Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival has pre-show activities before each performance at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park. The 2020 productions are “King Lear” and “As You Like It.” Bring a blanket or low-back chair. No pets. Free including parking.
July 2 - 5, 2020
Downtown (0.2 miles south)
Billed as the largest Japanese popular culture event in North America, Anime Expo screens films and music videos and has panel discussions, games, manga, and cosplay galore at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Salsa & Latin dance
July 2 - Aug. 13, 2020
Griffith Park (10.1 miles north)
Dance to salsa and Latin fusion bands during Sizzling Summer Nights, with drinks and tacos for sale at 5:30 p.m., music at 6:30 p.m., a free dance lesson at 7:30 p.m., and museum access until 8 p.m. at Autry Museum of the American West.
4th of July Parade has bands, dancers, horses, kids, and cars starting at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and going south for a mile down Main Street. Free.
Old fashioned Fourth of July
July 4, 2020
Topanga (32 miles NW)
The Family Barn Dance is a traditional all-American hoedown, with a fiddler, dancing, games (horseshoes, water balloon toss, relay races), a pie-eating contest, a cake walk, and food for sale (BBQ, beer, and wine) on the wooded grounds of Theatricum Botanicum.
Independence Day on The Back Bay has live music, food trucks, a beer garden and bar, and 9 p.m. fireworks at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. Free to stand and watch, or get a VIP ticket for table seating.
Wizard of Oz convention
July 10 - 12, 2020
Pomona (30 miles east)
Celebrating the fictional Land of Oz, OzCon includes panel discussions, vendors, costumes, treasure hunts, and a banquet at Kellogg West Conference Center.
July 11 - 12, 2020
Echo Park (3 miles north)
Lotus Festival offers Thai music and dance, a food court, an origami workshop, dragon boat races, a kids’ area, and lanterns both in the sky and on the water at Echo Park Lake. Free to watch, or order a lantern kit.
Tacos & tequila in Ventura
July 11 - 12, 2020
Ventura (84 miles NW)
Tequila & Taco Music Festival [sound] has live music, gourmet tacos, beer, and margaritas both days, plus a ticketed tequila sampling on Saturday at a park in Ventura.
Taste of Long Beach
July 15 - 16, 2020
Long Beach (30 miles south)
Buy a ticket book and then exchange tickets for food and drink in 40 Belmont Shores restaurants during Stroll & Savor, which repeats monthly in summer.
LGBT film festival
July 16 - 26, 2020
Los Angeles & Beverly Hills
Outfest screens a wide variety of films made locally and internationally at 10 different venues.
Orange County fair
July 17 - Aug. 16, 2020
Costa Mesa (42.2 miles SE)
OC Fair offers farm exhibits, a petting zoo, pig races, carnival rides, a rodeo, a sports arena, wine tasting, fried food, and big-name music concerts at the OC Fair & Event Center. Closed Mondays & Tuesdays.
Food & wine tasting
July 19, 2020
Culver City (15.1 miles SW)
Taste food, wine, beer, and spirits from 25 makers with live music and kids’ activities at Westside Food & Wine Festival indoors and outdoors at Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles Westside. One child age 9 or younger free outdoors with each adult. Held in July and October.
Fake wedding in OC
July 23, 2020
San Clemente (63,5 miles south)
Attend an emotional wedding ceremony, have a drink and appetizers (included), and dance at a reception while you check out wedding vendors in action at the Big Fake Wedding at La Ventura Event Center.
Comic Con in San Diego
July 23 - 26, 2020
(preview July 22)
San Diego (127 miles south)
Focused on comic books but also encompassing science fiction, fantasy, horror, and popular culture, giant Comic Con International has panel discussions, screenings, costumes, celebrities, and vendors at the San Diego Convention Center. Tickets sell out fast.
July 24 - 26, 2020
Downtown (1.7 miles NE)
Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company performs the Romance-period Russian ballet Giselle, an “ethereal, haunting, and tender masterpiece” about love beyond the grave, at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
International Pop Overthrow (IPO) is a cutting-edge pop and rock music festival that brings dozens of the latest bands to Los Angeles and North Hollywood with low ticket prices.
July 25, 2020
Cypress (30.1 miles SE)
Cypress Community Festival has a pancake breakfast, a running event, a chili and salsa competition, a car show, live bands, and kids’ activities at Oak Knoll Park.
July 25 - 26, 2020
Oxnard (62.8 miles NW)
Celebrate salsa (the food, the music, and the dance) at Oxnard Salsa Festival, which features salsa and Latin jazz bands, salsa dance lessons, a salsa-tasting tent, a salsa recipe challenge, a dance competition, a food and crafts marketplace, and a kids’ zone at Plaza Park in downtown Oxnard. Free, except concert seats.
