Los Angeles City Guide: live events in LA for fun in the sun
From the studios of Hollywood to the star-studded streets of Beverly Hills, it’s common knowledge that Los Angeles is the capital of the world’s entertainment industry.
That said, this bustling, beautiful city has something for everybody — from theatre and comedy shows to live music to some of America’s biggest sports teams.
The Los Angeles metropolitan area is home to a diverse and progressive population of 13 million Angelenos, with an urban area that sprawls along the California coast. It the biggest city in state and the second-largest in the US. Named the City of Angels, its year-round Mediterranean climate, sand beaches and endless palm tree-lined boulevards are nothing short of miraculous — and the perfect excuse to get out and be there for everything Lalaland has to offer.
Keep reading to explore our LA events guide, with the best tickets to the biggest events in Los Angeles.
What’s happening in Los Angeles in 2019
- Sports: Breeders Cup, WWE Smackdown, Fortnite Summer Block Party
- Concerts: Shawn Mendes, Jennifer Lopez, Paul McCartney
- Festivals: Hard Summer Music Festival, Real Street, Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival
- Theatre and Comedy: Eddie Izzard, Dane Cook, Frozen the Musical
Things to know about Los Angeles
Though the area had been occupied by Native American populations since 3,000 BC and subsequently conquered and colonised by Spanish, Mexican and American forces, the modern city of Los Angeles began to take shape in the late 1800s. At the time, waves of immigrants from Europe and Asia as well as migrants from the Eastern United States were drawn in by the promise of riches from agriculture, gold, oil and the railway.
By the 1920s, filmmakers from New York found Los Angeles’ year-round sun preferable for making movies and Hollywood became the centre of the world’s budding entertainment industry — attracting the top talent in cinema, television, theatre and music. Lalaland boomed during this era, leading to the construction of many of its distinctive art deco-style buildings.
Over the course of the 20th Century, Los Angeles would also become a sports hub, with multiple teams across all the major leagues and hosting the Summer Olympic Games twice, in 1932 and 1984. Today, LA is a thriving hub for seeing the best in theatre and comedy, music and sports — whether you want to see your favourite stars on stage or in the street.
Annual Events in Los Angeles
- LA Film Festival
- AFI Fest
- LA Pride Festival
- LA Marathon
- LA Shorts Fest
- Golden Globes Awards
- The Academy Awards (Oscars)
- The Emmy Awards
- Grammy Awards
- Hollywood Christmas Parade
- Golden Dragon Parade (Chinese New Year)
Sports in Los Angeles
Sports fans will find Los Angeles is more than game to meet their needs. LA is home field for 11 major league teams across the Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS). The City of Angels also hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984, and has won the bid to do so again in 2028.
It would be a swing and a miss to go to America and not see a baseball game. Fortunately, the national pastime is alive and well in Los Angeles, where there are two MLB teams: the Los Angeles Angels playing at Angel Stadium and the Los Angeles Dodgers playing at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers have won 23 National League pennants and six World Series titles, and will host the annual champion in 2020.
Basketball is also huge in LA, with two teams calling the city home court: the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers, both whom play at the Staples Center. The pair have a notorious rivalry and when they face off at their shared stadium the games are called the Hallway Series. While the Lakers are historically the more popular and successful team (having won 11 of their 16 NBA Championships), the Clippers have sold out nearly every one of their games since February 2011 — so get tickets early!
Los Angeles is also home to two NFL teams, the Los Angeles Chargers (see them at Dignity Health Sports Park) and the Los Angeles Rams, who play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — the largest football stadium in the Pac-12 Conference, with a seating capacity of 93,607. A new arena is being built that will be shared by the two, set to open in the Inglewood neighbourhood in 2020.
While there is no natural ice in Los Angeles, its hockey fans are kept cool with two teams: the Los Angeles Kings (playing at the Staples Center) and the Anaheim Ducks (be there: Honda Center). LA also has two Major League Soccer clubs, the Los Angeles FC (at Banc of California Stadium) and LA Galaxy (Dignity Health Sports Park), who famously lured British superstar David Beckham over from 2007 to 2012. The city was one of nine in America to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup and one of eight for the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Music and festivals in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is one of the most influential cities in the world for the record industry, with labels like Capitol Records and Warner Bros. based there. It has a rich musical history — stretching from the African-American jazz of the 1930s to the rock of the 1960s to the pop acts of the 1990s and 2000s. Some of the biggest artists to come out of Los Angeles that you can still see on stage are Miley Cyrus, No Doubt, the Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5 and Snoop Dogg, among many others.
Fancy catching a live music show? Major venues include the Staples Center and the legendary Hollywood Bowl as well as the Greek Theater, the Wiltern or see the LA Philharmonic at the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall. If you’re after something more intimate, the Ventura Theatre is a historic concert hall, built in the classic Spanish revival style typical of 1920s California (read: great for Instagram photos). Or, just wander around West Hollywood or the Sunset Strip — there are plenty of smaller venues hosting amazing live music.
If you’re fussed about festivals, Los Angeles is also within earshot of the world’s most famous event: Coachella. Plus, there are plenty of others if you’re looking for different tunes, including Electric Daisy Carnival for EDM and HARD if a rave is what you crave. With beautiful weather, 365 days a year, festival season also goes much later than most other cities.
Theatre and comedy shows in Los Angeles
Hollywood may be a world capital for film and television, but Los Angeles also boasts a huge theatre and performing arts scene. In fact, the region is home to 8,000 stage actors and 200 professional companies — and that’s not even counting comedy clubs. Plus, while city has huge venues for national touring shows, it has a number of intimate spaces (99 seats or less) so you can get up close and personal with the performance.
Among the larger venues are the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Ahmanson Theatre, The Pantages, The Kirk Douglas Theatre and La Mirada Theatre. LA is also famous for its LGBT theatre and you can catch some of the most progressive shows at the Celebration Theatre. Among the most beautiful stages is the Pasadena Playhouse, which is another Spanish revival style building dating back to the 1920s.
Lalaland should consider being renamed LOLaland, given that it is home to some of the most legendary comedy venues in the industry including the Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store and The Comedy Union, which is the city’s first black-owned club. Love to live in the moment? Los Angeles has a ton of improv comedy clubs as well including The Groundlings, The Hollywood Improv and The Second City Hollywood.