26 Of The Coolest Events Happening In Southern California On Labor Day Weekend

The L.A. County Fair opens this weekend, celebrating Route 66, the iconic road from Chicago to L.A. (Image: Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Fair)

Goodbye, summer. Hello, long weekend. Take advantage of a city free from (most) traffic and filled with festivals and other outdoor events. There's Fleet Week in San Pedro, the Great Labor Day Cruise and a Made in L.A. brewfest. Food-centric events include The Taste from the "L.A. Times," a vegan street fair, the 626 Night Market and a Greek festival. Plus, the L.A. County Fair returns, with all the fried foods your tummy can handle.

FRIDAY, AUG. 31 - MONDAY, SEPT. 23
L.A. County Fair
Fairplex — 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona

The 2018 edition celebrates the history of Route 66 with the theme, "Get Your Kicks." The fair replicates iconic sites along the 2,448 miles of the road, which stretches from Chicago to L.A. and includes the world's largest rocking chair, Cadillac Ranch, a Wigwam Motel, historic Mt. Baldy Drive-In and the Santa Monica pier. In addition to the usual concerts, games, rides, exhibitions, animals and fried foods, a new Route 66 menu includes $6.60 meals featuring items found along the roadway. Except for Labor Day, the fair is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
COST: $8-$20 (ages 5 and younger get in free); MORE INFO

THROUGH SUNDAY, SEPT. 2
5th Annual Long Beach Indie International Film Festival
Cinemark at the Pike Theaters — 99 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach
The festival screens more than 150 diverse projects from around the world, including "Love Cecy," written and directed by Jay Francisco Lopez, and based on the true story of Cecilia Rios, a 15-year-old girl murdered by her boyfriend in Richmond, Calif., in 1994. Her story sparked a number of Mexican corrido song tributes. Other fest highlights include Natalie Metzger's "Alone in the Game," a documentary on the inequality LGBTQ athletes face and a short film block highlighting African American experiences.
COST: Tickets start at $13 with passes available. MORE INFO

FRIDAY, AUG. 31 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 2
John Williams: Maestro of the Movies
Hollywood Bowl — 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood
The composer celebrates the 40th anniversary of his Bowl debut with career-spanning concerts of his music. David Newman leads the L.A. Phil in the first half of all three performances and Williams takes over from there with help from longtime collaborator, director Steven Spielberg, who introduces some of the selections.
COST: Tickets start at $14; MORE INFO

FRIDAY, AUG. 31 - MONDAY, SEPT. 3
Fleet Week 2018
Port of Los Angeles — San Pedro
The multiday celebration of the United States sea services features public ship tours, military displays, flyovers, demos, live entertainment, a kids' STEM Expo and a 100 Years of the Navy on film. For those into sports and competition, participants can join the 10th Annual Conquer the Bridge 5.3-mile walk/run over the Vincent Thomas Bridge on Labor Day, watch a 5-on-5 Basketball Tournament and check out a culinary cook-off between Sailor, Marine & Coastguard galley teams.
COST: Most events are FREE; MORE INFO

A post shared by The Taste (@thetastela) on

FRIDAY, AUG. 31 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 7:30 - 10:30 p.m
L.A. Times: The Taste
Paramount Picture Studios Backlot — 5555 Melrose Ave., Hollywood
Celebrate Southern California's culinary scene through unlimited food and beverage tastings at each of the weekend's three nights. Dozens of restaurants and beverage vendors are participating, from Bone Kettle and Casa Vega, to Hinoki & the Bird, Poppy + Rose and Pacific Dining Car. Special events include cooking demos from Ricardo Zarate (Rosaliné) and Jonathan Yao (Kato); Ludo Lefebvre; Niki Nakayama and Carole Iida-Nakayama (n/naka) and an ice cream social with Adrienne Borlongan and Dana Borlongan (Wanderlust Creamery). The restaurants and chefs participating change nightly. The weekend also includes special programming each night to pay homage to late L.A. Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold.
COST: $115 - $165; MORE INFO

