Nights in Chinatown

That intimidating pile of textbooks and the frantic search for school supplies indicate summer is finally coming to an end. Gone are the days of spreading out a towel on the sandy terrain of your favorite beach, with nothing to worry about except finding a comfortable spot and remembering to reapply sunblock.

But starting the school year does not mean leaving behind memorable days. During the coming months, Los Angeles will continue to serve as a place to find new experiences — if now on the weekends.

Head over to the Chinatown Summer Nights, a program held every Saturday in August. Presented by various organizations — including the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California and the Los Angeles Chinatown Corporation — the event takes place at the West and Central Plazas of Chinatown, and, most importantly, admission is absolutely free.

The next two events — on Saturday, Aug. 21 and Aug. 28 — will run from 5 p.m. to midnight. Each Saturday has its own theme, and this coming Saturday’s is “harmony,” featuring family workshops and cooking demos. To meet the program’s growing popularity, each Saturday brings in various food trucks for attendees to sample until 10 p.m. or midnight — depending on the plaza. This Saturday will also feature a martial arts workshop and a set by KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole.

Aug. 28 closes out the event and focuses on the theme of “longevity.” The day will include the same workshops, and Latin dance instructor Laura Canellias will replace the martial arts display, for which KCRW DJ Aaron Byrd will supply music.

Patrons can also sample the many restaurants in the area, for which the Chinatown Summer Nights website offers a variety of discounts. For coupons, parking information and the event schedule, visit the official website at: