Family Fun

20 Ways to Have Fun in Town This Labor Day

Photo courtesy of Beaches and Harbors Los Angeles County/Facebook

Family Fun

Photo courtesy of The Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles/Facebook

Music Center Plaza Reopening
The Music Center Plaza’s grand overhaul—which added a restaurant, fountain, and interactive art installation, among a host of other upgrades—is complete, just in time for Labor Day, which sees the space hosting events all weekend to celebrate the reopening. Dance to cumbia at the latest Dance DTLA, sing along at Big Sing 2019, and frolic in the fountain at the Splish Splash Plaza Bash. August 28–September 5. Music Center Plaza, 218 North Hope Street

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Fleet Week/Facebook

L.A. Fleet Week
L.A. Fleet Week has Labor Day weekend for the whole family covered with five days of free fun. There’s a little something for everyone: a 5.3-mile race and an obstacle course for the athletic types, a STEM Expo for the science enthusiasts, ship tours and aircraft demonstrations for the military aficionados, and nightly performances—highlighted by Cheap Trick—for the music lovers. August 29–September 2. 100 Swinford Street, San Pedro

Afrobashment Festival
The jubilant rhythms of Afrobeat and Jamaican export dancehall come together for a day celebrating the rich culture and creativity of the African diaspora. August 30. Levitt Pavilion, 2230 West 6th Street

Photo by Cydne Moore/Courtesy of Santa Monica Playhouse

Santa Monica Playhouse brings back one of its most popular children’s musical fairy tales to the stage in honor of the theater’s 50th anniversary, a rousing performance of the classic story with all the hard edges softened to suit young children. August 31 and September 1 matinees. Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street, Santa Monica

Beach Movie Nights
The vaunted bonfire pits aren’t your only reason to head to Dockweiler Beach—this series of free, family-friendly movie screenings on the sand is bringing the heat, too. The last showing this year takes place August 30: reigning toon Oscar winner Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Dockweiler Youth Center, 12505 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey

Music & Nightlife

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Pasadena Daydream Festival
Headliners the Cure built this daylong alt-rock fest themselves, and the lineup is just what you’d want from Robert Smith and co.: moody, introspective, edgy fare from the likes of the Pixies and Scottish shoegazers the Twilight Sad, bringing some darkness to Pasadena’s sunny Rose Bowl. August 31. Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

K-Pop & K-Hip Hop Party
BTS stans (and all other lovers of current Korean music), this one’s for you. Los Globos will play only Korean tunes—pop, hip hop, and EDM—all night, so get your dance moves in order and get ready to meet plenty of fellow fans. August 30. Los Globos, 3040 West Sunset Boulevard

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Let the smooth grooves of house music sweep you out to sea on Dreamboat, a three-level boat party cruising around Marina Del Rey this Labor Day weekend. Aussie DJ Cassian will captain the dance journey, backed up by a crew of other house spinners. August 31. 13755 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey

Photo courtesy of Evolve Project/Facebook

Reform by Day + Reform by Night
Are you more of a daytime warrior or a nighthawk? Take your pick with dueling house/techno shows from Reform, with a day party alongside the L.A. River headed by gospel house innovator Floorplan, and an all-night party at a yet-undisclosed location headlined by dark techno producer Perc. September 1. Evolve Project L.A., 1921 Blake Avenue

Theater & Performance

Nick Dear’s Frankenstein
BAFTA winner Dear’s adaptation of the original gothic thriller gets its California premiere: An inverted father-son tale of an overambitious genius who conquers the miracle of life, only to start a devastating rivalry with his creation. Tickets available all weekend. A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Boulevard, Pasadena

Photo courtesy of Theatre of Note/Facebook

Driving Wilde
From multi-L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award–winning director Bart DeLorenzo comes a surreal modern adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Portrait of Dorian Gray, a gothic horror story covering the particularly timely theme of humanity’s pursuit of beauty. August 31 and September 1. Theatre of Note, 1517 North Cahuenga Boulevard

