Your Ultimate Guide to February 2020: 20 Awesome Things to Do in SoCal

To help you plan the month ahead, here are 20 notable events happening in Southern California in February. Read on for all our event picks and details.

February 1

CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL & GOLDEN DRAGON PARADE

Usher in the Year of the Rat on Saturday, Feb. 1 all throughout Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles. The Golden Dragon Parade, which is purportedly the oldest in America, starts at Hill and Ord streets at 1:00 p.m. with marching bands, performers and community dignitaries. The Chinese New Year Festival takes place at Central Plaza in New Chinatown from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. with arts and crafts, food vendors and trucks, performances and a lively marketplace. Free

February 4-8

OSCAR WEEK EVENTS

Your Ultimate Guide to February 2020: 20 Awesome Things to Do in SoCal
Oscar statues // Credit: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.

The Oscars will be handed out on Sunday, Feb. 9. During the week leading up to the ceremony, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents several film-related programs at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The programs feature screenings and discussions with filmmakers, focusing on the Documentary, Short Film, International Feature and Animated Feature categories. The week wraps with the annual Makeup and Hairstyling Symposium on Feb. 8. Tickets: $3-$5

February 6-9

LA ART SHOW

Photo: Sungjae Lee, Her Real Secret, BIAA
Photo: Sungjae Lee, Her Real Secret, BIAA

The West Coast’s largest art show returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center, offering attendees 200,000 square feet occupied by over 120 galleries (and their artists’ works) plus additional programming. The opening night preview is hosted by Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara with proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year’s highlights include the largest collection of M.C. Escher’s work; a retrospective of Kazu Hiro’s career that includes new photo-realistic portrait sculptures; and red carpet gowns designed by Sue Wong. Tickets/passes: $40-$300

February 7-9

THE 53RD CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR

More than 150 antiquarian booksellers descend upon the Pasadena Convention Center. Attendees can check out and purchase rare books, manuscripts, autographs, maps, fine prints, photographs and ephemera. This year, the fair puts a focus on Women’s Suffrage in the United States, with special exhibits and panels, and a centennial celebration of the life and works of science fiction and fantasy writer Ray Bradbury. Admission: $15-$25

February 8-July 26

VANITY FAIR: HOLLYWOOD CALLING

Your Ultimate Guide to February 2020: 20 Awesome Things to Do in SoCal
Credit: Mark Seliger Caption: Movers & Shakers of Color, Vanity Fair 2018

View the glitz and glam of Hollywood through the lenses of Vanity Fair photos and photographers. A new exhibit runs Feb. 8 through July 26 at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City. The show features 130 portraits and images of stars such as Demi Moore, Heath Ledger, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey, taken by Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton—just to name a few. Free

February 8

VIVER BRASIL: CELEBRATING SAMBA

The Broad Stage in Santa Monica holds a family event on Feb. 8 at 11:00 a.m. as the dance company Viver Brasil presents Celebrating Samba. The program takes audiences on a journey of Afro-Brazilian dance and culture through samba, capoeira, dança afro and bloco afro styles. Stick around after the performance and learn how to samba on the outdoor plaza as Viver Brasil teams with the musical group MôForró, who will be playing Brazilian dance music live. All seats are $5

February 11-23

PAN AFRICAN FILM AND ART FESTIVAL

The 2020 Pan African Film and Art Festival (PAFF) runs from Tuesday, Feb. 11 to Sunday, Feb. 23 at Cinemark 15 BHC / Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The festival celebrates the work of African filmmakers and artists from around the world, screening approximately 150 films. PAFF opens with a gala and screening of HERO – Inspired by the Extraordinary Revolutionary Life and Times of Diplomat and Judge Ulric Cross, directed by Caribbean filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Hollywood. It closes with Zulu Wedding directed by Lineo Sekeleoane at Cinemark 15, followed by a closing reception. Passes run between $70-$725, individual ticket prices vary

February 13-16

ART LOS ANGELES CONTEMPORARY

For its 11th edition, Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC)—L.A.’s contemporary art fair—moves to the Hollywood Athletic Club from Feb. 13 to 16. Spanning the club’s two floors, ALAC 2020 offers a new boutique-style art fair with 45 galleries in an open format floorplan. Participating galleries include Edward Cella Art & Architecture, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Richard Heller Gallery, Over the Influence and Vigo Gallery. Tickets: $25-$65

February 13-16

FELIX ART FAIR 2020

The hotel fair format allows galleries an intimate and informal exhibition setting. Last year’s inaugural edition welcomed more than 12,000 guests to visit with galleries, and artists from around the world. With more than 60 galleries featured, participating artists include Judy Chicago curated by Jill Soloway and presented by Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; Luis Flores presented by Matthew Brown Gallery, Los Angeles; and Eve Fowler and David Benjamin Sherry presented by Morán Morán, Los Angeles. Tickets: $25 for access all four days

February 14

GRAND PARK’S LOVERS ROCK

Your Ultimate Guide to February 2020: 20 Awesome Things to Do in SoCal
Photo: Lover’s Rock Dub Club by Javier Guillen 

