Celebrate Día de los Muertos in Los Angeles

The Best Day of the Dead events in L.A.

Dia de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery | Photo: RebecaAR, Flickr


Dating back hundreds of years, Día de los Muertos ("Day of the Dead") is celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world. During the multi-day holiday, family and friends gather to honor and celebrate loved ones who have passed away. Traditions include building ofrendas (private altars), enjoying the favorite dishes and drinks of the departed, and visiting graves with mementos of the deceased.

In Los Angeles, Día de los Muertos events take place across the city, from L.A.'s oldest district to museums and a cemetery of the stars. From traditional ceremonies to modern cultural festivals, here are the best Día de los Muertos events in Los Angeles.

Dia de los Muertos Festival | Photo courtesy of Olvera Street, Facebook

Día de los Muertos Festival - Olvera Street (through Nov. 2, 2018)



Located at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Olvera Street is one of L.A.'s most popular tourist destinations, home to a colorful marketplace, restaurants and some of the city's oldest landmarks. For more than 30 years, the merchants of Olvera Street have celebrated the annual Día de los Muertos Festival. The pre-Columbian Novenario Procession is held nightly on Olvera Street from Oct. 25 - Nov. 2 beginning at 7 p.m. Before and after each candlelight procession, Mayan blessings and cleansings will be offered. Following each procession, free pan de muerto (sweet bread) and champurrado (Mexican hot beverage) will be served. Community altars ("las ofrendas") will be on display in the Plaza Oct. 28 - Nov. 2. There will also be daily live entertainment and weekend face painters that will turn you into a calavera.

Día de los Muertos | Photo courtesy of Grand Park, Facebook

Downtown Día de los Muertos - Grand Park (through Nov. 4, 2018)



Grand Park celebrates the traditions of Día de los Muertos with multiple ways to experience and learn about the holiday. In partnership with Self-Help Graphics & Art and Lore Media & Art, the park will present 50 altars and art installations created by local artists and community groups that reflect the theme Looking to the Past to Build the Future. The park will offer free guided tours, which will highlight the artwork and discuss the traditions of the holiday.

Day of the Dead spread | Photo courtesy of Border Grill

Day of the Dead Specials - BORDER GRILL DTLA (through Nov. 6, 2018)



In the spirit of the Halloween season, Border Grill in DTLA will be featuring a Day of the Dead themed menu from October 16 to November 6. As a nod to the Day of the Dead tradition of honoring those who have passed away, Border Grill is offering four special cocktails in remembrance of recently passed culinary legends and will be displaying an ofrenda (Day of the Dead altar). An homage to Jonathan Gold, the MariGOLD Margarita is made with Viva Reposado Tequila, Araceli Marigold liqueur, Combier, Margarita mix and tajin, garnished with micro marigold. Other cocktail tributes include El Mexicano (Anthony Bourdain), El Royale (Robin Leach) and Robuchon 57 (Joel Robuchon).

Day of the Dead starters include Ceviche Negro (shrimp, scallops, squid ink, jicama, chipotle, citrus marinade), Black Mole Duck Taquitos and Crispy Skins Trio. Entrees feature Blood Sausage Tacos, Turkey Chorizo Tacos and Shrimp Diablo. For dessert, indulge in Pan De Muerto & Café De Olla with crème fraiche and hibiscus sauce.

Photo courtesy OUE Skyspace/Timeout

Day of the Dead Cocktail Celebration - OUE Skyspace (Nov. 1, 2018)



With its spectacular panoramic views and California's highest observation deck, OUE Skyspace in Downtown L.A. is an amazing venue to host a Day of the Dead Cocktail Celebration. Tickets are on sale at Eventbrite and include one complimentary Day of the Dead-inspired drink with El Silencio Mezcal; an opportunity to leave written remembrances to deceased loved ones at the community altar; a ride on the Skyslide, photo booth and more. 

Día de los Muertos at Las Perlas

Dia de los Muertos - Las Perlas (Nov. 1-4, 2018)



Downtown L.A.'s agave spirits mecca, Las Perlas presents a Día de los Muertos celebration from Thursday to Sunday, November 1-4. Bring a picture of a loved one to add to the ofrenda and receive a free shot of Tequila Pueblo Viejo. Thursday features live music by Spaghetti Cumbia, drink specials from Mezcal El Silencio and Tequila Tromba (front bar), and Tequila Avión and Altos Tequila (back bar). Guests spending over $20 in the back bar will receive gifts to take home (while supplies last). On Friday there's face painting and Avión+Altos drink specials in the back bar. Happy Hour Brunch on Saturday starts at 1pm. After 8pm, enjoy $7 Tequila Margaritas and $8 Mezcal Margaritas after Happy Hour. Try something new on Sunday with curated staff flights of selected mezcals!

