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Your Ultimate Guide To July: 20 Cool Events Happening In Southern California

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We found a number of notable happenings in July to help plan your social calendar. Read on for all our event picks and details of the best events Southern California has to offer this month.

Through Sept. 2

The Independent Shakespeare Company celebrates the 15th anniversary of its Shakespeare festival at Griffith Park by mounting two of the Bard’s works. From June 30 through Sept. 2, the company presents A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Titus Andronicus runs from July 28 to Sept. 1.Free.

July 1-31

The NY-based Dirty Looks arts organization has teamed with 13 local curators to present screenings, performances and other events at venues of historical significance to the LGBTQ community every night in July. The festival opens with A Most Unusual Film Festival,—which celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the first homosexual film festival in LA—at Dynasty Typewriter at The Hayworth. Ticket prices vary from $5-$15.

July 4

There are so many July 4th celebrations happening throughout Southern California, from the Rose Bowl to the Hollywood Bowl; Grand Park to Dodgers Stadium; the Fairplex in Pomona, Huntington Beach to Marina Del Rey and points in between. Prices vary.

July 5-Aug. 16

The Sizzling Summer Nights series returns to the Autry every Thursday beginning on July 5 (through Aug. 16) from 5:30-9:00 p.m. Listen and dance to some of LA’s best salsa and Latin fusion bands at the Autry. If you don’t know how to dance, don’t worry, the museum’s offering free dance lessons each week. The Summer Nights series includes access to museum galleries. Opa Opa opens the series on July 5. Tickets: free for Autry Members, $14 nonmembers, $10 students and seniors, $6 children (ages 3-12). Reservations recommended.

July 6-7, 10-11 and 15

WORLD CUP (Sports)
Have you caught soccer fever yet? If so, watch the World Cup’s final five matches on the Hammer Museum’s big screens. The quarterfinals are on Friday and Saturday, July 6 and 7 at 11:00 a.m.; the semis are on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10 and 11 at 11:00 a.m.; and the finals are on Sunday, July 15 at 8:00 a.m. If you have a dog left in the fight, a cash bar will be available to calm the nerves. Free admission.

July 7-Sept. 1

The Pageant of the Masters has been a Laguna Beach tradition for 85 years. The production of tableaux vivants recreates classic works of art with actual people posing and decorated among the scenes to look exactly like the painting or sculpture. This year’s theme is “Under the Sun” and is presented nightly at 8:30 p.m. Get there early enough before the show to explore the Festival of Arts on the grounds, showcasing more than 100 Orange County artists. Tickets: $15-$240.

July 10

Bernstein 100 Celebration with Dudamel (Music)

Your Ultimate Guide To July: 20 Cool Events Happening In Southern California
Gustavo Dudamel conducts Bernstein at the Bowl. (Credit: Courtesy of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association)

To celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s centennial, Gustavo Dudamel leads the LA Phil through a program of some of the American composer’s most renowned music on July 10 at 8:00 p.m. The program includes “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs”; Selections from On the Town; “Three Meditations from Mass”; Selections from Wonderful Town, and West Side Story Symphonic Dances. Vocalists include Sutton Foster, making her Bowl debut, and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Tickets start at $12.

July 12-22

OUTFEST (Film festival)
The 2018 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, runs from July 12-22 in several venues in LA, including the Directors Guild, the Ford Theatres and The Theatre at Ace Hotel. Outfest screens 221 films and 13 TV series, opening with the documentary Studio 54 (2018), directed by Matt Tyrnauer, and closing with The Miseducation of Cameron Post, directed by Desiree Akhavan (2018). Regular screenings start at $15-$20 for adult admission, but galas and special events vary in price.

July 12


Your Ultimate Guide To July: 20 Cool Events Happening In Southern California
5 Art Gallery kicks off its Bastille Day celebrations with an art opening. (Image: 5 Art Gallery)

5 Art Gallery, a new-ish gallery that celebrates and promotes the French street art movement, holds a Bastille Day Kickoff Reception on Thursday, July 12, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. View works by street and pop artists Barnabe, Jisbar, BABS, Christophe Catelain, L'Atlas, Pro176, Tanc, MonkeyBird, DON, Xare and Zenoy, Richard Orlinski, Lisa Sartor and Vincent Faudemer. Free.

July 13-Aug. 12

OC FAIR (Family Fun)
The Orange County Fair begins on July 13 at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. We can’t wait to try the new fair food, including peanut butter, jelly and Siracha funnel cake from Dutchman's Funnel Cakes or the Caramel Crack Fries (French fries tossed in butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar then drizzled with salted caramel sauce and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles) from Biggy’s. In addition to the exhibits, livestock, action and stunt shows, carnival rides and games, beer gardens and cocktails, The Pacific Amphitheatre’s concert series during the fair’s run includes Trevor Noah on July 14; The Psychedelic Furs, X, and The Fixx on July 19; Steve Martin and Martin Short, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Jeff Babko on July 20; and Willie Nelson & Family, and Alison Krauss on Aug. 9. The OC Fair is open Wednesday-Sunday. Single-day admission runs $7-$14 (free for children 5 and younger), with concerts, parking and other events extra.