Nothing Cheezy Burlesque Show: A Psychedelic Pizza Party
What’s been missing from all these pop-up experiences flooding L.A.? If your answer is pizza, burlesque, or pizza and burlesque, do we ever have the thing for you. For one night only, Think Tank Gallery will fill its pizza-themed pop-up, aptly named Nothing Cheezy, with burlesque performers, so you no longer have to choose between two of life’s great pleasures. September 1. Think Tank Gallery & Showroom, 516 East 4th Street

Food & Drink

Photo courtesy of 626 Night Market/Facebook

626 Night Market
This huge night market lays claim as the largest Asian-themed market in the U.S. With more than 300 vendors, there’s food and more galore: an endless supply of noodles, things on sticks, and multicolored beverages, plus crafts, games, arts, and music. Game plan: Go with a squad to hit multiple food stalls at once, take cash, wear comfortable shoes, and stay hydrated. It gets pretty hot. Admission is $5 at the door, and free for children 3 and under; parking is free, too. September 1 marks the last one of the year. Santa Anita Park, 285 Huntington Drive, Arcadia

Photo courtesy of Edendale Branch Library/Facebook

Botany at the Bar Book Talk
Author Rachel Meyer isn’t just a mixologist, she’s a bona fide biologist and ecologist who has used her scientific expertise to whip up a book on plant-based drinks (both alcoholic and teetotalist). Meet Meyer and book cocontributors Jim Merson (Hot Dog Sodas) and Christian Schaal (Zebulon) for a presentation that will let you try some botanical beverage making yourself. August 31. LAPL Edendale Branch, 2011 Sunset Boulevard

Los Angeles Times The Taste
This three-day food event presented by the L.A. Times over Labor Day weekend returns to Paramount Studios with the Food section’s new personalities and writers joining local chefs for cooking demos and panels, plus a walk-around tasting on the studio back lot. Any night is a good night, so it’s tough to choose. Tickets start at $115, but VIP early entry is the way to go. August 30–September 1. Paramount Pictures Studios Back Lot, 783 North Van Ness Street


Photo courtesy of Hollywood Improv Comedy Club/Facebook

Only a handful of comedians venture into the territory of performing in the round (basically gladiator-style), the most recent group being Jerrod Carmichael, Ramy Youssef, and Kevin Hart. It takes a certain command of the stage, and those who can pull it off achieve some truly special moments in comedy. This lineup of Mike Falzone, Lara Beitz, Shapel Lacey, Rick Glassman, Jordan Perry, and Hannah Einbinder aims to bring such special sets. August 31. Hollywood Improv (The Lab), 8162 Melrose Avenue


Photo courtesy of the Roadium Open Air Market/Facebook

Summer Friday Drive-In at the Roadium
Recapture a piece of jukebox-era nostalgia with a drive-in movie at the Roadium, an authentic drive-in that dates back to the 1950s. Things are decidedly more modern now—the In-N-Out truck that shows up on certain nights is the closest you’ll get to a ’50s diner—but they say if you listen very closely, you can still hear the rumbles of a lot full of ’55 Ford Thunderbirds just like the days of yore. E.T. screens on August 30. The Roadium, 2500 West Redondo Beach Boulevard, Torrance

Cinecon Classic Film Festival
Escape into classic cinema—and the Egyptian’s delicious air conditioning—all Labor Day weekend at Cinecon, now in its 55th year. The fest delights in obscure picks from the first half of the 20th century, including rarely seen gems and films once thought lost, so you’re less likely to see one of your favorite classics screening here than you are to find your new favorite unsung treasure. Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard

Mad Max trilogy
If your only Mad Max exposure is 2015 masterpiece Fury Road, you owe it to yourself to see the series’ original run, a captivating, groundbreaking trilogy that spawned George Miller’s distinctly bleak vision of desert, leather, horsepower, and blood. August 31. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Los Angeles Plays Itself
Tour every corner of the city—not to mention every decade—without leaving your seat at this illuminating documentary in which director Thom Anderson dissects the portrayal of the City of Angels throughout film history. September 1. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica