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Events & Activities

Looking for something to do this summer? Whether you're looking for relaxation, a good meal, respite from the heat or adventure, there are a wide range of activities to help make the most of your summer. Here are dozens from which to choose.


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June

Idyllwild Plein Air Festival

Idyllwild Plein Air Festival

A laid-back town nestled high in the San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild is a place to "get away from it all." But it's even more charming when local artists set up shop to paint outside during the Plein Air Festival.

Cost: Plein Air Festival free to watch

Dates: Plein Air Festival, June 7-9

Contact info: Idyllwild; http://artallianceofidyllwild.memberlodge.org

Photo credit: Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times

Taste of the Nation

Taste of the Nation

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Taste of the Nation is hosting a food festival on June 9 at Media Park in Culver City. FIG, Superba Snack Bar, Paiche, Border Grill, Ray’s and Stark Bar, Plan Check, Cliff’s Edge, CHAYA, M Café, Loteria Grill, littlefork, MB Post, and Fishing with Dynamite are all slated to participate. Cost: $110 for general admission

Date: June 9

More info: FIG, Littlefork, more participate in Taste of the Nation food festival in Culver City

Photo credit: Glen Lipton

Los Angeles Gay Pride

Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade and Festival

Join about 500,000 people as they celebrate gay pride in Los Angeles. The parade was first held in 1970, and this year's will go from Crescent Heights to Robertson along Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Performers at this year's festival include singer Ciara and the Pointer Sisters. If you can't make Los Angeles pride, drive up to the Bay Area for San Francisco Pride, June 29-30, or head south to San Diego Pride, July 12-14.

Cost: Parade free; $20 admission for festival admission

Dates: Parade begins at 11 a.m. June 9; festival is noon to midnight June 8 and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 9

Info: http://lapride.org

Photo credit: Christina House / For The Times

L.A. Film Festival

L.A. Film Festival

The festival opens with the premiere of Pedro Almodóvar's "I'm So Excited" and runs through June 23 with many more screenings in between. Discussions with director Spike Jonze as well as Spirit of Independence Award winning director, David O. Russell, shown here, are on the agenda for the festival.

Cost: $13 for all regular screenings, conversations and talks

Dates: June 13-23

Contact info: http://www.lafilmfest.com/

Photo credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Santa Barbara Summer Solstice

Santa Barbara Summer Solstice

Drive up the 101 to the annual Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade and Celebration. The festival started in 1974 as a birthday celebration for artist and mime Michael Gonzales, and has morphed into a spectacle involving floats, giant puppets and dance troupes.

Cost: Free

Dates: The festival runs from June 21 to 23 (with the parade on June 22)

Contact info: http://www.solsticeparade.com/index.php/parade

Photo credit: Patricia Clarke

Young Guns food festival

Young Guns food festival

The food blog Eater is gathering the "superstar chefs of tomorrow" for its Young Guns Eve event, taking place at LACMA on June 23. Attendees can sample dishes from a secret roster of up-and-coming chefs, partake in a three-hour open bar and watch musical guest Yellow Red Sparks perform.

Cost: $95

Date: 6-9 p.m. June 23

Info: http://eater.com/young-guns/

Photo credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Family Music Festival

Family Music Festival

Do the twist surrounded by beautiful trees and plants as you listen to music from Chubby Checker, Ben E. King and Jay and the Americans for an afternoon of fun at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia. Children under 12 are free.

Cost: $14 for arboretum members; $20 for the general public

Date: June 23

Info: www.arboretum.org

Photo credit: Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times

Cherry picking

Cherry picking

If you're picky about cherries, pick your own. Villa del Sol cherry farm in the Leona Valley, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, offers about 3,600 picking trees on 25 acres. The orchard grows five varieties, including the popular bing and the colorful rainier. Once you pluck enough cherries for a nice picnic, drive to nearby Lake Elizabeth for lunch by the water.

Cost: Admission is free; cherries $3.50 a pound

Dates: It will stay open until somewhere between June 20 and the end of the month, weather permitting.

Info: http://www.upickcherries.com

Photo credit: Jason La / Los Angeles Times

July

Mr. and Ms. Muscle Beach

Mr. and Ms. Muscle Beach

Take your Independence Day festivities to Venice and admire the men and women who have dedicated many hours sculpting their bodies to compete at the 2013 Mr. and Ms. Muscle Beach.

Cost: Free

Date: July 4

Info: www.musclebeachvenice.com

Photo credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

French Festival

French Festival

Grab your fellow Francophile and be a bon vivant at the annual French Festival in Santa Barbara's Oak Park. Spread some pate on a baguette and gaze at the huge mock Eiffel Tower erected especially for the event. With 40 acts on three stages, you won't lack for entertainment.

