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What to do in Los Angeles in October

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This post covers the best things to do in Los Angeles this October, including a top 10 list as well as a family-friendly, nighttime activities, and free things to do, all updated for 2021. 

 

 


TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN OCTOBER

This section will feature our top 10 activities to enjoy in LA throughout October. 

For tips on the most popular activities and ways to find discounts in LA, check out our other popular posts: 


1. Go to a Concert

There are a lot of concert venues in Los Angeles. We’ve listed the highlights below, but you can find information about concerts at the links listed below, or click here to find more events.

 

 

See all the concerts happening in Los Angeles.


2. Go to a Sporting Event

October is a great month to watch baseball, soccer, or women’s basketball.

Be sure to chomp on the World Famous Dodger Dog hotdog when you visit Dodger Stadium as you cheer on L.A.’s favorite baseball team.

Check here for all sporting events in Los Angeles.

 

 

Seeing a big game is a great way to spend your afternoon or evening!

For more things to do at night, check the section down below.


3. Go on a Sightseeing Tour

We offer pay-what-you-like tours and plan to introduce new tours soon or you can try our self-guided walking tours. Check out our calendar to book a guided walking tour.

 

 

If you’re looking for a bus tour, we have a great comparison of L.A.’s best. From hop-on-hop-off buses to nonstop our nighttime tours, you’ll find one to suit you here

Another option is to check out a studio tour.  See what it is like to be a working Hollywood actor or a gaffer. Or find out what a gaffer does! 


4. Attend the Theatre

Live theatre is a wonderful thing to enjoy while traveling. L.A. has a few options in October.

Both Broadway and Off-Broadway shows are just starting to get back to business as usual following the pandemic, so there won't be as many options as usual this month.

 

 

Check out all the theatrical events in Los Angeles here.


5. Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

To make the most out of your time in LA, and save a lot of money while seeing the sights, consider purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass.

 

 

You’ll pay one fee upfront and receive free or highly discounted entry into many of the city’s most popular attractions and activities.

Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.   

Read our post comparing the different LA tourist discount passes. Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.

For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in LA.


6. Attend a Film Festival

See below for a few October Film festivals taking place in Los Angeles. You never know if the films you see on the festival circuit will eventually hit it big!  

 


This photo of Hollywood is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 


7. See a Live Stand-Up Show

Los Angeles is home to some of the most famous comedians in the world, and many others are drawn to perform in the city throughout the year.

As a result, there are usually a lot of great stand-up shows happening in LA each month, and October is no different.

 

 

Here are some of the most notable comedians scheduled to perform in or around the City of Angels this month:

Check this list of comedy shows to see who else will be performing in the area this October.


8. Go to the Opera

The Los Angeles Opera will be producing at least one major show this month.

Tannhauser is scheduled to open up on October 16th and run throughout November 6th.

 

 

If you're going to be in LA earlier this month, consider getting tickets for Il Trovatore instead.

This opera is scheduled for October 3rd, October 6th, and October 10th.

Purchase tickets for the Los Angeles Opera or learn more.


9. Attend a Music Festival

There are several music festivals scheduled for October of 2021.

Whether you couldn't find a concert you wanted to attend or you just want more live music, these shows are an excellent opportunity to enjoy a variety of tunes at one event.

 

 

Check this list of music festivals to see what else is coming to Los Angeles in 2021.


10. Enjoy the Music of Nightmare Before Christmas

Fans of this classic Halloween movie won't want to miss the opportunity to attend a performance of the score from none other than Danny Elfman, the man who literally wrote the music!

 

 

This isn't the first time he has done a live performance of his music, but it has been 3 years since the last time he played the score of The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

The live-to-film concert will take place on October 29th at the Banc of California Stadium. 

Purchase tickets or learn more.


POSTPONED: L.A. Comic-Con 

October 11 - 13 is the L.A. Comic Con! Attracting nearly 100,000 people, L.A. Comic-Con is a fun pop-culture event with a lot to offer.

 

 

Held at the L.A. Convention Center downtown, this event features panels and meet-and-greet opportunities as well as over 700 vendors selling comics, collectibles, art & crafts, and so much more!

NOTE: This event has been postponed to December 2021.


UNDETERMINED: Food and Wine Festival

Enjoy the 5th annual food and wine festival on October 3-6 at Newport Beach!

The weekend includes over 40 samplings from area restaurants and chefs, over 250 tastings from breweries & wineries, intimate chef dinners and much more.

 

 

Check the website for tickets and more information.

NOTE: This event was turned into a virtual and private event for 2020 due to the pandemic, and they have yet to announce dates for 2021.

That being said, they do indicate that this event will return in October 2021.


UNDETERMINED: West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval 

One of the largest Halloween gatherings in the country, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is a street festival that takes place on Santa Monica Boulevard in WeHo.

 

 

Come dressed in costume and expect a large crowd!

The event is free to attend and runs from 6pm-10:30 pm on October 31.

See below for more Halloween events in “Things to do in the evening”.

NOTE: This event was canceled for 2020 due to the pandemic, and they have yet to announce plans for 2021.

 


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THINGS TO DO IN THE EVENING IN OCTOBER

Below is just a sampling of the many things to do at night in October.

 

 

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post Things to do at Night in LA.


Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios 

Hollywood’s Universal Studios prepares to scare this Halloween with special attractions and mazes for its Halloween Horror Nights.

Visit the park for a special sneak peek on September 12 or go throughout October.

Visitors can expect haunted mazes with these themes: Killer Clowns from Outer Space, Ghostbusters, Stranger Things, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Holidayz in Hell.  This event is fun but very spooky and not for the faint of heart.

NOTE: This event isn't confirmed for October 2021, but it will probably be back if the Covid-19 numbers are looking good by then.


Knott’s Scary Farm 

Embrace the Halloween spirit at the largest Halloween experience in SoCal! Knott’s Berry Farm completely transforms itself into a haunted haven.

 


This photo of Knott's Berry Farm Hotel is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Enjoy haunted mazes and special attractions & shows, and more than 1,000 spooky characters lurking in every corner of the park. Check the website for more information and tickets!

NOTE: This event has yet to be confirmed for 2021, but it will most likely be happening.


Dark Harbor on the Queen Mary

The historic (and haunted!) cruise ship that is docked in Long Beach offers its take on Halloween frights. Watch a séance, join a guided tour of the paranormal ship, or dine with the spirits. 

More information and tickets are available on the website.


Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park

The ultimate Halloween scare takes place at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park. Guests can visit the Haunted Village, take part in a Haunted Hayride, visit the House of Shadows, and “Trick-or-Treat” nightly.

This event can be frightful and is not recommended for children under the age of 12. Check the website for more details and tickets!


Tales from the Other Side Tour

During the daytime Paramount offers movie studio tours but at night in the autumn through November 3, they offer a nighttime tour of the Hollywood cemetery. 

This famous resting place is the home of many of Hollywood’s favorite stars like Judy Garland, Cecil B. Demille, and Rudolph Valentino.

Champagne and movie candy is included in your ticket price.


Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Head up north to Santa Clarita to Magic Mountain theme park if you are a thrill-seeking rollercoaster lover.  Stick around as the sun goes down for Fright Fest

You can expect creepy characters and haunted mazes throughout the park.  The evening activities might be too spooky for kids.

NOTE: This event has yet to be scheduled for October 2021, but considering that they have scheduled activities for Independence Day of 2021, chances are this will eventually be planned out.


Zombie Fest

Looking for a truly unique experience?  Try heading to Longbeach on for a three-day-long zombie fest invasion!  Be sure to buy tickets in advance for this event.  

NOTE: This event was postponed in 2019 and 2020, so we aren't sure whether or not it will return in 2021.


Attend a Movie Screening

Could anything be more LA than spending time in front of the silver screen? It’s even better when you can watch them outside on a nice summer night! 

Street Food Cinema is a series of summer movies that partner with food trucks!  Each date is at a different location in Los Angeles. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance!  

For more outdoor movie screenings, see our Los Angeles Summer Guide.

NOTE: There are no screenings currently scheduled for October 2021, but that could change in the lead-up months.


Check out a Los Angeles Bar

There are many places to get a good drink in L.A.  Below are just a sample of suggestions.

Go to the 7 Grand for a great whiskey bar. If you are a rum lover- head to Pouring With Heart. 

The Slipper Clutch is like an 80s punk rock scene.  Cocktails are super fancy but not super expensive since they are pre-batched.   

 


This photo of Cicada Restaurant is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Want to go back in time to a Hollywood-style swing bar?  Go to the Cicada Club.

Looking for a themed- bar?  Try Scum & Villainy in Hollywood- It is a STAR WARS themed bar.

Want a really interesting experience?  Look for Hollywood’s favorite speakeasy No Vacancy.


See an Improv Or Comedy Show

L.A. is well known for comedy and improv. You may be seeing seasoned Los Angeles improvisers, you might catch a group of students, or you may be in on a night when Aziz Ansari is trying out new material.

Below are just a few places to catch an evening comedy show.  

Improvisation

Stand-Up Comedy

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, read the other sections of this post or our post on things to do at night in LA.

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES IN OCTOBER

There are lots of things to do in L.A. with families!

 

 

Here are a few more kid-friendly activities for the month of October.


See a Movie at the El Capitan Theatre

The historic theatre in Hollywood (it opened in 1926!) offers films with a little extra magic that children and families love. Now owned by Disney, movie-goers can often expect confetti to fall from the ceiling, live singing, and appearances by Disney cast members.


Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair 

Attend Hometown Fair in Manhattan Beach October 2nd and 3rd of 2021. This event has a lot to offer for people of all ages. Spend the day strolling through over 300 arts & crafts vendors, enjoy local live music, and take in the artwork of local amateur artists. Additionally, enjoy food and beverage booths raising money for local non-profits.


