Natural History Museum
Photograph: Michael Juliano for Time Out

Things to do in Los Angeles today

Discover these things to do in L.A. today—including free and cheap concerts, screenings, shows, parties and more

Michael Juliano
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Looking for last-minute plans? Figuring out how to stop from slipping into yet another night on the couch? Find out the best things to do today in Los Angeles with picks for our favorite screenings, concertsmuseum exhibitions and more.

Sometimes, you make plans to go out months in advance. Other times, you’re left scrambling for plans a few hours from now—consider this your social emergency savior for those situations. So stay occupied no matter what day it is with these things to do in Los Angeles today.

(On the other hand, if you’re a bit more of a planner, you can also check out our calendars for things to do this week and weekend, as well as our month-by-month overview of events below.)

RECOMMENDED: Full Los Angeles events calendar

Things to do in Los Angeles today

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Echo Park

Celebrate the (potential though likely just ceremonial) bloom of Echo Park Lake’s beloved floating flowers with the annual Lotus Festival. Expect plenty of food, music, dragon boat races, lantern launches and—if we’re lucky—the lotus flower beds in full bloom. The historic event celebrates the contributions of Asian-Americans to L.A., and this year, the 43rd, will honor the Filipino community.

  • Movies
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

The masters of alfresco rooftop movie viewing have returned for another season of screenings to LEVEL in Downtown L.A. Known for excellent film choices and a steady supply of snacks and booze, Rooftop Cinema Club is your snazzy, comfortable and less stressful alternative to other outdoor movie screenings. You don’t even need to bring your own camping chair—Rooftop Cinema Club provides you with your very own comfy lawn chair (with optional blankets for purchase to up the coziness). And instead of listening to the movie over loudspeakers, you’ll get a set of wireless headphones so you never have to miss a word. This spring and summer, look out for a slate of wedding season picks and AAPI Heritage Month selections in May, as well as Pride and Black Music Month screenings in June. Also, select “wooftop” screenings will be dog-friendly starting in May. Find the full schedule on their site, or in our outdoor movie calendar.

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  • Things to do
  • San Marino
  • price 2 of 4

As sunset creeps later and later into the evening, the Huntington is taking advantage of the extra daylight with this coveted after-hours series. Formerly open just for members, Twilight Garden Strolls is now open to the public, too, and will extend the San Marino garden’s hours until 8pm on select evenings in the summer. Just a heads up that you’ll need a timed ticket that’s separate from regular morning or afternoon admission.

  • Shakespeare
  • Griffith Park

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 headliner: As You Like It. With construction resuming on the main lawn, this summer’s show will move back to the dell at the top of the Old Zoo—meaning available space is smaller and reservations are required.

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Downtown Arts District

Every Sunday you can find dozens of food vendors at this market at ROW DTLA, with a mix of much-loved pop-ups and future foodie stars. Look out for this year’s new vendors, including Basket Taco Co, Battambong Barbecue and Taste of the Pacific.

  • Things to do
  • West Hollywood
  • price 3 of 4

Melrose Rooftop Theatre is taking off until the fall, but in the meantime the event deck on the E.P. & L.P. rooftop is hosting this open-air roller rink. The rooftop rink is all-ages through 2pm, after that it switches to a 21+ affair. Tickets are available in one-hour time slots and include skate rentals and a churro—though that’ll all cost you a relatively steep $30 to $35.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Westside
  • price 2 of 4

Let the wild rumpus start at this celebration of beloved children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. The Skirball Cultural Center is displaying more than 150 sketches, storyboards and paintings from the Where the Wild Things Are creator. “Wild Things Are Happening: The Art of Maurice Sendak” debuted at the Columbus Museum of Art in 2022 and has since sailed off (metaphorically speaking) to visit L.A. from April 18 through September 1. As you might expect, Where the Wild Things Are receives the biggest spotlight in the exhibition, with beautiful crosshatched artwork, translations of books, monster-themed merch and even costumes from the Spike Jonze film. In addition to his own books, In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There among them, the exhibition also features art that Sendak created for a handful of other authors, most notably Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear, as well designs for Mozart operas. The show also focuses on his personal and family life, with insight on his Jewish upbringing, some very early drawings (including one of Mickey Mouse he created when he was just six years old) and lots about how his beloved dogs inspired and integrated into his books. Admission costs $18 for adults, with discounts for students, seniors and children; it’s completely free to visit on Thursdays. Look out for the adorable living room setup near the entrance, too—it hosts story time Thursday through Sunday at 3pm.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Miracle Mile
  • price 2 of 4

It’s more than just the low clearance: This exhibition at the Petersen explores the custom paint, engraving, upholstery and, of course, the gravity-defying suspension of the lowrider scene. In addition to iconic cars, the exhibit spotlights influential artists in the Chicano lowrider art scene. Even if you have no interest in cars, this colorful showcase of 20-plus lowered cars and bikes is excellent: The candy-colored paint jobs are dazzling, and the craftsmanship of the customizations—many vehicles are on display with their engines and undercarriages visible—is remarkable. You’ll learn a little bit of history here, how the “low and slow” movement is rooted in the postwar Mexican American zoot suit counterculture, but largely this is an excuse to ogle some L.A. automotive icons.

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  • Movies
  • Animation
  • Santa Monica
  • price 2 of 4

Every Sunday during the summer at sunset, both hotel guests and vistors at the Fairmont Miramar can slip into something waterproof and enjoy a flick around the Santa Monica hotel’s luxurious pool. You’ll find a mix of nostalgic favorites and more recent releases on the Hulu-curated schedule. Eats and libations will be available for purchase from the FIG Restaurant menu, and though seating is free for hotel guests, visitors will have to secure a reservation; tickets total to about $60 with tax, tip and fees, but that includes a $45 food and drink credit plus complimentary popcorn.

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