Things To Do This Weekend in L.A. [9-29-2023 to 10-1-2023]

Watts Towers. Photo by Brian Champlin

This weekend in Los Angeles? We’ve got rhythm. We’ve got art. We’ve got food. We’ve even got a free summer concert series making a one-night fall return. So where are you headed?

From September 29 to October 1 in L.A., you’ll find the annual Day of the Drum Festival and Jazz Fest at Watts Towers, the 2023 premier of Boney Island at NHM, a free Transformers screening at Expo Park, Japan Family Day at Santa Anita Park, a Classical Kids Discovery Day at Plaza de la Raza, the Moon Festival in Chinatown, LA Sínfonica “Eight Seasons” at Grand Performances, and MUCH more.


Make Metro Part of Your Weekend

Watts Towers Jazz Festival – > On Sunday, the 46th annual Watts Towers Jazz Festival for 8 hours of musical performances, featuring a lineup that includes spoken word artists, gospel jazz, and blues. Runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and are free to attend. More info here.

Go Metro: Take the A Line to 103rd St / Watts Towers Station

More Things To Do This Weekend

M = Less than .5 miles from an L.A. Metro Station, FA = Free Admission, TP = Top Pick

Boney IslandM TP > Starting this Thursday, Boney Island moves its immersive Halloween to a new home at the Nature Gardens of Natural History Museum Los Angeles Attendees can expect an array of glowing installations, spooky skeletons, and shadow puppetry interlaced with artistic performances, real fossils from the museum’s collection, live animal presentations, and plenty of trick-or-treating opportunities for the little ones. Boney Island runs Thursday to Sunday through the end of the month, plus October 30-31. Tickets are $25. More info here.

Black Lagoon Pop-Up Bar -> The touring, immersive Halloween pop-up bar Black Lagoon returns to Lost Property Bar in Hollywood for a month-long residency of themed cocktails in a spooky atmosphere filled with dark and eerie things. Los Angeles residents can look forward to an array of entertainment on Sundays and Tuesdays, including diabolical drag performances to macabre magic and boo-lesque (ticketed events cost $25). Additionally, every Wednesday, the pop-up venue will host emo nights, featuring a variety of DJs (entry fee $15). For all other nights, admission to the pop-up is free.

dublab 24th Anniversary CelebrationM FA TP > Internet radio station and creative collective dublab marks their 24th anniversary with a 24-hour live music broadcast and activation taking place at The Music Center’s Jerry Moss Plaza. From 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 p.m. on Saturday, expect continuous DJ sets and performances from a roster that includes Colored Crag, Gay Felony, Monalisa, Optometry, Jerry Paper, Juliet Mendoza, Jen Ferrer, floating, Underwater Garden Ensemble, DJ The Witching Hours, In Sheep’s Clothing, and many more. Get more info here.

LAPD’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at Union StationM FA > In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, join Los Angeles Police Department is hosting a public celebration at Union Station this Friday that includes music, food and and a special performance by Mariachi Los Servidores (a mariachi ensemble of LAPD sworn and civilian personnel). The event runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is free to attend. More info here.

ShaqtoberfestM > If NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is going to stamp his name on a Halloween haunt, it better be big, right? Well, this year’s edition of Shaqtoberfest is back at the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach, offering evenings of live entertainment, themed bars and lounges, carnival rides, plus a brand new “Gray Ghost” haunted trail that takes guests deep into the depths of the historic luxury liner. Shaqtoberfest opens this Thursday to Sunday, and continues on select dates through October 31. There will also be family-friendly hours with trick-or-treating during the last three Sundays in October. GA tickets start at $29.99. More info here.

Angel of LightM > Step into the Los Angeles Theatre in Downtown for Angel of Light, a haunting journey that combines live performances and immersive storytelling to transport visitors to Old Hollywood in 1935. Guests will move about the theatre from dressing rooms, to the ballroom, and the stage to relive the cursed tale of a 1930s star while meeting eerie characters along the way. The 60-minute experience runs Wednesdays through Sundays and select Mondays and Tuesdays in October. Tickets run $59.50 – $70 per person. More info here

Nights of the Jack -> The annual 1-mile trail of Halloween lights and jack o’lanterns at King Gillette Ranch returns starting this Friday to Sunday, and continues on select dates through Halloween night. In addition to the signature walk, expect live pumpkin carving demos, face painting, a souvenir shop, and a “spookeasy” offering adult beverages for sale. Admission runs $29.99-$44.99 depending on which day of the week you attend. Get more info here.

