Where to find the best seafood festivals around town
Port of L.A. is home to the world’s largest lobster fest (winner of four Guinness World Records since its inception in 1999). Fresh Maine lobsters are flown in daily and cooked on the spot or added to dishes like quesadillas and mac and cheese. After feasting, guests can watch street performers, tour the USS Iowa and tall ships berthed nearby, shop for crafts and boogie to live music.
Transport yourself to New Orleans at this Louisiana-style crawfish boil. Guests can sample traditional fare such as crawdads, frog legs, catfish, gumbo, jambalaya, bread pudding and—of course—chicory coffee and beignets, all while a second-line parade dances by. Zydeco music plays throughout the weekend, and there’s a children’s stage with live comedy, magic and balloon twisting for little ones, plus a variety of themed bayou bars (one even has karaoke) for festvialgoers of age.
Stuff your face for a good cause at this benefit for Leadership Tomorrow and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. General-admission tickets include a heaping meal of one whole Maine lobster, plus grilled steak, salad, potatoes, corn on the cob, buttered rolls and dessert. Splurge on VIP admission for all-you-can-eat lobster in a fancy, white-tablecloth setting near the stage, where a live band plays all day.
The live music at this popular fest is almost as impressive as the fresh Maine lobsters (steamed in the world’s largest cooker, FYI). Hear swing, salsa, R&B, Motown and ’70s and ’80s dance hits as you crack into your crustaceans and wash down your feast with beer, wine or freshly made margaritas. There’s a children’s area for little lobster lovers and plenty of dinner options for those averse to seafood, from ribs and roasted chicken to Chinese and Thai dishes.
This waterfront fest, which has been slinging fresh seafood for more than 20 years, offers Maine lobster dinners with plenty of surf and turf add-ons. Enjoy a surprisingly strong selection of craft beers, including Smog City and Golden Road, plus live music, face painting and balloon art for the kids and stand-up paddleboard lessons all weekend long (look for paddlers in lobster suits!).
Mark your calendars for the third annual installment of this Santa Monica Pier–set oceanside fest that benefits the Westside Food Bank. The event showcases some of the the city’s best restaurants and seafood dishes, from shrimp and sushi to oysters and mussels, plus cocktails, live music, games and chef demos.
Craving some more tasty crustaceans?
As an ocean-adjacent city rife with beaches, L.A. doesn't have as many seafood restaurants as one might think it would. But if you're craving a decandent lobster roll, cheap food truck fare or a tower of oysters at a fine-dining restaurant, there are a few great options. Check out our favorite seafood restaurants in L.A., from a special-occasion splurge to a family-style grill.