July 13


Your Ultimate Guide To July: 20 Cool Events Happening In Southern California
Union Station's 'Fil...mmm at Union Station" series continues with a screening of 'City of Gold.' (Image: 'City of Gold via Facebook)

Metro Art continues its FIL...MMM series—a screening of food-themed films with food trucks onsite to appease the appetites. On July 13, at 8:30 p.m., there’s a free screening of the documentary City of Gold, directed by Laura Gabbert and starring LA Times' food critic Jonathan Gold. The food trucks onsite at 5:30 p.m. are Comet BBQ, Boba Ni Taco and LA Donut.

July 13-15

The American Ballet Theatre returns to the Music Center with the 19th century ballet, La Bayadère at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion from July 13-15. Set in royal India, the classic ballet tells the story of “eternal love, fate, vengeance and justice.” La Bayadère is directed by Natalia Makarova and choreographed by Makarova after Marius Petipa. Tickets start at $38.

July 14-15

The 38th Lotus Festival returns to Echo Park Lake on July 14-15, from noon to 9:00 p.m. each day. The festival features Dragon Boat Races, a tea house and ceremony, arts and crafts, a food court, Chinese cultural pavilion, and a children’s area. Entertainment throughout the weekend includes lion dances, Muay Thai demonstrations, Korean folk dances, Bollywood dance, and a puppet show from Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater. Free admission.

July 15-March 31, 2019

3D: Double Vision (Art exhibition)
LACMA’s latest exhibition 3D: Double Vision—the first North American survey of 3D objects opens on July 15. Addressing the nature of perception, 3D: Double Vision features “artifacts of mass culture” with historic and contemporary art from the past 175 years. Organized into five thematic sections, the exhibition starts with the history of 3D, beginning with the invention of the stereoscope in the 1830s. Museum admission: $21-$25.

July 20-21

The 3rd Annual Delicious Little Tokyo weekend treats visitors to culinary demos, food tours, workshops and other activities at various Little Tokyo shops and restaurants. The mini-festival kicks off on Friday night with Sake on the Rocks, a 21+ sake and food tasting event presented by the Little Tokyo Service Center at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) Plaza from 7:00-10:00 p.m. Tickets for Sake on the Rocks are $100-$150. Other prices for Delicious Little Tokyo activities vary.

July 26-Aug. 30


The Skirball's Sunset Concerts series returns for its 22nd season, once again putting a focus on world music. The Thursday night series kicks off on July 26 with Oakland-born singer-songwriter Goapele, who brings her mix of R&B, soul, funk and hip-hop to the stage. Other artists this season are: Malawi’s Peter Mawanga; LA-based The Marías; Ranky Tanky from South Carolina; and violinist, singer and composer Kishi Bashi with a string quartet. The series ends with Ethiopian music from Tel Aviv-based musician Gili Yalo. Carpooling, ridesharing and public transportation are highly encouraged. The concerts, which start at 8:00 p.m., are free and open the public, but RSVPs are requested.

July 26

This year the Luckyrice Feast returns to Vibiana in DTLA on July 26 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. with the theme: Breaking Bao Intergenerational Feast. The day pays homage to family and food, highlighting foods from family meals, birthdays and special occasions. Food/drink participants include: Little Sister, Bone Kettle, Hinoki & the Bird and Button Mash. Tickets: $150. Ages 21+.

July 27-28

MAX RICHTER’S SLEEP IN GRAND PARK (Immersive performance)
After performances in New York and at SXSW, Max Richter’s SLEEP makes its LA debut as an overnight performance/happening in Grand Park. The work is one of the longest single pieces of classical music to be recorded and performed. The performance starts at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, July 27, and ends around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets in the Main Performance Area are $60 and $80; a cot included with ticket. Tickets for the Listening Area on Grand Park’s Event Lawn are free with $6 handling fee (ticket is required); no cot included.

July 28-29


Your Ultimate Guide To July: 20 Cool Events Happening In Southern California
Are you ready to carbo-load? The California Pizza Festival takes place on July 28-29 at Los Angeles Center Studios. (Photo courtesy of the California Pizza Festival.)

The first California Pizza Festival takes over Los Angeles Center Studios in Downtown LA on July 28 and 29, from noon to 8:00 p.m. both days, serving attendees unlimited slices of ‘za from 30 participating vendors. The pizzerias are serving up Neapolitan, Sicilian, and New York styles, as well as gluten-free and vegan options. Admission includes all-you-can-eat pizza; other items such as beer and other beverages, and desserts are available for purchase. Adult admission: $45-$89; $20 for children 10 and younger. Children 3 and younger get in for free.

July 28

The Broad Museum’s music and performance series, Summer Happenings, continues on July 28 at 8:00 p.m. with the program “Social Shaman.” The event is inspired by the works of German artist Joseph Beuys and the Fluxus movement he fostered. Performances by: legendary Krautrock group faUSt, Baltimore duo Matmos, EYE (DJ set), Pharmakon, Nelson Patton and others. Tickets: $30. Ages 21+.
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, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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