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September 2021 events calendar for Los Angeles

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

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September may signal the end of summertime, but you’d never know it judging by the absolutely stacked lineup of things to do this month. It’s as if every postponed event said “let’s just do it in September,” and now here we are, with dozens upon dozens of concerts, screenings and exhibitions that are too good to pass up.

You’d also never know summer’s winding down 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 (though that’s looking like more of an October thing this year). 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 2021

This September’s best events

  • Things to do
  • Huntington Beach

Start teaching your pooch how to carve waves because Huntington Beach’s annual surf dog competition is right around the corner. You’ll find multiple heats on Saturday, broken up by size and style (some pups surf solo, some tandem with their humans). It’s one of those have-to-see-it-to-believe-it events that you simply can’t miss.

  • Museums
  • Movies and TV
  • Miracle Mile

The history of moviemaking will have a home in Los Angeles on September 30, when the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is scheduled to open. Located next to LACMA in the Wilshire May Company buildling and in a new and expanded space designed by Pulitzer Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum will feature four full floors of gallery space, two theaters (including a 1,000-seat space in that giant glassy sphere) a restaurant and a gift shop.

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  • Music
  • Downtown

Everyone’s favorite NPR affiliate has a hand in a slew of summer concert slates at locations like One ColoradoCAAM and Descanso Gardens (there’s no word yet on the party-till-midnight bashes at Chinatown Central Plaza). Familiar KCRW personalities spin the tunes at these food truck-fueled block parties. Regardless of the location, you really can’t go wrong with any evening spent at Summer Nights.

  • Things to do
  • Anaheim

Well, well, well, what have we here? The Nightmare Before Christmas’s bug-stuffed sack is once again taking over the Halloween duties at Disneyland, once again holding the theme park’s annual after-hours, specially ticketed seasonal event at Disney California Adventure for Oogie Boogie Bash.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Universal City

Confront familiar foes at Universal Studios’ annual Halloween festivities, where big-budget scares meet iconic horror movie characters. You’ll be able to navigate multiple scare zones and mazes, including ones based on The Haunting of Hill House, The Texas Chainsaw MassacreThe Exorcit and the Bride of Frankenstein, plus the return of “The Curse of Pandora’s Box.”

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  • Music
  • Pop
  • Hollywood

Annie Clark deservingly ascended to rock star status years ago, but the trials and tribulations of that journey are what make her latest St. Vincent albums so compelling. Clark can shift from electro-pop anthems to noisy rockers with Bowie-like precision, letting each side of her personality take the microphone and get a few things off its chest.

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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 be pulling double duty on the lineup. Kings of Leon, Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam top this year’s fest, which largely preserves the lineup of the canceled 2020 edition and now goes down September 24 to 26, 2021. The rest of the lineup includes the likes of My Morning Jacket, Black Pumas, Maggie Rogers, Spoon, Yola, Mon Laferte, Sharon Van Etten, the Frames, Mac DeMarco and more.

  • Music
  • Dance and electronic
  • Hollywood

Half tender piano crooner and part heady electronic technician, Blake continues to blend both sides of his musical personality. Catch him this summer backed by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.

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  • Art
  • Downtown

Spend happy hour outside of the Broad listening to DJs and grabbing drinks from Otium during this summertime series (5–8pm). There’s no ticket needed for the activity in the outdoor plaza, but if you want to walk into the galleries (where dancers will be performing in front of the artwork and architecture) you’ll need to secure a free ticket (released the Friday before each event at noon).

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  • Things to do
  • Santa Monica

For four weekends this year, a block and a half of Santa Monica’s most charming restaurant district will be shut down to car traffic. “Sharing an Open Main Street” continues this month on September 18 and 19. You’ll find the pedestrian plaza along Main Street, between Hill and Kinney Streets, near spots like Pasjoli, Ashland Hill and Library Alehouse.

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  • Movies
  • Hollywood

Watch a slate of recent classics from one of the prettiest rooftops in Hollywood at this outdoor screenings series. The Montalbán’s first block of movies includes showings of CluelessPulp FictionLabyrinthHocus PocusLa La Land and more, all piped in over sets of provided (and sanitized) wireless headphones.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Griffith Park

After a year as a drive-through in San Dimas, this haunted event heads back to Griffith Park with a traditional hayride and a return to its 2019 setting: the mid-’80s ficticious town of Midnight Falls, which borrows a little bit of the road culture of Sons of Anarchy and the isolation of Twin Peaks.

  • Things to do
  • Santa Monica Mountains

Walk across the grounds of the scenic King Gillette Ranch as the Santa Monica Mountains hideaway is illuminated with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns. Nights of the Jack reverts to an on-foot, two-thirds-of-a-mile trail this year (with a “Spookeasy,” too). Timed tickets required each night; expect to spend an hour to an hour and a half there.

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