Cost: Free

Dates: July 13 and 14

Info: http://www.frenchfestival.com

Photo credit: Shannon Jordan Photography

Day of the Cowboy and Cowgirl

Day of the Cowboy and Cowgirl

Celebrate the annual Day of the Cowboy and Cowgirl at the Autry National Center with crafts, demonstrations and, of course, some classic barbecue. Yee-haw!

Cost: $11 for museum admission

Date: July 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact info: http://theautry.org/

Photo credit: Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy Garlic Festival

If you love the stinking rose, you'll love the Gilroy Garlic Festival. It's three days of garlic, crafts and live entertainment. The festival features cooking competitions, demonstrations from acclaimed chefs and a Garlic Festival Queen.

Cost: $17 for general admission

Dates: July 26-28

Contact info: 7050 Miller Ave., Gilroy; http://www.gilroygarlicfestival.com

Photo credit: Gilroy Garlic Festival

Pageant of the Masters

Pageant of the Masters

Art imitates life, but life also imitates good art. The Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach features more than three dozen living recreations of great works of art over 90 minutes, including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Nicola Salva's Trevi Fountain and Johannes Vermeer's "Allegory of Painting." The theme for this year's pageant is "The Big Picture," which is a tribute to motion pictures and how art inspired film.

Cost: General admission starts at $15 and includes admission to the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts

Dates: July 7 - Aug. 31

Info: www.foapom.com

Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Santa Monica Pier Concerts

The Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert Series

Grab a bite to eat on the promenade then snag a spot on the pier as it transforms into a concert arena. Each night features a different theme, with '80s pop rock bands, reggae bands and salsa dancers all slated to perform. You can also put your dancing skills to the test at a tango lesson on Aug. 25.

Cost: Free

Dates: Saturdays, from July 11 to Sept. 12

Info: http://santamonicapier.org

Photo credit: Kevin Sullivan

Orange County Fair

Orange County Fair

The fair's selection of fried foods should be enough to lure you, but if you desire more, you'll also find rides, games, exhibits, shopping, demolition derbies, rodeos and live entertainment. Performers this year include Colbie Caillat, The Go-Go's and Weezer among others.

Cost: $12 for general admission

Dates: Wednesdays to Sundays, July 12 - Aug. 11

Info: http://www.ocfair.com

Photo credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

August / September

X Games

X Games

With plans to move to a different city in 2014, this is the final year that the X Games will be held in downtown Los Angeles. Take a look at the competitions going on, including motocross, skateboarding, BMX, RallyCross and more.

Cost: Varies by event

Dates: Aug. 1-4

Info: http://xgames.espn.go.com/

Photo credit: Patrick T. Fallon

Nisei Week

Nisei Week

Two weekends of events mark the return of Nisei Week in Little Tokyo, Aug. 10-18. It's a mix of pop culture — an Anime & Cosplay contest takes place on Aug. 12 — and traditional, with many events to draw the crowds. The Grand Parade winds its way through Little Tokyo on Aug. 12 with cultural exhibits throughout the next week, including ikebana flower arranging, martial arts budo tournament and even a gyoza-eating contest on Aug. 18.

Cost: Varies by event

Dates: Aug. 10-18

Info: www.niseiweek.org

Photo credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Long Beach sand sculpting

Long Beach Great Sand Sculpture Contest

One of the nation's oldest sand-sculpting competitions, the Long Beach Great Sand Sculpture Contest has been held for almost eight decades. Festivities include live music, a beach party and brunch. Cost: Free

Dates: Aug. 10 and 11

Contact info: http://lbsandcastle.com/

Photo credit: Alfredo's Beach Club

Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Meteor Shower

Head away from the city lights for the best views of this meteor shower. Optimal viewing times this year include the mornings of Aug. 11, 12 and 13.

Cost: Free

Dates: Aug. 10-13

Contact info: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/earthskys-meteor-shower-guide

Photo credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Tchaikovsky and fireworks

Tchaikovsky and fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl

What better way to spend a summer night than under the stars listening to classical music? The acclaimed Los Angeles Philharmonic will play works from composer Tchaikovsky. The closing piece is the "1812 Overture," which is accompanied by fireworks.

