Quintessential things to do in LA in summer
Los Angeles – there’s a certain charm to it that’s hard to resist. The sun shines brightly, the palm trees sway in the warm breeze, and the city pulses with vibrant energy — perfect for those seeking the quintessential California dream.
Beyond the sun-kissed days, though, Los Angeles also boasts a wealth of attractions and experiences. From its diverse neighborhoods to its iconic landmarks, the city buzzes with a sense of possibility and adventure. It’s a melting pot of cultures, brimming with creativity and offering endless opportunities for exploration.
Catch a show at one of the world-class theaters in Hollywood, visit art galleries showcasing cutting-edge works, embark on scenic hikes to witness panoramic views of the sprawling cityscape, and soak up the creative vibes in trendy neighborhoods like Silver Lake or Venice Beach.
Plus, the city is also a hotbed of music and cultural festivals. There’s always something happening; you won’t run out of things to do.
Here are our top picks of things to do in LA this summer.
Watch movies under the stars
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When it comes to cinematic experiences, Los Angeles knows how to add a touch of magic. Known as the entertainment capital of the world, what better way to celebrate the art of film than by enjoying it in the great outdoors? These outdoor movie screenings provide a unique and immersive experience, where moviegoers can gather with friends, family, or even strangers, spread out their blankets or set up their chairs, and relish in the joy of cinema under the open sky.
It’s a testament to the city’s love for cinema, its vibrant community spirit, and the desire to savor the magic of movies in the most picturesque and unforgettable settings. Here are where you can go:
- Rooftop Cinema Club: Enjoy a diverse range of films with stunning views of the LA skyline at multiple locations, including Downtown LA and the Arts District. Tickets can be purchased online through their website, and prices may vary depending on the location and film selection. They showcase a mix of classic favorites, cult classics, and recent releases, catering to a wide range of moviegoers. Rooftop Cinema Club events typically run from April to December, and doors open an hour before the movie starts so you can soak up the ambiance and grab a drink or a bite to eat.
- Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery: Watch classic films among the tombstones in an eerie yet enchanting setting at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tickets can be purchased online in advance and are known to sell out quickly. Cinespia shows popular movies ranging from timeless classics to cult favorites spanning different genres, creating a nostalgic and magical movie. You can bring your own booze, food, comfy chairs, blankets, and all. There’s also often a DJ playing after the movie, so you can dance the night away at the… uhmmmm… cemetery. Yikes, but what an experience, hey!
- Street Food Cinema: Combine food trucks and live music with movie screenings for a fun-filled evening of entertainment. Street Food Cinema hosts events at various locations throughout Los Angeles, including parks, stadiums, and other outdoor venues, featuring a rotating selection of films, ranging from new releases to cult favorites. Aside from the movies, attendees can enjoy live music performances and indulge in a wide array of delectable food options from the attending food trucks.
Go see a concert!
While in the entertainment capital of the world, what better way to spend your summer vacation in LA, than, well, getting entertained?! With a plethora of venues catering to various genres, from legendary arenas to intimate clubs, LA offers a diverse range of concerts featuring both established artists and emerging talent. Iconic venues like the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre offer breathtaking open-air performances against stunning backdrops. These venues often host renowned artists and orchestras, making for a truly magical experience.
Research upcoming concerts using platforms like Ticketmaster and Los Angeles Theatre, and secure your tickets in advance. Whether you’re into rock, pop, indie music, hip-hop, jazz, or EDM, you’ll for sure find something you’ll like.
This 2023 summer, you can catch Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Jason Mraz, Paramore, Blink 182, Alicia Keys, Drake, Cigarettes After Sex, and more performing live in LA.
Check out some of LA’s summer festivals
From the electrifying beats of electronic music at Hard Summer to the colorful parades and empowering messages of LA Pride, summer festivals in LA offer a kaleidoscope of experiences that embrace diversity, ignite passions, and showcase the city’s vibrant cultural scene. Here are the most anticipated festivals in LA this summer:
When: June 17 and 18 at 3:30pm
Where: Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA – How to get here
Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival: Experience the magic of jazz music at the Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival. This highly anticipated event brings together legendary jazz musicians and emerging talents for unforgettable performances under the stars. Set in the iconic Hollywood Bowl, this festival showcases the diverse sounds and rhythms of jazz, from smooth melodies to vibrant improvs.
Join the celebration of love, acceptance, and diversity at Weho Pride, one of the most vibrant LGBTQ+ festivals in Los Angeles. Spanning several days, this event offers a rich lineup of activities, including a colorful parade, live performances by renowned artists, thought-provoking panel discussions, and community-driven events. Here’s the schedule of the festival highlights:
WeHo Pride Street Fair
When: Saturday, June 3, 2023 and Sunday, June 4, 2023 (Hours to be Announced)
Where: Santa Monica Boulevard (Rainbow District) Near N. San Vicente Boulevard – How to get here
Outloud @ WeHo Pride
The flagship music festival and concert experience of WeHo Pride Weekend.
When: JUNE 2-4, 2023
Where: West Hollywood Park, 647 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, United States, – How to get here
WeHo Pride Parade
When: Sunday, June 4, 2023 (Hours to be Announced)
Where: Starts at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights Boulevard through the heart of the Rainbow District. – How to get here
An opportunity to embrace the rich cultural diversity of the region, the Hollywood Carnival is an exhilarating fusion of music, dance, and cultural heritage that transports you to the vibrant streets of the Caribbean. They’ll be hosting a variety of events and parties throughout Hollywood from June 22nd – 25th, but the event highlights are below. For more information, visit their website.
