19 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth in LA This Year

From annual celebrations to outdoor concerts, double dutch battles, art shows, food fests, and more, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year.

B-Hen Block Party
Photo by @FelishaCarassco55, courtesy of B-Hen Block Party

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with 2,000 Union troops, breaking the news that the Civil War had ended and the 250,000 people who remained enslaved in the state were now free. This announcement came two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, but due to a small number of Union troops, his Executive Order was largely not enforced in Texas, where many slaveholders moved to evade the order. The day became known as Juneteenth, though it is also referred to as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day.

Around the same time the following year in Texas, celebrations began to take root, mostly held by local church groups. In the decades that followed, these festivities expanded across Southern states, often involving large spreads of red foods, gospel choirs, and dancing. Juneteenth gained further momentum during the Great Migration and the Civil Rights Movement, with celebrations happening in Black communities all over America.

Yet despite being the oldest holiday that celebrates the freedom of people enslaved in the United States, outside of Black communities, Juneteenth was not a widely recognized holiday until recent years. When the video of George Floyd’s murder was released just before Memorial Day 2020, it spurred a nationwide reckoning and a call for greater accountability into how racism has entrenched itself throughout American society. When Juneteenth arrived in the following weeks, many took it as an opportunity to learn more about the little-known historical event. In June 2021, after unanimously passing the Senate, President Joe Biden signed a bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, but many will enjoy a three-day weekend as the holiday is now federally recognized. That means there are even more ways to celebrate in LA, from long-held annual festivals to outdoor concerts, double dutch battles, art shows, and more.

In the midst of these celebrations, let’s not forget the commitments we made to show up for our local Black communities and support the fight for equality and justice. We still have so far to go and we need everyone’s help if we hope to create real and long-lasting change.

Misha’s Juneteenth Celebration
@lovemishas

Thursday, June 16
Misha’s Plant Base, Arts District
Get in on the Juneteenth fun early with this celebration from Black-owned, plant-based cheese company Misha’s that will bring together local Black-owned brands between 6–9 pm, including delicious food and drinks, and bites from vegan chef and Misha’s co-founder Ian Martin.

B-Hen Block Party
Photo by @FelishaCarassco55, courtesy of B-Hen Block Party

Saturday, June 18
1917 Bay Street, 90021
For the month of June, Brian Henry, FKA DJ B-Hen, has partnered with DIAGEO brands Smirnoff, Crown Royal, and DeLeon Tequila on a series of events across the country that celebrate the vibrancy of Black joy, identity, and self-expression, while recognizing the creative voices that power change across local communities. Lucky for us, he’s bringing the block party to LA on Juneteenth weekend, with a 21+ event that runs from 9 pm–2 am. All are welcome at this party that eschews a VIP section, guest list, and bottle service on purpose, with past editions attended by celebs like Brandy and Taraji P. Henson. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online.

Saturday, June 18
Virginia Avenue Park, Santa Monica
The City of Santa Monica has a long history of celebrating Juneteenth, thanks to local resident LaVerne Ross, who approached the city 30 years ago and encouraged them to recognize a holiday that her family had celebrated in Texas. From 1–7 pm, this year’s free event will open with a traditional drum call at the Main Stage, followed by performances from jazz singer-songwriter Dee Dee Bridgewater, jazz saxophonist Mike Phillips, all-female r&b group KLYMAXX, closing remarks from LaVerne Ross, and dancing from Teresa Smith. Head to the Community Stage for recitations of original texts written for Juneteenth, educational panel discussions, and a series of original works from Santa Monica Repertory Theatre. In the marketplace, over a dozen vendors will be selling everything from jewelry to clothing, cultural arts, and more. A children’s craft area and community resource centers will be available, plus food from BizzyB’s BBQ, B&R Burgers food truck, and Juice It Up.

Fixins Soul Kitchen
Fixins Soul Kitchen

Saturday, June 18
LA LIVE
Former NBA player and 55th Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Fixins Soul Kitchen is hosting a celebration with music, food, and drinks at LA Live from 3–9 pm. The soul food restaurant is partnering with multidimensional Sacramento-based collective &things to offer guests lawn games, a beer garden, and performances from DJs like Cassanova, DJ Millie, DJ Ash B, and more. Food will include popular Fixins staples like Chicken & Waffles, Shrimp & Grits, and Catfish, in addition to specialty cocktails like their famous spiked Kool Aid, plus beer, wine, and Black-owned spirits. They’ve also collaborated with LA skate brand Circulate, from designer Corey Populous, on an exclusive Juneteenth t-shirt. Tickets are just $16.95 and can be purchased online.

