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Things to Do in Summer in Los Angeles

Updated: May 11, 2024
 By Mel

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!

LA Summer Guide

TOP 10

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 concession 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 concession 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.

2. Go to the Beach

Nothing says summer than a day at the beach. In LA you have endless choices! Families will enjoy Zuma BeachSeal Beach, and Marina Beach.

For great people-watching, go to Venice Beach or Santa MonicaFor 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:

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:

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!

Read our guide on how to get tickets for a TV Taping.

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 concession 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.

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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

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.

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 hike up to the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign from Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood Sign. Here's how.

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.

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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.

In addition to these, many of the free cultural activities above and the festivals below are kid-friendly, so take a look.

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.

In Santa Monica, there’s South Beach Park with an excellent view of the beach. In Downtown LA, Grand Park has splash fountains for hot days as well as a full playground.

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.

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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.




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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!

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About The Author


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: May 11th, 2024
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