The best of what to do in and around Los Angeles this month.
Film and theater take center stage this month at Shakespeare in the Park and Outfest, the nation’s biggest LGBT film festival. If you’d rather indulge your taste buds, eat your way through July at Grand Central Market, Dine L.A., and the O.C. Fair.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
July 1 - 23 | Theater
Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare’s plays are required viewing for anyone who loves theater, history, or film. Get schooled in some of his lesser known classics at Shakespeare in the Park, a free annual summer showcase of the playwright’s work. Through July 23, catch Measure for Measure, a dark comedy about love and cruelty that’s full of strangely modern twists. Later in the summer (July 29 through September 3), the stage will transform into the set of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, a coming-of-age tale about best friends.
Griffith Park Zoo, 4801 Griffith Park Dr., Los Angeles | Free | website
July 4 | Independence Day
Fourth of July Block Party
Celebrate Independence Day with the diverse set of Americans who call Los Angeles home. Downtown L.A.’s Grand Park is lighting up with two stages of music by local musicians, including performances by rock/hip-hop fusion artist C-Minus and the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. There will also be food vendors and a fireworks display that’ll make your jaw drop. Free bike parking and easy access to the event from the metro are incentives to make your commute there a green one.
2:00 PM - 9:30 PM | Grand Park, 200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles | Free | website
July 6 - 16 | Film festival
Considered the preeminent LGBT film festival in the world, Outfest is 11 days of film screenings, panel discussions, and parties, and it draws more than 40,000 people each year. Screenings this year include Strangers, a film about a newly-single bisexual woman who begins renting out her spare room to a diverse set of characters, and Freak Show, a coming-of-age story starring Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game) and Laverne Cox.
Times & locations vary | From $15 | website
July 13 | Food
Taste of Grand Central Market
Downtown’s Grand Central Market food hub can be a bit overwhelming, with all those neon signs and the tantalizing scents of 38 food vendors under one roof. You can’t go wrong with any single option for a meal, but why choose when you don’t have to? On Secret City L.A.’s Taste of Grand Central Market, you’ll get to sample offerings from many of the vendors—expect enough bites to equal a full meal, so arrive hungry. Your guide will also give you background on each of the food vendors and tips for where to eat when you return.
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM | Grand Central Market, 312 Hill St., Los Angeles | $50 | website
July 14 - 28 | Food
Los Angeles takes the concept of a restaurant week to the next level. Dine L.A. is a two-week affair highlighting the best of what L.A.’s massive food scene has to offer, and the deals are pretty unbelievable. More than 300 restaurants across the city participate in the event, offering lunch menus starting at $15 per person and dinner starting at $29. At places like BOA Steakhouse, Chaya, and Fig, these are the best deals you’ll ever see (at least, until the next Dine L.A. rolls around).
Times & locations vary | From $15 | website
July 14 - August 13 | Fair
The annual O.C. Fair could be out of a movie—it’s got all the classic bases covered. Think entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits, animals, nightly music, and high-adrenaline sports spanning 23 days at the O.C. Fair and Event Center. About a 45-minute drive south of Downtown L.A., the O.C. Fair is the perfect summer day trip. Plus, the music festival stages, carnival foods, and local street fair vibes make for top-notch Instagrams.
O.C. Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa | From $12 | website
July 29 | Film
Cinespia Presents “Superbad” at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Outdoor films at the famous Hollywood Forever Cemetery are on most L.A. bucket lists and for good reason: The BYO picnic is a sight to behold, with hundreds of people hanging out on the lawn and catching a flick as the sun sets (pro-tip: Beer and wine are permitted). There are multiple films showing this month (A League of Their Own, July 8; The Fifth Element, July 15; Stand by Me, July 22), but the one not to miss is Superbad, which celebrates its 10th anniversary screening at Hollywood Forever on July 29. The throwback comedy starring Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Emma Stone, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse—better known as McLovin—will have you in stitches all over again.
7:15 PM - 9:00 PM | Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles | $16 | website
July 29 - August 6 | Sports
U.S. Open of Surfing
The nine-day celebration of surfing and surf culture that is the U.S. Open of Surfing is your chance to catch some of the world’s top surfers riding gnarly waves of surf movie fame. The wave riders will be joined by skaters and BMXers on the beach, as well as family-friendly movie showings, art installations, meet and greets with the athletes, and live music.
6:00 AM - 7:00 PM | Huntington City Beach, 315 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington | Free | website
July 31 | Music
Lionel Richie & Mariah Carey
Two of R&B’s living legends are going back-to-back for the ultimate greatest hits concert. It’ll be hard not to sing along when Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey belt out “Endless Love,” “Truly,” and “Always Be My Baby.” Set at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, the concert will be a true night of music industry glamour.
7:00 PM | Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles | From $50 | website
August 11 - December 29 | Theater
The hip-hop history musical that everyone’s been talking about is finally coming to L.A. Hamilton, the story of Alexander Hamilton written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, has garnered rave reviews on every leg of its nationwide tour, so it’s not surprising that tickets come with a hefty price tag attached. It’s worth it, though, to see the musical of the century.
6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles | From $245 | website
Sarah Purkrabek is a writer and editor based in the heart of Los Angeles.
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