What’s on in Los Angeles this Summer

By Amy Rosoman

Title photography by Brian Eden

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May 2018

Feel LA sizzle in the summer with its abundance of hot-to-trot festivals, Independence Day celebrations and outdoorsy events – take your pick from the best. Get your glitter on for LA Pride, hit the beach for a blazing volleyball contest, or go wild for the Watermelon Festival.


Back for season 13 with more wine than ever, the LAWineFest brings you tipples to try from across the globe. Don’t worry. It’s relaxed; not stuffy. Sip the day away in the sun and soak up the friendly atmosphere, while you listen to live music. Discover the tastes of vineyards and familiarise yourself with wines you haven’t previously encountered, or sneak over to the beer station if wine isn’t the hooch for you. Tuck into some tasty grub with a choice of food trucks, including Slammin’ Sliders, The Berlin Truck and Goshen Cuisine. Let your hair down and savour every flavour of this event.

When? 2 June and 3 June

Where? ROW DTLA, Downtown, 777 S. Alameda St, LA 90021

Getting there: Don’t drink and drive. Ask your hotel to book you a taxi or order an Uber from your phone. Alternatively, jump on the Purple line metro to Pershing Square, or Red line metro to 7th Street. Then catch the 53, 18 or 60 buses.

Where to stay: Millennium Biltmore oozes with Hollywood glamour. This iconic movie backdrop hotel glistens with its marble fountains and crystal chandeliers. Make the most of a location in the heart of all the LA action. After big days out, return to relax in the Gallery Bar and Cognac Room.

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Just a short stroll from the famous Santa Monica Pier, savour the SoCal beach vibes on a stretch of sand more than three miles long.

LA Pride

Get ready for the bright colours and feel-good energy of LA Pride this summer. Rock your shades and wear an outfit loud enough to rival any Angelino. Join the fun of the parade: wave a rainbow flag and let your feet move to the rhythm. Head to a choice of stages for epic entertainment – watch headliner Kehlani, see Icona Pop at the Park Stage or check out Keri Hilson at the Boulevard Stage on 9 June. Catch even more performances, like headliner Tove Lo, the next day. Sip on cocktails, join in with face-paint fun and celebrate that love is love.

When? 9 June and 10 June

Where? West Hollywood Park, 647 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA Getting there: Head to San Vincente and Santa Monica Boulevards for the ‘north gate’ entrance. Hop on the Cityline X bus to the San Vincente/Santa Monica stop. Or book yourself an Uber straight from your mobile.

Where to stay: Check into Andaz West Hollywood for a stay on the Sunset Strip and a shimmering rooftop pool with captivating views across Hollywood. This hotel bursts with chic LA lifestyle vibes from its poolside cabanas and art displays to the complimentary wine hour.

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  • Crowds at LA Pride. © 2018 LA Pride.

    Party on at Pride

    Grab a rainbow flag, rock your best sheer glitter top and dance the day away at LA Pride.£1041 pp

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  • Sunshine at the LAWineFest. © LAWineFest 2018.

    Bring me sunshine, and wine

    Soak up the rays and unwind outside, as you taste some of the best tipples in town.£90 pppn

    Book your stay at Millenium Biltmore
  • BLOOM, an interactive, pop-up art show. © BLOOM.

    In the flourishing heights

    Savour the blend of art and nature, with a visit to the BLOOMing outdoor art show.£288 return

    Find our cheapest flights to Los Angeles

BLOOM Los Angeles

Flourish in the wonders of the outdoors at this sweetly scented interactive pop-up art show. It kicks off with an opening flower bomb ceremony with cones of dried flowers and music from the local band Violets Are. Don a festive flower crown and look out for giant dandelions, sit beneath floral teepees and play amongst the petals during this immersive event. Spend the day admiring handcrafted artwork and nibble on food truck goodies in the designated picnic area. Take part in a workshop, ranging in topics from plant pot painting and origami to honey tasting and fine art photography – and be sure to bring your camera to capture the botanical magic of BLOOM. As a bonus, your ticket purchase helps to support Honeylove, a non-profit to protect honeybees.

When? 22 June – 24 June

Where? Griffith Park, 5202 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, 90027 Getting there: If you have car hire, it’s much easier to drive to Griffith Park. Otherwise, hop on bus 96 to the Zoo/Riverside stop and walk to the event. To be delivered right at the venue, book a taxi.

