Bubble Planet is new at Kidspace. Photo courtesy of Kidspace
Bubble Planet is new at Kidspace. Photo courtesy of Kidspace

Hooray for Summer: 20+ Things We Can't Wait To Do (Again) in Summer 2021 in LA

Everything is back! There are so many things we all missed last summer that it seemed time to look ahead to this summer and check out all the activities Angelenos can finally do (again). From Shakespeare in the Park & Hamilton in the dark (of a theater) to books on the shelves & music under the stars, these are the outings we are already eagerly anticipating.

Since these are just the activities that had closed down last year, it's not even taking into account some other summer favorites, like going to the beach, swimming in lakes and pools, hitting a water park, or picking fruit at a local farm. Summer is just too darn short to fit in all the fun...

1. See a Movie on the Beach (for Free)

There’s just something so LA about seeing a movie on the beach. Don’t forget how chilly it can get, and bring plenty of blankets (and snacks!). All the screenings at Newport Dunes Movies on the Beach are both family-friendly and free.

2. Catch an IRL Bob Baker Performance

This iconic marionette theater is back! After finally securing a new space the whole world shut down, and these marionettes had to go virtual. But this summer the Bob Baker Marionettes return to live, in-person performances with a summer tour of a free and never-before-seen musical revue. Performances begin July 10. You can also catch Bob Baker's marionettes performing at Knott's Berry Farm, as a part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration.

3. Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood 

The tour reopens on June 26. Not only are there a whole bunch of new things to see, but the tours are now open to kids five and up (kids used to have to be at least eight years old to take the tour).

4. Visit the Museums

Just in time for the heat of summer, the local and beautifully air-conditioned museums are ready to cool kids down. Pretty much every museum in town is open from Pretend City to Kidspace (the new Bubble Planet outdoor exhibit looks amazing!) to the California Science Center and more.

RELATED: Where Young Imaginations Soar: Pretend City Children's Museum

If you still didn't get enough Friends ... Plus Harry Potter for the kids. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros Studio Tour

5. Pageant of the Masters

This incredibly unique program that recreates famous works of art as living, breathing pictures, returns this summer.

6. Pedal with the Swans

Echo Park Lake spent much of 2021 closed for cleaning and repairs, but it’s open again in time for a summer pedal around the lake. In the summer, we recommend going at night for an extra special experience.

7. The Bowl is Back

And brimming with family-friendly shows. There’s no word yet on if rehearsals will be open to the public this year, but keep your fingers crossed, because that’s one of the coolest only-in-LA experiences to be had. But one of our favorite things is definitely returning: The Sound of Music Sing-a-Long!

8. Get Thee To the Greek (and the Ford)

The Bowl gets all the attention, but LA has two other fabulous outdoor amphitheaters, and shows have returned to both locations. You can see a list of shows coming to the Ford this summer, though ticket information is not yet available. Shows for summer are still being booked at the Greek, so keep an eye on the website for concert announcements. Meanwhile, the Greek is hosting drive-ins with Cinespia.

My Little Paris Cafe & Play opens in San Gabriel.

New play spaces are opening! Photo courtesy of My Little Paris Café & Play

9. My Little Paris Café & Play Opens

Hello, indoor playspaces. You've been missed. Not only are old favorites (like Giggles and Hugs) able to reopen, a gorgeous new one called My Little Paris Café & Play is opening this summer in San Gabriel.

10. See Shakespeare in the Park

Or in multiple parks! Independent Shakespeare returns to Griffith Park with The Tempest, the Theatricum Botanicum opens its magical doors in Topanga on July 10 with two shows, and Shakespeare By the Sea returns to San Pedro with two plays.

11. Fireworks

While it's not clear exactly how many shows will be back, between the crowds and the fire dangers, some shows (including at the Hollywood Bowl and Dana Point) have already been confirmed, and we can’t wait.

12. Go To the Library

Libraries across the Southland have been slowly reopening, and we can once again browse the shelves and pick out books in person. Check your local library, as programming and storytimes are starting up again, too.

RELATED: 10 Special Libraries Worth a Drive

A new look at the Redwoods at Redwood Sky Walk. Photo courtesy of Sequoia Park Zoo

13. Take a Trip

Maybe not to Europe, yet, but who needs Europe, when California is so gorgeous? My family is planning a road trip up the PCH (hopefully as far as the new Redwood Skywalk in Eureka).

14. Commune with Nature By Camping

Last summer a lot of campsites were closed, but this year they’re all open. So camp by the beach, at one of the best campgrounds in LA, or at a place that offers up some extra entertainment for kids.

15. Hit the Water Parks

Sure, it’s great that the theme parks are open, but when summer arrives, nothing sounds as good as a nice cool water park. And they’re all open up again, too.

16. See Avengers Assemble

Here’s why it’s great that Disneyland is back: we can finally check out Avengers Campus. We have to find out if the $100 sandwich is worth it.

17. Spend an Evening in a Garden

Thank goodness for LA’s green spaces. Visits to Descanso, the Huntington, the Arboretum, and more were lifesavers when almost everything else was closed. But one of the best things about summer is that the gardens stay open late, and when the heat of the day has passed, you can take the kids out for a stroll in the cool evening air. The Huntington is holding Summer Evening Strolls all summer, and Descanso stays open until 8pm every evening in June & July.

RELATED: Descanso Gardens: An Insider's Guide to LA's Best Garden for Kids

Theater is back - starting with everyone's favorite show, Hamilton.

Broadway's Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus courtesy of Disney+

18. Broadway is Back

And not just in NY! Luckily, the first two shows at the Pantages are super fun for kids: Hamilton returns in August, followed by Mean Girls.

19. Go To the Movies

Like in a real theater. Movies are the beating heart of Los Angeles, and theaters are open just in time for summer blockbusters like Black Widow and Jungle Cruise.

20. Eating in a Restaurant

In. A. Restaurant. No soggy takeout. Enough said.

RELATED: Fabulous LA Restaurants for Kids with Outdoor Seating

21. Watching the Dodgers Win a World Series in Person

Please? Watching on TV was great, but there’s nothing like Dodger Stadium. Especially the new renovation, which includes loads of new food options and playgrounds for kids who can’t sit in seats for the whole 9 innings, no matter how much cotton candy you buy them. (Or maybe all that sugar is why they can’t ever sit still?)

22. See Pirates or Knights

Two shows that combine live entertainment with a meal are returning to Buena Park in June, and as they are both beloved by kids of all ages, a visit would make a spectacular surprise for a special occasion (perhaps a graduation gift, birthday outing, or as a reward for big kids braving vaccination shots?). Pirates Dinner Adventure returns on June 15, and Medieval Times is back as of June 17.

23. Catch Up with the Linda Lindas

This amazing all-girl LA band is taking the world by storm. And hopefully, they will start booking some local gigs this summer. 

La Habra National Night Out
Portola Park - 5:00 PM Pick
One Day Art Camp
Robertson Art Zone - 9:30 AM
Laguna Art-a-Fair
Festival of Arts - 10:00 AM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides