The first month of the year is a great time for art enthusiasts in Los Angeles, as Janurary brings the L.A. Art Show, a long-standing Los Angeles event of almost 20 years showcasing the best in historic, modern, and contemporary art, as well as Photo L.A., a 20+ year photographic art exposition.
February is a month to celebrate for the African-American and African communities of Los Angeles. The African-American Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific is a 10+ year Los Angeles event celebrating African-American and African culture featuring music, dance, arts and crafts, food, and more, and the acclaimed Pan-African Film and Arts Festival also takes place each year in February. Los Angeles is also known for the richness of its Asian culture, and there are a variety of excellent Chinese New Year events held throughout the city in February each year, most notably the Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year Festival held in L.A.’s Chinatown.
The Laguna Beach A La Carte food and wine festival is a multi-venue annual food and wine lovers’ paradise taking place each year over three days in early March. The Los Angeles Irish Fair and Music Festival is another long-standing March staple in L.A., as is the L.A. Marathon and its surrounding festivities.
April in the Los Angeles metro area is jam-packed with fun annual festivals and events, such as the Carnaval Primavera celebration held in Huntington Park, the Santa Anita Derby, The San Dimas Festival of Arts, And the 20 year and running Cowboy Festival. April in L.A. also means it’s time for the Dodgers’ and Angels’ opening-day games, as well as Fiesta Broadway, the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the city held on the last weekend of April each year.
Although Fiesta Broadway is held in late April, there are also a variety of other Cinco de Mayo celebrations held in early May throughout Los Angeles. Other May events you might want to check out include the Santa Monica Festival, the Long Beach Pride Festival (a long-standing 30+ year event and the third largest Gay Pride Festival in the country), and the Topanga Banjo-Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival, a 50+ year Los Angeles institution.
The Playboy Jazz Festival has delighted lovers of jazz music for well over 30 years each June in LA, while lovers of Irish music and culture are sure to enjoy the Irish Fair and Music Festival, held in Irvine for 30+ years and running and featuring some of the top names in Irish music and entertainment. The LA Black Gay Pride Celebration is also held in June each year, as is L.A.’s main annual Gay Pride event which takes place in West Hollywood.
July in Los Angeles is a great month for art in the city, with both the 40+ year Malibu Arts Festival and the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival of Laguna Beach (taking place each year from July through August). Late July/early August also brings the International Surf Festival to Los Angeles, taking place in various locations at various beaches throughout the city.
August is a highly musical month in Los Angeles, featuring the Beverly Hills Music Festival, The Sunset Strip Music Festival, and the Long Beach Jazz Festival. The Watts Summer Festival, the oldest African-American cultural festival in the country also takes place each August, as well as Nisei Week, a 70+ year Little Tokyo institution held in celebration of Japanese-American and Japanese culture.
The Los Angeles Times’ Taste Food Festival, as well as three major lobster festivals (held in Redondo Beach, Long Beach, and San Pedro, respectively) all take place in September, making it a great month for foodies in Los Angeles. Beer lovers in L.A. also have reason to rejoice in September when Septemberfest, a beer festival with an American slant claiming to be “America’s answer to Oktoberfest” rolls around.
In October, prominent events include festivals such as the annual Taste of Soul Festival and the Taste of Encino Festival, as well as a variety of Day of the Dead (a prominent annual Mexican cultural celebration) events held throughout the city (in both late-October and early November). Adult-oriented Halloween events that the adventurous among us might enjoy include Miss Kitty’s Halloween Ball (an annual Halloween fetish ball), as well as the annual Kandy Halloween Party held at the Playboy Mansion.
November is a good month for film-oriented events in LA, featuring both the Artivist Film Festival, an annual film event celebrating films which support positive activist causes, as well as the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival. Holiday-oriented events in November include the Hollywood Christmas Parade, and the DWP Holiday Light Festival, held in Griffith Park.
In December, the free Festival Navideño en la Calle Ocho is a major L.A. event which usually draws upwards of 50,000 people, featuring arts, crafts, music, food, and more. The LA County Holiday Celebration, a 50+ year L.A. staple festival is another event you might consider attending. There are also a variety of New Year’s Eve balls, club/pub crawls, block parties, and other fun events held each year throughout the city to ring in the new year.