Fun Things to Do on a Summer Night in Los Angeles

  • 01 of 06

    Summer Fun, After the Sun Goes Down

    Nighttime skyline view of Los Angeles, California, looking west toward the setting sun
    ••• Los Angeles at Night. Buyenlarge / Getty Images

    If you're looking for something to do on a summer night in Los Angeles, we've got you covered.

    You can go to the movies at the boring old cineplex, hit the clubs or go shopping almost any night of the year, but that's not what this list is about. We went looking for things to do on a summer evening, the kind of fun activities you can only do in summer, or those that are much more fun when the days are long and the nights are mild.

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  • 02 of 06

    Movies Outdoors

    Cinespia Presents Summer Screening Of 'Mean Girls' At Hollywood Forever Cemetery
    ••• Cinespia Presents Summer. Joe Scarnici / Getty Images

    A drive-in movie was once a rite of summer, but drive-in theaters are a rarity these days. That doesn't mean that you can't go out and watch a film under the stars in Los Angeles. These are some of the most fun ways to do it:

    • Cinespia: Another fun, outdoor film series happens at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where they screen a series of films, most Saturdays all summer.
    • Eat | See | Hear: It's a food truck fest, an outdoor movie series, and a concert, all rolled into one. It happens in a different location every summer Saturday.
    • Vineland Drive-In: It's the last real, old-fashioned drive-in movie left in the LA area, in the City of Industry east of downtown. And they show first-run movies, too.
    • Street Food Cinema: This one happens in parks around town, with outdoor movies, tasty food trucks and live music every Saturday all summer long.
    • Roof Top Cinema Club: Held on rooftops of some of the coolest buildings in Los Angeles. It o ffers comfy seating, wireless headphones,...MORE iconic movies and spectacular views.
    • More Outdoor Movies: Many LA area communities and hotels sponsor outdoor films. Local CBS television has a round-up.
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  • 03 of 06

    Music and Theatre Outdoors

    Hollywood Bowl Presents A Chorus Line
    ••• Hollywood Bowl. WireImage / Getty Images

    A summer evening concert is one of the pleasures of the LA area's mild weather and cool evenings.

    Hollywood Bowl: We've loved The Bowl since our first visit more than a decade ago, and it's still our favorite place for a summer evening concert.

    Greek Theatre: Often rated as North America’s Best Small Outdoor Venue by entertainment industry magazines, The Greek features a summer-long schedule of musical performances.

    Ford Amphitheater: The Ford is both affordable and fun, with lots of great, innovative shows and prices that won't break your budget.

    Grand Performances: Held outdoors around an open-air stage surrounded by beautiful fountains - in the middle of downtown - this concert series is free.

    KCRW Twilight Concert Series: Sponsored by a local radio station, this summer evening concert series happens at the Santa Monica Pier. It has the best price: free!

    Summer of Soul at the Hammer: Also sponsored by KCRW, this series features music Made in L.A. Admission is free, and...MORE parking costs less than a cup of Starbucks.

    Theatre Outdoors 

    If you'd rather watch actors than musicians, try these:

    Theatricum Botanicum: In Topanga Canyon. This small theatre company puts on annual performances of Shakespeare, the classics, and new works - in a very pretty outdoor setting

    Summer Theatre Festivals: A number of Shakespeare festivals and other outdoor dramas take the stage in LA during the summer.

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  • 04 of 06

    Summer Night Food and Festivals

    Dancing at Chinatown Summer Nights
    ••• Dancing at Chinatown Summer Nights. Eric Chan/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

     They don't happen every week, but these nights or twilight food fests are fun enough to plan ahead for.

    626 Night Market: It was the first Asian night market in California, held in Pasadena (whose telephone area code is 626)  for a few weekends from early July thru early September.

    LA Street Food Fest: Held in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl, this event may be the one that thrust LA's street food scene into everyone's consciousness. Held on a Saturday in July.

    Chinatown Summer Nights: It's a food event (think food truck fest) and partly a Chinese cultural festival. It's held downtown over a few weekends between mid-June and early August.

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  • 05 of 06

    More Fun Summer Nights

    Los Angeles Dodgers
    ••• Los Angeles Dodgers Playing at Night. Andrew D. Bernstein / Getty Images

     Sports and Mother Nature round out our collection of cool things to do on a warm summer night.

    Go to a Dodgers Game: Dodger Stadium is near downtown and a great place to watch a night game

    Go to an Angels Game: If your allegiances like the guys who wear the red uniforms, they play at night, too.

    Watch the Grunion Run: They're fish, and the don't really run, but they do put on quite a show when they come ashore to spawn during the full moon (or the new one). At some Los Angeles beaches, you'll find "Grunion Greeters" on hand to explain and help you get the most out of being there.

    See the Red Tide Glow: During the day red tides can be an unpleasant sight and smell. But at night it can be magical. Tiny organisms glow with an electric-blue color when they are moved. Whan a wave crashes at night, so many of them do that at once that you can see a brilliant flash of light lining the wave's crest.

    See Fish Fly: Over on Catalina Island, just 26 miles offshore, the fish do...MORE fly. It's summer phenomenon and something you won't soon forget.

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  • 06 of 06

    More Things You Can Do in Los Angeles

    Downtown LA at Night
    ••• Downtown LA at Night. flickr Editorial/Getty Images / Getty Images

     There's a lot more to do in Los Angeles, day and night, any time of the year. You may also want to take a look at some less well-known LA attractions that are really fun to visit.

    Do you want your kids to have fun in Los Angeles? Here's where to take them.

    To keep your spending in check, just use the guide to things to do for free in Los Angeles.

    It might rain in the winter. Here's what to do in LA when it's raining. After dark, find out what you can do at night in LA.

    Things Not to Do in LA

    There are some tourist traps you may want to avoid in LA, but you also don't want to get arrested, surf at the wrong beach, sound like a doofus or freak out over weird driving. You can learn how to avoid them all in this guide to What Not to Do in Los Angeles.