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

Summer’s just around the corner, and that means it’s peak season for outdoor festivals as well as film and music events under the stars. Read on for 20 of the coolest happenings in the Los Angeles area in June.

All summer

One of L.A.’s favorite summer staples, The Hollywood Bowl, opens unofficially with the annual Playboy Jazz Festival on June 9-10, filled with an all-star lineup. But the season opens officially on June 16 with diva Diana Ross joining the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Great acts follow for the rest of the summer, including Flying Lotus, Father John Misty, Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper, and a Great Sing-A-Along in June alone. Ticket prices vary.

Hollywood Bowl at night with band on stage and full audience.
Hollywood Bowl, © 2018 Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

All summer

CINESPIA (Outdoor film screenings)
Cinespia has brought audiences together to watch films under the stars at Hollywood Forever Cemetery since 2002. Tickets for the weekend screenings go fast. In June, the lineup features: Spirited Away; To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar; Raiders of the Lost Ark; Alien; and Vertigo. Tickets: $12-$20.

June 1-Sept. 2

The Skirball Cultural Center celebrates the life and work of puppeteer, artist, and filmmaker Jim Henson in the exhibition Imagination Unlimited. Opening on June 1, the exhibit features puppets from the iconic shows Sesame Street, The Muppets, Fraggle Rock, and The Dark Crystal; and handwritten scripts, photographs, costumes from Labyrinth; and film and television clips. Skirball admission: $12; $9 seniors and full-time students and children 12 and older; $7 for children 2-12.

June 1, 8, 15 and 22

The FIGat7th Downtown Festival—aka FIGFest—presents free live music concerts on four consecutive Fridays in June. The lineup includes Poolside with opener Mallrat on June 1; Lion Babe with opener Dave B on June 8; Gabriel Garzón-Montano and Jarina De Marco on June 15; and a surprise headliner with opener Thumpasaurus on June 22. FIGFest Fridays begin at 5 p.m. with a beer garden and games, followed by a DJ set at 6 p.m., and live music at 7 p.m. A DJ set closes out each night at 9 p.m. Free.

June 1-3

The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival celebrates its 35th anniversary from June 1-3 at Lake Skinner Recreation Area. The festival features dawn hot air balloon launches and flights, food and wine pairings, wine barrel races, and concerts by notable artists including Sugar Ray, Spin Doctors, The Wallflowers, Lifehouse, Fuel and Hoobastank. Single-day general admission is $25 to $45 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. Other packages available.

June 1-3

The Newport Jazz Festival returns to the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach from June 1-3, offering three days of music, food and fun under the sun. Headliners throughout the weekend are Michael Lington with Kenny Lattimore, The Commodores and Brian Culbertson with additional performers on Saturday and Sunday. General admission: $70 (single day) and $120 (Saturday and Sunday weekend pass). VIP packages available.

June 2-23

Last Remaining Seats, a summer series of classic films presented by the LA Conservancy in historic theatres in LA, returns from June 2-23. The screenings begin on Saturday, June 2, with Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) at the State Theatre in Downtown LA. Other titles screening are: Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), The Birds (1963), Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928) and The Joy Luck Club (1993). Tickets: $22 for the general public; $18 for Conservancy members; $16 for youth, ages 17 and younger.

June 2-3

On June 2 and 3, the Aquarium of the Pacific presents the 15th annual Pacific Islander Festival, which brings together music, dance, performance and crafts from the diverse Pacific Islander peoples—Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, Fijian, Tongan, Chamoru, Kiribati, Marshallese and Maori—and cultures. Watch and/or participate in hula, Tahitian drumming, Hawaiian games, weaving, lei making and view cultural artifacts throughout the festival, which runs 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days. Admission is included in Aquarium entry.

June 3-Sept. 2

MADE IN L.A. 2018 (Art biennial):
The Hammer Museum opens Made in L.A. 2018, the fourth iteration of the museum’s biennial exhibition, on June 3. Organized by Hammer senior curator Anne Ellegood and assistant curator Erin Christovale, the exhibition showcases the works of 32 artists based throughout the greater Los Angeles area, including Carmen Argote, James Benning, Beatriz Cortez, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Lauren Halsey, MPA and Rosha Yaghmai. The works remain on view through Sept. 2. Free

June 7-10

The 2018 LA Design Festival, headquartered at ROW DTLA, honors the city’s rich design culture. The four-day festival features more than 50 events throughout the city, ranging from talks, tours, exhibitions, and installations. Featured designers include Bari Ziperstein, Estudio Persona, Waka Waka, Klein Agency and Resident; among installations and lounges​ are All We Ever Wanted, Assembledge+, Eric Junker, Muji, and Tidelli. The Opening Night Fundraiser and Awards Night at ROW DTLA takes place from 7-10 p.m. on June 7, celebrating creativity in LA. Opening night tickets are $40. Other events vary in price.

