Here are the five coolest things to do in and around LA this week. We publish a new list every Wednesday, covering Thursday through Wednesday. Stay tuned for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more.
August 13 | Film
A Better LA and the City of LA present License to Operate
A Better LA, founded by NFL coach Pete Carroll, is a nonprofit organization that supports community-based solutions to restore peace, save lives, and give inner-city Angelenos the resources they need in order to thrive. They are screening License to Operate, a powerful documentary exploring former gang leaders working with law enforcement to positively impact ravaged neighborhoods. Golden Globe–winning actress Sharon Stone and Councilman Joe Buscaino will introduce this free screening. Food trucks will be available from 6:30 p.m. on and the film begins at 8:45 p.m.
6:30–9:45 p.m. | Grand Park’s Event Lawn, 227 North Spring Street, Los Angeles | Free | website
August 14 | Music, Outdoors
Jazz at LACMA is the perfect Friday evening
Bobby Bradford is a trumpet virtuoso who has toured with all of the great jazz musicians throughout his storied career. Last year, he became the second recipient of New Trumpet Music’s Award of Recognition. This show has Bradford bringing his new band, Tete-A-Tete, to LACMA. Pack a picnic dinner with wine—or sample the sweet offerings at LACMA’s Ray’s and Stark Bar—and spend the evening with friends or family, chilling on the grassy lawn to the breezy sounds of jazz.
6 p.m. | LACMA BP Grand Entrance, 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles | Free | website
August 16 | Art
CREATE LIGHT, William Attaway’s Last Venice Show
Attaway is very much a living legend in Venice. He joined the art community there in 1979 and quickly became an integral member of its tribe. Equal parts painter, muralist, and sculptor, he always wanted people to find their own creativity. In doing so, Attaway helped produce many epic pieces of art that are forever ingrained in the Venice subconscious, such as the tile mural near Venice Boardwalk (one of the first public art installations in the area). Venice is a city that has changed a great deal since Attaway first made his mark, and now he must bid it adieu. Join him in his final show, aptly titled CREATE LIGHT, and see where he is headed.
4–7 p.m. | 334 Sunset Ave, Venice | Free | website
August 19 | Festival
Lakeside Lounge @ Descanso Gardens
Just because you are an adult, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy summer camp. This adults-only evening in Descanso Gardens is a nostalgic throwback to childhood—offering you and fellow camp attendees the chance to hike around the lake, play such lawn games as corn hole, and cement your newfound bonds by crafting friendship bracelets. The only difference from childhood? Drunken snow cones and craft beers to enjoy as the sun sets behind the hills. Toss in some tacos alongside rad beats by The Flashdance, and you got yourself a party.
5–8 p.m. | Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge | (818) 790-3663 | $9 | website
Joshua Tree National Park
If LA traffic is driving you mad, there’s no better antidote than a quick escape to Joshua Tree National Park, where the Mojave and Colorado Desert ecosystems meet. Breathing in the pure, crisp air will do wonders for your mood, and the landscape is surreal—the boulder piles and bare rock hills look like they’ve come straight from someone’s overactive imagination, and are interspersed with the unusual trees for which the park is named. At night, the ability to see stars in the sky feels absolutely magical, especially coming from LA. Hike one of the many trails, or try something a little different. Some of those strange-looking hills are not so hard to scale, and Joshua Tree is a good spot for beginner climbers. Check out Joshua Tree Rock Climbing School for a weekend you won’t forget.
Photo by Don Graham/Flickr. Eva Glettner is a writer and a native Angeleno. She loves art, travel, coffee, and skateboarding.
Planning a trip? Check out the AFAR guide to LA.