Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Awesome Things to do in SoCal

We found a number of awesome events taking place in October, so we’re ready to help you plan the month ahead. Read on for all our event picks and details.

Oct. 1-13


Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Awesome Things to do in SoCal
The North American Tour of Miss Saigon stops at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The new production of the legendary musical comes to the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa from Oct. 1-13. Based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly, Miss Saigon focuses on a Vietnamese orphan and her tragic romance with an American soldier. The play has scenes and language that may not be suitable for younger or sensitive audience members as well as strobe lights, gunshots, and pyrotechnic effects. Tickets start at $26

Oct. 3-4


This two-day festival features conversations, workshops, live tapings, networking events and one-on-one mentoring sessions presented by and for female and nonbinary people interested in podcasting. Participants include: Shereen Marisol Meraji, Host and Correspondent, Code Switch; Brittany Luse, Co-Host and Producer, The Nod; Christa Scharfenberg, CEO, The Center for Investigative Reporting and many others. The festival takes place at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown LA. Passes: $250 – $550

Oct. 3-6


Car aficionados can head to the Anaheim Convention Center from Oct. 3 – 6 to check out more than 600 cars from 35+ manufacturers. For those who want to do more than just look, there will be 100+ vehicles available for test driving. Check out concept cars from Audi, Kia, Acura and others, plus a work truck selection and exotic cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maclaren and Maserati. Tickets: $12 – $15, children 12 and younger get in free

Oct. 4-6


The Great Pacific Airshow returns to Huntington Beach on October 4-6. Open to the public all three days, Friday is generally a practice day that may differ from the main show on Saturday and Sunday. Flying takes place from noon – 4:00 p.m. while the beach and street festival both remain open through sundown. This year, watch daredevil stunts from the Air Force’s Thunderbirds, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the Red Bull Air Force and others. Free, with upgraded seating options available for purchase (starting at $20)

Oct. 5 – Nov. 3


CURRENT: LA FOOD is an exhibition that presents food-themed public art and installations throughout the city for locals and tourists to explore. The Department of Cultural Affairs teamed with the ICA LA (Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles) to commission 15 artists—including Ry Rocklen, Michael Rakowitz, Jazmin Urrea and Nancy Lupo. Question and consider food accessibility and equity through their works. Pan Pacific Park; Palms Park; Martin Luther King Jr. Park, South LA; and Roger Jessup Park, Pacoima are among the more than a dozen sites selected for art and accompanying events. Free

Oct. 6


One of the greatest Irish troubadours takes to the Hollywood Bowl stage on Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m. Morrison’s touring on the heels of his last release, The Prophet Speaks—his 40th studio album—released last December and in advance of his new album Three Chords And The Truth (due out Oct. 25). Expect a little pop, jazz, soul from a singular voice. This is a lease event at the Bowl, so other rules apply (no outside alcohol allowed). Melody Gardot opens. Tickets start at $39

Oct. 6


CicLAvia—the open streets event for biking, walking, skating and other types of non-motorized transport—presents its “Heart of LA” route. The Oct. 6 event (9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.), celebrates UCLA’s centennial with a route through Westlake, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights and downtown LA (where UCLA originally began as a teachers’ college). There are four hubs along the route, Chinatown, MacArthur Park, Mariachi Plaza and the Civic Center, each offering family-friendly activities. Free

Oct. 8-17


If you like to watch scary movies (with or without your hands over your eyes), then Screamfest at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres is for you. The long-running genre film fest opens with Eat Brains Love, at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, followed by a Q&A with director Rodman Flender as well as cast and crew. The fest wraps with a screening and Q&A of We Summon the Darkness, a film starring Alexandra Daddario, Keean Johnson, Johnny Knoxville and Logan Miller. Tickets/passes: $11 – $300

Oct. 10-12


Indiecade is an international festival that celebrates independent interactive media and gaming. The festival takes place in Santa Monica from Oct. 10-12. Attendees can play indie games from around the world, listen to talks from professional game creators, attend workshops, watch films and have a little fun. Tickets/passes: $15 – $675

Oct. 10-April 19, 2010


Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Awesome Things to do in SoCal
Creature from the Black Lagoon poster, courtesy of Universal Studios
Licensing LLC

The Natural History Museum in Exposition Park opens a new exhibition that combines science, history, and movie-making through a study of celluloid monsters, and the scientific discoveries that inspired them. The exhibition explores the “science of scary” through rare movie props, film footage, hands-on activities and museum specimens. Natural History of Horror is included in museum admission. General admission: $6 – $14

Oct. 11-13


L.A. Comic Con returns to the LA Convention Center to celebrate all things pop culture. The weekend features screenings, signings, guest appearances and collectible vendors for fans of comics, sci-fi, anime, horror, gaming, cosplay competitions and more. Special programming includes Director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Venom) bringing a Zombieland: Double Tap surprise, and panels with Netflix shows Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Mr. Iglesias. Plus, there are reunions of The Office, X-Men: The Animated Series, Hellboy, Kim Possible, SpongeBob SquarePants and others. Tickets/passes: $30 – $229

Oct. 12 – 20


Your Ultimate Guide to October: 20 Awesome Things to do in SoCal
A scene from the 2019 London production of The Light in the Piazza by Dewynters, London

Renée Fleming, Dove Cameron and Brian Stokes Mitchell lead the cast in the LA Opera’s production of The Light in the Piazza. Based on the novel by Elizabeth Spencer, Adam Guettel’s musical follows Margaret Johnson and her daughter Clara as their family’s Italian vacation takes a detour thanks to a local boy. Clara’s new romance doesn’t thrill her over-protective mother. Tickets begin at $24

Oct. 18-20


One of the largest Japanese festivals in California lands at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. Guests can enjoy Japanese food, learn about the country’s culture, peruse the work of artists and shop from vendors throughout the weekend. Watch live performances by Misono, Ai Haruna, Yuna Ito, Eden Kai and others. Admission: $ 8, but children 6 and younger and seniors 65 and older get in free

Oct. 19-20, 26-27


The Orange County-area zoo holds a “Merry not Scary” family-friendly event for two weekends this month. Everyone is encouraged to come in costume (but please leave the balloons at home). Kids from ages 2-12 can safely trick or treat from one of the ten stations around the zoo. In addition, participants can watch live entertainment, animal presentations, storytelling, and enjoy games, a costume parade and a “Teen Scream” Haunted House. There will be snacks/food available for sale. Included in zoo admission: $12.95 for members, $24.95 for nonmembers and free for children 3 and younger (Not to be outdone, LA Zoo’s “Boo at the Zoo” runs Oct. 1 – 27.)

Oct. 24


On Oct. 24 at 7:00 p.m., the LA Phil celebrates its centennial on the exact date of the LA Phil’s first performance. The special night begins with Conductor Emeritus Zubin Mehta leading the orchestra through Ravel’s La Valse. Then Conductor Laureate Esa-Pekka Salonen takes the baton for the 4th Symphony by the late Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel follows with Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite. The final piece—a premiere of a new work by Daníel Bjarnason—uses all three conductors. Tickets: $105 – $324

Oct. 25 – 31


The LA Opera’s Off Grand series presents its annual mashup of opera and horror flicks on the big screen at the Theater at Ace Hotel for several shows between Oct. 25 and 31. Watch Alfred Hitchcock’s suspenseful thriller starring Anthony Perkins as a peculiar motel caretaker. The onscreen action is made all the more dramatic, thanks to a score played live by the LA Opera Orchestra. Tickets: Start at $39

Oct. 26


Huntington Beach hosts Corgi Beach Day on Oct. 26 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The delightful doggie outing features Corgi meet-and-greets (with their humans), doggie limbo dancing, Corgi photo ops, costume and talent contests, food trucks, giveaways, and vendors. While organizers are expecting 1,000 Corgis, all humans and doggies (well-behaved and trained of any breed) are welcome. Free

Oct. 26


Carrera de los Muertos is a 5k race that honors the Day of the Dead, featuring a course in and around El Pueblo and Chinatown in downtown LA. Join with family and friends to remember loved ones who have passed. There’s a decorated altar to honor relatives and friends who have left this world. The event also features live music and performances throughout the race and a post-event festival. Face painters are available on race morning ($10 for a half face/calavera, cash only). Race entry: $34 – $67

Oct. 31


Watch the 1923 silent film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, at 8:00 p.m. on Halloween as it’s accompanied by a live organ at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The film offers a masterful performance by the great Lon Chaney. Tickets: $36-$67

Oct. 31


Carnaval returns to Santa Monica Boulevard, between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard, from 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. on All Hallow’s Eve (Oct. 31). Admission to the big costume party is free and no tickets are required. While the festivities celebrate West Hollywood’s diversity, organizers recommend leaving the kids and pets at home because of crowds and some risque costumes. No alcohol is allowed to be sold or consumed on the streets.

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.