21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (2022)

Summer is just around the corner and Southern California has plenty of outdoor activities this weekend. A bioluminescent art installation. A chili cook-off. A car show. Free live music. For indoorsy types, we have plenty to pick from with tons of film screenings and major exhibitions opening. Welcome to your weekend, Angelenos.

Have you heard the news? KPCC is bringing back LAist. That's where event roundups like this will live in the not-so-distant future. Until then, get out there and enjoy all that Southern California has to offer. And considerdonating to our Kickstarterto #BringLAistBack.

FLICK PICK

FILMWEEK SCREENINGS: THE GRADUATE

graduate trailer

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 7 p.m.
WHERE: Theatre at Ace Hotel — 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A.
COST: $13; MORE INFO

KPCC AirTalk host Larry Mantle presents a special screening of Mike Nichols’ 1967 film, starring Dustin Hoffman as a disillusioned college grad who carries on an affair with the much older Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) and her daughter (Katherine Ross) — at the same time. Screenwriter Buck Henry will be on hand to discuss the film and its most famous scenes. Remember, there's a great future in plastics.

CULTURE VULTURE PICK

NIGHT LIFE LA

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Emily Topper

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 8 p.m. - 2 a.m.
WHERE: secret location in northeast L.A.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

The artists behind the Griffith Park Teahouse return with their latest outdoor project, a glowing wading pool made with plankton. The single-celled organisms will respond to the movement of visitors, who must complete a 1.5-mile round trip hike to see the installation. The ticket lottery to view the pool is already closed but check the site early on Saturday, June 2 for day-of tickets — if the bioluminescence cooperates.

MUSIC PICK

GRAND PERFORMANCES

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (2)

Courtesy of Grand Performances

WHEN: Friday, June 1 - Saturday, June 2; 8 p.m.
WHERE: California Plaza — 300 & 350 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Get funky at two nights of free performances. On Friday, boogie down at “Higher! The Psychedelic Soul & Genius of Sly and The Family Stone (1966-1983)” with Dexter Story, Rocio Wyldeflower Contreras and Sly’s daughter Novena Carmel, who's producing the tribute show. On Saturday, performance art diva Astrid Hadad takes to the stage with the tent revival Secret City House Band, the Garfield High School Marching Band, puppets and a balloon bassist.

PUPPET PICK

LATE-NIGHT! THE JIM HENSON EXHIBITION: IMAGINATION UNLIMITED

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (3)

Photo by John E. Barrett/Courtesy The Jim Henson Company/MoMI

WHEN: Friday, June 1; 6 - 10 p.m.
WHERE: Skirball Cultural Center — 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood
COST: $5; MORE INFO

Hi ho! Kermit the Frog’s creator is the subject of the Skirball’s latest exhibition, which includes puppets, costumes, films clips and ephemera from Jim Henson's life. Roving puppeteers and a DJ set by OK Go’s Timothy Nordwind are part of the festivities at the opening party. The exhibition remains on view through Sep. 2.

FOODIE PICK

CROISSANT BATTLE LOS ANGELES 2018

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (4)

FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; noon - 3 p.m.
WHERE: Le Petit Paris — 418 South Spring St., downtown L.A.
COST: $25 - $40; MORE INFO

Get ready to carbo-load while watching seven bakeries battle for the title of best croissant in Los Angeles. Pitchoun, Farmshop and Porto’s are among the competitors. Guests can sample the entrants before voting on the winner of the Fan Prize. A full brunch add-on option is also available.

SEXY PICK

THE EMPIRE STRIPS BACK: A BURLESQUE PARODY

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (5)

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images

WHEN: Friday, June 1; 8 p.m.
WHERE: Theatre at Ace Hotel — 929 S. Broadway, downtown L.A.
COST: $45 and up; MORE INFO

Welcome to the cultural combo you didn’t know you needed. Inspired by the original three "Star Wars" films, performers shake and shimmy their way through burlesque routines. Expect comedy, song-and-dance numbers, Stormtroopers and characters like bad boy Boba Fett.

