Your Ultimate Guide To March: 20 Cool Events Happening in Southern California

To help plan your March social calendar, we found 20 awesome events happening in SoCal this month.

March 1-31


La Luz De Jesus Gallery presents its annual juried group exhibition, Laluzapalooza. The no-theme show features more than 140 pieces from approximately 70 artists, including commercial illustrators, graphic designers, tattooists, scenics, students, street taggers, animators and gallery artists. Some of the names are immediately recognizable and other works are from as-yet undiscovered, emerging talents. The opening reception is on Friday (March 1) from 8:00-11:00 p.m. and the works will remain on view through March 31.

March 1-5

The Outfest Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival runs March 1-5 at the Egyptian Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatres 6, La Plaza de la Raza and other venues. The festival amplifies the diverse voices through media and storytelling. This year’s screenings include nine features and 63 shorts, as well as Fusion Gala on March 1, filmmaker Q&A’s and workshops. Individual screening tickets start at $12.

March 3-Sept. 1


Your Ultimate Guide To March: 20 Cool Events Happening in Southern California
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) via Facebook

The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach opens the group exhibition Gráfica América on March 3. The show focuses on the collaborative nature of printmaking and features works by Latin American and Latinx artists from print shops, publishing houses and collectives from the U.S., México, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. View both modern and historical prints and publications in the exhibition. General admission: $10 (but the museum is free on Sundays).

March 5


Your Ultimate Guide To March: 20 Cool Events Happening in Southern California
Alistair Butler, 1980 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.

Bryce Dessner might be best known as the guitarist for the rock band The National, but he’s also an in-demand new contemporary music composer. On March 5, the LA Phil’s Green Umbrella series presents the world premiere of Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), a multimedia opera work based on the visceral imagery of the late Robert Mapplethorpe. Dessner’s score is performed with photographic projections, poetry by librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle, Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, along with the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and a 12-piece chamber orchestra. Be forewarned: The concert contains sexually explicit content that may be inappropriate for attendees under 18. Tickets: $32-$40.

March 10


Your Ultimate Guide To March: 20 Cool Events Happening in Southern California
The Nowruz Festival is a free, daylong festival located at UCLA that’s open to everyone. Image: Farhang Foundation

Celebrate the Iranian New Year at UCLA on March 10 (from 12:00-5:00 p.m.) at the Nowruz Festival. Free and open to the public, the day features a Spring Walk parade, music and dance performances, an Iranian tea house, puppet shows, and other kid-friendly and family activities. The cultural festival culminates with a ticketed concert (tickets start at $25) at Royce Hall by renowned Iranian classical performer Parisa.

March 14-17

The annual Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival honors the legendary writer through science fiction film screenings. On March 14, the festival opens in Los Angeles at the Echo Park Film Center. Screening titles include Matthew Evan Balz’s Corvus, which follows a woman’s efforts to build a machine capable of hypnosis; Emily Dean’s Andromeda, about an android’s awakening of human emotions; and Josh Gibson’s Pig Film, about a woman’s work on a hog farm during the impending end of the world. The festival then moves to Santa Ana with screenings at the Orange County Museum of Art and the Ebell Club. Full access passes: $50; Individual program tickets: $5-$10.

March 15-17

Here’s a great excuse to road trip to Banning from March 15 to 17: The Arcade Expo returns to the Museum of Pinball, with a weekend of freeplay on all 1,100 of the museum’s games. Relive your youth through retro arcade games and pinball machines, or take on newer titles. If you have the chops, then take part in the (Donkey) Kong Off; shop a swap meet/flea market, or bid on a pinball machine through a silent auction. Adult tickets/passes run $50-$130; child tickets/passes run $15-$35.

March 16

The Soraya—the performing arts center at Cal State Northridge&mdasdh;offers a night of socio-political commentary and comedy from W. Kamau Bell, host of the CNN docu-series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell and podcaster/comic Hari Kondabolu. Tickets: $28-$68.

March 21-24


Bach in the Subways returns to Los Angeles later this month to celebrate the 334th birthday of composer Johann Sebastian Bach, with pop-up performances of the composer’s music throughout LA. Each year, a global community of musicians unites to continue the classical music art form for audiences. Performances are already scheduled for North Hollywood, Claremont and Glendale. Additional performers are also welcome to participate with registration. Free.

