This guide is all about things to do in Los Angeles in the summer, updated for 2019. We include a Top 10 list, free things to do, concerts, sports, family-friendly activities, festivals, more!
- Top 10 Things to Do in Summer in LA
- Free Things to Do
- What to Pack
- How's the Weather
This is a Top 10 list of things to do in Los Angeles in summer.
For those on a budget, you'll appreciate the many free activities from outdoor festivals, concerts, and movies, theater, and more.
Some of the best things to do in summer in LA do charge a fee, so you might want to consider looking into buying a tourist discount pass.
These passes include free entry to popular attractions and activities that are perfect for a summer trip.
There are several different types of passes, so be sure to read our comparison post to learn about how you can save the most money on your trip.
Several of the items below are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
Be sure to check out our master post, Things to Do in Los Angeles, for even more ideas
1. Take a Sightseeing Tour
There's plenty to see in Los Angeles and one way to see it is on foot! You have several different options for walking tours.
For example, we offer a pay-what-you-wish guided Downtown Los Angeles walking tour. There are other companies as well who offer similar walking tours for a fee.
Our post on Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour Options can help you find the right tour for you.
For other areas of Los Angeles, you might enjoy these self-guided tours of the most interesting LA neighborhoods.
- Hollywood Self Guided Walking Tour
- Beverly Hills Celebrity Self Guided Walking Tour
- Downtown Los Angeles Self Guided Walking Tour
2. Go to the Beach
For great people-watching, go to Venice Beach or Santa Monica. For something a bit quieter, try an Orange County beach like Manhattan or Huntington Beach.
3. Enjoy a Bus Tour
In the summer, when temperatures might be higher than you'd like, a bus tour is a great way to see the city with air-conditioning!
But hot weather isn't the only reason to take a bus tour. You can see a lot of LA in one day by taking a Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour.
Here are some tours you can't find anywhere else but La-La land!
- Movie Location Bus Tours
- Hollywood Movie Star Homes Bus Tours
- Hollywood Trolley Tours
- Malibu Celebrity Homes bus Tours
Our post on Los Angeles Bus Tours can help you choose one of the many fun tours.
4. Take a Studio Tour
Film buff or TV fanatic, you will likely love taking a studio tour. See what really goes on behind-the-scenes as you visit soundstages, prop departments, and backlots.
Many people take theWarner Bros. Studio Tour where in addition to seeing movie sets and sound stages, you'll have some unique opportunities.
You get to climb aboard Harry Potter‘s broomstick, create your own Batmobile and even re-create a scene from the hit TV show, Friends.
If you want to see all the tour options, check out our post on which Studio Tour in LA is the best.
5. See a Concert
In summer, you will have no problem finding live music of a genre that you like at a price point you like - including free!
See our free section below for a list of free music series throughout the summer.
As for ticketed shows at big venues, here are just a few highlights:
- Newport Beach Jazz Festival - May 31- June 2
- Dead & Company – June 3 & 4
- Jennifer Lopez – June 7 & 8
- Michael Buble – July 9
- Paul McCartney – July 13
- Queen and Adam Lambert - July 19-20
6. Attend a Sporting Event
Summer brings you several sports events to see. Baseball lasts all summer long and a trip to Dodger Stadium is about as LA as it gets!
Here's who you can see during the summer:
- Baseball | Dodgers or Angels (do not play in L.A.) (April – October)
- Women’s Basketball| The L.A. Sparks (May – October)
- Soccer | The L.A. Galaxy or L.A. Football Club (March – October)
7. Explore Hollywood
No trip to LA is complete without a visit to Hollywood. And you can see its best attractions for free.
The famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, the exterior of the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, and seeing the HOLLYWOOD sign (from afar) won't cost you a dime.
Make sure to check out our guide on things to see in Hollywood so you don't miss anything!
8. See a Live TV Show Taping!
Many of the most popular game shows, daytime, and late night talk shows tape in Los Angeles. You have plenty to choose from - and it's FREE to attend!
9. Discover Santa Monica
You don't have to love the beach to love Santa Monica. The streets around the 3rd Street Promenade are great for strolling, window-shopping and eating excellent food.
If you want to delve into the wackier side of Santa Monica, people-watch from the boardwalk and go to Pacific Park, with its carnival atmosphere, rides, restaurants, and the Santa Monica Aquarium.
Our post on things to do in Santa Monica will give you some inspiration on how to spend your time there.
10. Consider Buying a Tourist Pass
Planning to visit attractions like Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain and more?
If so, you might want to think about getting a tourist pass to save money.
These services include a lot of popular activities that most visitors will be planning to enjoy during their visit to Los Angeles.
Depending on how you use a discount pass, you could save 50% or more off general admission prices.
If you want to learn more about this opportunity and figure out which service works the best for your itinerary, make sure to read our post covering Los Angeles tourist passes.