Halloween Horror NightsM > This Thursday to Sunday, Universal Studios’ fall horror takeover continues, featuring the signature Terror Tram, plus a litany of scare zones, lives shows, and a bevy of different haunted houses, including The Exorcist: Believer and Universal Monsters: Unmasked. GA tickets start at $74, but VIP and express packages can push the price point well over $300 depending on the offer. Get more info here.

Hispanic Heritage Month Concerts at Ovation Hollywood M FA > Every Friday from September 15 to October 13, Ovation Hollywood celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with live music in the central courtyard featuring a lineup of artists from a variety of genres, including Latin Jazz, Mariachi, and pop. All events run from 4 to 7 p.m. and are free to attend. More info here.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride -> The signature Halloween experience held in Griffith Park is back for 2023, beginning this Friday to Sunday. Fictional horror-town Midnight Falls is once again your setting, filled with roaming monsters, a haunted mortuary and of course the iconic Hayride. Tickets start at $29.99. The scares continue on select dates through October 31. More info here.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts at Exposition ParkM FA TP > This Saturday at Exposition Park, Paramount+ and Street Food Cinema are collaborating to host a free screening of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, to be shown in English accompanied by Spanish subtitles. Expect a pre-screening DJ set by Raul Campos, plus plenty of local food and drink vendors, special giveaways, and photo ops. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the movie starts at 7:30 p.m. Get more info and RSVP to attend here.

Moon Festival in ChinatownM FA TP > The Moon Festival in Chinatown brings an evening of free all-ages activities and activations to Central Plaza, including live performances and the annual kids lantern parade. Runs from 5 to 10 p .m. More info here.

LA Sínfonica “Eight Seasons” at Grand PerformancesM FA > Grand Performances summer concert series makes a fall return with an evening presentation of Antonio Vivaldi’s iconic Four Seasons juxtaposed against Astor Piazzolla’s tango-inspired response, Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas. The “Eight Seasons” will be conducted by Sonia Marie De León de Vega, and features violin soloists YI-Huan Zhao, Mishkar Nunez-Fredell, Dimitry Olevsky, and Kyle Gilner. Concert begins at 7 p.m. and free to attend. Seating is first-come, first-served. More info here.

Art At the Airport Fall Open Studios & Gallery OpeningFA > 18th Street Arts Center hosts a fall open house event this Saturday at their Santa Monica Airport campus, offering guests the chance to peruse new work from over 20 artists in residence. The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and is free to attend. More info here.

Autry Museum’s 35th Anniversary Party -> Celebrate the Autry Museum’s 35th anniversary this Saturday with a day of festivities, activities, and community appreciation. Tickets start at just $2.00 for kids and $4.75 for adults, reflecting 1988 prices for one day only. Enjoy full museum access and lawn celebrations. Activities include food trucks, live music, carnival games, Native voices performances, and a visit from a special PBS character. More info here.


Made in L.A. Opening Celebration FA TP > This Saturday, The Hammer Museum hosts a public celebration for the newest iteration of Made in L.A., a biennial celebration of artists who work, live and create in the city of Los Angeles. The opening night bash features live music from L.A. artist collective Mas Exitos, plus a cash bar and evening access to the museum galleries. Free to attend. More info here.

Japan Family Day -> Japan Family Day pops up at Santa Anita Park this Saturday and Sunday for two days of cultural events, demonstrations, food, cosplay, vendors, a calligraphy workshop and more. The festival runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both dates, and you can also catch the Tokyo City Cup at the race track on Sunday. Tickets start at $10. More info here.

