Catch a concert under the stars (while you still can)
Few amphitheaters are more magical than The Hollywood Bowl nestled in the Hollywood Hills. Yes, getting in and out is never fun, but once you get there as the sun is setting, indulge in a gourmet picnic and a few bottles of wine, and then catch an amazing act, you’ll have forgotten all about that LA traffic... until it’s time to head home, at least. Though the Bowl is synonymous with summer around here, the season runs all the way through October. Between now and then, you can catch performances by Gary Clark, Jr., Vampire Weekend, Lana Del Rey, and The Who -- a band that’s on the schedule three times in October as they continue to pretend they’re going to retire.
Settle in for story time
If you’re one of those people who can totally transcend cocktail party fodder with an entertaining story that warrants gasps and guffaws, you just might want to try spilling your guts to a real audience at one of the open-mic StorySLAM sessions held weekly around the city, as part of long-running series The Moth. Not into public speaking? Simply buy a ticket and watch as a slew of storytellers get five minutes each, telling tales centered around a single theme ranging from fear to scandal to joy. Venues, dates, and pricing vary, and you can buy tickets online.
Find yourself stupefied inside a magic castle...
The legendary Magic Castle is, sleight-of-hands-down, one of the coolest venues in LA. You’re inside an old Victorian mansion stuffed with antiques and artifacts, and there’s entertainment lurking around every corner -- from a ghost taking requests on the piano to Houdini séances to roving magicians blowing your mind with card tricks while you’re waiting for your martini at one of the many, many groovy bars. Then, there are the wow-worthy scheduled shows that take place in various spaces around the castle all night long. Here’s the catch (because of course, there is a catch): The Magic Castle is a private clubhouse for members of The Academy of Magical Arts, so you can only visit as the guest of a member. Before you insist you don’t know a single real-life magician, though, start asking friends and friends of friends now. You’d be surprised how often someone like Blake in accounting’s husband’s childhood friend can totally get you in. Also note that you’ll have to splurge on dinner in the restaurant before they’ll let you loose in the castle. Just eat quickly.
...or hit another Hollywood magic show
If you haven’t yet found your in for the castle but still want to see some magic, dammit, you’ve got some nearby options: The Magic Show at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel recently announced that it’s bringing in magic savant Franco Pascali for a weekend residency. The 21-year-old is already a Magic Castle alum and reportedly does a mind-blowing show of magic and mentalism. Down the street, nightlife powerhouses the Houston brothers’ retro-sexy lounge-restaurant Black Rabbit Rose comes replete with an intimate theater attached, boasting top-notch magicians Thursday through Saturday nights.