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Takashi Murakami: Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow
Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano

Things to do in L.A. this weekend

We pick out the best things to do in L.A. this weekend, including our favorite concerts, culture and cuisine

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano
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We don’t know about you, but our mind is always focused on the weekend. It can never come soon enough—which is why we’re already thinking about what new restaurants we want to try or where we can drive for the day. Whether you’re looking to scope out the latest museum exhibitions or watch a movie outdoors, you’ll find plenty of things to do in L.A. this weekend.

We curate an L.A. weekend itinerary of the city’s best concerts, culture and cuisine, every week, just for you.

The best things to do in L.A. this weekend

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Hermosa Beach

Roam the stalls at this arts festival, sample the fine foods and listen to the music—and then take a dip in the nearby Pacific. Though last year’s capacity restrictions have been ditched, there are a few logistical changes that should hopefully make things feel a bit less crowded: You’ll still find on-the-street stalls and sidewalk vendors along Hermosa and Pier Avenues, but the live music has been moved to the beach while there’s a proper carnival and arts festival inland behind the Hermosa Beach Community Center.

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  • Comedy
  • Stand-up

Merrill Davis hatched this bicoastal stand-up show, which features a predominantly female lineup, plus a few lucky male mortals. For the May 28 show at the Lyric Hyperion, the lineup includes Alice Wetterlund, Chelsea Devantez, Nori Reed, Dina Hashem, Kimberly Clark, Krista Fatka, Kiran Subramaniam and Yassir Lester.

  • Movies
  • Animation
  • Santa Monica

If watching movies in your car or on a picnic blanket isn’t quite your speed, perhaps you’ll prefer this poolside presentation. Every Saturday night during the summer at sunset (and on some Sundays), both hotel guests and vistors at the Fairmont Miramar can slip into something waterproof and enjoy a family-friendly flick around the Santa Monica hotel’s luxurious pool. You’ll find a mix of aughts Disney faves and recent animated released projected onto a portable screen—think MoanaEncanto and How to Train Your Dragon. Eats and libations will be available for purchase from the FIG Restaurant menu menu, and though seating is free for hotel guests, visitors will have to secure a $20 reservation.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Downtown

Giuseppe Verdi’s 1871 masterpiece returns to the LA Opera stage for the first time in 16 years with a lavish production that features designs from street artist RETNA. The opera (which features a full chorus, orchestra and ballet) tells the story of a tragic romance between secret lovers from rival kingdoms in ancient Egypt. Latonia Moore and Russell Thomas star, Francesca Zambello directs and James Conlon conducts.

  • Things to do

What started as an adverse reaction to the celebutante-heavy and TMZ-soaked club scene that seemed to almost swallow L.A. has flourished into one of the the artsy-est, most inclusive parties in the city. A Club Called Rhonda steers clear of top 40 and overplayed dance by wrangling talent from Europe and American underground scenes. The polysexual crowd of extreme dressers don daring looks, and a be-whomever-you-want-to-be message prevails.

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  • Movies
  • Action and adventure
  • Desert

Mosey your wagon on over to Pioneertown for this inaugural film fest staged on the 1940s-built Old West movie set. As you might expect, the lineup for the desert town event (53585 Mane St) leans heavily toward Westerns, with a mix of restored Paramount classics, anniversary screenings (An American Tail: Fievel Goes West), the Acid Westerns of Jack Nicholson and Monte Hellman, and premieres (The Last Manhunt), plus a performance from the Dandy Warhols and some podcast recordings.

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  • Things to do

Everybody likes a good theme party, and this Memorial Day Weekend, Main Street in Santa Monica is giving the people what they want. In an effort not only to entertain Westsiders, but also to raise funds for Summer SOULstice, much of Main Street will transform into essentially an interactive Monopoly board game, allotting attendees “MAINopoly dollars” to be exchanged for food tastings across the street’s finest establishments.

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  • Music
  • Fairfax District

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 near the end of the work week and stop by the West Patio on Thursday nights from 6 to 8pm to hear a genre-spanning mix of live music, or Friday nights from 7 to 9pm for a lineup of tribute bands courtesy of E.B.’s Beer & Wine.

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  • Music
  • Downtown

It’s been a mainstay of protest signs, songs and chants, but this spring the “power to the people” refrain will fill the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Gustavo Dudamel and Herbie Hancock are once again bringing together musicians, artists and activists for a series of shows between May 29 and June 9 that celebrate solidarity and humanitarian spirit.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

After a short-lived stint in the early spring, UCLA’s impressively student-run fest has returned to its Memorial Day roots. Though the fest promises the same vibe—which, in the past, was definitely the most 4/20-friendly of the pre-summer festivals—its two days have been pruned down into one. Gone are the dedicated jam band and reggae days; instead you can expect a more streamlined show.

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  • Things to do
  • Anaheim

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, every series didn’t need its own fan expo… but we’ll make an exception for Star Wars. Over four days at the Anaheim Convention Center, attend panels and screenings about Star Wars movies and TV shows, all while participating in contests and stocking up on so. much. merch.

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