THROUGH MONDAY, SEPT. 3
Lobster & Rosé
Ray's and Stark Bar at LACMA — 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire
It's the last weekend to indulge in the restaurant's specially curated lobster dishes (salad, fettuccine or whole lobster) paired with Domaine de Cala Rosé.
COST: Varies; MORE INFO

FRIDAY, AUG. 31 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 2
626 Night Market
Santa Anita Park — 285 W Huntington Dr., Arcadia
Take part in the last 626 event of 2018 with more than 250 food, merchandise and crafts vendors. New eateries at this edition include Baohaus NYC, Big Joy Family Bakery, Bubble Republic LA, Caked Bakery, Gangnam Food, Glazed Donut Bar, Krabby Krab House and Vchos Truck. Games, live music and an art walk featuring the works of emerging artists round out the festivities.
COST: $5 admission (cash only); MORE INFO

FRIDAY, AUG. 31; 9 p.m.
Bad Bad Hats
The Roxy — 9009 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
The Minneapolis-based indie rock trio plays the Sunset Strip in support of their just-released sophomore album, "Lightning Round." Cumulus (the indie pop project of Alexandra Niedzialkowski) opens the all-ages show.
COST: $15; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 2
Made in LA Festival
Golden Road Brewing — 5410 W San Fernando Rd., Atwater Village
Last year's inaugural festival took place in the middle of a heatwave with flames from the La Tuna fire seen burning in the distance. So here's to hoping for better weather for the second iteration, which features performances by Saint Motel, Dorothy, Andre Power, DâM-FunK, J Rocc, Buyepongo, Mondo Cozmo, Transviolet and Duckwrth. Food trucks, art installations, vendors and charity vendors will be at the brewery, too. Half of the proceeds benefit ArtShare LA. The fest is for ages 21+ only.
COST: $10 - $ 30; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1; 5:30 - 11 p.m.
'Selena'
The Autry — 4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park
Eat. See. Hear. screens the biopic starring Jennifer Lopez (in one of her best roles) about Mexican Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez. The film follows her rise to the top of the U.S. charts and the tragedy that quickly ended it all. Salt Petal plays its tropical surf rock at 7 p.m., and the movie starts at 8:30 p.m. Food trucks onsite include Achara Food Co., Canyons Truck, Chancho's Tacos, Luckdish and Dreamy Creations. COST: $8 - $21; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1 - MONDAY, SEPT. 3
Long Beach Greek Festival by the Sea
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary — 5761 E. Colorado St., Long Beach
The weekend celebration of Hellenic culture includes authentic Greek food, cooking demonstrations, shopping and live dancing and music. The menu features Greek rotisserie chicken, gyros, pastitsio (seasoned ground beef and macaroni with a Bechamel sauce), spanakopita, dolmades (grape leave), shish kabobs, baklava and loukoumades (donut holes). Free parking and shuttle service.
COST: $5; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 3 - 10 p.m.
Vegan Street Fair - LA Nights 2018
The Federal — 5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
This two-night ticketed event is a smaller, intimate happening that features vegan eats, entertainment, games, DJ sets, and a beer and wine garden. Food vendors include Alchemy Organica, Anthem Vegan, Donna Jean, Donut Friend, Mac n' Cheese Rebel and Modern Times DTLA Dankness Dojo. All food vendors have at least one $4 or less item. Saturday is 21+ and Sunday is all-ages.
COST: Tickets: $22 - $100; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, AUG. 25; 7 - 8:30 p.m.
La Santa Cecilia
Burton Chace Park — 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey
Marina del Rey Pop Saturdays concert series conclude with the L.A.-based band fronted by powerhouse vocalist Marisol "La Marisoul" Hernandez. The music mixes the Latin influences of cumbia, Afro-Cuban, bossa nova, mariachi with rock, blues and soul.
COST: FREE (RSVP requested); MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1; 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Bubble Run - Anaheim 2018
Angel Stadium of Anaheim — 2000 E. Gene Autry Way, Anaheim
Why run a traditional 5K (3.1 miles) when you can run through "Foam Bogs" and bubbles? Dressed in white t-shirts, runners run, prance, stroll, walk, dance and play to the finish line, crossing colored foam stations at each kilometer. Children 4 and younger can run for free with a paid adult registration.
COST: $10 - $65; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1; 4 - 10 p.m.
Wonder-Full: A Stevie Wonder Celebration
Levitt Pavilion — Northwest corner of MacArthur Park, near the intersection of W. 6th and S. Park View streets
Bring your dancing shoes as DJs spin tunes from one of the greatest singer-songwriter-musicians-performers of the 20th and 21st centuries ("Living for the City" to "Master Blaster," "Higher Ground," "Isn't She Lovely" et al.) With an opening set by DJ Monalisa, DJ Spinna then takes control of the decks to play exclusives, covers, samples and remixes. There's live T-shirt screen printing (cash only) as well as food trucks onsite.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

