|Summer in L.A. is all about the experience and not so much about the money. Grab your friends and a cooler, a blanket, and a picnic. You'll find plenty of summer events and low cost al fresco entertainment all over town.|
Levitt Pavilions - free concerts during the summer
FREE CONCERTS: Some of the best things in summer are free. Look around you're own neighborhood. You'll find free concerts, film screenings and theatre in parks, shopping centers, museums, and other nooks and crannies that have a patch of grass or some asphalt to setup a stage and some seating in...
Look for Grand Performances beginning in June at the California Plaza and Summer Concerts & Movies at Pershing Square in July & August. Both Levitt Pavilions (links above) have a full schedule of free concerts in the park starting mid June, and in the San Fernando Valley go to Concerts On the Green at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills. Chinatown offers three Summer Nights dance party and food events this summer: June 27th, July 25th, August 22nd.
Warner Park in Woodland Hills has free concerts on Sundays. Beginning in July they'll also have free movies on Saturdays.
FRIDAY NIGHT JAZZ at LACMA
Museums throughout L.A. have special events or regularly schedule outdoor music. Try Jazz at LACMA on Friday evenings, and Saturdays Off the 405 at the Getty.
Grand Performances Downtown L.A.
FREE MOVIES: because the technology that makes outdoor screens possible has become so readily available, chances are there are free movie screenings in a park or parking lot near you. In fact many of the free concert venues mentioned above also offer free movies. Movies On the Green at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills is one. A new venue is Grand Park downtown where you'll find a busy calendar of events all year round. Keep an eye on the Parks page and the Film page for outdoor movies near you.
NOT FREE but incredibly popular - Cinespia continues showing movies in the cemetery (at Hollywood Forever) this year and their summer season is already in full swing. Or the open all year Electric Dusk Drive-in in downtown LA.
Summer season is Shakespeare season. The Will GeerTheatricum Botanicum - Shakespeare and other classics are performed in repertory all summer long on a stage in a forest in Topanga Canyon. FREE Shakespeare from the Independent Shakespeare Co. - at the old zoo in Griffith Park, also free - Shakespeare by the Sea (and a few other parks not so by the sea).
Summer is county fair season. The Orange County Fair (July) in Costa Mesa - Along with the usual fair food and festivities look for major entertainment at the Pacific Amphitheatre. The Ventura County Fair is the coolest fair in August. The fair grounds are right next to the beach. The Los Angeles County Fair wraps up the season starting Labor Day weekend.
L.A. SUMMER OUTDOOR TRADITIONS:
The Hollywood Bowl is perhaps the quintessential summer concert experience and they have some great entertainment lined up this year. Spend the big bucks if you really care about the performance - the performers are only specks in the distance if you sit much beyond the boxes. Or buy the cheap seats (actually better for the fireworks performances) and just go for the experience with your friends. Driving and parking can be a very trying experience, but the Bowl offers buses and shuttles to and from the venue, which makes getting there much less of a hassle. Bringing your own picnic and drinks, makes this a very affordable night out.
Just across the freeway, the much smaller Ford Amphitheatre provides a more intimate outdoor experience - all of the seats are good (less than 100 feet from the stage) and reasonably priced. You can bring your picnic and wine to enjoy prior to the show in their beautiful gardens. The entertainment is eclectic, diverse and often unusual. Go for the experience in this beautiful setting.
You can't take a picnic and getting there and parking can be a nightmare, but it is hard to beat the beautiful setting and the summer lineup you'll find at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park.
And this is just an overview of some of our favorite hot summer spots. You'll find lots more places to go and things to do this summer on the Eye Spy LA CALENDAR
--Andrea Kirk (editor@eyespyLA.com)