Sugar Skull Salsa Night at Clifton's Republic

Sugar Skull Salsa Night - Clifton's Republic (Nov. 1, 2018)



Clifton's Republic is celebrating life on Thursday, Nov. 1 with a special Día De Los Muertos edition of their bi-monthly Salsa Night. Paint on your best sugar skull face and put on your dance shoes for this FREE event, hosted by Latin Dance Pro. Featuring Bachata DJ in the Brookdale Ballroom and Salsa DJ in the Monarch Bar. Free Beginner Salsa Lessons (7pm) and Intermediate Salsa Lessons (8pm). 21 and over, elegant attire.

Día de los Muertos | Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Youth Arts Center, Facebook

Día de los Muertos Celebration - Sun Valley Youth Center (Nov. 1, 2018)



Join Sun Valley Youth Arts Center on Thursday, Nov. 1 for the annual Día de los Muertos Celebration, a fun filled evening of art workshops, student art exhibit, refreshments, and entertainment for the entire family. The public is invited to participate in the community altar by placing an image/printout of a loved one who has passed on the altar. Taking place from 5-8 p.m., the free celebration concludes with an amazing ritual dance by Danza Temachtia Quetzacoatl.

Jardín de Recuerdos - Natural History Museum (Nov. 2, 2018)



On Friday, November 2 the Natural History Museum celebrates nature and Day of the Dead traditions in the Jardín de Recuerdos (Garden of Memories). Enjoy an evening of folkloric dances, sweet treats, art activities and more. Guests are invited to participate in a community ofrenda - constructed by master altarista Ofelia Esparza and her daughter, artist Rosanna Esparza Ahrens - by sharing images or objects of loved ones and places. Guests can also see the altar built in honor of the rich cultures that make up L.A. titled El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Ángeles, on view in the Becoming Los Angeles exhibition. This family friendly celebration will take place in the Nature Garden from 5-9pm and is free with pre-registration. Walk ups welcome, pre-registration is encouraged. RSVP for free tickets.

Dia de los Muertos dancers | Photo courtesy of 24th Street Theatre, Facebook

12th Annual Día DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL - 24th Street Theatre (Nov. 2, 2018)



On Friday, Nov. 2, celebrate Mexico's joyous tradition of Día de los Muertos, 24th Street Theatre style - with music, dance, homemade tamales, face painting, craft booths, and a graveyard where families can make their own altars for their departed loved ones. Now in its 12th year, the free festival is taking place from 6–10 p.m. Artists/performers include Louie Cruz Beltran, Space Sanchos, Jarochelo, Tierra Blanca Arts Center, Ballet Folklorico Sol de Fuego, Chinelos, Danzantes Aztecas, Mariachi Corazón de Magnolia, Mariachi & Calaca Guapachosa, and Ella.

Día de los Muertos at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School | Photo courtesy of Self Help Graphics & Art

45th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration - SELF HELP GRAPHICS (NOV. 2, 2018)



For 45 years, Self Help Graphics & Art has promoted and organized one of the most popular Día de los Muertos events in Los Angeles and considered the oldest Day of the Dead commemoration in the country. This unique program provides the community with a seasonal activities throughout the Fall, including workshops and a Día de los Muertos gallery exhibition: "How We Remember and How We Survive," on view at Self Help from Oct. 4 to Dec. 21. Taking place at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School, the festivities include the participation of more than 50 community organizations, 150+ volunteers and 10,000 attendees.

Photo: Autry Museum of the American West

Remembrance, The Faces and Places - Mt. Washington Campus (Nov. 3 - Dec. 8, 2018)



Taking place at the Autry's Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus, Remembrance, The Faces and Places is a pop-up exhibition from the Arroyo Arts Collective that asks local artists to explore a deepened understanding of Halloween, Día de los Muertos, and all rituals - historically and worldwide - associated with how we grieve, how we continue to love, and how we go on in the face of loss. Twenty artists have been invited to create altars in the niche spaces along both sides of the building's famed portal tunnel, which originally housed dioramas illustrating various ways of Native American life. A second group of artists will display wall art upstairs in Sprague Hall. Admission is free.

