaza and Far East Plaza. Find the full list of spots here.

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  • Movies
  • Griffith Park

Eat|See|Hear travels to different locales throughout the city on select weekends during the summer, showing cult flicks on an inflatable screen taller than your average Malibu mansion. Bring your own bites or sample snacks from the featured food vendor and show up early for a set from local L.A. bands. Parking is free at most of the venues, and tickets for screenings at the Autry even include admission to the museum. What’s more? If you want to skip the crowds and stroll in casually during the opening credits, spring for a VIP pass, which guarantees you a reserved seat in front. All of the events dog-friendly, and a portion of ticket sales benefit Best Friends Animal Society.

  • Music
  • Rap, hip-hop and R&B
  • Inglewood

Going from a grocery store bagger with a SoundCloud account to a featured artist on Cardi B’s smash hit “I Like It” to a Wrestlemania star in just a matter of years, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (a.k.a. Bad Bunny) has become one of the leading voices in the burgeoning Latin trap scene. The Puerto Rican artist with a penchant for shaving intricate patterns into his buzz cut comes to L.A. for a few winter arena shows, followed by a massive fall one at SoFi Stadium.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Orange County

Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival once again lands at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, and the Pearl Jam frontman will once again be on the lineup. Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, Jack White and P!nk top this year’s fest, which goes down September 30 to October 2. The rest of the lineup includes the likes of Khruangbin, St. Vincent, Brittany Howard and more.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Miracle Mile

You know the colorful portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s Soup cans, but did you know that Andy Warhol created prints of cars, too? In 1986, Mercedes-Benz tapped Warhol to create 80 pieces inspired a century of Mercedes vehicles. But he only finished 49 of them (36 screen prints and 13 drawings) before his untimely death the following year. Now, you can see 40 of those works paired alongside four of the rare cars that inspired them in this exhibition at the Petersen.

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Chinatown

Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies at this new farmers’ market at the southern end of L.A. State Historic Park. Every Thursday from 3 to 7:30pm, you’ll find a half-dozen farm stands and about twice as many food vendors and artisans. Look for the entrance near the intersection of Spring Street and College Street, right by the Chinatown station on the L Line.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • USC/Exposition Park

The California African American Museum unpacks the romanticism behind Buffalo Soldiers, regiments of Black soldiers who served on the Western frontier in the late 19th century. Through artifacts, audio interviews, photographs, uniforms and newspapers, the museum will explore how both their personal and in-uniform lives shaped California during a time of government-sanctioned racial segregation—and confronts their role in war and violence against indigenous populations.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Griffith Park

Blue jeans, plaid shirts, fringed jackets, aloha shirts, cowboy boots, China Poblana dresses: How we dress says so much about who we are and where we come from, so the Autry is hosting an exhibition about those six closet staples as defining pieces of Western dress.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • South Park

See guitars, gowns, banjos and boots from 70 female artists who’ve shaped country music during this GRAMMY Museum exhibition. The exhibit traces the genre’s history from its origin through post-WWII and the emergence of the Nashville scene to today. Expect to see artifacts from the likes of Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift and more.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Hollywood

Always two there are: Fresh off the announcement that there’s a projection-filled King Tut exhibit stopping in L.A. comes the news that there’s… another projection-filled King Tut exhibit. Technically the first of the two to hit town, “Immersive King Tut: Magic Journey to the Light” will be the next show to take over Hollywood’s Lighthouse ArtSpace, the former Amoeba home turned digital Van Gogh and Frida host.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Culver City

Culver City’s Cold War-focused Wende Museum presents a trio of shows this spring: “The Medium is the Message: Flags and Banners,” which mixes Cold War-era Eastern Bloc political flags with contemporary artwork; “Martin Roemers: Relics of the Cold War,” a collection of abandoned war objects taken by the Dutch photographer between 1998 and 2009; and Lightguardhouse, a 1970s East Berlin state media guardhouse that artist Farrah Karapetian has turned into a rainbow lighthouse.

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