July 25 - 26, 2020
Long Beach (26.5 miles south)
Watch dragon boat races, visit food vendors, and see stage shows (Chinese acrobats, art, dance, music, and martial arts) at Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival [website has sound] at Marine Stadium. Bring a blanket or chair. Free admission. Parking map.
Festival of Peru
July 26, 2020
Hollywood (7.2 miles NW)
Watch Peruvian dancers and musical performers on the outdoor stage, and shop from vendors of crafts and Peruvian food inside Hollywood Recreation Center during Peru Village Festival: A Taste of Peru.
Festival of Switzerland
July 26, 2020
Whittier (17.9 miles east)
Swiss Fair has Swiss entertainment (alphorns, accordions, singers), Swiss food (bratwurst, spaetzle, raclette, beer, wine), vendors, and activities (crossbow shooting, children’s games) in shady Swiss Park.
July 29 - Aug. 2, 2020
Redondo Beach (20.4 miles SW)
See all ages compete in volleyball, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, lifeguarding, even sandcastle making at the International Surf Festival. Most events are at Redondo Beach.
July 31 - August 2, 2020
Pomona (31.3 miles east)
Focused on Japanese popular culture (anime, manga, gaming, and animation), Animanga includes vendors, panels, performances, and casual gaming at the Fairplex.
Join the crowd taking a dance lesson and dancing under the stars to a live band or a DJ at Dance DTLA in Grand Park or The Music Center Plaza. Free.
Downtown (2.3 miles NE)
Attend 20 events, including tastings, workshops, and a tour of the Little Tokyo neighborhood during Delicious Little Tokyo. Examples include sake tasting, flower arranging, cocktail mixing, and ramen demonstration.
Exposition Park (2.4 miles SW)
Bring picnic food (no beverages except water) or shop from food trucks and order “garden-infused cocktails” during Summer Nights in the Garden, which offers “science and nature experiences,” live music, and a garden to wander at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Free.
Chocolate and Art Show
Downtown (2.7 miles SE)
The Chocolate and Art Show features artists, live body painting, live music, face-painting, and free chocolate at The Vortex on E. Olympic Boulevard for age 21+.
Lincoln Heights (5.1 miles NE)
Buy Latin foods (including concha sweet bread), shop from artists, watch a fashion show, and check out kids’ activities at Concha Con at Plaza de la Raza Gallery.
Taste of Farmers Market features samples from 50 restaurants, grocers, and eateries, plus beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages at the Original Farmers Market, with live music. Discount for children age 10 and younger.
Party at the zoo
Griffith Park (10 miles north)
Roaring Nights features a cover band, DJ music, 15 food trucks, and bars at Los Angeles Zoo for age 21+.
Party on a bridge
Pasadena (13 miles NE)
Colorado Street Bridge Party is a “night of music, dancing, vintage cars, free kids’ activities, and festive foods and beverages...atop one of the most beautiful bridges in the world” at Defenders Park. Children age 7 and younger are free.
Wear white to $225 White Light White Night to enjoy tastes from dozens of restaurants, specialty cocktails, beer and wine, entertainment, a silent charity auction, and views from the rooftop of The Plaza at Continental Park.
Venice (16.1 miles west)
Venice Beach Music Fest promises a full day of art, music, and dance, beginning with a samba parade in Windward Plaza (1 Windward Avenue). Free.
Free concerts at Skirball
Bel Air (17.8 miles NW)
Arrive early for Sunset Concerts in the beautiful hillside setting of Skirball Cultural Center. Free except $15 parking.
Asian night market (L.A.)
Arcadia (20 miles NE)
Shop from hundreds of vendors selling food, merchandise, and crafts at the 626 Night Market, with performances, DJ music, and dance competitions at Santa Anita Park. No pets.
Love Long Beach Celebration has two stages of DJ dance music, arts and crafts, a food court, a bar, and yoga at Shoreline Aquatic Park. Children age 15 and younger are free. Bring no pets, food, or drinks.
San Pedro (24.2 miles south)
Watch hundreds of costumed actors demonstrate U.S. military equipment used from 1917 to 1975 during Old Fort MacArthur Days at Fort MacArthur Museum.
Free movies on the beach
Long Beach (27.3 miles south)
Watch popular films all summer on Tuesdays & Thursdays at Moonlight Movies on the Beach, beginning at sunset with food and snacks for sale. Free. [Scroll down their web page to see the movies.]
Pomona (31.3 miles east)
Body Art Expo bring 200 tattoo artists, live competitions, music, and vendors to the Fairplex.
Huntington Beach (39 miles SE)
Watch top surfers, skateboarders, and BMX bikers compete at the U.S. Open of Surfing, which includes a lifestyle festival and movie nights south of Huntington Beach Pier.