After a long summer day at work at an unpaid internship or minimum-wage job, a $12 movie ticket or $10 beach parking might make the thought of wasting away the afternoon with Netflix or Reddit all the more appealing. Luckily, Angelenos the city offers a variety of fun events in all genres. Embrace your summer nights without breaking your bank.
The Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival
Searching for a sophisticated way to spend your summer nights? Look no further than L.A.’s largest Shakespeare festival. The Independent Shakespeare Co. will perform at the Old Zoo at Griffith Park every Thursday through Sunday at 7 p.m. from June 27 through Sept. 1.
The festival opens with She Stoops to Conquer, an 18th-century romantic comedy written by Irish playwright Oliver Goldsmith and directed by Melissa Chalsma. The show will run until July 27.
In addition, on July 20 at 5 p.m., Players in the Park will offer a free workshop before the show, during which families can learn about the play, the language of Shakespeare, take a backstage tour and walk out on the stage. The workshops and materials will be offered in both English and Spanish.
Shakespeare’s great tragedy Macbeth, directed by David Melville, opens July 5 and runs until Aug. 31. Players in the Park will host its pre-show workshop for Macbeth on Aug. 25 at 5 p.m.
Shakespeare’s popular comedy As You Like It, directed by Cassandra Johnson, opens Aug. 1 and runs until Sept. 1. The pre-show workshop will be held on Aug. 17.
This event is perfect for entertaining parents from out-of-town or for a romantic date. Bring a blanket or fold-up chair to sit on, warm clothes and a picnic basket and prepare for a great summer night for no cost at all. Check out independentshakespeareco.org for more information on the festival.
For those who prefer film over the theater, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscars® Outdoors series provides a unique and ideal way to spend a summer evening. Every Friday and Saturday until Aug. 24, the Academy will screen a classic film at the Academy Hollywood Campus, located at 1341 Vine St. in Hollywood. Highlights include Clueless on July 12, Blazing Saddles on July 26 and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Aug. 3.
Additionally, the July 20 screening of Big will feature Zoltar and the famous giant keyboard from the film, the Aug. 2 screening of American Graffiti will feature classic cars reminiscent of the cruising that inspired the flick and the Aug. 23 screening of Grease will be a sing-along.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on and can either bring their own food and drinks or feast on cuisine from popular food trucks at the venue.
Gates to the open-air theatre open at 6:30 p.m. and screenings begin at sunset. Tickets are $5 for the public, $3 for students with I.D. and Academy members, and free for children 10 years or younger. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.
Sunset Strip Market
This weekly event brings together food, music, film and, most importantly, people every Thursday evening from 6-10 p.m. Held in the City of West Hollywood public lot (8755 Sunset Blvd.), the event is essentially a fancy farmer’s market. But in addition to selling fresh local produce, the market offers a beer and wine garden as well as artisan food that ranges from tacos to barbecue to paella and has recently added entertainment in the form of live music and film screenings.
Thursday, June 27 is “Grilled Cheese Night” at the market and a screening of Stand by Me will begin at 8:15 p.m. A “Women Rock”-themed music lineup will feature three female-fronted bands and solo artists at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Visitors might also want to stock up on fresh produce to prepare for delicious Fourth of July barbecues. There are multiple parking lots surrounding the market that cost $5 with validation. Visit sunsetstripmarket.com for more information about the event.
The La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum
Amidst the hustle and bustle of urban L.A. lies a captivating piece of ancient history — with more than 3.5 million fossils, the La Brea Tar Pits feature the most extensive collection of extinct Ice Age plants and animals in the world. This option might be a bit less glamorous than the other summer suggestions, but it is no less entertaining.
The park is home to multiple bubbling asphalt seeps, the largest of which is filled with life-size statues of mammoths and mastodons. Its Plesitocene garden features plants and flowers that allow guests to get a glimpse of what the earth looked like during the last Ice Age. Additionally, visitors who stop by Project 23 can watch an ongoing excavation, where new fossils are found every day. The Page Museum displays the fossils that have been found at the park over the years, including those of camels, ground sloths, dire wolves, mammoths and saber-toothed cats, to name a few. The museum also features a peaceful atrium full of gingko trees and ferns.
The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits is located at 5801 Wilshire Blvd. and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $12 for the public and $9 for students with I.D. There is no restaurant on-site, but check out Callender’s Grill, The Counter or Mixt Greens for delicious meals nearby. Parking is $7 on weekends and $9 during the week with $2 returned upon exit with validation from the museum, but street parking is also available nearby. Check out tarpits.org for more information.