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What to Do in Los Angeles This August: Venice Beach Music Festival & Chinatown Summer Nights

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The best of what to do in and around Los Angeles this month.

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Celebrate L.A.’s neighborhoods this month, first at Chinatown Summer Nights and later at the DTLA Proud Festival. Or head to the Venice Beach Music Festival, a music, art, and performance party to commemorate the diversity of L.A.’s easygoing beach enclave. 

AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

August 5 | Food & culture
Chinatown Summer Nights
If you’re not a regular in Chinatown yet, then Chinatown Summer Nights will help you change that. The monthly event is part food festival, part celebration of the neighborhood. There will be food trucks manned by Chinese chefs, cooking demonstrations, and interactive cultural activities (put on by local organizations), as well as plenty of eating and drinking. It’s an overview of the area that’ll leave you planning your next excursion before you even get home.
5:00 PM - 11:59 PM | Chinatown Central Plaza, 943 N. Broadway, Los Angeles | Free | website

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August 5 - 6 | Food
Avocado Fest
Avocado obsession runs deep in Los Angeles, and local favorite Angel City Brewery feeds into this with its annual Avocado Fest. The weekend is filled with live music, avocado-themed contests, live mural painting, an outdoor beer garden, and, of course, plenty of food starring the fruit of the hour. Part of the proceeds go to benefit Art Share L.A. (a community arts space that also provides affordable housing for artists) and the Ron Finley Project (a community garden in South Central). This year, the festival has the added goal of debuting Angel City’s new Avocado Ale.
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM | Angel City Brewery, 216 Alameda St., Los Angeles | Free | website

August 6 | Music
Kendrick Lamar
He’s been called the world’s best modern rapper and for good reason: Kendrick Lamar’s meteoric rise, thoughtful lyrics, and rhyming prowess all conspire to make him an untouchable artist. After two stellar Coachella performances in April, Lamar kicked off a world tour, and he’ll make three stops at L.A.’s Staples Center on August 6th, 8th, and 9th. Many ticket packages for the shows are sold out, but there are a few higher tier options left. If you can’t find the ticket you want, your best bet is checking resellers like Stubhub.
6:30 PM | Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles | From $299 | website

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August 11 | Music
Hans Zimmer Live
Composer Hans Zimmer has left his mark on over 150 films, including in the scores of Inception, Interstellar, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Lion King. Usually, you’d only get to hear his powerful sounds at full force in a movie theater, but Zimmer is offering fans a rare chance to enjoy a live performance of his most iconic songs without the interference of movie dialogue. The show brings together Zimmer and a vast array of other musicians for an evening of swelling strings, deep drums, and twinkling percussion. There’s no telling when Zimmer will pull this off again, so now might be your last chance for a while to jump on the full Hans Zimmer Live experience.
8:00 PM | Shrine Auditorium, 665 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles | From $60 | website

August 12 - 13 | Food
In Los Angeles, brunch is as revered as any hobby, so it’s no surprise that the annual BrunchCon is a blowout affair. Tickets might seem a little steep at $65, but they include tastings from vendors such as Waffling Around, Knead Bakery, Humm Kombucha, plus unlimited mimosas from six bars throughout the premises. There will also be lawn games (giant Jenga, corn hole, etc.) and a DJ spinning tunes all day long.
9:30 AM | The Reef, 1933 S. Broadway, Los Angeles | From $65 | website

Kendrick Lamar

August 18 | Film
Beach Movie Nights: “Moana”
Trade your beach day for a beachy movie night at Playa del Rey’s Dockweiler State Beach. The summer series brings family-friendly films to the sand. On August 18, Disney’s latest soon-to-be-classic film Moana is on deck. The animated film follows Hawaiian princess Moana as she fights to save her people from an angry volcanic deity—and, in typical Disney fashion, has dialogue directed to both kids and parents. There will be food trucks onsite, although you’re welcome to bring your own snacks along with beach towels, blankets, and sweaters.
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM | Dockweiler Youth Center, 12505 Vista del Mar, Playa del Rey | Free | website

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August 19 | Outdoors
Spartan Race at Dodger Stadium
Whether you just want to switch up your workout routine or you’ve always dreamt of getting on a ballpark field, the Spartan Sprint is an experience you’ll be talking about for months. Spartan racers have hit the ground on other MLB fields, but this will be the first time the race has come to Dodger Stadium. The main event is no joke: You’ll run a three- to five-mile race and work your way through 20 obstacles. The feeling after tackling the challenge is priceless and well worth the money you’ll spend to get in. (If racing isn’t your thing, but you still want to get in on the action, spectator tickets are only $10.)
12:15 PM - 5:00 PM | Dodger Stadium, 1000 Vin Scully Ave., Los Angeles | From $129 | website

August 26 | Music
Venice Beach Music Fest
Venice is known for its free-spirited vibes, which will be in full effect at the 12th annual Venice Beach Music Festival. The lineup is full of more than just music—although you won’t want to miss rock-and-roll violinist Lili Haydn. There will also be a samba parade, hula hoop shows, dancing, and art. The whole day is a celebration of the Venice community and those who are a part of it, and it’s free for all to enjoy.
11:00 AM | Windward Plaza Park, 1 Windward Ave., Venice | Free | website

August 26 - 27 | Community
DTLA Proud Fest
Angelenos spend a lot of time celebrating their city, but Downtown L.A. is all too often left out of the neighborhood love fests. Not anymore, thanks to DTLA Proud Fest. The inaugural event in 2016 drew 10,000 people together to welcome the diverse and talented population of Downtown for musical performances, parties, and more put together by local movers and shakers. This year’s festival celebrates people of all backgrounds, sexual orientations, races, ages, religions, and gender identities with even more music and some fabulous hosting by the Boulet Brothers.
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM | Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles | Free | website

September 30 - October 1 | Plan ahead: Music & food
Music Tastes Good
Long Beach has taken music festival food to the next level with Music Tastes Good, an annual event that puts both music and food on equal footing. Of Montreal, Sleater-Kinney, Los Lobos, Peaches, and others will be on the musical side, while bites from local chefs (Luis Navatto of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, Sugar Sungkamee of Spicy Sugar) and New Orleans–based chefs (Collin Cormier of Pop’s Poboys, Melissa Martin of Mosquito Supper Club) will keep you satiated. Snag tickets now, and start planning for a weekend of eating and dancing.
11:00 AM - 10:00 PM | Marina Green Park, 386 E. Shoreline Dr., Long Beach | From $75 | website

Sarah Purkrabek is a writer and editor based in the heart of Los Angeles.

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