31 Fun Things to do This Labor Day Weekend in L.A. [9-3-2021 to 9-6-2021]

Summer SoundWave series at The Music Center’s Jerry Moss Plaza. Photo by Stan Lee

As Los Angeles finds its way out of the pandemic and restrictions gradually ease, we’re continuing our bi-weekly round-ups of fun to-dos, mixing in the occasional online/virtual event with an ever-growing listen of in-person experiences and food ideas.

This Labor Day weekend, from September 3 to 6, features KCRW Summer Nights at Descanso Gardens, Easy Mornings at Grand Park, Summer Soundwaves at The Music Center, Fiesta Hermosa, Open House at the Alex Theatre, the 626 Night Market, John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl, and more.


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Friday / All Weekend

1. KCRW Summer Nights -> The first-ever KCRW Summer Nights at Descanso Gardens takes place this Friday, kicking off at 6 p.m., and continuing with two dance-themed DJ sets by Raul Campos and Anthony Valadez, plus a special appearance by puppets from Bob Baker Marionette Theater. The event is free and open to the public (RSVPs are closed), but keep in mind that once they’ve hit in-person capacity they will be turning people away. Entry is first-come, first-serve. More info here.

2. One Colorado’s Summer Flicks -> One Colorado in Old Pasadena is hosting an outdoor movie series in September featuring free admission, complimentary popcorn, and plenty of drinks and meal to-go options for purchase. This Friday the series kicks off with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Screening begins at 8:30 p.m. Seating is based on capacity, and is first-come, first-serve. Early arrival is strongly encouraged. More info here.

3. John Williams: Maestro of the Movies -> Iconic film composer John Williams returns to the Bowl for his annual celebration of music from the movies. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted both by David Newman and Williams himself, will perform a program of cinematic classics backed by clips from the selected films. More info here.

4. Zombie Joe’s Toxic Vampyre -> ZJU’s newest horror walk-through experience opens this Friday, and performances will be limited to the next three weekends. Per a release, guests will be “…entranced by a terrifyingly-mischievous motley gang of hungry Vampyres as they guide you through their wretched, soul-sucking phantasmagoria with a blood-promise of a blissful eternal life devoid of fear, pain and worry.” Sounds chill. Runs Friday and Saturday nights through Sep. 11. Tickets are $17.50. More info here.

5. 626 Night Market -> The SGV’s signature outdoor market returns to Santa Anita Park this Friday through Saturday with bites and goods for purchase from hundreds of food, merch, and craft vendors, plus arts, games, music, and entertainment attractions for the whole family. Admission is $5 pre-sale, or $7 for day-of. Parking is free. More info here.

6. Lisa Frank x ORLY Pop Up Nail Bar Experience -> ORLY Color Labs is hosting a Lisa Frank pop-up to celebrate the new Lisa Frank x ORLY nail collection. From September 1-3, ORLY Color Labs ticketed ($55) pop-up will include a personalized Lisa Frank manicure, a photo booth to capture the magic and Lisa Frank x ORLY nail merchandise to take home.

7. Remix The Art of Music -> The 4th annual Remix The Art of Music is a music-themed exhibition featuring 60+ artists, on display at Gabba Gallery now through September 18. Gabba Gallery is open Thursday through Saturday from noon to 3 p.m., or by appointment.

8. First Fridays in Bixby Knolls -> First Fridays along Atlantic Ave in Long Beach have returned, featuring an evening of pop-up activities, live music, and special discounts. Runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. this Friday, Sep. 3. Check the full list of activities, participants, and sales here.

9. Discovery from the Deep -> A new temporary exhibition at the Natural History Museum contains an extremely rare (and kind of horrifying) female Pacific footballfish (Himantolophus sagamius, a type of anglerfish), which was discovered in May 2021 at Crystal Cove State Park in Newport Beach, CA. The exhibit, which opens this Wednesday, will allow guests to touch a model replicating the fish’s spiky exterior and learn how the creature uses bioluminescent bacteria to hunt in the darkness of the deep sea. On display through Nov. 29. Adult admission at NHM is $15, remember that L.A. County residents receive free museum admission daily from 3 to 5 p.m. More info here.

10. Proof-of-Vax Bars -> The list of L.A.-area bars now requiring proof of vaccination for entry has no grown to 49 establishments, according to an ongoing list put together by L.A. Taco. If you’re still looking to grab a drink, but would feel safer in a vaccine required environment, you could head out to one of these spots this week.

11. Looking with the Heart: The Little Prince -> The Corey Helford Gallery’s latest exhibition is a group art show celebrating the legacy of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic children’s’ tale, The Little Prince, and includes new works from 65 artists from around the globe. The show runs through Sep. 18. Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m., Thursday to Saturday. More info here.

12. The Art of Citizen 13660 -> The Japanese American National Museum’s newest exhibition honors the legacy of Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13600. Published in 1946, Okubo’s memoir was the first book-length account of the incarceration and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. JANM’s exhibit will include original sketches and drawings by Okubo, plus a draft copy of her final manuscript. Miné Okubo’s Masterpiece: The Art of Citizen 13660 runs through Feb. 20, 2022. JANM’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Adult museum admission starts at $16. Get more info here.

13. DiscOasis -> Lights, disco, live performances, and food trucks, all presented in a lush, late-afternoon garden setting. That’s the premise behind DiscoOasis, a new timed experience at the South Coast Botanic Garden that runs Tuesday through Sunday through Sep. 6. Tickets start at $39 per person. Get more info and buy tickets here.

14. Dance DTLA -> The Music Center’s Dance DTLA is back starting on Aug 13, for five Friday night dance parties on its Jerry Moss Plaza. On-site dance instructors will guide guests on easy-to-learn steps while DJs spin the soundtrack. This Friday’s theme is Salsa, and the event is free and open to the public. More info here.