CULTURE VULTURE PICK

MADE IN LA 2018 OPENING CELEBRATION

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (6)

Courtesy Suné Woods

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 8 p.m.
WHERE: Hammer Museum — 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood
COST: FREE with RSVP; MORE INFO

For its fourth biennial, the Hammer has picked 32 Los Angeles-based artists including emerging artists Nikita Gale and Christina Quarles as well as established practitioners James Benning and Daniel Joseph Martinez. The opening party features cash bars, the Kogi food truck and music by Alima Lee and DJ LENGUA.

FLICK PICK

LAST REMAINING SEATS

mr. smith clip

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 8 p.m.
WHERE: State Theatre — 703 South Broadway, downtown L.A.
COST: $22; MORE INFO

The Los Angeles Conservancy kicks off its summer film series with a screening of Frank Capra’s 1939 film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Jimmy Stewart plays an idealistic junior senator who's totally unprepared for the corruption of the D.C. swamp. His colleagues launch a smear campaign against him but he doesn’t back down — unlike most modern elected officials. Stick around after the screening for a Q&A about the history of the State Theatre and a free after-party at Clifton’s.

FAMILY PICK

FAMILY FESTIVAL: ANCIENT EGYPT AND INDIA

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JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
WHERE: The Getty Center — 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Put down the screens for a day of fun focused on the art and culture of ancient Egypt and India. Families can take Bollywood lessons from the Blue13 Dance Company, watch dance troupes, listen to Indian folk tales and take part in art workshops. The family fun day celebrates the Getty’s current exhibitions, “Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World” and “Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India.”

CHATTY PICK

JOHN WATERS

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (8)

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 8 p.m.
WHERE: Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State LA — 5151 State University Dr., El Sereno
COST: $20-$60; MORE INFO

John Waters has been shocking America since his first film, "Pink Flamingos," in 1972. He has continued satirizing suburbia and social conventions in campy movies like "Hairspray," "Cry-Baby" and "Serial Mom." The king of bad taste brings his acerbic wit — and hopefully a few NSFW stories — to a live audience.

ROAD TRIP PICK

TEMECULA VALLEY BALLOON & WINE FESTIVAL

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (9)

Jayson via Flickr Creative Commons

WHEN: Friday, June 1 - Sunday, June 3;
WHERE: Lake Skinner Regional Park — 37701 Warren Road, Winchester
COST: $25-$60; MORE INFO

Watch hot-air balloons lift off and take flight or, if you’re flush with cash, hop aboard for an early-morning ride. Later in the day, take part in wine and beer tastings, food and wine pairings, shop hundreds of vendors on site or listen to music from some of the best '90s bands ever, including Sugar Ray, Spin Doctors, Wallflowers and Lifehouse.

FOODIE PICK

TASTE OF THE NATION

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (10)

Erica Leigh

WHEN: Sunday, June 3; 1 p.m.
WHERE: Media Park — 9091 Culver Blvd., Culver City
COST: starting at $110; MORE INFO

Here's a win-win: Eat to raise money for No Kid Hungry, an organization that works to end childhood hunger. More than 60 restaurants and beverage companies — Cassell’s Hamburgers, Maple Block Meat Co., Salazar, the Bazaar by Jose Andres, Cal Mare, Eagle Rock Brewery, Elijah Craig Whiskey — will serve food and drinks.

VINTAGE PICK

13TH ANNUAL LUMMIS DAYS

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1976 George Ballis/Take Stock/The Image Works

WHEN: Friday, June 1 - Sunday, June 3
WHERE: various venues in northeast L.A.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Named after writer and adventurer Charles Fletcher Lummis, this holiday celebrates the arts, history and residents of northeast L.A. The festival starts with a free screening and discussion of the Dolores Huerta documentary, “Dolores,” at Occidental College’s Thorne Hall. Music performances, puppetry, poetry readings and family activities round out the weekend.

