Los Angeles Outdoor Summer Events


Saturday Night Fever

Got plans this Saturday evening? Make a date with the great outdoors and light up the night in LA!

Los Angeles Outdoor Cinema Food Fest

Dinner and a Movie, Alfresco

Add a breath of fresh air to the old “dinner and a movie” standby and head to Los Angeles’s Outdoor Cinema Food Fest. Every Saturday night through September 3 this roaming event pulls up to a designated city locale (from parks to ports and even Little League fields), rolls out an assortment of gourmet food trucks, sets the mood with live music from a local band, and raises the biggest outdoor inflatable movie screen on the west coast—52 feet wide and three stories tall! Grab your picnic blanket and arrive early to stake your ideal spot on the lawn before making a beeline for the grub. Food trucks rotate weekly, offering a surprise variety of edible options (recent fare included classic burgers, Mexican-Chinese fusion tacos, and a peanut butter and jelly twist on s’mores), or bring your own picnic from home. Nosh to live tunes and settle in for showtime around 8:30 p.m. Upcoming films include Fargo, Fight Club, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Two thumbs up for this night out on the town.

The last Outdoor Cinema Food Fest is Saturday, Sept. 3, at Northridge Little League Field. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 6–12, and free for kids under 6. Group rates available online. Dog-friendly (except for screenings at Grand Hope Park, where there are no more scheduled screenings this season).

Griffith Observatory Star Party

Star-studded Event

Once a month, iconic Griffith Observatory hosts a free outdoor party that will have you seeing stars—literally! Amateur astronomers set up their own telescopes across the lawn in the early afternoon and stick around until 9:45 p.m. to help the curious spot anything from Saturn to the star Vega and other celestial wonders. The observatory also opens up its two massive scopes, the Zeiss and the coelostat, mounted in the building’s copper domes. During the day, three solar telescopes focus beams of sunlight into the coelostat to give real-time views of solar flares. Queue up at Zeiss, sometimes called the Old Man, and peer through its 12-inch refracting lens to see the surface of the moon. When you’ve had your fill of spying on the sky, head to the roof for 360-degree views of the city below. From up there you’ll feel closer to the stars than to the lights of Sunset Boulevard. That’s some serious star power.

TIP: Arrive early to hike a 3-mile out-and-back on the Hollyridge Trail for glimpses of the iconic Hollywood Sign. Start at the observatory parking lot.

The next Griffith Observatory star party is this Saturday, August 6. All 2011 dates are on Griffith Observatory’s website. To get there, turn off Los Feliz Blvd. onto Fern Dell Dr. or N. Vermont Ave. and follow the road up into Griffith Park. Arrive early to park near the observatory or prepare for a long trek up winding park roads. Bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car. Dog-friendly (except inside the building).

Getty Center Saturday Night

Night at the Museum

Interesting things happen when the lights go down around LA’s beloved Getty Center. On Saturdays, the Getty stays open until 9 p.m., and parking—usually $15—is free after 5:00 p.m. Get there early and tour the impressive collection. The newest exhibition, In Focus: The Sky, explores photographic representations of the drama of the heavens. Or try your artistic hand in the Sketching Gallery, where beginners and pros alike can freely use studio materials to draw from works of art. When the shadows get long, grab a glass of wine from the Garden Terrace Café and head to the promontory just east of the South Pavilion. Its panoramic views make it the ideal spot to watch the sun’s last rays set a fiery glow on the windows of the city’s skyscrapers. But the ultimate showstopper comes with night’s arrival, when soft lights imbue the grounds with a luminescence like that of a full moon. Wander by the murmuring fountains or stroll through the sweet-smelling Central Garden, where white lights illuminate a pool full of floating azaleas. Saturday night masterpiece.

BONUS: The Garden Terrace Café has good options for lighter-fare food. For full-service dining, try The Restaurant, where floor-to-ceiling windows showcase the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Dr., 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Directions here. Open Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m; Tuesday–Friday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; closed Monday. Admission is free. Parking is $15 but is free on Saturdays after 5:00 p.m. No dogs.

This Mud's for You

Good clean fun doesn’t get much better than the dirtiest adventure race on the Central Coast! This Halloween (October 30), San Luis Obispo is hosting MUD MASH, a beginner and family friendly 5K or 10K run loaded with dirty obstacles. Go solo, grab a teammate, or bring the entourage, and slip into your best Oompa Loompa, Darth Vader, or Dorothy costume for a fun race where mud-slinging is a must! Bewitching roadblocks include a lake scramble, hay bales, slip ’n’ slide, and—of course—one nasty mud pit! Whether you’re a first-time mud-runner or a veteran of “the pit,” this event scares up wicked-good times for everyone. Prizes are awarded for best costumes and the fastest mud suckers! And don’t forget your trick or treat bag, because tricks and treats will definitely be on the obstacle course! This event will sell out, so register for the MUD MASH and let the ghoul times roll!

Register now for MUD MASH! It happens October 30, 2011 (Halloween!), at Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo

Other Activities You Might Enjoy