June 7-10 and 14-17

The 14th annual Lavender Festival runs for two weekends this month, June 7-10 and 14-17. Each summer, 123 Farm at Highland Springs Ranch & Inn in the Inland Empire celebrates the start of lavender harvest season with a festival. Guests are welcome to walk through the fields, take tours, learn about the plant and essential oils, taste lavender dishes and listen to live music. Admission: $6-$8; children ages 12 and younger get in for free.

June 7-24

The Hollywood Fringe—a celebration of theater in LA—brings more than 2,000 performances of 380 productions to dozens of theaters and venues from June 7-24. There’s comedy, drama, experimental theater, cabaret, dance, solo shows and music. The big opening night party is on June 6 at the LGBT Center. $15 VIP tickets include early entry at 5:00 p.m. to the party, a drink ticket and an official Fringe Festival button that can be used for discounts during the festival’s run. Otherwise, general admission is $5. Ticket prices for shows vary.

June 9-10

The 2018 LA Pride Festival, which advocates and celebrates LGBTQ+ rights, takes place on June 9 (12:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.) and June 10 (11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.) in West Hollywood Park. The festival’s music headliners are Kehlani and Tove Lo, with additional artists performing on three stages both days. The big LA Pride Parade happens Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Festival tickets are $25 per day or $35 for a weekend pass. VIP packages are available.

June 9-10

More than 30,000 visitors are expected for the 43rd Big Irish Fair, held June 9-10 at the Great Park in Irvine. Expect family-friendly Irish music and entertainment—Gaelic sports, history reenactments, and Irish Step Dancing—and Irish, Scottish and British imports and arts & craft vendors. The music headliners include the Young Dubliners and The Fenians. Tickets/passes: $17-$35; chidren 12 and younger get in for free.

June 16

Get ready for a day of indulgence as the first-ever DTLA Donut Festival takes over Union Station on June 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Partake in donuts of many flavors and styles, from plain, cake, glazed and filled to donut-like pastries such as churros, apple fritters, cronuts and donut holes. A fry station serves up hot donuts, and a toppings bar will be available for people to dress up their donuts. The festival also includes workshops, demos, donut-friendly foods and the donut’s best friend: coffee. Admission is free. Food and drink offerings are purchased individually.

Donut with chocolate frosting and multicolored sprinkles
Christine N. Ziemba

June 19-July 29

THE HUMANS (Theater)
The Center Theatre Group reunites Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell in their Tony Award-winning roles for Stephen Karam’s much-lauded play, The Humans, at the Ahmanson. Joe Mantello directs the production, which takes place over the course of a middle-class family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Patriarch Erik Blake (Birney) brings his Pennsylvania family to celebrate at his daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan. The family’s deepest secrets are laid bare with humor and compassion. Tickets range from $30-$130.

An elderly man and woman sitting on portable chairs at portable table with a bottle of beer and paper plates on it in a room.
Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell in the New York production of “The Humans.” Photo by Joan Marcus.

June 22-Sept. 7

The Music Center’s Dance DTLA series returns for its 14th season&mdashp;bringing LA together to dance under the stars in Grand Park. On alternating Friday nights from June 22 to Sept. 7 (from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.) take part in beginner dance lessons (samba, salsa, disco, etc.) with the help of a live band or DJ; every other week, dance to specially curated tunes during DJ Nights from 9 p.m. to midnight. Free.

June 23-24

The free, two-day festival in Dana Point is a celebration of the Southern California surfing lifestyle. The fest includes surf art and collectibles, surf contests and exhibitions, music, dancing, food and a classic Woody Car Show. The festival runs June 23-24 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days. Free

June 23-24

The Arroyo Seco Festival returns to Brookside park next to the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on June 23-24, with headliners Neil Young, Jack White, Kings of Leon and Robert Plant, with undercard acts including Seu Jorge, Aaron Neville, Gary Clark Jr., the Milk Carton Kids, and Belle and Sebastian. In addition to the music, Arroyo Seco puts an emphasis on food, with a number of restaurants participating in the festival, including: Jon & Vinny’s, STRFSH, Bourbon Steak, Hatchet Hall, Kogi, Cassell’s Hamburgers, Hanjip Korean BBQ, The Spare Room and Sage Plant Based Bistro. Tickets: Single-day general admission tickets are $149 + fees; weekend GA is $249 + fees. VIP options are also available.

June 29-Sept. 2

The 52nd annual Sawdust summer art festival in Laguna Beach runs June 29 to Sept. 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, featuring works by more than 200 local artists. View a mix of arts and crafts, including hand-blown and fused glass, painting, jewelry, surf art, ceramics, clothing and textiles, wood and metal sculpture, scrimshaw, photography and mixed media. Admission: $9 for adults, $7 for seniors (65+) and $4 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted for free.

Hand shaping clay on a clay wheel.
Sawdust Art Festival

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.