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...
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.
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.
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).
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.
If you still didn't get enough Friends ... Plus Harry Potter for the kids. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros Studio Tour
This incredibly unique program that recreates famous works of art as living, breathing pictures, returns this summer.
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.
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!
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.
New play spaces are opening! Photo courtesy of My Little Paris Café & Play
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
In. A. Restaurant. No soggy takeout. Enough said.
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?)
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.
This amazing all-girl LA band is taking the world by storm. And hopefully, they will start booking some local gigs this summer.
Places featured in this article:
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Warner Bros Studio Tour
Pageant of the Masters