Cost: General admission starts at $17

Dates: Aug. 16 and 17

Contact info: 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/

Photo credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Free national parks admission

Free national parks admission

The National Park Service celebrates its 97th anniversary on Aug. 25. To mark the occasion, the service is offering free admission to its 400-plus properties, 26 of which are in California. Visit Joshua Tree to go bouldering in Hidden Valley (pictured) or Sequoia National Park to see General Sherman, the world's largest tree by volume. If you miss this date, there's also National Public Lands Day on Sept. 28 and Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 9-11.

Cost: Free

Dates: Aug. 25

Info: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

Photo credit: Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times

Ongoing

626 Night Market

626 Night Market

The largest Asian night market in America will be hosting three weekends of markets this summer with more than 150 vendors, live musical acts, artists, films, and games. Join the 626 area code at Santa Anita Race Track on June 8-9, July 6-7, and Aug. 3-4 from 4 p.m. until midnight. 285 W. Huntington Dr, Arcadia. Cost: Free admission

Dates: June 8-9, July 6-7, and Aug. 3-4

Contact info: http://www.626nightmarket.com/index.html

More food events: Food festivals to fill your summer weekends

Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Yamashiro Farmers Market

Yamashiro Farmers Market

For a farmers market with the best view in the city check out Yamashiro's version every Thursday in the Hollywood Hills. You can indulge in the original sake miso cod or hoisin duck confit tacos, take in the live music and do a little hipster watching over a glass of red wine.

Cost: Market admission free

Dates: Every Thursday through September

Contact info: http://lacityfarm.com/our-markets/yamashiro/

Photo credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Chinatown Summer Nights

Chinatown Summer Nights

Described as a "part food event, part summer party," this summer's three Chinatown Summer Nights on June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17, will have food trucks, cooking demonstrations, a beer garden, hands-on cultural activities, and live music and dancing from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Cost: Free

Date: June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17

Contact info: http://chinatownsummernights.com/

More food events: Food festivals to fill your summer weekends

Photo credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Los Angeles River

Los Angeles River

In May, a 2 1/2-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River opened to recreational users. From sunrise to sunset, visitors can walk, boat, fish or kayak on the river until Labor Day. The scenery can be a little concrete-heavy, but you'll get a chance to explore a slice of Los Angeles you've probably driven by hundreds of times and never really seen.

Cost: Free

Dates: Until Sept. 2

More info: L.A. River opens to kayakers, fishermen

Photo credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Sunday sessions at Grand Park

Sunday sessions at Grand Park

Downtown L.A.'s new urban park is the setting for family-friendly electronic music shows every last Sunday in the summer. Enjoy the beats from local and international DJs and producers, and if all that dancing makes you hungry or thirsty, just strut over to the nearby food trucks or get an upscale cocktail from Pattern Bar.

Cost: Free

Dates: Last Sunday of each month until August

Info: http://grandparkla.org/ai1ec_event/grand-park-sunday-sessions

Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Friday night wine tastings

Friday night wine tastings at Barnsdall Art Park

It's true you can drink wine all over the city on a Friday night, but sipping vino as the sun sets at Barnsdall Art Park takes the imbibing to another level. SilverLake Wines provides the selections and all you have to do is enjoy the view. Proceeds go to Barnsdall Art Park Foundation programs and projects.

Cost: $25

Dates: Friday nights, May 24-Aug. 30

Info: http://www.barnsdall.org/events/friday-night-wine-tastings

Photo credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu / For The Times

Tender Greens beer garden

Tender Greens beer garden

This summer is the third year that the Hollywood outpost of the fast-and-fresh salad chain Tender Greens will host a monthly beer garden and whole animal roast on the remodeled patio just off Sunset Boulevard. The dinners are $45 per person and feature unlimited pours of the featured brews and enough food that you'll wish you'd brought your hollow leg. Seating is limited to about 50 diners, and reservations go quickly.

Cost: $45 per person

Dates: Fourth Sunday of each month until October

More info: Tender Greens' upcoming whole animal roasts and beer garden schedule

Photo credit: Julie Verive

Eat See Hear

Eat See Hear

Sit under the stars for a night of entertainment, live music and food trucks. Watch a 52-foot-wide projection screen and enjoy food from the Coolhaus truck, Ludo Truck and more. Some of the live bands scheduled to play include Honeypie, Max & the Moon and Branches.

Cost: $10

Dates: Saturdays until Sept. 14

Contact info: http://eatseehear.com/

Photo credit: Lori Shepler

Little Saigon Night Market

Little Saigon Night Market

In tropical Vietnam, night markets are essential for escaping the summer heat. Fortunately, you can enjoy a Vietnamese night market without traveling farther than Orange County, as the Little Saigon Night Market returns for its third year in June. Enjoy cold sugar cane juice or egg rolls at one of the food stands. If you're looking to do a little shopping, offerings will include clothing, home goods and flowers.

