Celebrate Día de los Muertos in Los Angeles

The Best Day of the Dead events in LA

Dia de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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 LA'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 at Olvera Street

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

Día de los Muertos Festival - Olvera Street (Oct. 25 - Nov. 2, 2019)

Located at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, Olvera Street is one of LA's most popular tourist destinations, home to a colorful marketplace, restaurants and some of the city's oldest landmarks.  Kicking off the annual Día de los Muertos Festival, the pre-Columbian Novenario Procession will be held on Olvera Street nightly from Oct. 25 to Nov. 2 beginning at 7 p.m. Before each candlelight procession, ceremonial cleansings and blessings 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. 26 - Nov. 2. There will also be daily live entertainment and weekend face painters from Kahlovera who will turn you into a calavera.

Downtown Día de los Muertos at Grand Park

Downtown Día de los Muertos | Photo: Grand Park, Facebook

Downtown Día de los Muertos - Grand Park (Oct. 26 – Nov. 3, 2019)

Grand Park presents the annual Downtown Día de los Muertos, an extended free festival with a large scale nine-day art installation that begins with Noche de Ofrenda or Night of the Offerings (or Altars). Taken together, the altars - in collaboration with Self Help Graphics - and art pieces organized by Lore Media and Arts, paint a picture of topics and people that have special meaning to LA's diverse communities. Downtown Día de los Muertos is a community-oriented space inviting park-goers to contribute to the community altar, curated by artist and educator Ofelia Esparza, a 2018 NEA National Heritage Fellow; both she and her family continue to be instrumental in preserving and conserving Día de los Muertos in Los Angeles.

Border Grill DTLA (Through Nov. 6, 2019)

In the spirit of the season, Border Grill in Downtown LA is featuring a Dia de los Muertos themed menu through November 6. Border Grill is offering two special cocktails in remembrance of recently passed culinary legends and an ofrenda (altar) is on display in the dining room. A tribute to New Orleans icon Leah Chase (aka the "Queen of Creole Cuisine"), the Lady Chase is a Mexican Sazerac made with El Silencio mezcal, rye whiskey, Angostura and mole bitters, absinthe and lemon peel. The Flor de Fatima (jalapeño mezcal, vanilla, fresh lime, pineapple juice, Ancho Reyes) is inspired by Pakistani-American chef and TV personality, Fatima Ali.

Food specials include Ceviche Negro (sea bass, shrimp, huitlacoche, Indian corn, jalapeño, citrus), Vampiro Tacos, Chicken Mole Negro Enchiladas, Braised Chupacabra (roasted goat), and Pan de Muerto (traditional Mexican sweet bread).

Selena for Sanctuary at Grand Park in DTLA

Selena for Sanctuary at Grand Park | Photo: @_ForSanctuary, Twitter

Selena for Sanctuary - Grand Park (Nov. 1, 2019)

Selena for Sanctuary is a free concert at Grand Park featuring an all-female line-up of LA-based Latinx artists designed to bring immigrants and allies together in a social justice movement. Performers include Empress Of, San Cha, Ceci Bastida, Maya Murillo, August Eve, and Loyal Lobos, plus the house band for the evening, Selenamos and DJ Zuri Adia (of Technocumbia). Organized by the LA-based non-profit Solidarity for Sanctuary and hosted previously in Central Park and at Lincoln Center, the Selena for Sanctuary concert is a homecoming for the organization’s mission to raise awareness about issues concerning immigrant communities and offer resources to help them through the immigration process. Selena for Sanctuary is taking place from 7pm - 10pm on the Performance Lawn.

Quixote: Day of the Dead at Clifton's Republic

Quixote: Day of the Dead | Photo: Clifton's Republic, Facebook

Quixote - Clifton’s Republic (Nov. 1, 2019)

On Friday, November 1, Clifton's Republic presents Quixote: Day of the Dead, a festival of Life that will feature a darkly sensuous combination of Latin Dance and Culture in a mythical setting. Come enjoy Salsa, Flamenco, Tango and more-- and be sure to come dressed for the ghoulishly wondrous occasion! Tickets on sale at Nightout - the VIP option includes expedited entry to four floors of haunted environments including the Pacific Seas and Treetops Lounge as well as a complimentary Clifton's Calavera Shot.

Día de los Muertos dancers at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Día de los Muertos | Photo: Hollywood Forever, Facebook

Día de los Muertos: Sacred Migrations - Hollywood Forever (Nov. 2, 2019)

Hollywood Forever Cemetery presents the 20th annual Día de los Muertos festival on Saturday, November 2 from noon to midnight. This year's guiding theme is the Monarch Butterfly, a symbol of Dreamers and Immigrants whose personal journeys echo the annual migrations the butterflies make between Mexico and the U.S. The Monarch's winter home is the Mexican state of Michoacán, one of the two cultural heartlands in Mexico where the ancient traditions of Dia de los Muertos have been celebrated the longest and most vibrantly.