Where to stay: Pick The Garland for an urban oasis. Unwind by the outside pool and blossom in the euphoric garden. Make the most of the free shuttle bus that runs to Universal Studios and CityWalk.

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Summer Nights in the Garden

Spend an evening in the luscious gardens of the Natural History Museum. During summer nights on the museum’s verdant grounds, science and nature experiences mix in an exciting showcase of activities and exhibits. Take a garden tour, meet museum scientists and watch an enchanting show by the theatre’s performing arts staff. Relax and sip on cocktails inspired by the outdoors, nibble on a picnic or scoff down food truck treats. Loosen up and listen to live music, after making arts and crafts, meeting local wildlife and enjoying the great outdoors.

When? 29 June, 13, 27 July, 10 August

Where? Natural History Museum, Exposition Park, 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007 Getting there: If you’re driving, there are parking lots you can use. Alternatively, hop on the Metro Expo Line to the Expo/Vermont station, or make tracks on bus 102 or 550 and get off at the Exposition/Watt stop.

Where to stay: Choose Hyatt Regency Orange Country for a fabulous family holiday. With two outdoor pools, tennis, basketball, a firepit for smores nights and a games arcade – there is something to keep everybody happy. The great location also offers easy access to brilliant beaches and shuttles to Disneyland Resort.

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  • Summer Nights in the Garden, NHMLA. Courtesy of the Natural History Museum of LA County.

    Lap up the LA lifestyle

    Experience performances and presentations at the glorious Natural History Museum of LA County.£53 pppn

    Book a stay at The Hyatt Regency Orange County
  • Exterior of the Rose Bowl, home of AmericaFest. © Citizen of the Planet / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Celebrate Independence Day

    Watch as fireworks fly and bring your A-game to a champion atmosphere.£768 pp

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  • The Queen of The California Watermelon Festival. © 2017 The California Watermelon Festival.


Bring in Independence Day with a celebration of all things red, white and blue. When the festival opens at 2:00 pm, set yourself up in a prime spot on the pitch with blankets, play in the family fun zone, listen to live music and tuck into classic American bites. Most families in the States enjoy hot dogs or hamburgers from the grill on the Fourth of July. Get ready to take your seat in the stadium for an epic dare-devil motorcycle stunt show. Watch in awe as these thrill-seekers soar through the air in a blend of engine heat and acrobatic moves. Then gaze up as the sky bursts into a glistening array of colours in the world-famous AmericaFest firework display. When attending, make sure that you carry bags smaller than 16x16x8 inches to be allowed entry.

When? 4 July

Where? Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena Getting there: Take the Metro Gold Line to the Memorial Park station. Parking is available from $20.

Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa boasts an epic beachfront, perfect for fun-time family days. Adults can relax poolside under a rented cabana, whilst the children make a splash at the kid’s water playground. For more adventure, book onto surf lessons or a paddle boarding session.

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Watermelon Festival

Who knew watermelon could be so fun? Head out for a barrel of laughs at the Watermelon Festival, where you can take part in a bundle of activities. Get involved with watermelon carving or admire some artistic sculptures from the professionals. Enjoy all-you-can-eat-watermelon all day, watch cooking demonstrations, play fruity games and take part in a slice of watermelon skiing. This entails sticking each foot in a watermelon and holding on to ropes that tow you forward. The children will adore riding a pony, watching magic shows in awe, making animal and hat balloons and having a ball at the bubble party. You will have an enjoyably fruity day.

When? 28 July and 29 July

Where? 11480 Foothill Blvd, Lake View Terrace, Hansen Dam Soccer Complex, Sylmar Getting there: This is a great event if you have car hire as it takes place a little further outside the city. Otherwise ask your hotel to book a taxi at the best return rate for you.

Where to stay: Omni Los Angeles provides a central location with a family-friendly vibe. Savour the dining options, dive into the outdoor pool, or relax by the firepit in the evening at the outdoor lounging area. Children can be part of the Omni Kids Crew – they’ll receive a backpack full of goodies on arrival, as well as a milk and cookie delivery on your first night.

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  • The Taste. © 2017 Los Angeles TimesTHE TASTE / Barbara Davidson.