Baile de los Muertos at Grand Park

Baile de los Muertos - Grand Park (Nov. 3, 2018)



Grand Park celebrates the traditions of Día de los Muertos with multiple ways to experience and learn about the holiday. Taking place at Grand Park from 8pm to midnight on November 3, Baile de los Muertos is a Saturday night dance celebration of friends and family that have passed before us. Featuring next level rhythms by the Subsuelo crew and special guest performances by ECNO - El Conjunto Nueva Ola, Julio y su teclado mágico and Irene Diaz. View the altars and installations from Grand Park's week-long celebration while enjoying the energy of the drum beats. Free admission.

Photo from Insomniac

HARD Day of the Dead - L.A. State Historic Park (Nov. 3, 2018)



HARD Day of the Dead returns to Los Angeles State Historic Park, featuring a stacked line-up led by returning HARD favorites Justice, South African avant-garde rap duo Die Antwoord, and Australian electro stars Knife Party. As the siteof the festival's first incarnation, L.A. State Historic Park is the spiritual home of HARD Day Of The Dead. Six years later, HARD returns to the park after its multi-year renovation for a Dia de los Muertos themed celebration that spans two stages of music. General Admission is $80. VIP passes are $150 and include fast-track entry, an exclusive viewing area, complimentary sugar skull makeup bar and more. Tickets on sale at the HARD website. 2pm-11pm, 21 and over.

Dia de los Muertos Festival | Photo courtesy of Main Street Canoga Park

18TH ANNUAL DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL - CANOGA PARK (NOV. 4, 2018)



The 18th annual Dia de los Muertos Festival celebrates the ancient Mexican and Central American traditions of paying homage to loved ones who have passed. Taking place in historic Downtown Canoga Park along the Sherman Way Corridor, the festival showcases live entertainment, vendors, international foods, calaveras, art exhibits, altar displays, a children’s art pavilion, and a classic car show. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free.

7th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration - WOODLAWN CEMETERY (Nov. 4, 2018)



Situated on 26 acres in Santa Monica, Woodlawn Cemetery offers views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, a serene setting, and a historic mausoleum adorned with handmade stained glass windows and ironwork. The 7th Annual Día de los Muertos celebration is taking place at Woodlawn Cemetery on Sunday, Nov. 4 from 11am to 3 p.m. The family-friendly event celebrates the cycle of life and the remembrance of ancestors with altars, musicians, dancers, marigold offerings, a slide show honoring lost loved ones, food trucks and a communal memory wall. Admission is free. Complimentary parking and bike valet.

Day of the Dead Weekend | Photo courtesy of Old Pasadena

DAY OF THE DEAD WEEKEND - OLD PASADENA (Nov. 2-4, 2018)



Old Pasadena celebrates Day of the Dead, the reverent yet vibrant Mexican holiday that honors loved ones who have passed before us. During the three-day event, dozens of Old Pasadena businesses will create beautiful altars in their spaces to showcase during the self-guided Tour of Altars. The weekend also includes a Community Altar, salsa dance party with live music and calavera face painting, and more to be announced. All events are open to the public and are free admission unless otherwise noted.

Visitors are invited to take a free self-guided tour of both traditional and contemporary interpretations of altars lovingly created to honor and celebrate the spirits of the dearly departed. A panel of judges will visit each altar and award monetary prizes in six categories.

Dia de los Muertos Altar Display & Art Exhibition | Photo courtesy of MOLAA

Dia de los Muertos Altar Display & Art Exhibition - MOLAA (through Nov. 11, 2018)



Now on view at the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), the Día de los Muertos Exhibition is a juried display of art and altars open to artists residing in Southern California. The art and altars are displayed to the public through November 11 in the MOLAA Education Gallery and are featured as a part of MOLAA’s Día de los Muertos curriculum.

Dia de los Muertos at Pacoima City Hall

Día de los Muertos at Pacoima City Hall (Nov. 3-4, 2018)



Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez presents Dia de los Muertos, a free arts and music festival along Van Nuys Boulevard at Pacoima City Hall. The two-day street festival celebrates one of the most important holidays in Mexico and many South American countries, honoring loved ones that have passed away. Dia de los Muertos features Latino artists and entertainers, tasty foods, a catrina contest, and community vendors - you don’t want to miss out on this fun and free all-ages event!