Cost: Free

Dates: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, June 14-Sept. 1

Contact info: Asian Garden Mall, 9200 Bolsa Ave., Westminster; http://www.asiangardenmall.com/seasonal-events/summer-night-market

Photo credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Attention, nerds

Attention, nerds

Indulge your need to be nerdy and attend Nerd Nite: a monthly gathering at WitzEnd in Venice, where people can listen to 15-minute lectures on a nerdy topic by an expert. Past topics include space travel, the psychology of superheroes and gorilla conservation. The event is open to all ages, but there are drinks available for those who want to imbibe.

Cost: $10

Dates: Second Tuesday of every month

Info: https://www.facebook.com/NerdNiteLA

Photo credit: Allison Knight

Santa Monica Stairs

Santa Monica Stairs

If you are planning to hit the barbecue circuit this summer, let yourself eat with abandon by beginning the day with a workout. Why not try the stairs near 4th Street and Adelaide Drive in Santa Monica? (People love it on Yelp!)

Cost: Free

More info: Climbing the prettiest stairs in town

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Griffith Observatory Star Party

Griffith Observatory Star Party

In Los Angeles, a movie star might pop up around any corner, but thanks to smog and city lights, stars in the sky are harder to find. Look upward with the help of astronomers and their telescopes at the Griffith Observatory's monthly star party. Cost: Free

Dates: June 15, July 13, Aug. 17, Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Dec. 7

Contact info: www.griffithobservatory.org/pstarparties.html

Photo credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Griffith Park Night Hike

Griffith Park Night Hike

Hike Griffith Park — at night. On most weeknights around 7, new and avid hikers start from the merry-go-round parking lot in Griffith Park and begin the haul up fire roads and footpaths that lead straight into L.A.'s wild heart.

Cost: Free

More info: Griffith Park night hikes place L.A. at your feet

Photo credit: Ken Hively

Hike the Ocean Floor

Hike the Ocean Floor

Take a hike on the ocean floor — no diving experience or swimming skills needed. You'll walk through kelp forests, see schools of anchovies, mackerels and maybe even a sea lion.

More info: Santa Catalina Island: A chance to walk the ocean floor

Photo credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Flower shopping

Flower shopping

Brighten up your home or workplace and shop for a bouquet (or three) at the Flower District in Downtown Los Angeles. Wander the rows of colorful flowers and find great bargains for your lonely vases.

Info: www.laflowerdistrict.com/

Photo credit: Google Maps

Escondido Canyon Park hike

Escondido Canyon Park hike with dog

This one-mile trail leads to the base of Escondido Falls, a beautiful, 150-foot multi-tiered waterfall. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.

Cost: Free

Info: www.lamountains.com/parks

Photo credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Cinespia

Cinespia

Pack a blanket and snacks for a film screening under the stars every Saturday throughout the summer at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Price: $12; parking $8 to $15

Contact info: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd; http://www.cinespia.org

Photo credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

Saturdays at the Getty

Saturdays off the 405 at the Getty

The Getty offers live indie band performances, DJ sets and art tours this summer, all against the backdrop of the museum's panoramic views of Los Angeles.

Cost: Free admission; $15 for parking, $10 after 5 p.m. on Saturdays

Dates: Summer dates include June 15, July 13 and July 27

Contact info: The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles; www.getty.edu

Photo credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Conservancy tour

Los Angeles Conservancy tour

Take a walk and learn a bit about the historic architecture of downtown Los Angeles.

Cost: $10 for general public

Dates: Weekend mornings

Contact info: http://lac.laconservancy.org

Photo credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Palm Springs Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

During this 10-minute ride, you'll climb nearly 6,000 feet, from Chino Canyon to near the top of Mt. San Jacinto. At the top, take in the scenery and grab a bite at Peaks Restaurant.

Cost: $23.95 for round trip adult fare

Contact info: 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs; www.pstramway.com

Photo credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Tour the Queen Mary

Tour the Queen Mary

For more than 40 years the Queen Mary has been docked in Long Beach as a land-based cruise ship and hotel. Spend a day exploring the art deco design and take one of the walking tours. Focus on the ship's haunted encounters or the ship's involvement in World War II.

Cost: $24.95 for general admission

Contact info: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach; www.queenmary.com

Photo credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Summer Planning

Whether you're looking for summer recipes, travel destinations or wardrobe ideas, here are articles to help you plan your summer.