15. Sing for Hope Pianos -> As part of the Sing for Hope Pianos recurring public art project, 16 special artist-designed pianos will pop up around Beverly Hills from Aug 5. to Sep. 6, offering public guests the opportunity to play and enjoy for free. More info here.


16. Easy Mornings at Grand Park -> Every Saturday in September Grand Park will play host to special morning events featuring family-friendly activities, including arts-based workshops, wellness and dance workshops, public art and live DJ entertainment. Free to attend. No RSVP required. Runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday. More info here.

17. Alex Theatre Open House -> After a pandemic hiatus, the Alex Theatre is reopening and to celebrate Glendale Arts will host an open house this Saturday to mark the 96th birthday of the historic venue. Guests can scope out behind-the-scenes spaces, including the stage area, dressing rooms, and projection booth. Additionally, the theatre will screeen two classic short films over the course of the day, Ice Cold Cocos at 12:05 p.m. and Buster’s Mix Up at 3:54 p.m. Free to attend. Event runs noon to 5 p.m. More info here.

18. Fiesta Hermosa Locale -> Fiesta Hermosa (now rebranded as Fiesta Hermosa Locale) returns Saturday through Monday for three days of community based events and activities, including two stages of live music, local food and beer options, and over 100 artists and makers showcasing their creations. The event runs noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Monday. Adult tickets for individual days are $20, or you can get a three-day pass for $55. More info here.


19. Piñatas: The High Art of Celebration -> The latest showcase at the Craft in America Art Center features handmade piñatas and piñata-based art objects made by over a dozen artists, most of whom hail from Southern California. Opens this Saturday, Sep. 4, and runs through Dec. 4, 2021. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m. More info here.

20. Grand Performances -> This Saturday’s edition of Grand Performances 10 years of the global bass crew, and will bring together special guests Los Rakas, Uproot Andy, Reyna Tropical, Zuzuka Poderosa, Cumbiatón and Late Night Laggers. Free entry, outdoors, all-ages. Runs 2 to 9 p.m. More info here.

21. A Night with Juke Bounce Werk -> The Music Center’s Summer SoundWaves Series concludes this Saturday with a focus on the musical genre of footwork, including a guest appearance by experimental electronic artist JLin. The outdoor event takes place at Jerry Moss Plaza starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person. More info here.

22. The Class x ROW DTLA -> Stay active while experiencing stunning views of the Los Angeles skyline every Saturday in September during movement and meditation classes on the rooftop of ROW DTLA. A different instructor will lead each week, and classes run $45 per session. More info here


23. $1 Scoops at Dear Bella Creamery -> Alice Cherng and Belinda Wei, are hosting a Scoop Party this Sunday to celebrate the official debut of Dear Bella Creamery. Guests can score a scoop of their choice for $1 (limit one per person) by following @dearbellacreamery on Instagram and children under 12 will receive the $1 scoop regardless. Formerly known as Cocobella Creamery, Dear Bella Creamery is a premium all natural plant-based ice cream shop located in Hollywood. Ice creams, fillings, and toppings are all made-from-scratch with quality ingredients and current flavors include Taiwanese Pineapple Cake, Ube Casserole and Black Sesame.

24. Ice Cream Alley -> The summer run of Smorgasburg LA’s Ice Cream Alley comes to a close with the final edition this Sunday. Smorgasburg is free to enter. Runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. More info here.

25. Patton Oswalt and Friends -> Comedian Patton Oswalt will be performing along with a lineup of special guests at the Largo this Sunday evening starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35, plus fees. More info here.


26. California Sol -> The annual Labor Day bash at the rooftop of Ace Hotel DTLA is back, presented by Motown On Mondays LA. Event runs 2 to 9 p.m. Free entry. Masks will be mandatory. More info here.

27. RECONNECTING: A Vision of Unity -> Monday will be the final day to see Kengo Kito’s exhibit on display at Japan House LA. Kito’s work takes 2,021 hula hoops to create a massive, unified art piece that explores issues of connection and re-connection in the wake of the past year’s unprecedented events. Admission is free to the gallery. Walk-ins accept, reservations are recommend. Learn more here.



28. etta -> Chicago’s etta is set to officially open in Culver City on Thursday. The Italian California menu focuses on food prepared on a wood-fired hearth. A wood-burning brick oven also bakes thin crust seasonal pizzas and (possibly) the best focaccia in the town. Reservations are available on Seven Rooms, and the opening menu can be found here.

29. Shake Shack x Milk Bar -> Shake Shack has teamed up with Milk Bar to release two limited-edition shakes, a Chocolate Birthday Cake Shake and Cornflake Chocolate Drizzle Shake. The shakes are a blend of Shake Shack’s frozen custards with Milk Bar’s famous dessert creations. The shakes are available Sep. 3 through Nov. 1.

30. The Waterfront’s Labor Day Menu -> The Waterfront has put together a special limited time menu for Labor Day Weekend featuring a seafood tower ($125) French onion Dip & Chips ($14) oyster mushroom calamari ($18) BBQ chicken skewers ($28) and more. The Venice restaurant will be opening on Monday just for the holiday.

31. Messhall Labor Day Special Whiskey Flight -> Messhall’s Beverage Director Amanda Arebalo has curated a whiskey flight to honor Labor Day. Flights come in “The Moderately Curious” ($25) and for whiskey fanatics The Baller Lineup” ($75) featuring Elijah Craig 23yr, W.L. Weller Barrel Proof 2019, Parker’s Heritage 24yr, and Van Winkle Special Reserve 12yr “Lot B”.

Any notes or corrections? Want to suggest an event we should add to an upcoming list? Hit us up at [email protected].


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