13 Actually Fun Things to Do This Weekend in LA

Pool parties, beer festivals, and a pop-up roller rink!

The recall election is behind us, Halloween season is in front of us, and right now’s the perfect time to take a beat and do something fun. Luckily, this weekend presents plenty of opportunities in the form of beer fests, street fests, film fests, and even a (sorta) bonafide hoedown. And if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, put that on your weekend agenda too, since LA restaurants, bars, and nightclubs will be requiring proof of vaccination for entry beginning next month. Here’s everything you can eat, drink, and do in LA this weekend:

Grab your favorite new sandwich at Uptown Provisions

Ongoing beginning September 14
12819 Penn St (Whittier)
Husband-and-wife duo Aaron and Sarah Melendrez are opening Uptown Provisions this week, a home chef-driven, farm-to-market deli with deep neighborhood roots: Aaron is a fifth-generation Whittier resident and his grandparents went to the high school right behind the shop. Expect menu items like an aguachile banh mi with citrus-poached shrimp, jalapeno aioli, pickled carrot and daikon radish, and cilantro served on a house-made roll, and an herbaceous roasted Moroccan carrot salad with Israeli couscous, almonds, dried apricot, pickled red onion, and arugula.
Cost: Varies

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day at El Carmen

Thursday, September 16
8138 W 3rd St (Mid-City)
The beloved luchador-themed tequila bar, El Carmen, has thankfully survived lockdown and is blasting back with a celebration of Mexican Independence Day: live mariachis will play from 7–9 pm and they’ve got specials all night including $5 margaritas and $3 tacos.
Cost: Varies

Nosh on a one-of-a-kind pizza or sandwich from a limited time Ggiata x La Morra collab

Thursday, September 16–Sunday, September 19
Ggiata / La Morra Pizzeria (Melrose / Mid-City)
Neighborhood Italian deli Ggiata is collaborating with La Morra Pizzeria on two special menu items that will be available only for this weekend. La Morra is whipping up a Spicy P pie that reinterprets Ggiata’s popular deli sandwich with spicy wood-fired chicken, Ggiata’s vodka sauce, basil, pecorino romano, parmigiano, and mozzarella on a crisp and puckered pizza crust. Meanwhile, Ggiata will be folding La Morra’s Cruel Summer pizza between a seeded baguette with burrata, soppressata, provolone piccante, bomba calabria, and La Morra’s hot honey. The partnership will culminate with a San Gennaro-style block party at Ggiata on Sunday.
Cost: The Spicy P pizza is $22 and the Cruel Summer sandwich is $18. Other costs vary.

Grab our fave Aussie-California eats at a new Larchmont location

Ongoing starting Friday, September 17
244 N Larchmont (Larchmont)
In the past few years, all-day cafe Great White has become a neighborhood favorite in Venice, thanks to superlative breakfast burritos, killer truffle pizzas, and more. Now, you can grab their seasonally focused food on Larchmont, at their brand new, breezy second location. Don't sleep on the Tremendous Burger—or the menu's dark horse, the ultra-fresh tuna conserva salad.
Cost: Varies

Hit a rooftop pool party at Broken Shaker at Freehand Hotel

Friday, September 17
Broken Shaker (Downtown)
This end-of-summer throwdown at Broken Shaker feels like classic LA, with four DJs spinning hot tunes at a hot hotel to throngs of (presumably) hot people. The party lasts from 2 pm–midnight, but head there before sundown if you plan to take a dip in the rooftop pool.
Cost: Free

Catch the mainland edition of the Catalina Film Festival

Friday, September 17–Sunday, September 19
Scottish Rite Cultural Center (Long Beach)
Though there are certainly a ton of great reasons to visit Catalina Island ASAP, you don’t actually have to go to the island to participate in the Catalina Film Festival: there’s a mainland leg of the fest this weekend in Long Beach before it moves to the island next weekend. This weekend’s lineup includes the historical feature Voodoo MacBeth, which tells the story of the Shakespearian play as it was performed by an all-Black cast (and directed by a very young Orson Welles) in Harlem in the ‘30s and a competition of horror shorts established by the inimitable Wes Craven. Can’t make it to Long Beach or Catalina for the film screenings? You can also stream them online.
Cost: Varies

Throw ‘em back at the LA Beer Festival

Saturday, September 18
LA Center Studios (DTLA)
Finally back after myriad COVID cancelations, the LA Beer Fest has been a calendar staple for over a decade, with dozens of breweries offering unlimited pours, cover bands, DJs, and—new this year—axe throwing, all adding to an overall sense of celebration and debauchery, which may be more meaningful now than ever before.
Cost: $50-$90

Hold your balance at the Pigeon Skate Pop-Up Rink

Opens Saturday, September 18
2nd And PCH (Long Beach)
Apparently actual rollerskating made a comeback during COVID, or so claim the founders of this new pop-up rink, which for the next while will be offering skate fitness, roller skate dancing, and beginner lessons, as well as open skates and private events. There’s also a pop-up retail store as part of the whole thing, with gear available as well as equipment for repairs.
Cost: Varies

Sip some LA bourbon at R6 Distillery’s anniversary party

Saturday, September 18
R6 Distillery (El Segundo)
R6 Distillery is home to LA’s first bourbon, and this Saturday they’re celebrating their 7th anniversary with a party at their tasting room and taproom where you can try their latest spirit launch, sample new cocktails, munch on bites from the Penn + Union food truck, enjoy live music, burlesque shows, cocktail competitions, and more going on all day.
Cost: Free to attend.

Enjoy a pedestrian-friendly Main Street

Saturday, September 18-Sunday, September 19
Main Street (Santa Monica)
This weekend marks the third of four monthly events that close off two blocks of Santa Monica’s busy Main Street to vehicle traffic as part of a larger campaign to permanently transform the street into a pedestrian plaza. Walk on over and find a ton of fun stuff to do, including a live music stage with different acts performing throughout the day, pilates and other fitness classes, salsa lessons, a kids area, and a ton more.
Cost: Free

Throw ‘em up at the SoCal Hoedown

Saturday, September 18
Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro)
Another pandemic-rescheduled fest happening this weekend is SoCal Hoedown, which has gone through a ton of date-and-lineup-changes before landing on this final one, which is essentially a celebration of LA’s punk rock scene, headlined by longtime legends Suicidal Tendencies and featuring stalwarts like Face To Face, Fishbone, and Horrorpops.
Cost: $54.06

Lay back at Americana in the Park

Sundays beginning September 19–Sunday, October 10
Gandara Park (Santa Monica)
This free Sunday music series runs for the next month and is curated by the always-tasteful McCabe’s Guitar Shop, which means there’s no doubt the bookings are pure quality. The first week’s program includes the West African folklorist Djeliba Baba the Storyteller and the nine-piece Masanga Marimba Ensemble; upcoming shows include NOLA jazz band The California Feetwarmers and Buena Vista Social Club collaborator Joachim Cooder.
Cost: Free

Cure your case of the Mondays and raise money for Hurricane Ida relief

Monday, September 20
Broken Shaker (Downtown)
Laissez les bon temps rouler into the work week with A Taste of New Orleans at Broken Shaker, presented by Perrier. Your ticket grants you access to complimentary award-winning cocktails and small bites, plus NOLA-style entertainment, with proceeds benefiting Turning Tables and Another Round Another Rally. The event runs from 7–10 pm and proof of vaccination is required for entry.
Cost: $20

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Jeff Miller is super excited for Halloween season. Follow him at @jeffmillerla.