Top 10 Things You Must Do in LA Before Summer Ends

Universal Studios Hollywood Jurassic World water drop
Jurassic World - The Ride water drop | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

Los Angeles is the home of the "Endless Summer," but with Labor Day fast approaching that means some of the city's most popular summertime activities are winding down. Not to worry, though - there's still plenty to do as the days grow shorter. From concerts to museums and outdoor activities, our guide will help you make the most of the final weeks of summer.

"Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich" at the Skirball Cultural Center
"Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich" | Photo: Skirball Cultural Center, Facebook

View these art exhibits before they close

"Soul of a Nation" - The Broad (through Sept. 1, 2019)
On view at The Broad through September 1, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983 celebrates the work of Black artists made over two decades beginning in 1963, at the height of the civil rights movement. The exhibition devotes individual galleries either to groups of artists working in a particular city — with three galleries dedicated to artists living and working in Los Angeles – or to a different kind of art production. The exhibition showcases communities engaged in robust artistic dialogues, while also revealing disagreements about what it meant to be a Black artist at this time. Artworks in the exhibition are both figurative and abstract, and range from collage, assemblage and photography to painting, sculpture and performance.


"Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich" - Skirball Cultural Center (through Sept. 1, 2019)
Los Angeles fashion designer Rudi Gernreich (1922–1985) introduced the topless bathing suit, the thong, unisex clothing, pantsuits for women, and enough inventive clothing to earn him a worldwide reputation. His democratic and dynamic fashions continue to resonate today. On view at the Skirball Cultural Center through September 1, Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich explores the visionary and progressive fashion ensembles that trespassed rigid social expectations and liberated those who wore his clothing. Affirming women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community as full participants in the public sphere, Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich celebrates how the designer utilized fashion to embrace cultural diversity and social inclusion.


"Contact High" - Annenberg Space for Photography (through Aug. 25, 2019)
Extended by popular demand through August 25, CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop is an inside look at the work of hip-hop photographers, as told through their most intimate diaries: their unedited contact sheets. CONTACT HIGH celebrates the photographers who have played a critical role in bringing hip-hop’s visual culture to the global stage. Curated by Vikki Tobak and based on her book of the same name, CONTACT HIGH includes over 120 works from more than 60 photographers. The photographic exhibition includes original and unedited contact sheets from Barron Claiborne’s iconic Notorious B.I.G. portraits, to early images of Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West as they first took to the scene; to Janette Beckman’s defining photos of Salt-N-Pepa, and Jamel Shabazz and Gordon Parks documenting hip-hop culture.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu
Hyun-jin Ryu | Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers, Facebook

Cheer for the Dodgers to beat the Yankees (Aug. 23-25, 2019)

MLB News says it's the best Dodgers team since the club moved to LA and they are running away with the National League West. The New York Yankees are currently leading the American League East by nine games. The two teams are neck and neck for the best record in baseball, setting up an epic three-game showdown at Dodger Stadium on Friday-Sunday, August 23-25. Promotions include Friday Night Fireworks, Spouses Mystery Bag, and Viva Los Dodgers. Tickets on sale at the Dodgers website.

Water drop at Jurassic World - The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood
Water drop at Jurassic World - The Ride | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood
Raptor Encounter at Jurassic World - The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood
Raptor Encounter at Jurassic World - The Ride | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

Experience Jurassic World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Opened at Universal Studios Hollywood in July, Jurassic World - The Ride immerses guests in a thrilling adventure unlike anything they've experienced before. The 25-passenger boats take visitors on a dinosaur-filled journey that includes the fearsome Mososaurus, Herbivore Valley with Parasaurolophus and mother-baby Stegosauruses; and a climactic battle between the genetically engineered Indominus rex and the iconic T. rex that ends in an 84-foot drop.

There's much more to experience at Jurassic World than the ride itself. The whole family will love interacting and taking a selfie with everyone's favorite Velociraptor, Blue at the Raptor Encounter. The interactive DinoPlay for Kids offers activities like a fossil dig, jungle climber and rope plank bridge. The adults can sip a refreshing Bird of Paradise or frozen Painkiller at the Isla Nu-Bar - it's still summer, so day drinking on vacation is encouraged.

Hollywood Bowl fireworks
Photo: Hollywood Bowl

Enjoy a picnic and concert at the Hollywood Bowl

Renowned as one of the world's premier outdoor cultural venues, the Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural amphitheater in the United States and hosts a wide variety of the world’s greatest artists from all genres of music. End-of-summer highlights include Pink Martini (Aug. 23-25), John Williams: Maestro of the Movies (Aug. 30 - Sept. 1), Barry Manilow (Sept. 6-7), Gladys Knight (Sept. 8), Heart + Joan Jett (Sept. 9), Ben Harper & Neneh Cherry (Sept. 11), Fireworks Finale with Earth, Wind & Fire (Sept. 13-14); Café Tacvba (Sept. 15), and the Sound of Music Sing-A-Long (Sept. 21).