The Marciano Art Foundation presents a solo show by Bunny Rogers, including the animated film, 'Mandy's Piano Solo in Columbine Cafeteria,' 2016. (Courtesy the artist and Société)

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1 - SUNDAY, JAN. 6, 2019
Bunny Rogers: 'Inattention'
Lounge Gallery, Marciano Art Foundation — 4357 Wilshire Blvd., Windsor Square
MAF presents the first solo exhibition in L.A. by the New York-based artist, highlighting two animated video works, "A Very Special Holiday Performance in Columbine Auditorium" (2017) and "Mandy's Piano Solo in Columbine Cafeteria" (2016). The tragic events during the Columbine High School shooting era overlapped with the artist's love for animated TV shows like "Clone High" and "Invader Zim," and websites such as Neopets.com, during her formative years. Both works on view at the Foundation show how "media has shaped the artist's identity as an obsessive consumer and self-proclaimed internet addict since childhood."
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

SATURDAY, SEPT. 1 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 2
The Great Labor Day Cruise
OC Fairgrounds — 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa
Check out more than 1,400 vintage autos, classic cars and street rods at one of the country's longest-running car shows. The weekend features American made cars and trucks made before 1987, and pre-1971 Volkswagen Bugs, pre-1979 VW Buses and all Ghias, Squarebacks, notchbacks and fastback cars. Cars cruise nonstop around a 1.25-mile route set up around the venue. The event also offers 210 camping spaces in two different areas of the venue for overnight camping.
COST: $15 - $25; MORE INFO

Learn a little history of L.A.'s Museum Row, the Original Farmers Market and the Fairfax district with Downtown L.A. Walking Tours. (Image courtesy of Omar Bárcena/Flickr Creative Commons)

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Pop-Up Tour: Miracle Mile - From Dairy Farms to Museum Row
La Brea Tar Pits and George C. Page Museum — at Wilshire and S. Curson, Mid-Wilshire
Downtown LA Walking Tours leads a participants through history along Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Where the museums now sit used to be upscale department stores, and before that, dairy and bean farms, oil fields and early airfields. The tour also covers the importance of the Fairfax neighborhood to L.A.'s Jewish community. Highlights include Museum Row, La Brea Tar Pits, the Original Farmers Market, The Grove and Pan-Pacific Park.
COST: $5 - $20, free for children 4 and younger; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 7 p.m.
Havana Secret
Levitt Pavilion — Northwest corner of MacArthur Park, near the intersection of W. 6th and S. Park View streets
The L.A.-based band pays tribute to the Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz. Also performing are the Latin-influenced trio El-Haru Kuroi and DJ Canyon Cody. All ages.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Jocelyn Bioh's 'School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play' runs at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre from Sept. 2-30. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2 - SUNDAY, SEPT. 30
'School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play'
Kirk Douglas Theatre — 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City
The Center Theatre group brings Jocelyn Bioh's biting comedy to L.A. after a successful Off-Broadway run. Exploring the similarities and differences between teenage girls around the world, the play is set in Ghana's most exclusive boarding school where the queen bee wants to make a run at the Miss Universe pageant. Her carefully laid plans are thwarted by the arrival of a newcomer with talent and beauty.
COST: Tickets start at $25; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 2 - 7 p.m.
Broad Fest
The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage — 1310 11th St., Santa Monica
The community festival has something for everyone: live music and performance, dancing, interactive sessions, films, food trucks and kids activities. Jungle Fire brings its Afro-Caribbean funk, while Element Band & Ara Dabandjian play modern Armenian grooves and the all-female percussion and vocal group, Adaawe, blends African, R&B, Jazz, Latin and Reggae. DJ Anthony Valadez spins between programs. Inside, The Edye Second Space screens all-ages fare from Hollywood Shorts.
COST: FREE, but RSVP requested; MORE INFO