The public is invited to view more than 100 altars created to honor ancestors and loved ones. Judges will select the best altar in the categories of Event Theme, Traditional Altar and Contemporary Altar – the best of each category wins $5,000. The Ceremonial Altar Set-Up is open to the public and takes place on Friday, November 1 beginning at 3 p.m. Highlights of this quintessential LA cultural festival include: a traditional procession with Aztec blessings and regional musical-dance group dedications; four stages of music and theatrical performances, including headliner Café Tacvba on the Main Stage; hundreds of Aztec ritual dancers; art exhibition in the Cathedral Mausoleum; children’s arts project area; arts and crafts; and food vendors. Día de los Muertos attire is strongly encouraged - come dressed in your finest calaca (skeleton) apparel and enter the costume contest.

General admission is $25 per person. Tickets available at Eventbrite. Children 8 years old and under, and seniors age 65 and over are admitted free until 4 p.m.

HARD Day of the Dead 2018 at Los Angeles State Historic Park

HARD Day of the Dead | Photo: HARD Events, Facebook

HARD Day of the Dead - LA State Historic Park (Nov. 2, 2019)

Now in its seventh year, HARD Day of the Dead returns to its home at Los Angeles State Historic Park, featuring two stages of dance music headlined by Dog Blood (aka superduo Skrillex & Boys Noize), The Martinez Brothers, Blacklizt, Tokimonsta, Damian Lazarus, Justin Martin, Elohim and more. The 21 and over festival is taking place on Saturday, November 2 from 2pm to 11pm.

NOTE: If you are coming to the event in costume, be prepared to remove any masks. If your face is painted, make sure you can be identified by security (and note that there will be face painting inside the event). If you can't be identified, you may be asked to remove your makeup—the promoters strongly suggest painting only half your face.

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

13th Annual Día de los Muertos Festival - 24th Street Theatre (Nov. 2, 2019)

On Saturday, November 2, celebrate Mexico's joyous tradition of Día de los Muertos 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 13th year, the free festival is taking place at 24th Street Theatre from 6–10 p.m.

46th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration - Self Help Graphics (Nov. 2, 2019)

Self Help Graphics & Art presents the 46th Annual Día de los Muertos celebration and exhibition, "Ancestral Lights," taking place at their Boyle Heights community arts center on Saturday, November 2 from 4:00 p.m - 10:00 p.m. This year, SHG has teamed up with the Boyle Heights Community Market to bridge the Eastside with Día de los Muertos activities at SHG and Mariachi Plaza, co-sponsored by the Office of Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Office of Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, and Office of Councilmember José Huizar. The oldest Día de los Muertos celebration in LA County will feature a festival-like atmosphere, anchored by its exhibition with traditional altars, family workshops, a muertito marketplace, food vendors, and live entertainment for the whole family.

This year’s Exhibition Commemorative Print, "Light the Way for the Spirit of the Ancestors," is by Oakland-based Artist, Melanie Cervantes. The 46th Annual Dia de los Muertos Exhibition is co-curated by Cervantes and SHG’s Director of Artistic Programs and Education, Marvella Muro. The exhibition is currently on view at SHG through Wednesday, November 27. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Mujeres de la Tierra 6th Annual Día de los Muertos Fundraiser

6th Annual Día de los Muertos Fundraiser | Photo: Mujeres de la Tierra

Día de los Muertos Fundraiser - Los Angeles River Center & Gardens (Nov. 2, 2019)

Mujeres de la Tierra presents their 6th Annual Día de los Muertos Fundraiser on Saturday, November 2 at the Los Angeles River Center & Gardens. Enjoy an evening filled colors, music, food, and dancing while supporting the organization's mission of empowering women and families in local communities to take action towards a better environment. Tickets are on sale at Eventbrite.

The gala will celebrate and honor individuals whose leadership, commitment and courageous actions Heal la Madre Tierra: Congresswoman Nanette Díaz Barragán, 44th Congressional District; Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, LA County Board of Supervisors, Second District; Jeff Ferano, General Counsel, SA Recycling; James Simonelli, CEO, California Metals Coalition; Lynda Noriega, President and CEO of the California Domestic Water Company, and Chairwoman of the Main San Gabriel Valley Watermaster; and Chicas Verdes, Manual Arts High School.