    Tuck into The Taste

    Foodie fans will love the delicious dishes and dreamy drinks on offer – get the elastic waistband ready.

    Book a stay at the W Los Angeles West Beverly Hills
  • Bites at BrunchCon LA. © BrunchCon.

    Best for brunch boffs

    Bottomless mimosas, games, music and food, BrunchCon is a must for the biggest brunch fans.

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  • Professional beach volleyball at the Manhattan Beach Open. © GoodSportHD.com / Alamy Stock Photo.

    Over the net

    Watch beach volleyball athletes smash their game, on the golden glow of Manhattan Beach.

    Book a stay at Loews Santa Monica Beach


Tuck into the best of brunch at L.A’s very own BrunchCon, back for its third year of foodie fun and drink sensations. Wander through the market oozing with brunching favourites, snap some selfies, dance to the music – and play giant Jenga, lawn games and more. For a brunch-twist on a classic American university game, try your hand at mimosa pong. (It’s generally played with beer.) Keep your glass topped up with free-flowing drinks – a ticket includes one brunch nosh item from a choice of vendors, as well as an open mimosa and Bloody Mary bar. Upgrade to VIP for earlier entry, a goodie bag and VIP lounge access. You’ll happily laze in the premium lounge when your stomach is stuffed, and that sleepy torpor strikes…

When? 5 August

Where? The Reef, 1933 S. Broadway Street, Los Angeles, California 90007 Getting there: Hop on the Metro Blue line to the Grand/LATTC station, or jump on the Dash Downtown D bus and get off at Olive and Washington. Or use the 40, 45 and 745 buses, stopping at Broadway/Washington your stop.

Where to stay: The Beverley Hilton, home to many of L.A’s hottest events, you might just catch a celebrity sighting. Either way, you’ll feel like a celebrity with a stylish stay here. When you dip in Hollywood’s coolest pool, dine at tantalising CIRCA 55 or get a blow-dry at the on-site salon – feel yourself beam with that California glow.

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Manhattan Beach Open

Welcome to a beach volleyball masterpiece with the biggest competition of the season spread across nine sandy courts. Soak up the booming atmosphere during qualification, opening rounds, and elimination rounds. For more action, make your way over during semi-finals and the finals – when two pairs of extraordinary athletes compete for the winning title. Watch as the two-person teams send the ball flying and dive into the sand to make the hottest shots. See them serve, drive, block and bop in a series of powerful movements. During this tournament, the beach turns into a sports battlefield – but if the heat gets a bit much, take a paddle in the sea and grab some refreshments.

When? 16 August – 19 August

Where? Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 Getting there: If you’re not staying close enough to the beach to walk or hop in an Uber, use the Beach Cities bus line and get off at Manhattan Ave. & 10th Street stop.

Where to stay: Loews Santa Monica Beach for a beachside break. Just a short stroll from the famous Santa Monica Pier, savour the SoCal beach vibes on a stretch of sand more than three miles long. After days playing on the coast, come back for some pampering in the serene Ocean Spa.

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The Taste

Make tracks to the Paramount Picture Studios for an eclectic mix of food and drinks with the best of the LA culinary scene. Kick it the SoCal way with leisurely days spent tasting an array of cultural delights. Tuck into flavourful tacos, grab a slice of pizza, chow down on seafood and try even more flavourful sensations inspired by cuisines all around the world. Wash these bites down with ice-cold cocktails, fine wines or a tasty beer selection. Savour the foodie expertise of LA’s hottest, with a host of events lead by the best chefs, mixologists and critics around. Note that the festival isn’t open all day; tickets cover either a lunch-time or dinner-time programme that lasts for 3 hours.

When? 31 August, 1, 2 September

Where? 5501 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038, USA Getting there: Get the DASH Hollywood/Wilshire bus and hop off at Melrose Ave. & Beachwood Dr. Otherwise, book a taxi from your hotel, or tap on your mobile to order yourself an Uber.

Where to stay: W Los Angeles West Beverly Hills is known for its irresistible urban glamour. Savour a stay just moments from Rodeo Drive and the beaches of Santa Monica. Sip on drinks in the super sleek Living Room Bar, before dining in STK LA – the chicest steak restaurant around.

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