March 22-24

The 26th Annual Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival features 18 one-woman performances on March 23 and 24. Featured performers include Pam Levin, Vickilyn Reynolds, Juli Kim, Vicki Summers, Lanessa Long and others. There’s Champagne Gala and Awards Ceremony on March 22. All events take place at Theatre 69 in North Hollywood. Single show tickets are $25-$30. VIP tickets for all four programs are $140. Gala tickets are $50-$90.

March 22-24


Palm Desert Food & Wine takes over The Gardens on El Paseo in downtown Palm Desert from March 22 to 24. The weekend features chef demos, talks and Grand Tastings ($100 general admission) from nearly 50 local eateries, plus special events including the James Beard Gourmet Four-Course Luncheon kick-off.

March 23

Swallows Day Parade and Mercado Street Fair
The 61st edition of the Swallows Day Parade and Mercado Street Fair takes place in San Juan Capistrano on March 23. The Fiesta de las Golondrinas celebrates the return of the swallows to the San Juan Capistrano Mission on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19). The parade begins at 11:00 a.m. and travels through the downtown district. It remains one of the country’s largest non-motorized parades. The Mercado street fair is the place to be before or after the parade with food, games, and live music and dancing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

March 23

The 13th Annual Airport ArtWalk showcases the work of more than 60 artists throughout the studios and creative venues that now occupy the airport’s converted airplane hangars. On March 23 from noon to 5:00 p.m., works will be on view while guests can also watch art, ceramic and pottery-firing demonstrations; theater and art workshops; live music; and performances. There will be food trucks on site to keep artwalkers fed. This event is free and family-friendly.

March 23-Sept. 1

The Broad Museum presents the West Coast exclusive showing of the exhibition, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983. The group show celebrates the work of black artists created over two decades beginning at the height of the civil rights movement. Individual galleries are dedicated to artists working in particular cities, including LA. View works by artists including Barkley Hendricks, Noah Purifoy, Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Alma Thomas, Charles White and William T. Williams. There’s an all-day symposium for Soul of a Nation’s opening day that includes conversations, artist talks and poetry at the Aratani Theatre. Exhibition tickets: $18 adult, $12 student (with valid ID) and free for children 17 and younger. Symposium tickets: $15-$20.

March 24

Thousands of runners will head toward victory (and definitely the agony of da feet) as the LA Marathon course winds its way from Dodgers Stadium to Santa Monica on March 24. The participants (including wheelchairs, hand cyclists and runners) will all take off by 7:00 a.m. Once the last on-time runner crosses the starting line, all participants have six hours and 30 minutes to finish the race. Closed roads will re-open on a rolling basis throughout the day.

March 24


Sam Beam—better known as his nom de plume Iron & Wine—makes his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall on March 24. He’ll be joined for the first time by an orchestra, conducted by David Campbell, to perform Iron & Wine’s sophomore album, Our Endless Numbered Days. The performance celebrates the 15th anniversary of the highly acclaimed record. Tickets: $49-$122.

March 28 and 30

Find out if a Cinderella team makes it to the big dance as March Madness stops at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Big West Conference hosts the West Regional of the NCAA college basketball tourney with the finals held on March 30. Tickets start at $100.

March 29-April 28

It’s easy to forget that the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park was once a working farm owned by Walter Knott in the 1920s. The farm was also the birthplace of the Boysenberry, and each spring the park celebrates its history with food and live entertainment. This year, the festival expands to 31 days, featuring more than 75 boysenberry-inspired dishes and drinks.

March 29-31

WonderCon takes over the Anaheim Convention Center from March 29-31. If you love comic books, movies, TV and/or animation, and didn’t score badges to Comic-Con in San Diego this summer, WonderCon offers similar programming on a smaller scale. Programming includes a masquerade, workshops, gaming tournaments, exhibitors and an artists alley. Special guests are expected throughout the weekend, including big names like author Cory Doctorow and actor Phil LaMarr. Adult single day tickets are $24-$40.

March 29-April 7

The American Cinematheque and the Film Noir Foundation present the 21st anniversary of Noir City: Hollywood at the Egyptian Theatre from March 29-April 7. While the full program hasn’t yet been announced, the festival curators have scoured archives to bring favorites back as well as lesser-known, rare and obscure films. Tickets: $12 per screening.

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.