Los Angeles Outdoor Summer Concerts
Spend your summer evenings under the stars with these Los Angles summer concerts. From free concerts, to top acts in iconic venues, check out what shows not to miss this year.
By Christina Xenos
Consistently named the best major outdoor concert venue by Pollstar, the 18,000 seat amphitheater is the summer home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic which plays world-class classical tunes most Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer season which starts on July 9 and runs through Sept. 13. World Music Sundays curated by KCRW offer world/pop/inide tunes from bands like M83, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, while Wednesdays feature jazz tunes from artists like Sergio Mendes, Herb Alpert, Steve Martin and Natalie Cole. Also stop by for special concerts, singalong nights to Grease and The Sound of Music, a fully staged production of Chicago: The Musical, evenings of music and fireworks and more.
Catch a concert from one of your favorite bands this summer with the hills and trees of Griffith Park as your backdrop. The intimate outdoor venue seats just under 6,000 people and was originally dedicated to the city in the fall of 1929. This summer’s lineup features shows from Chicago, Gipsy Kings, The Lumineers, Heart and more.
Santa Monica Pier
Spend Thursday evenings ocean-side at the iconic Santa Monica Pier for the 29th annual Twilight Concert Series sponsored by KCRW. The weekly fete kicks off just before sunset on July 11 with contemporary and classic tunes from Surfer Blood, and continues through Sept. 12 offering performances by No Age, Hanni El Khatib and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, among others.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The iconic Los Angeles landmark and resting place for some of Hollywood’s most famous actors, writers and directors comes alive with outdoor concerts on their Fairbanks Lawn. This summer pack your picnic basket and head to the cemetery to see concerts by The National, Grizzly Bear and James Blake. Hollywood Forever also holds concerts inside their beautiful Masonic Lodge and this summer’s lineup includes performances by Ólufar Arnalds, Jóhann Jóhannsson and KT Tunstall.
Levitt Pavilion Pasadena
Hear performances from everyone from Grammy-winning artists to rising stars outdoors at Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena every Weds.-Sun. through Aug. 24. The summer series of more than 50 free concerts includes Latin, Jazz, Americana, World and Children’s night as well as dance shows. Highlights includes performances by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jeffery Broussard, Chicano Batman, Mariachi Divas, among others.
Levitt Pavilion Downtown Los Angeles
Set among the sprawling grasses and fountains of McArthur Park in downtown Los Angeles you can stop by for five weekly concerts every Thurs.-Sun. through Aug. 25. Highlights of the summer series include David Lindley, Ritmo Caliente, KPOP Dance Night, Rocky Dawuni, and Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon retrospective with Omega String Quartet and Julie Christensen.
This summer through Sept. 12 you can start counting down to the weekends with live music—from indie to Colombiana, to big band jazz, to flamenco—and a full bar every Thursday at Grand Park. Stop by for their Sunday Sessions on July 28 and Aug 25 to hear the beats of local and international DJs and producers like Scissor + Thread Showcase with Francis Harris, and The Leverage Agency Showcase with Acid Pauli.
Watch the sun set over the Los Angeles basin and check out free concerts every Thursday from July 25-Aug. 29. The seventh annual free series features an eclectic mix of traditions and styles from the Americas to North India (by way of Israel) to West Africa. Highlights of the showcase include The Belle Brigade (July 25); the West Coast premiere and debut U.S. tour of Shye Ben-Tzur (Aug 1); Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars (Aug. 8), among others.
In celebration of A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living, the Hammer and KCRW present a series of free live music in the Hammer courtyard Thursdays through Aug. 1, curated by and featuring KCRW DJs. Highlights of the series include KCRW DJs Anthony Valadez and Eric J. Lawrence with Ximena Sariñana on July 11; KCRW DJs Raul Campos and Valida with Fol Chen on July 18; KCRW DJs Travis Holcombe and Mario Cotto with Classixx on July 25; and KCRW DJs Anne Litt with The Decoders on Aug. 1.
Indulge in your favorite musical genres and bands, or discover your next audible obsession during Grand Performances free summer series at downtown’s Water Court. Shows not to miss this summer are performances by legendary Grammy winners and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees, Rufus on July 20; songs in the key of L.A. with Ozomatli and friends on Aug. 2; and The Living Sisters on Aug. 9.