Natasha Leggero speaks on stage during 2017 Sundance NEXT FEST at The Theater at The Ace Hotel on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Sundance)

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 5:30 p.m.
Kiss My Ass
The Satellite — 1717 Silverlake Blvd., Silver Lake
Music moves over for a comedy night hosted by Dicker Troy and Josh Fadem who welcome guest comics Natasha Leggero, Ian Edwards, Will Miles and the House Band Taft-Hartley. Ages 21+.
COST: $8; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 7:30 p.m.
'Los Angeles Plays Itself'
Aero Theatre — 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
As part of the "Our City on Screen" series, the American Cinematheque screens Thom Andersen's 2003 film collage, visual essay and homage to the city of Angels. The 170-minute film features hundreds of archival and film clips. A discussion with Andersen follows the film screening, and he'll also be signing copies of his book, "Slow Writing: Thom Anderson on Cinema" in the lobby beginning at 6:30 p.m.
COST: $12; MORE INFO

SUNDAY, SEPT. 2; 12 - 9 p.m.
West Adams Block Party 2018
Delicious Pizza — 5419 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams
The second edition of theall-ages, neighborhood party features a mix of DJ sets and live performances by Bronx legend KRS-One and Brooklyn's Masta Ace and sets by SlimKid3 & DJ Nu-Mark (LA), Illa J (Detroit) + Frank Nitt (Detroit), Niña Dioz (Monterrey, MX), Los Rakas (Oakland/Panama) and Ma Dukes (Detroit). The fest includes kids activities, food trucks and vendors (Delicious Pizza, LocoL, Alta Adams, Highly Likely) and a beer garden for those 21+. A pop-up shop inside the Infinity Room will sell limited edition Delicious Vinyl x Lil Yachty t-shirts, Dilla Donuts merchandise and Block Party posters.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

People attend a candlelight vigil to celebrate the life of music icon Prince on April 21, 2016 at Leimert Park in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

MONDAY, SEPT. 3; 1 - 5 p.m.
Refuge Block Party
Leimert Park — 4343 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park
The California African American Museum presents a festival that celebrates the strength of people who survive and live on the streets of L.A. There's music, a performance by LA Urban Voices, food vendors and activities. Also on view is "Donation Center" by artist Shinique Smith, which will offer care packages to those in need. The event is an extension of "Refuge," an exhibition by Smith now on view at CAAM until Sept. 9.
COST: FREE entry; MORE INFO

MONDAY, SEPT. 3; 5 - 11 p.m.
The Five Minutes Game + Labor Day Potluck
Dynasty Typewriter — 2511 Wilshire Blvd., Westlake
The comedy venue joins with the Voyager Institute and the Vidiots Foundation to update a classic video store tradition. The game posits that every movie is fascinating for the first five minutes, so organizers have lined up 15 obscure films and will screen the first five minutes of each. The audience then gets to decide which one to screen in full. There's a community potluck that opens the night so bring a dish to share — a real dish — and leave the chips and drinks for the office potluck. This event is ages 18+.
COST: $10 - $15; MORE INFO

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

UPDATE:

12:43: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that admission to The Taste was free. It is not. We have updated the event listing with the correct information.


You made it! Congrats, you read the entire story, you gorgeous human. This story was made possible by generous people like you. Independent, local journalism costs $$$$$. And now that LAist is part of KPCC, we rely on that support. So if you aren't already, be one of us! Help us help you live your best life in Southern California. Donate now.