Craft Contemporary

Ojos de Oro: A Mexican Marigold Dye Workshop - Craft Contemporary (Nov. 2, 2019)

Andres Payan Estrada leads Ojos de Oro, a “to-dye-for” workshop taking place on Saturday, November 2 at Craft Contemporary in honor of Día de los Muertos. Using marigolds, the emblematic flowers used in Mexican Day of the Dead altars, participants will extract natural golden colors and experiment with dyeing fabrics. he two-hour workshop is priced at $45 and $35 for members (materials and drinks included). Advance registration is required, visit the Craft Contemporary website register.

Celebrating Día de los Muertos at UCLA Fowler Museum

Fowler Families: Celebrating Día de los Muertos | Photo: Fowler Museum

Fowler Families: Celebrating Día de los Muertos - Fowler Museum (Nov. 3, 2019)

Observe Día de los Muertos at the Fowler Museum and celebrate the Mexican cultural tradition of honoring departed loved ones through music, dance, regalia, and storytelling by the Los Angeles-based group Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas. Originally from Mexico City, this ensemble has developed with the blessings and recognition of traditional elders in Mexico. Xipe Totec Danzantes Aztecas will present Journey to Mictlan, a dance piece that conveys the Aztec view of death as a transition in life’s journey. Performance begins at 12:30pm in the Fowler Amphitheater, followed by hands-on art making in the Fowler Courtyard.

Día de los Muertos Festival at Main Street Canoga Park

Día de los Muertos Festival | Photo: Main Street Canoga Park

19th Annual Día de los Muertos Festival - Main Street Canoga Park (Nov. 3, 2019)

The 19th annual Dia de los Muertos Family Festival celebrates the ancient Mexican and Central American traditions of paying homage to loved ones who have passed. Located 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 on Sunday, November 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free.

Día de los Muertos Celebration at Woodlawn Cemetery

Día de los Muertos Celebration | Photo: Woodlawn Cemetery, Facebook

8th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration - Woodlawn Cemetery (Nov. 2, 2019)

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 eighth annual Día de los Muertos Celebration is taking place at Woodlawn Cemetery on Saturday, November 2 from 11am to 4 p.m. The family-friendly event celebrates the cycle of life and the remembrance of ancestors with live music and dance, storytelling, workshops, altars, craft vendors and food trucks. This year introduces a new format - the festivities will spill out onto Delaware Avenue, which will be closed to traffic for designated areas to connect the sacred and secular activities of this celebration. Admission is free. Complimentary parking and bike valet.

Día de los Muertos Arts & Music Festival at Pacoima City Hall

Día de los Muertos Arts & Music Festival | Photo: Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, Facebook

Día de los Muertos - Pacoima City Hall (Nov. 2-3, 2019)

Taking place at Pacoima City Hall on Saturday and Sunday, November 2-3, the Día de los Muertos festival features Latinx artists and entertainers, authentic food, a catrina contest, and local artists and artisans celebrating our heritage and honoring the stories of our ancestors. The festival is free and open to the public.

Curated by 11:11 A Creative Collective, Fuerza de la Mujer is an immersive mixed-media group installation that will be on display in the City Hall Gallery. The installation features Latinx artists whose work reflects identity, matriarchal heritage and the elemental pillars of womanhood. Other highlights include a Frida Group Installation curated by Manny Velazquez; Community Altars honoring the matriarchy; handmade decor by local East Valley artists filling City Hall; and the masterpieces of Chalk Alley.

Disney/Pixar's "Coco"

Coco (2017) | Photo: Disney/Pixar

"Coco" - Hollywood Bowl (Nov. 8-9, 2019)

Disney/Pixar's Coco will be brought to life on stage for the first time ever at the Hollywood Bowl for one weekend only – Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9. The spectacular event will include an all-star lineup of special guests including Benjamin Bratt, Eva Longoria, Carlos Rivera, Miguel, Alanna Ubach, Alex Gonzalez, Jaime Camil, Lele Pons, Rudy Mancuso and Natalia Jimenez who will appear throughout the evening as the beloved film plays on the Bowl's movie screen accompanied by a full, live orchestra. Mariachi Divas will also entertain the audience with traditional Mariachi music throughout the night.

Día de los Muertos Exhibition at MOLAA

Día de los Muertos Exhibition | Photo: MOLAA

Día de los Muertos Exhibition - MOLAA (Through Nov. 10, 2019)

Presented each year by the Museum of Latin American Art, the Día de los Muertos Exhibition is a juried display of art and altars open to artists residing in Southern California. Now on view in the museum's Education Gallery, De Generación a Generación invites artists and audiences to connect with parts of themselves they did not know much about, creating a link between the past and the present.