(Mostly) Free Outdoor Concerts in Los Angeles

18 Jun

By Nancy Steiner

If your travel plans take you to Los Angeles this summer, you’ll want to add some al fresco music to your itinerary. The city’s balmy evenings, a picnic dinner, and live music provide the ideal recipe for an idyllic evening. And all but one are free of charge:

Hollywood Bowl
Although you’ll have to pay for tickets here, nothing tops The Hollywood Bowl as the quintessential outdoor concert location. Choose from classical on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, jazz on Wednesday evenings, or crowd-pleasing pop (often topped off with fireworks) on Friday and Saturday evenings.

You can dine at your seat, but I recommend getting there early and using one of the picnic areas. Hint: for fewer crowds and a better chance to snag a table, go to areas 11, 12 or 13 on the far side of parking lot D.

Farmer’s Market
From late may through mid September, The Farmer’s Market, at Third and Fairfax, offers jazz on Thursday evenings and a mix of musical styles on Friday evenings.
Concerts start at 7 pm on the West Patio. Before the performance, you’ll have a hard time deciding which of the many food stands to patronize. Good choices include French crepes, Cajun favorites and fresh Mexican, but my favorite is Singapore’s Banana Leaf.

Downtown
Not far from Los Angeles’ Disney Concert Hall (worth a visit if you can), local and international artists perform at noon and 8 pm at California Plaza, while at Pershing Square, you can rock out on Saturday evenings. (Other free activities at Pershing Square include alternative music nights on Thursdays and Family Film nights on Fridays.)

Culver City
Culver City’s Music Festival takes place Thursday evenings in July and August at the City Hall Courtyard. The eclectic program ranges from big band to salsa to zydeco. This is a popular venue, so be sure to get there early to secure a spot on the grass or a seat near the stage.

Marina del Rey
For waterside music, head to Marina del Rey. At Burton Chase Park, you can savor classical — featuring the 75-member Marina del Rey Summer Symphony — or pop on Thursday and Saturday evenings. (Check for specific dates.) At Fisherman’s Village, you can hear R&B, jazz, Latin, pop or blues between 1 and 4 pm.

While you’re at the Marina, spring for a Wednesday night Hornblower “Sights and Sips Cruise” with all the money you’ve saved on concert tickets.

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