Here’s an alternative to expensive Valentine’s Day prix fixe menus. From 7:00-11:00 p.m. on Feb. 14, Grand Park in downtown LA invites Angelenos to pack a picnic and chill while listening to Lovers Rock Reggae music, which started in the Caribbean clubs of London in the 1970s. Park furniture and picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. DJ Linafornia serves up the tunes all night. Free

February 14-16

STARTUP ART FAIR

The fledgling stARTup Art Fair returns for its fifth Los Angeles edition, taking place at The Kinney Venice Beach. More than 80 artists transform hotel rooms and spaces into solo exhibitions of their works. The setup of the fair connects artists directly to art buyers. The opening night celebration takes place on Feb. 14 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. A number of performances and panel discussions are scheduled for the weekend as well. Tickets: $10-$100

February 14-March 1

KINKY BOOTS

The Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots has a two-week run at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. The musical features a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles) and music and lyrics by Tony Award and Grammy Award winner Cyndi Lauper. The story focuses on Charlie Price who teams with Lola the drag queen and entertainer to save his family’s struggling shoe factory—one stiletto boot at a time. Tickets: $25-$90

February 15-17

FRIEZE LOS ANGELES 2020

The second edition of the Frieze contemporary art fair returns to Paramount Picture Studios in Hollywood. This year, view solo presentations by Alvaro Barrington, Sayre Gomez, Gladys Nilsson, Rob Pruitt, Avery Singer, James Turrell and many others. In addition to the art, the programming showcases music, screenings, installations and talks—including a conversation between writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and Calida Garcia Rawles—as well as a screening of Matthew Barney’s new film, Redoubt, introduced by the artist. Tickets: gallery and program admission starts at $125; adult tickets for the programming events start at $25

February 15

A CELEBRATION OF LOVE

Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills holds a celebration of Black History through music, dance, spoken word and black culture on Feb. 15. A pre-show reception with refreshments and music by DJ Dan Jackson starts at 6:00 p.m. with performances beginning at 7:00 p.m. Featured artists include Elaine Gibbs (The X Factor), comedian Six Foota Slimm, keynote speaker Dr. Terrance Roberts—one of the Little Rock Nine. Seats are on a first-come, first-served basis. Free

February 15-16

SCOTSFESTIVAL & INTERNATIONAL HIGHLAND GAMES XXVII

Your Ultimate Guide to February 2020: 20 Awesome Things to Do in SoCal
Photo by Mathew Martinez, Courtesy of the Queen Mary 

The ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXVII returns to the Queen Mary in Long Beach on Feb. 15 and 16. The family-friendly festival celebrates the history and culture of Scotland—and the Queen Mary’s ties to the country. (Construction began on the ship in 1930 in the seaside town of Clydebank, Scotland.) The weekend features Highland games, feats of strength, dancing, entertainment, and food and drinks. Each day opens with a reciting of Robert Burns’ Address to The Haggis at 11:00 a.m., concluding with a Haggis tasting and whiskey samples (for those 21+). At noon, the colorful Grand Parade of Clans and Bands begins. Single-day adult general admission starts at $25, but whiskey tastings and other activities cost extra

February 15

MORTIFIED DOOMED VALENTINE’S SHOW

The popular Mortified storytelling night returns for two shows on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Wanderlust Hollywood. This special “romance”-themed edition, is perfect for both Valentine’s Day or an anti-Valentine’s Day. The show features people reading their teen diaries, letters, lyrics and journals—sharing their most embarrassing tales and entries of love and heartache—to often hilarious results. There are two shows at 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. The show is all ages, but may contain mature content. Tickets run: $17-$40

February 18-March 29

BOOK OF MORMON

Your Ultimate Guide to February 2020: 20 Awesome Things to Do in SoCal
Book of Mormon company: Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

The Center Theatre Group presents The Book of Mormon at the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown L.A. from Feb. 18-March 29. The nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical, from the creators of South Park, follows the misadventures of a pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the word. The musical contains explicit language. Tickets start at $45

February 23

CICLAVIA: SOUTH LA

The first CicLAvia of 2020 comes to South LA on Sunday, Feb. 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. A six-mile stretch of streets in South LA, Florence-Firestone and Watts will be closed to cars and motorized vehicles and open for community members to walk, jog, bike or skate the routes. CicLAvia gives people a chance to explore the neighborhood from outside the confines of their cars. Free

February 23

GEORGIA ON MY MIND: A CELEBRATION OF RAY CHARLES AND HIS MUSIC

The Irvine Barclay Theatre presents a musical tribute to American icon Ray Charles on Feb. 23 at 7:00 p.m. Charles deftly combined blues, gospel, R&B, rock, country music and jazz to create groundbreaking hits and top charts from around the world. The night features hit songs like Hit the Road Jack, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and Georgia On My Mind. The night features performances by Take 6, Nnenna Freelon, jazz saxophonist-songwriter Kirk Whalum and singer Clint Holmes. Tickets: $45-$110

Looking for even MORE things to do? Check out the events section of our website.

Christine N. Ziemba is a Los Angeles-based arts and culture writer who loves to tell people what to do (and where to go). Check out her events columns and other musings on PopRadarLA.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.