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Watch Shakespeare under the stars. Walk among sculptures in the Hollywood Hills. Have some laughs with Mexican wrestlers. And then take a daylong meditation retreat to recover from these and more summer activities right in your backyard.

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summer activities los angeles ernie barnes exhibit
ERNIE BARNES, THE SUGAR SHACK (1976). ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 36 IN. X 48 IN., COLLECTION OF JIM AND JEANNINE EPSTEIN. © ERNIE BARNES FAMILY TRUST.

1. Discover one of the best postwar African American artists

In the Ernie Barnes: A Retrospective exhibit at the California African American Museum. The painter’s elongated figures became a hit when they were featured on the credits for the hit TV series Good Times. Through September 8

2. Channel Your Inner Christina Tosi

Take a baking class at Milk Bar and learn to make the layered funfetti birthday cake with super-Instagrammable unfrosted peekaboo sides. Ongoing

3. Rock Out at Mama Metal

Get a ticket for the world-premiere play by Angeleno Sigrid Gilmer. It’s a gripping comedy about the three pillars of the African American narrator’s identity: her mom, heavy-metal music and American theater. Through June 23

summer activities los angeles isaac julien playtime
ISAAC JULIEN STUDIO

4. Immerse Yourself in the Art World

See James Franco as a crass art dealer in Isaac Julien’s Playtime, an hour-long multiple-screen ultra-high-definition film that explores the flow of money in the art world. Through August 11

5. Recharge Without Leaving the City

Take a one-day mindfulness retreat right on La Brea at The Den MeditationJune 9

6. Screen a Classic Film in a Historic Setting

Enjoy the greats of classic cinema (It Happened One NightThe Maltese Falcon, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) in beautiful landmark theaters, sponsored by the L.A. ConservancyOngoing

summer activities los angeles sarah lucas hammer museum
SARAH LUCAS, SELF-PORTRAIT WITH FRIED EGGS, 1996, C-PRINT, 60 X 48 IN (152.4 X 121.9 CM). © SARAH LUCAS. COURTESY SADIE COLES HQ, LONDON

7. See a Boundary-pushing British artist's stateside debut

Gender, power and surrealism are the trip at the Hammer Museum in the first U.S. survey of Sarah Lucas, the ’80s Young British Artist who has become one of the U.K.’s most influential artists. June 9 to September 1 

8. Check Out one of the 2,000 performances at the Hollywood Fringe Festival

Think comedy, musicals and lots of immersive theater, including a redo of your own high school prom. June 13 to 30

9. Experience all the glitter at Beauty of Burlesque

A full-length revue starring Miss Tosh and a cast of LGBTQ+ entertainers. June 20

10. Gain insight into the booming world of wellness

At an all-female panel of wellness founders hosted by the XX Project and Equinox. There will also be a fitness class, smoothies and massages, natch. June 22

summer activities los angeles rainbow tunnel la brea tar pits
LA BREA TAR PITS & MUSEUM

11. Stroll Through a Trippy Pavilion

Walk inside a rainbow tunnel—an interactive art experience that was first erected in London’s Hyde Park—on the grounds of the La Brea Tar Pits. June 28 to November 24

12. Do Next-Level Flower Shopping

The last Saturday of the month at Cecconi’s, the Hand & Rose flower truck is serving up the freshest flower-buying experience west of the Los Angeles Flower Market.

13. Laugh Your Way Through Your Workout

Start clowning around with your fitness at the Cirque du Griffith Park, in which you sign up for six, 12 or 24 (!) hours of nonstop running around a golf course. Oh, and you’ll be wearing a clown getup, the better to win the costume prize. June 29

14. Taste Some Amazing Wine

Expand your vocabulary of wines beyond beleaguered rosé at Uncorked: L.A. Summer Wine Fest at Union Station. Expect more than 200 wines from around the globe, gourmet food trucks and live music…and yes, probably some rosé. June 29

summer activities los angeles hollywood sculpture garden
FACEBOOK/HOLLYWOOD SCULPTURE GARDEN

15. Stroll the grounds of the Hollywood Sculpture Garden

A doctor’s private art collection and gallery that has a diverse array of works in different media set into terraces cut into the Hollywood Hills. July 21

16. See a Play Under the Stars

Truth: The Independent Shakespeare Company is the best free summer entertainment in Griffith Park. This year, there’s Twelfth Night (June 29 to September 1) and the lesser-known Pericles (July 27 to August 30), an epic tale of the high seas involving Greek gods, dandies and pirates, each of whom have audience dress-up nights. 

summer activities los angeles boogie nights
NEW LINE CINEMA

17. Head to KPCC FilmWeek

Host Larry Mantle screens Boogie Nights, starring Julianne Moore and Mark Wahlberg, with a post-screening discussion (fingers crossed for director Paul Thomas Andersen) in the ornate DTLA movie palace the Theatre at Ace Hotel. July 27

18. Go on a Night Hike

When the sun goes down, hike to the Hollywood sign, and bring a guide so you’re sure to find your way home. Ongoing

summer activities los angeles lucha vavoom
FACEBOOK/LUCHAVAVOOM

19. Grab a Ticket to See Body Slams

See the summer smackdown performance of Lucha VaVoom, the combination masked Mexican wrestling/burlesque show. August 1

20. Stay at the Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs

It’s five nights of yet-to-be-announced spicy splendor that will put a new spin on desert heat. August

21. Lace Up Your Bowling Shoes

Beat the summer swelter with an old-fashioned game at Los Angeles’s oldest bowling alley, Highland Park Bowl. Opened in 1927, it’s been renovated as a hipster nightspot. Ongoing

summer activities los angeles aqualillies
Gray Malin

22. See an Acclaimed Synchronized Swimming Troupe

On Esther Williams’s birthday, the Aqualillies synchronized swimming troupe will be performing in her honor at an as-yet-undisclosed location. August 8

23. Enjoy the Celebrations at the annual Nisei Festival

Don your yukata (light summer kimono) and head to Little Tokyo to eat, drink and watch the parade. August 10 to 18

24. Visit Angels Gate Park in San Pedro

To hear the loudest bell, rung especially to celebrate Korean Independence Day, and bask in the gorgeous seaside view from southernmost L.A. August 15

25. Attend an Unforgettable Concert

Between the stars overhead, the L.A. Phil pumping out the sound and film clips of the classics, Maestro of the Movies is the Hollywood Bowl night you don’t want to miss. August 30 to September 1

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