CULTURE VULTURE PICK

LINE & COLOR: THE NATURE OF ELLSWORTH KELLY

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Courtesy of the Norton Simon Museum

WHEN: Friday, June 1 - Monday, Oct. 29
WHERE: Norton Simon Museum — 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
COST: $12-$15; MORE INFO

Two series of work made by American artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015) in the mid-1960s — “Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs” and “Suite of Plant Lithographs” — will be displayed along with two of Kelly’s monumental paintings.

DANCE PICK

I CAME TO MAKE NOISE

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WHEN: Sunday, June 3; 4 p.m.
WHERE: Lounge Theatre — 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood
COST: $15; MORE INFO

Writer-director Carrie Mikuls incorporates dance, beatbox and spoken word into a hip-hop feminist theatrical work. Check out this preview before it premieres later in June at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

SPICY PICK

TUSTIN STREET FAIR & CHILI COOK-OFF

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Timothy Fenn/Flickr Creative commons

WHEN: Sunday, June 3; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
WHERE: El Camino Real & E. Main St., Tustin
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Don’t forget to pack the Mylanta. This is supposedly the world's largest one-day chili cook-off. In addition to the usual carnival attractions and street fair fare, expect great people-watching as competitors with iron stomachs chow down in donut, jalapeño, pie and watermelon eating contests.

CULTURE VULTURE PICK

ALEX ACHAVAL: ALTERED PANORAMA

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (15)

Courtesy Gabba Gallery

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 7 - 11 p.m.
WHERE: Gabba Gallery — 3126 Beverly Blvd., Rampart
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Seattle-based artist Alex Achaval incorporates three-dimensional objects like paintbrushes, sequins and rhinestones into his portraits. See them in a new exhibition along with work by Jim Donnelly, Christina Ramos and Septerhed.

ARTSY PICK

DOWNTOWN SANTA ANA ARTWALK

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Aaron Moctezuma

WHEN: Saturday, June 2; 6 - 10 p.m.
WHERE: Center of Artwalk — 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

It’s the first Saturday of the month! Check out more than two dozen galleries, shop at vendors or listen to bands and musicians at a kid-friendly event with plenty of art activities for the next mini Monet or burgeoning Kahlo.

CAR PICK

HUNTINGTON BEACH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE

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Tom Bullock/Flickr Creative commons

WHEN: Saturday, June 2 - Sunday, June 3; 6 - 10 p.m.
WHERE: Huntington Beach Central Park — 18000 Goldenwest St., Huntington Beach
COST: $10; MORE INFO

Saturday’s focus is on hot rods, custom cars and trucks while Sunday is reserved for vintage and classic motor vehicle contests. Both days feature live entertainment and model trains. Proceeds from the weekend benefit the Huntington Beach Public Library.

MUSIC PICK

FIGAT7TH DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL 2018

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Photo by Andreas Branch/Courtesy Arts Brookfield

WHEN: Friday, June 1; 5 p.m.
WHERE: Fig at 7th — 735 S. Figueroa St., downtown L.A.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

End the work week with free music every Friday in June. Disco pop duo Poolside headlines while Australian rapper Grace Shaw, aka Mallrat, opens. Arrive early for games and a 21+ beer garden.

GAMING PICK

SUBWAY SURFERS WORLD TOUR

21 best things to do in Southern California this weekend (19)

Courtesy SYBO Games

WHEN: Friday, June 1; noon - 6 p.m.
WHERE: Venice Skate Park — 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

At a street party to tout the latest version of mobile game Subway Surfers, you'll be able to face-off in a live-game competition, create graffiti art, watch the new Subway Surfers animated series and shop for SubSurf fashion and merch. Street artist Muck Rock will make live art while DJ Sleeper provides tunes.

How are you spending your weekend? Let us know on Twitter @christineziembaand@LeoHasACat.

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