Celebrate Halloween at a Pumpkin Patch

Head to one of the local farms nearby for corn mazes, apple cider, hayrides, and fun for all ages.  


Aids Walk 10K

A 10K walking event that benefits a number of AIDS and HIV charities, AIDS Walk Los Angeles begins and ends in Grand Park and on the steps of City Hall in downtown LA. Check the website for more information and to register!


Boo at the Zoo

Throughout most of October, visit the L.A. for Boo at the Zoo- a family-fun event!  There will be Halloween themed activities as well as opportunities to see the animals!

NOTE: This has yet to be scheduled for October 2021, but it will most likely be happening this year.


Visit the Automotive Museum

Vintage car lovers flock to the Petersen Automotive Museum where its extensive collection studies the history of the automobile and its impact on culture. 

 


This photo of Petersen Automotive Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Check out over 250 vehicles in the “vault” as well as a number of rotating exhibits.  For kiddos, there is a super cool Disney Pixar Cars exhibit where you can work to create your own virtual race car.


Zimmer Children’s Museum

LA’s Zimmer Children’s Museum by Sharewell is loaded with hands-on and interactive exhibits for little ones to enjoy! 

Located on the Miracle Mile of museums on LA’s westside, the museum also offers classes and an art walk. 

Tickets are $7.50; children under 1 are free.

For more ideas of things to do with kids in LA, see our post Things to do in LA with Kids.

Make sure to have a look at our Los Angeles Summer Guide for dozens of things to do, including free activities, festivals, and family-friendly events that happen only in the summer! 

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES IN OCTOBER

Los Angeles always has free events for the whole family to attend. In fact, some of the events we’ve listed above are also free to attend!

 

 

For even more free activities, see our Guide to Free Things to Do in LA.


Avocado Fest

The annual Avocado fest in Carpinteria, California typically takes place in early October.  It boasts that it is the largest FREE music festival in California and also has the world’s largest vat of guacamole.

Could there be anything more California than a festival that celebrates avocados?  The event is family-friendly and has free admission!


Greek Fest

The 21st annual Greek Fest will be held in L.A.  at St. Sophia Cathedral.  While admission is free, the food is not free! 

So you may want to bring a few bucks for some tasty Greek snacks.  This event is great for the whole family with music and activities.

NOTE: This event was postponed in 2020, and there are not yet any details about their plans for 2021.


Pasadena Art Walk

If you love art, head to Pasadena in October for the annual Art Walk. There will be jewelry, drawing, photography, and sculpture. Admission to this event is free and all ages are welcome.

NOTE: This event has yet to be confirmed for October 2021.


Fall Festival at The Original Farmers Market

Take the family to The Original Farmers Market to celebrate the fall harvest on October 9.

This annual free festival will also include arts & crafts vendors, artisan demonstrations, and a children’s petting zoo. Check back on the website for updated dates and information!

Admission is free!

NOTE: This event has yet to be confirmed for October 2021.


Brewery ArtWalk

This free event in October offers the opportunity for those in Los Angeles to come to the world’s largest art complex to discover new artwork, speak with artists, and purchase their artwork!

Food will also be available for purchase at the on-site restaurant. For more information on Brewery ArtWalk, see the website.


Downtown LA Oktoberfest 

People of all ages are welcome to visit Pershing Square in downtown LA for a weekend full of German (and local craft) beer, Bavarian treats like bratwursts and pretzels, live music, and a whole lot of fun!

This Oktoberfest offers free admission and will take place from 12pm-8pm on October 27.

NOTE: This event has yet to be confirmed for October 2021.


Day of the Dead Displays

Venture to Grand Park in downtown L.A. to see the amazing Dia de Los Muertos displays October 28 - November 4. 

There will be free-guided lunchtime tours and  50 altars and art installations created by local artists.  

NOTE: This event has yet to be confirmed for October 2021.


Public Star Party at Griffith Park Observatory 

One Saturday every month, the Observatory hosts a night where guests can try amazing telescopes between 2pm-9:45 pm on the lawn.  You can also check out the free museum while you are there!

NOTE: Although this event has yet to be confirmed for October 2021, chances are it will be taking place if the Covid-19 numbers are at safe levels.


Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

MOCA Grand offers free admission to all visitors.

 


This photo of Omni Los Angeles at California Plaza is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It’s a great way to introduce children to contemporary art and begin the conversation about what defines something as art. 


Free Museum Days at the La Brea Tar Pits

Millions of animal and plant fossils have been discovered at the tar pits.  Come check out the story that they tell at the museum. Every Tuesday in September is free at the La Brea Tar Pits!

NOTE: While they aren't currently offering free days at the La Brea Tar Pits, there are several ways to get free or discounted admission.

 


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About The Author

Mel

Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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