We Love Roller DerbyFA > Celebrate the vibrant history of roller derby with the LA Thunderbirds as part of a two-part event this Saturday. Start at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes with a National Roller Derby Hall of Fame induction ceremony beginning at 1:30 p.m. featuring roller derby legends and other surprise guests. Stick around for conversations with the athletes at 3 p.m. Then, head to Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet members from the T-Birds, Derby Dolls, and Angel City Derby. More info here

Melrose Hill Block Party -> Melrose Hill Block Party is a micro street party spotlighting LA’s thriving community of young creatives, artists and chefs. Happening on Saturday, the public can explore cult brands and eateries as well as sounds by notable DJs and performers. The party is free for guests to attend with RSVP via partiful. Open bar tickets cost $60. This year, the benefactor from the block party will be No Us Without You LA.

Classical Kids Discovery DayFA TP > In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, classical music station KUSC will host a Classical Kids Discovery Day at the historic Plaza de la Raza this Sunday. This bilingual event invites children to explore the world of live classical music in a fun and accessible manner. The plaza and its nearby classrooms will be filled with kid-friendly live classical music and dance performances. Attendees can enjoy various activities, such as crafting their own violins with Los Angeles Philharmonic Affiliates or take the shot at being a Classical KUSC DJ by getting on the mic with KUSC on-air hosts. Additional activities include “Guitar Discovery” with McCabe’s Guitar Shop, arts and crafts led by Plaza de la Raza teachers and instrument-building with Neighborhood Music School. Runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info here

Angel City Brewery OktoberfestM FA > On Sunday, Angel City Brewery celebrates Oktoberfest fest with special offerings and activities, including pretzels from Röckenwagner, brats/vegan brats too, plenty of German-style beers on tap, a live Oompa Band, plus competitions for stein-hoisting and sauerkraut-eating. The event runs noon to 6 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

Booptown at BoomtownM FA > Head to Boomtown Brewery this Sunday for Booptown, a monthly afternoon social and pet adoption event where guests can buy a beer from Boomtown’s ample selection and maybe (just maybe!) find a new best friend in the process. Reps/animals from Best Friends Animal Society, Hollywood Huskies, Itchy’s Rescue, Homeless To Forever Foundation, and LA Animal Services will all be in attendance, along with food trucks and special vendors. Runs 1 to 5 p.m. this Sunday. Free to attend. More info here.

Dining & Drinking

(picks by Christina Champlin)

Lederhosen lads enjoying some beers during Benny Boy Brewing’s Octoberfest. Photo courtesy of Benny Boy Brewing.

Oktoberfest at Benny Boy Brewing -> Join Benny Boy Brewing for their weekend long Oktoberfest celebration, this Friday to Sunday. The three-day extravaganza features German-style beers, mouthwatering treats from pop-up food vendors like Shappy Pretzel Co and Comfy Pup, stein holding contests, a Weenie Dog Race, live music, a Vintage Vochos VW car show, and more. Dress in your lederhosen and dirndls for a $2 discount on steins. Entry is free, and valet parking is available for $14 per car. More info here.


Long Beach Ube Fest -> There’s a Long Beach Ube Fest happening this Saturday in the East Village Arts District of Downtown Long Beach. Admission is free, and dozens of food vendors will be serving ube-inspired eats from ube tortillas from Long Beach Taco to ube cannolis from Little Coyote. There will also be a market selling a variety of goods. More info here

A Cup Noodles Brewery Pop-Up -> This Saturday, Cup Noodles is launching their Noodles + Brews pairing campaign with a noodle bar pop-up at Angel City Brewery in the Arts District. The event is free to attend and runs from noon to 6 p.m. Attendees will get a chance to savor samples of Cup Noodles Stir Fry and Cup Noodles Stir Fry Rice with Noodles, expertly paired with craft beers chosen by beer sommelier Mandy Naglich.

Mama’s Nightmarket -> Not your average foodie event, Mama’s Nightmarket returns on Sunday to once again highlight under-represented mom and pop restaurants that have served their communities for decades. Tickets start at $39 for GA and go up to $125 for VIP. A portion of proceeds will also be donated to @heyrespectyourelders, a nonprofit organization focused on feeding seniors in minority communities while supporting local restaurants. More info here

Birriamania -> L.A. TACO’s Birriamania comes to Santa Anita Park this Saturday for an afternoon event featuring some of the top birria taco vendors in Los Angeles paired with craft beer and horse racing action. Tickets are $34 for a starter package (3 tacos, 1 beer). More info here

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