Music

The Best Outdoor Music Series to Keep You Grooving All Summer Long

Photo courtesy of Santa Monica Pier

Want to splay out on a blanket nodding along to some jazz? Maybe dancing to local house DJs under the stars is more your speed? Find those options and more in this primer on the best outdoor concert series 2019 has to offer.

outdoor concerts los angeles
Photo courtesy of City of Beverly Hills-Government/Facebook

Concerts on Canon
The closest you’re likely to get to official outdoor karaoke this summer are the family-friendly Concerts on Canon in Beverly Hills. The exciting local lineup boasts cover bands, world music, and even “The Lion Sings Tonight” crooners the Tokens. Plus, each performance has official sing-alongs so you can unleash your inner rock star. Thursdays through August 29; 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.; Beverly Canon Gardens, 241 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills

outdoor concerts los angeles
Photo courtesy of Academy L.A./Facebook

Day Trip
Academy L.A. programs solidly mainstream EDM artists at its regular nighttime shows. For these Sunday patio parties, though, the club indulges its underground side with a sampling of niche house, techno, and electronica from around the world. Most dates are free with RSVP before 2 p.m., and don’t worry about a clubby dress code—beachwear is fair game here. Sundays through July 21; 1–8 p.m.; Academy L.A., 6021 Hollywood Boulevard

Friday Night Music at the Original Farmers’ Market
If the Original Farmers’ Market has enough diverse cuisine to take a trip around the world without setting a foot outside its bustling, open-air space, then it’s only fitting that it showcase a world tour of music to go along with it. You’ll hear originals and covers in a broad range of styles from across the globe and throughout America’s own rich musical history. Fridays through August 30; 7–9 p.m.; West Patio, Original Farmers’ Market, 6333 West Third Street

outdoor concerts los angeles
Photo courtesy of Greek Theatre/Facebook

The Greek Theatre
Unparalleled intimacy with big-name acts is the draw at the Greek, a 6,000-seat theater nestled among the trees of Griffith Park. No matter where you sit, you’ll feel right on top of the action. This season will get you up close and personal with acts cutting-edge-current (Kacey Musgraves, the newly reunited Raconteurs), long-standing legacy (Parliament Funkadelic, Ringo Starr), and music-adjacent (Steve Martin and Martin Short, Pod Save America). Through Wednesday, October 30; 2700 North Vermont Avenue

Hollywood Bowl
The Greek’s bigger, flashier, older sibling is an L.A. institution, now celebrating its 97th year. The Bowl has a ton of history—including some notable Fab Four appearances—but is best known today as the summer headquarters of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which plays crowd-pleasing events accompanying international musicians and live scores for movie screenings, in addition to the usual symphonies. Outside of the Phil, the Bowl’s 2019 lineup includes musicals (Into the Woods), legacy musicians (Earth, Wind & Fire), and contemporary acts both huge (The Jonas Brothers) and hipster (Vampire Weekend). Through Saturday, November 2; 2301 North Highland Avenue

outdoor concerts los angeles
Photo courtesy of LACMA-Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Jazz at LACMA
Forget happy hour; LACMA is where you want to be on Friday evening to unwind after a long week of work. The free, weekly jazz shows have a little something for everyone, from quartets and quintets and sextets to solo acts and singers. Best of all? You’re allowed to bring your own alcohol to make your choice between your personal preference and the bar offerings that much easier (the museum just asks that you keep things reasonable). Fridays through November 15; 6 p.m.; Smidt Welcome Plaza, LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard

outdoor concerts los angeles
Photo courtesy of KCRW/Facebook

KCRW Summer Nights
It’s practically impossible to pick just one favorite outdoor music spot in the city, and KCRW doesn’t even try. The Summer Nights series, a favorite for families and partygoers alike, drops in at a handful of great L.A. locations throughout the season. A couple dates feature actual bands, but most of the events show off KCRW’s in-house DJs, who spin crowd-ready tunes while you dance, hit the food trucks, and try out the family activities. Through Saturday, September 28; various locations

outdoor concerts los angeles
Photo by Brant Brogan/Courtesy of LACMA-Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Latin Sounds
LACMA’s beautiful outdoor spaces make us want to get up and dance, too, so it’s a good thing we all have this lively Saturday music series to give us a good excuse. This year’s roster of free Latin jazz includes searing salsa music and Grammy winners, so don’t miss it. Saturdays through August 31; 5 p.m.; Hancock Park, LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard

Photo courtesy of Getty Museum/Facebook

Off the 405
If the 405 is the beaten path—and if you’ve ever driven it at rush hour, you know it is—then “Off the 405” is synonymous with “things you’ve never heard before,” which couldn’t be truer of this stellar, free concert series on the lofty grounds of the Getty Center. Enjoy some of the freshest up-and-coming voices in indie music set against the most killer sunset views you’ll find anywhere in L.A. The lineup finishes on a high note, with standouts like Mexican neo-ranchera San Cha’s telenovela-based multimedia performance (it’s a thing now!) and rollicking power-punk trio Ex Hex closing out the year. Various Saturdays through September 14; 6–9 p.m.; Museum Courtyard, Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive

outdoor concerts los angeles
Photo courtesy of Beverly Hills Recreation Parks/Facebook

PROMS
Put away the boutonniere and powder blue tux; it’s not that prom. PROMS, a free Beverly Hills concert series, is all about exploring world music, with a different artist every week from realms as disparate as opera, klezmer, and Polynesian rockabilly. Bet that wasn’t on the playlist at your high school dance. Saturdays through August 31, 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.; Beverly Canon Gardens, 241 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills

Twilight on the Pier
Twilight on the Pier is one of the city’s most adored outdoor traditions, so much so that the free concert series even entices L.A. locals into the tourist haven that is the Santa Monica Pier. Only August through September dates have been announced for 2019’s edition, but last year cooked up an intriguing mix of mainstream artists and obscure gems, with a structure that focused on music from a different part of the world every week. Wednesdays from August 21–September 25; 7–10 p.m.; 200 Santa Monica Pier