For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on things to do in Los Angeles.
LA is a hub of culture all year round. Summer offers even more opportunities to enjoy all sorts of entertainment including many for free!
For even more suggestions, take a look at our post on what to do for free in Los Angeles.
Free Music, Movies, and Theater
- Levitt Pavilion Concerts in MacArthur Park
- Twilight Dance and Music at the Santa Monica Pier
- Summer Nights Concert Series from KCRW
- Grand Performances in Downtown LA
- Sunset Concerts at the Skirball Cultural Center
- Sizzling Summer Nights
- Silver Lake Picture Show Outdoor Movies
- Moonlight Movies on the Beach
- Shakespeare by the Sea
- Griffith Park Shakespeare Festival
- Echo Park Rising
- Summer Music at LACMA
For a Fee
If you are looking for more cultural happenings and can spend a small amount of money, these events are worth checking out. Ticket purchase is required.
- Hollywood Forever Movie Screenings - held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
- Street Food Cinema - outdoor movies, Food Trucks, Bands
- Eat | See | Hear - outdoor movies, live music, and food truck event series
- Summer Nights in the Garden at the Natural History Museum
- Rooftop Cinema Club
Take a Hike
There's no shortage of places to go for a good hike in LA. Many of them have awesome views.
You can also read this article How To Choose The Best Trail.
See the Sunset from Griffith Observatory
If hiking from the Observatory isn't your thing, how about seeing the sunset from Griffith Park?
At the Observatory, you can look through telescopes, see live shows in the planetarium, and see some spectacular views of LA and the Hollywood sign.
Visit a Free Museum
There are museums in LA that are free and those that are not, sometimes offer free admission on a specific day/certain hours once a week or once a month.
Some of these include the finer art museums in Los Angeles like the Museum of Contemporary Art and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
To find out what other museums have free admission, as well as other free activities, check our post what to do for free in Los Angeles.
Below is just a small sampling of things to do in the summer with children in the LA.
Our Top 10 section above includes activities that are great for kids and adults alike.
Get Wild at the Zoo
Discover the amazing wildlife at the LA Zoo which is home to more than 1,100 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles!
Further, the zoo’s botanical collection includes over 7,400 individual plants located throughout the establishment.
See their website for details.
See Sea Creatures
The Aquarium of the Pacific located in Long Beach has a vast array of marine life penguins, sea turtles, seals, sharks, and hundreds of other exotic fish species.
Check the website for more information and tickets.
Take a Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour
In the summer when temperatures can be high, bus tours are a great way for everyone to cool off while still seeing the city.
Since Hop-on, hop-off bus tours stop at the popular attraction locations, you can see the sights without wearing out the little ones in your family.
See our post about Hop-on-Hop-off bus tours to see if one of these buses is right for you.
Shakespeare for Kids
Culver City Summer in the Park presents family-friendly adaptations of Shakespeare plays on weekends in August -- for free!
See their website for details.
Romp Around in a Park
There are many great parks in LA to let the kids stretch their legs and they are easily reached.
If you'd like a more "upscale" experience, check out Coldwater Canyon Park in Beverly Hills with a shaded arbor, and a stream for kids to play in.
Find out about other family-fun activities from our post on fun places for kids in Los Angeles.
Summer offers festivals of all sorts, from music festivals, food festivals, art festivals, festivals for kids, and more.
Below is just a handful of what's available.
For more things to do in the summer, just click on the link of the month of your trip.
- Independence Day Downtown LA Block Party (free)
- Delicious Little Tokyo (free)
- Dragon Boat Festival (free)
- Lotus Festival in Echo Park (free)
- Summer Train Festival at Union Station
- iPalpiti Summer Music Festival (Ticket Purchase Required)
- dineL.A. (Ticket Purchase Required)
- Outfest LGBT Film Festival (Ticket Purchase Required)
- Venice Beach Music Festival (free)
- Long Beach Jazz Festival(free)
- LA Taco Festival (free)
- Jazz on the Lawn (free)
- Natsumatsuri Family Festival (free)
- International Surf Festival (free)
- Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (free)
- Tchaikovsky Spectacular and Fireworks (Ticket Purchase Required)
Packing for Los Angeles in the summer months is pretty uncomplicated. Bring lightweight clothes as you can expect warm to hot days. T-shirts, lightweight long sleeve shirts and blouses, shorts, slacks, skirts, etc. are all good.
These items are essential:
Comfortable shoes! If you plan on doing a lot, you will be on your feet. So be kind to your soles and bring comfy shoes and sandals, if you go to a beach.
A sweater or hoodie. Don't let the strong sun fool you. Be ready for some cooler temperatures after dark. Also, many attractions have strong air-conditioning so you should keep something warm handy!
A bathing suit. The beaches are really nice and if you are staying in a hotel, many have swimming pools.
Sunscreen and sunglasses! It is LA after all!