This coming weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and there are some great events going on around town to get out and take advantage of the mostly amazing weather. Whether you’re looking for a fun Friday night wine tasting in the park or a big beachside party in the South Bay, here are five fabulous things to do in Los Angeles.
Barnsdall Friday Night Wine Tastings
This weekly outdoor event, which runs annually from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, has become one of the most popular ongoing series of summer, especially for wine lovers. But it’s hardly for serious oenophiles only. In fact, the whole family is welcome. This year, it kicks off on the evening of May 23, from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for children age four and up. Proceeds will benefit the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation.
Again, neighborhood favorite Silver Lake Wine is partnering with the cultural institution and providing the boutique-style wines. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and kick back picnic-style. A rotating selection of food trucks will be selling snacks and meals for an additional fee. Included in the price are DJ-spun tunes by Dan Wilcox of KCRW and art workshops for kids.
Red Sun BBQ at Katana
Now in its 12th year, the Red Sun event takes place every Sunday from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Anyone can throw a barbecue, but not everyone can do it on the Sunset Strip. And this sophisticated venue not only has location, location, location, but also an enviable patio looking out onto the Mondrian and the House of Blues, with the city sprawl in the distance.
Live DJ music will provide the backdrop at Katana, while guests mingle over special menu items such as oyster shooters, an albacore BLT, and surf & turf skewers of lobster meat and Wagyu beef. Bring a group and sample a carafe of the eponymous cocktail, made with vodka, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple.
Fiesta Hermosa at Hermosa Beach Pier
Going strong for more than 40 years, Fiesta Hermosa takes place every Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend. Combining beachside fun with the arts, the event will play host to 300-plus artisans. Entertainment will include a full weekend of live music from tribute bands to rock ‘n’ roll greats like The Eagles and Jimi Hendrix.
Also, look for an international food court and a beer garden. For kids, there will be carnival rides and other activities. The event will take place May 24-26 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Best of all, entry is free of charge for all ages.
Culinary Pop-Up Series at Santa Anita
Thanks to the recent refurbishment, Santa Anita Park is spiffier than ever. The update includes the opening of the Chandelier Room, which is technically a members-only club, but for special events the public can purchase passes to partake in the exclusive glamour. This includes Memorial Day Weekend, which will be host to four different chef takeovers.
Starting Friday night with the Twilight Friday series, Free Range LA will be in the house cooking up locally sourced, eclectic fusion fare. On Saturday, the OC’s Aron Habiger will head north to share his new recipes, followed by Christian Page (formerly of Short Order) on Sunday. The weekend comes to a close Monday with Dante Gonzales (Dante Fried Chicken).
The Friday night event will run from 4 p.m.-8 p.m., while the rest of the weekend’s schedule will span from noon-8 p.m. Tickets for each event are $50, and are restricted to guests 21 and over. The passes are good for two people and include valet parking and passed hors d’oeuvres; however, additional dishes and cocktails cost extra.
MAINopoly: Taste of Main Street
The first-annual MAINopoly event will combine the best eats in the city with all of the fun and games associated with the popular Parker Brothers concept. Instead of Atlantic City, locals and travelers alike will traverse pedestrian-friendly Main Street in Santa Monica, touring and tasting at its many restaurants, lounges, coffeehouses, and juice bars.
Get your MAINopoloy dollars to exchange for food tastings, such as a fresh fish ceviche from, where else, Enterprise Fish Co., Captain Ron’s mac and cheese from nautical-themed eatery The Galley, California rolls from Tsukiji Sushi Sen, and magic brownies at M Street Kitchen. If you manage to hit all of the locations, you’ll be entered to win various prizes.
A number of restaurants will be featuring happy hour discounts and drink specials (think $4 drafts, $5 cocktails and shots) – but only if you have an official wristband. Additionally, there will be a beer garden for adult beverages (and adult ID is required for access).
Dress-up attire in the spirit of the original Monopoly board game is encouraged (time to break out that handy thimble costume you’ve been holding onto for just the right occasion). Or perhaps just don a top hat and slap some boots on your feet (both are pieces from the original game). And if you’re dog happens to be a Scottie, well … you won’t be in the doghouse.
We’ve also been told that good, old-fashioned, patriotic red, white, and blue will work, too. It is Memorial Day Weekend, after all. You’ll be happy you dressed up when you commemorate the occasion at the Go Directly to Jail photo booth. Just don’t be foolish enough to drive if you plan to drink, and end up in real jail. Instead, take advantage of official transportation sponsor Taxi Magic. Use the code “MAINOPOLY” to get $10 off your first ride.
The inaugural event will be held May 25 from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. on Main Street, between Pier Avenue and Bay Street. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $35 at the event. Proceeds will benefit Summer SOULstice and Heal the Bay.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Eventbrite.