Leimert Park Rising: Juneteenth Celebration
Photo by Dee Williams for Thrillist

Saturday, June 18
4331 Degnan Blvd, Leimert Park Village
The historically Black neighborhood of Leimert Park has been hosting an annual Juneteenth Celebration since 2018, honoring Black freedom with a free day of art, music, food, and education in one of the most well-attended events you’ll find in the city. This year’s lineup has yet to be announced, but expect plenty of opportunities to network, admire art, dance, nosh on pan African cuisine, browse handcrafted wares, and more. Follow them on Instagram for more information and RSVP online.

Saturday, June 18–Sunday, June 19
Varies
Gather For Good is hosting its annual Juneteenth bake sale this weekend, with an array of LA chefs and restaurants participating by creating unique, one-of-a-kind pies. Some participants will host raffles, while others will sell whole pies, hand pies, and pie slices, with all proceeds split between Kindred Space LA, a Black-woman-owned birthing center in South LA that supports BIPOC mothers and babies, and Everytown, an organization working to end gun violence. Some of the 2022 contributors include Brandon Gray of Brandoni Pepperoni, Kim Prince of Hotville Chicken, and John Cleveland of Post & Beam. Visit the website to browse the different pies that are being offered and make a purchase.

Saturday June 18
LA Kings Burbank Sports Center
Serving as the official kickoff to the summer series, this skate event is all-ages and beginner-friendly, with $5 skate rentals, a live DJ, vendors, and food. Stop by between 4–8 pm to join in the fun. Pre-sale tickets are $15 or you can purchase at the door for $20 per person.

BreatheGood: Two-Year Anniversary and Juneteenth Flow
WalkGood La

Sunday, June 19
LA High Memorial Park, Mid-City
Wake up early for this two-year anniversary and Juneteenth celebration from WalkGood LA founder Etienne Maurice, and health and wellness director, Marley Rae. Marley Rae will lead a one-hour vinyasa flow, followed by a mediation led by Ivy Coco, with free Activia Drinkable Yogurts for all attendees and a pop-up mini market afterwards. WalkGood LA has built an incredible community over the last two years, even expanding their yoga sessions to the expansive Kenneth Hahn Park, but they’re bringing it back to where they first started, LA High Memorial Park, for a donation-based celebration that aims to educate guests on the significance of Juneteenth and honor history while giving back to the present-day community. Proceeds will go towards the WalkGood Inc. organization. The flow begins at 9:45 am.

Sunday, June 19
Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is hosting a celebration of Black excellence with an all-star lineup of musicians, featuring performances by Earth, Wind & Fire, The Roots, Lucky Daye, Jhené Aiko, Robert Glasper, Killer Mike, Billy Porter, Mary Mary, Anthony Hamilton, Michelle Williams, Mickey Guyton, the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, and more. In addition, Thomas Wilkins and Derrick Hodge will lead the Re-Collective Orchestra in what will mark the first-ever performance by an all-Black symphony orchestra in the Hollywood Bowl’s century-long history. Musical direction will be provided by Adam Blackstone and Questlove. Gates open at 2:30 pm and performances will begin at 4:30 pm.

Prosperity Market Pop-Up Farmers Market
@prosperity.market

Sunday, June 19
California African American Museum (CAAM), Exposition Park
After reaching their fundraising goal, Black-women-led Prosperity Market will soon complete their mobile trailer and take their virtual farmers markets on the road. For Juneteenth, they’re hosting a free Juneteenth and Father’s Day pop-up at CAAM from 11 am–3 pm, with food and handcrafted items from Black farmers and vendors.