A pre-concert picnic is as much a part of the Bowl experience as the show itself. There are numerous locations across Los Angeles that are ideal for packing a basket, spreading a blanket, and enjoying LA's famously sunny weather before the shorter days of autumn.

Botanica Spritz and more at Botanica | Photo: @colourwars, Instagram
Botanica Spritz and more at Botanica | Photo: @colourwars, Instagram

Sip summer in a glass

More than a single drink, the spritz represents the Italian drinking tradition of an aperitivo: something light, effervescent and not too alcoholic to stimulate one’s appetite and conversation before a meal. One of the best ways to enjoy the ritual of the spritz at aperitivo hour is on a beautiful patio - one of those open-air urban oases of which Los Angeles has so many spectacular options.

Discover some of the best spots in LA to relax and enjoy what authors Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau in their book Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail call "La dolce vita if only for an hour."

Venice Beach bikes at sunset
Venice Beach at sunset | Photo: Eric Demarcq, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

Bike the Strand

One of L.A.’s most defining features is its beautiful beaches. Long stretches of warm sand can be found up and down coastal Los Angeles, where the western edge of the United States meets the Pacific Ocean. One of the most enjoyable ways to explore L.A.’s beaches is along the 22-mile Marvin Braude Bike Trail (aka The Strand). The paved bike path begins at Will Rogers State Beach near Pacific Palisades and travels south to Torrance Beach.

Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery | Photo: Cinespia, Facebook

Watch a movie under the stars at Hollywood Forever

Launched in 2002, Cinespia hosts outdoor film screenings at the landmark Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The alfresco cemetery screenings take place on the Fairbanks Lawn, named for the adjacent crypt housing both Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and Jr. Guests picnic under the stars and watch films digitally projected against the wall of the Cathedral Mausoleum, which houses the crypt of Rudolph Valentino among many others. Each screening features a pre-show DJ, themed photo booth, and occasional special guests. Upcoming screenings include "Psycho" (Aug. 24), "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (Aug. 31), "When Harry Met Sally" (Sept. 1), "Blade Runner" (Sept. 7), "All About Eve" (Sept. 14), and "Moulin Rouge" + Fireworks (Sept. 21).

Along with Cinespia, there are other outdoor movie series continuing through the fall, including Rooftop Cinema Club, Street Food Cinema, and Melrose Rooftop Theatre.

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" at New Beverly Cinema
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in 35mm | Photo: New Beverly Cinema, Facebook

See "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" at Quentin Tarantino's movie theatre

Set in Los Angeles during the tumultuous year of 1969, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is the ninth film from writer-director Quentin Tarantino. While many fans have seen Once Upon a Time in 70mm at Tarantino's favorite movie theatre, the Pacific Cinerama Dome, it's also showing in 35mm at the revival house he owns, the New Beverly Cinema. Special features at the New Beverly include a pre-show presentation with an extended "Bounty Law" segment and trailers for films referenced in Once Upon a Time; prop posters, lobby cards, and a pop-up merch booth

Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro tweeted: "To me, watching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the New Beverly was a beautiful experience. Beautifully crafted and poignant. Chokefull of yearning. A tale of a time that probably never was, but still feels like a memory."

Tarantino has described Once Upon a Time as his "love letter to Los Angeles." Read our guide to LA locations featured in the movie, plus a bonus section for those that want to do a deeper dive into the film.

  Hansen Dam Aquatic Center | Instagram by @socal_dame
Hansen Dam Aquatic Center | Instagram by @socal_dame

Dive into LA's coolest pools

“Heat wave!” sang Martha and the Vandellas. “It’s getting hot in here!” sang Nelly. “Hot, hot, hot!” sang Buster Poindexter. You get the idea—it’s a “hot town, summer in the city” (sang the Lovin’ Spoonful) and we all need to cool off. Of course there are beaches and hotel pools aplenty in Los Angeles, but visitors and locals alike can also enjoy a variety of public pools across the city.

Rock out with The Cure at the Pasadena Daydream Festival (Aug. 31, 2019)

The Cure headlines and curates the inaugural Pasadena Daydream Festival, taking place at Brookside at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, August 31. The festival features performances by Pixies, Deftones, Mogwai, Throwing Muses, The Joy Formidable, Chelsea Wolfe, The Twilight Sad, Emma Ruth Rundle and Kælan Mikla.

Following their 40th anniversary appearance at BST Hyde Park, London in 2018, The Cure have invited a selection of their favorite artists for another summer headline event. Robert Smith said, “Hyde Park was a fabulous experience, the whole day was really magical, and we wanted to create something with a similar celebratory vibe for this summer.”

Tickets are now on sale at the Pasadena Daydream Festival website. General Admission is $149. VIP tickets are $299 and include VIP entry, access to the VIP area adjacent to the main stage, air-conditioned restrooms, exclusive food & beverage vendors, and a commemorative festival poster.