Los Angeles' Best Free Events Happening This Summer

Published On 06/08/2016 Published On 06/08/2016
LACMA Jazz Night
LACMA | Flickr/Parker Knight
Jun 9
Spring Street
This ongoing event (on the second Thursday of every month) inspires thousands of Angelenos to flock Downtown to admire street art, as well as art on display at the galleries, which keep their doors open a bit later. The whole thing feels like a gigantic block party, with vendors set up all over the theater district and beyond.
Jun 10
Venice Beach
This free workout series helps you burn some calories (and have an existential crisis about the state of your own abs) while you watch the men of Muscle Beach pump iron. The event is happening again July 16, in case your exercise goals renew every month.
Friday - Friday
Jun 10-Jul 29
When you’re in the mood for a low-key (read: sophisticated) way to kick off your weekend, hit LACMA for its weekly Friday jazz nights. Sit in the open courtyard and be happy that you’ve swapped out the honking horns of angry LA drivers at rush hour in favor of the sounds of jazz, which range from bebop to Latin to swing.
Jun 11
Griffith Observatory
Join a bunch of astronomers and their telescopes for our favorite brand of star sightings (not the celebrity kind) atop Mount Hollywood. (Returns July 9 and August 6.) 
Saturday - Sunday
Jun 11-12
Downtown Rolling Hills Estates
This annual South Bay fair is more like a carnival, with Ferris wheels, games, tribute bands, and a craft-beer garden.
Jun 12
Ventura Blvd between Balboa Ave and Amestoy Ave
Strawberry snow cones; strawberry shortcake; strawberry lemonade; just about everything that can be topped and filled with strawberries will be, which is why you need to attend this festival.
Sunday - Sunday
Jun 12-Aug 28
Hammer Museum
This summer-long exhibit is a hodgepodge of art celebrating the different creative types and disciplines that make LA one of the art capitals of the world. Check the website for various special days over the course of the series, including conversations with artists and free concerts.
Jun 13
Discover indie gems on stage before they get “too big” (um, hello, Chet Faker). Resident DJ and curator Chris Douridas from KCRW launched the free concert program years ago so that Mondays wouldn't have to be such a drag.
Friday - Friday
Jun 17-Sep 2
The Music Center Plaza
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to shake your hips to the sounds of cumbia or bring back your disco fingers, this Downtown dance party, which takes place every other Friday, is right up your alley. Every week a new dance move takes the stage with beginner lessons, live music, and an open dance floor -- and on off-weeks, the space has DJs (including KCRW fave and Beastie Boy associate Money Mark) spinning in the plaza so you can practice.
Saturday - Sunday
Jun 18-19
Paseo Colorado
If your dad is into seriously impressive, but sort of weird, art, spend Father’s Day with him at this Italian-inspired festival and watch as chalk artists use the Pasadena sidewalks as their canvas to paint famous faces and other cool stuff.
Thursday - Thursday
Jun 23-Sep 15
Sunset Triangle Plaza
Of course, there are a ton of outdoor screenings this summer, but Silver Lake Picture Show’s are always free, and the place is walking distance from James Beard nominee Night + Market Song, meaning your picnic game can be totally on point.
Jun 25
Pasadena Towers Rooftop
Uh, a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on a fancy Pasadena rooftop (with free parking)? Yes. 
Jun 26
Hauser Wirth & Schimmel
Even if you didn’t know it, you’ve seen this artist’s work all over DTLA (the polar bear on the mill tower where this event is taking place is her most iconic work). Check out this conversation with her for more about how LA’s art scene is taking off.
Hanni El Khatib
The Twilight Concert Series on Santa Monica Pier | Flickr/Chris Goldberg
Saturday - Saturday
Jul 2-Sep 3
Redondo Beach Pier
Yeah, the Santa Monica Pier has free concerts this summer too (see below) -- but that pier doesn’t have nearly as MANY as the Redondo Pier, which has shows every Thursday and Saturday, all totally gratis.
Thursday - Thursday
Jul 7-Sep 8
Santa Monica Pier
It’s not summer in LA if you don’t attend at least one of these concerts, which are among the most iconic of LA’s summertime parties. The Thursday-night series kicks off with soul-man Mayer Hawthorne and Alina Baraz. There’s no excuse to not rally.
Thursday - Saturday
Jul 7-Aug 27
Burton Chace Park
If you’re looking for a more refined concert series, this is the one you’ll want to hit up. The Marina del Rey Summer Symphony plays on Thursdays, or you can listen to R&B, indie rock, and jazz on Saturdays.
Thursday - Thursday
Jul 21-Aug 25
Skirball Cultural Center
This Thursday-night concert series will take you on a trip around the world with an eclectic lineup including Brazilian samba and West African blues.
Jul 23
This outdoor food market is a smorgasbord of international cuisine, from Hawaiian pancakes to creole and Korean tacos -- so you can get a taste of LA’s melting pot of cultures all in one place.
Aug 14
Wilshire Boulevard
Every few months, CicLAvia takes over a neighborhood and closes off its streets so Angelenos can walk, run, or ride bikes along the carless roads. If nothing else, bask in the glory of the only time you won’t see LA’s streets looking like a parking lot. Heck, do a few cartwheels.
Aug 20
Grand Park 
A taco festival? For free? Uh. Yes. (The RSVP says that it's sold out, but keep checking and keep your fingers crossed for ticket releases as the date gets closer.)