Opening reception: Like Watermelon For Chocolate
Pop Up Home

Sunday, June 19
UNREPD, Melrose Hill
UNREPD is a Latina-woman-owned art gallery that makes space for underrepresented artists and collectors to be seen, heard, and valued, and on Juneteenth will host an opening reception for a new exhibit from artist Kirk Henriques called Like Watermelon For Chocolate. It’s inspired by Laura Esquival’s Like Water For Chocolate and features a selection of abstract and figurative paintings, with watermelon as the central figure and calling into question the fruit’s history as “a symbol of freedom and prosperity, as well as denigration and shame, for Black people in America.” Visit on Sunday from 2-4 pm. The exhibit will run through July 19, just in case you can’t make it to the opening.

Sip & Sonder
@sipandsonder

Sunday, June 19
Sip & Sonder, Inglewood
Sponsored by the LA Lakers and LA Sparks, Black-women-owned Sip & Sonder is hosting its first annual Juneteenth Double Dutch Bash with a free afternoon of double dutch battles, live djs, food, drinks, giveaways, and prizes. Hopeful competitors can register for the battle online then show up between 12–3 pm to compete or cheer on the fun.

Closing Reception: Beyond the Game
Photo courtesy of Kermit Cannon

Sunday, June 19
Sole Folks, Leimert Park
Curated by Kermit Cannon and hosted by Black-owned retail co-op Sole Folks, the Beyond the Game exhibit celebrates the best African-American athletes around the world, those who have gone above and beyond by supporting different humanitarian causes, including men, women, members of the LBGTQ community, and athletes who have overcome physical challenges, and disabilities. The exhibit will be on display one last time from 1–7 pm, before it leaves to another gallery home.

Black on the Block Juneteenth Festival
Black on the Block

Sunday, June 19
Wisdome.LA, Downtown
Family-friendly Black on the Block festival will be celebrating Juneteenth alongside its one-year anniversary with a carnival-themed event that features over 200 Black-owned businesses, live performances by Arin Ray and Sevyn Streeter, panel discussions, a ferris wheel, games, activations, art, a food court, bars, photobooths, and more. Tickets will be available at the door for $10 and children 12 and under get in free. The pet-friendly event will run from 12 to 8 pm.

SoulfulofNoise Presents: Juneteenth Festival
Soulfulofnoise

Sunday, June 19
Comfort LA, Downtown
This free festival is intended to uplift the community with financial literacy, entrepreneurship, technology, and health and wellness workshops, plus free haircuts from hair care professionals. Ongoing from 12–6 pm, there will also be local vendors, food trucks, games, and more as the event seeks to demonstrate the power of the Black dollar and raise funds for several youth organizations.

Juneteenth Rooftop Day Party
@treehouserooftop

Sunday, June 19
Treehouse, Downtown
Take in the views and groove to hip hop, r&b, throwback jams, soca, dancehall, and singalong hits on Treehouse’s sunny rooftop from 4–9 pm. Admission is free until 4:30 pm with RSVP.

Sunday June 19
The Blackbird House, Culver City
Celebrate the opening of Black-owned private membership collective The Blackbird House alongside Juneteenth, with a curated event that includes a ceremonial vocal welcoming, panels discussing everything from entrepreneurship and media to blockchain, creative and wellness activations, planting stations, book signings, wine tastings, community acupuncture, storytelling podcast moments, an art showcase with soundscapes, sips and light bites, and a closing DJ. The collective is intended to support WOC and BIPOC as well as their allies. Get a taste of what they’re about at this open house that’s running from 2–8 pm.

Juneteenth Drive-Thru Parade
@juneteenthinla

Sunday, June 19
Parade starts at La Brea and Manchester, Inglewood
This year marks the third annual Juneteenth Drive-Thru Parade, hosted by community organization Juneteenth in LA, which has a mission to curate celebratory Juneteenth programming for local Black communities. Their first event took place in South Central with over 200 registered cars and this year’s event is expected to be even bigger. Though car registration is closed, you can still show up to cheer and watch the parade, which begins promptly at 11 am at the intersection of La Brea and Manchester and ends at Inglewood City Hall.

Sunday, June 19
Westchester Park
Open Arms Food Pantry & Resource Center is hosting this Emancipation Celebration from 10 am–6 pm, with live music, an African marketplace, food vendors, African American authors speaking and selling books, panel discussions on children’s health and literacy, and more. The event is free, but donations are encouraged.

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Danielle Dorsey is the Los Angeles Editor at Thrillist.