Hollywood Carnival Parade
When: Saturday June 24, 2023 | The Parade Route 10am-3pm
Where: On Hollywood Blvd, Between Western Ave. and Highland Ave. – How to get here
Carnival Culture Village
When: Saturday June 24, 2023 | Open 12-9pm
Where: 6800 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 – How to get here
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When: August 5 & 6, 2023 | 2PM – 11PM
Hosted at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, this two-day festival brings together some of the biggest names in EDM, including Marshmello, Tiesto, and DJ Snake. Expect high-energy performances, spectacular light shows, and an incredible crowd. With multiple stages and an array of food vendors, Hard Summer is the perfect place to dance the night away with your friends.
LA Pride 2023
When: June 8 to 11
Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of acceptance and love as you enjoy live performances from renowned artists, explore interactive exhibits, and savor delicious food from local vendors, and parade through Hollywood Blvd. The festival is a powerful celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and a reminder of the progress made in the fight for equal rights. The organizers have lined up a series of events in celebration, check out the full LA Pride Festival 2023 schedule on their website
JUNE 8: Pride is Universal at Universal Studios
JUNE 9 AND 10: LA Pride in The Park at LA State Historic Park
JUNE 16: LGBTQ+ Night @ Dodger Stadium 7:00pm
When: Saturday, June 24th, 2023 | 12PM – 8PM
Where: Venice Blvd in between Centinela & Inglewood Blvd. in downtown Mar Vista, CA – How to get here
Immerse yourself in the artistic and bohemian vibes of Venice Beach at the Venice Summer Fest. This vibrant event showcases the diverse talents of local artists, musicians, and performers against the backdrop of this eclectic coastal neighborhood. Stroll through the colorful streets filled with art galleries, street vendors, and live street performances. Enjoy captivating live music, ranging from indie bands to acoustic performances, while savoring delicious food from a variety of food trucks and vendors. With its creative energy and laid-back beach vibes, the Venice Summer Fest captures the essence of the Venice Beach community and offers a unique cultural experience.
Hit a California beach
Soak up the sun and embrace the quintessential California beach experience with a day at the beach. The beaches of LA offer an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you choose the iconic Santa Monica Beach, the bohemian vibes of Venice Beach, or the scenic beauty of Zuma Beach, you’ll find a slice of paradise awaiting you. Feel the soft sand between your toes as you bask in the warm California sun, take a refreshing dip in the invigorating ocean waves, or try your hand at beach volleyball. Embrace the laid-back beach culture as you stroll along the boardwalk, savoring the delicious aroma of beachside eateries and enjoying the lively atmosphere created by street performers, artists, and skaters.
- Venice Beach: Known for its bohemian atmosphere and colorful boardwalk, Venice Beach is a haven for artists, musicians, and free spirits. Don’t miss the iconic Muscle Beach where Arnold Schwarzenegger once trained, the skate park where you can watch skilled skateboarders and BMX riders show off their tricks, and the Venice Canals, a picturesque residential area with beautiful bridges and waterways, and admire the charming beach bungalows.
- Malibu: Hit the waves and catch some sun in Malibu, one of the most iconic surf destinations in the world. With over 20 miles of coastline, Malibu offers a range of surfing spots for beginners and experts alike. Rent a board, take a lesson, or join a surf camp and experience the thrill of riding the waves.
- Santa Monica Pier: A must-visit destination for any trip to LA, this iconic pier features an amusement park, an aquarium, a trapeze school, and numerous restaurants and shops. Take a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel, enjoy the carnival games, and get a bite to eat at one of the many eateries.
Discover the breathtaking outdoor wonders of LA
From seascapes to mountainscapes, LA’s stunning and diverse natural beauty provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.
Horseback Riding in Griffith Park
Experience the beauty of Griffith Park on horseback. Take a guided trail ride through the park’s scenic trails, surrounded by lush greenery and panoramic views of the city.
Rock Climbing in Malibu Creek State Park
Challenge yourself and embrace the thrill of rock climbing in Malibu Creek State Park. This scenic park offers a variety of rock formations and climbing routes suitable for climbers of all levels. Test your skills as you ascend the rugged cliffs, surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery.
Outdoor Yoga at Runyon Canyon
Find your zen in the heart of the city with outdoor yoga at Runyon Canyon. Join a yoga class or bring your mat to the park and practice amidst the stunning natural beauty and sweeping views of Los Angeles.
Where to stay in LA in summer
Los Angeles in the summer promises a mix of sunshine, culture, and boundless possibilities. Embrace the warmth, embrace the diversity, and let the city of angels captivate you with its irresistible summer charm.
When in LA in the summer, make sure to stay at the Hollywood Downtowner Motel. Located in the heart of Hollywood, this affordable and comfortable motel offers a range of amenities to ensure a pleasant stay. With its convenient location and friendly staff, the Hollywood Downtowner Motel provides a cozy home base for exploring all the exciting activities and festivals that Los Angeles has to offer. Book your stay and get ready for an unforgettable summer in the City of Angels!