By Michael Juliano
Photograph: Rozette Rago
You’ve planned a day at one of L.A.’s best beaches and figured out where to see fireworks, but there are far more free things to do in July after the holiday. From an OC surf fest to a slew of summer concerts, these are the best ways to make the most of your month without breaking into your wallet.
July 2–Aug 20
Moonlight Movies on the Beach; Granada Beach
Pack up your folding chairs and head to Long Beach for this unique outdoor screening series.
Americafest; The Rose Bowl
See an explosive celebration of all things red, white and blue at this fireworks, which you can see for free if you watch from one of the neighborhoods overlooking the Arroyo Seco.
Fourth of July Block Party; Grand Park
Watch Downtown L.A. light up for free at this patriotic street party.
Fourth of July Community Festival & Fireworks Show; Exposition Park
Unfurl a picnic blanket on the South Lawn of Exposition Park, just next to the Coliseum, and enjoy an afternoon of music, games and kid-friendly activities, followed by a free fireworks show at 9pm.
July 5, 19
Silver Lake Picture Show; Sunset Triangle Plaza
Liven up your Thursday nights at this free Eastside screening series, with showings this month of Boyz in the Hood and Coco.
Audacity of Sound; Grand Avenue
Swing by the 300 block of South Grand Avenue for globe-spanning sets from Cimafunk, Gaby Moreno and La Marisoul, David Garza and many others.
Everything Is Terrible! The Store! Opening Party; East L.A.
The oddity-loving folks behind the Jerry Maguire Video Store are throwing the doors open to their new East L.A. storefront with a free party.
July 6, 27
Off the 405; Getty Center
See sets from Cate Le Bon and Lala Lala as this free concert series at the Getty continues.
Ringo Starr’s Peace & Love Birthday; Capitol Records Building
Join the iconic Beatles drummer outside of the Capitol Records building to celebrate his 79th birthday and a call for peace and love. There’ll be a peace sign salute at noon, along with a performance from Ben Kyle, Sara Watkins, the Jacks and more.
July 9–Sept 14
ALOUD: Branching Out; Various locations
This free conversation and performance series hops around town with chats about movies, theater, music and more.
July 12, 26
Summer Nights in the Garden; Natural History Museum
Spend an evening outside with live music, garden-inspired cocktails, hands-on science projects, botanical tours and food trucks.
July 13, 14
Lotus Festival; Echo Park Lake
Celebrate the bloom of Echo Park Lake’s beloved floating flowers with this food, music and cultural fest.
Lucas Museum at Leimert: Family Art Day; Leimert Park Village Plaza
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is still a couple of years away from opening, but you can get a taste of the museum’s family-friendly programming during a free, off-site event this summer.
July 18–Aug 22
Skirball Cultural Center Sunset Concerts ; Skirball Cultural Center
Grab a seat in the Skirball’s courtyard for the kickoff of this free concert series, starting with Gaby Moreno.
July 20, 21
The Little Literary Fair; Hauser & Wirth
Affectionately dubbed LITLIT, this free fair is a celebration of indie booksellers and publishers.
July 27–Aug 4
U.S. Open of Surfing; Huntington Beach
Hit the beach to cheer on the country’s biggest pro surfers at this annual competition.
Level 8 Drive-In; The Grove
See a free screening of The Great Gatsby at this pop-up drive-in theater atop the Grove’s parking garage.
Through Aug 30
Dance Downtown; Grand Park
Brush up on your line dance and tango steps during the free Downtown tradition.
Through Sept 1
Free Shakespeare in Griffith Park; Old Zoo
Bard fanatics, flock to Griffith Park and bring along a blanket for free outdoor performances from the Independent Shakespeare Co.
Through Aug 3
Hello Kitty 45th Anniversary Group Show; Corey Helford Gallery
About 100 artists from around the world have reinterpreted images of Hello Kitty and her friends into their own aesthetic through paintings, sculptures and animated works.
Through Sept 7
KCRW Summer Nights; Various locations
Bust a move as this beloved live music and DJ series continues with nights in Pasadena, Chinatown and at the Hammer Museum.
Through Nov 24
The Second Home Serpentine Pavilion by SelgasCano; La Brea Tar Pits
A criss-cross of airy rainbow tunnels will make their home at the La Brea Tar Pits this summer.
Free concerts; Various locations
Listen to some tunes without breaking the bank with free shows at the Echo, the Satellite, Grand Park and more.