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2016-17 Academic Year Calendars for Los Angeles Area Schools

Summer vacation ain't what it used to be. The majority of school districts now opt for an August start date, with only a few stragglers sticking with the old-school, post-Labor Day start. Don't just assume you know when school starts based on last year, as there's always a bit of shuffling of the schedule. This year Glendale leads the back-to-school race with a party-pooper start date of August 8, while last out the gate is Torrance, at a more traditional September 8.

Wondering where your district fits in, and how much time you have left for these 50 Free Things To Do in Summer? Read below for our list of start and finish dates for the 2016-2017 school year in and around LA County! And if what you read makes you wonder about what other school options are available to you, maybe our school guide can help.

Free Admission for Active Duty Military Families with Blue Star Museums

Free museum admission is not just for kids in the summer months. More than 2000 museums across the country have joined the Blue Star initiative, offering free admission to active military personnel and their families* all summer long, from Memorial Day (Monday May 30 through Labor Day (Monday September 5). Spread the word; if you don't have active military in your own family, let your friends know that from the GRAMMY Museum to the Santa Monica Aquarium and a whole slew in between, the men and women who protect all of our families can treat their families this summer.

50 FREE Things Kids Can Do in LA this Summer

Summer's great, isn't it? So much time, so much to do. All the things that can't be squeezed into the cursedly short time between school, homework, and dinner can be enjoyed at leisure, without stress of school night bedtimes. Summer means not a care in the world—except how to pay for all this frivolity, right? 'Cause we sure aren't getting a whole lot of work done! The answer? Summer freebies. Become an expert on how long your kids can get in free to Southland activities. Hit all the free museum days. And then start working your way down this list of totally free things to do with LA kids over the summer!

Free Summer Concerts and Outdoor Concert Series in LA and OC

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or better yet, get out of the house. Summer in the Southland means outdoor concerts galore (and many are free!) at a host of local parks, museums, and public spaces from the coast to the hills to the Valleys. Go on, get out. Throw down a blanket, spread out the snacks, uncork the wine, and watch the kids boogie under the evening stars as you sway to some cool and breezy melodies.

Free Shakespeare in LA's Griffith Park: Take That, New York!

Fear not, good friends, to bring your children to the Shakespeare in Griffith Park, for it is both free and a fine evening out. The Bard of Avon does not need to be your usual thing for this outing to be a success. Our fun-loving, fair weather friends at LA's Independent Shakespeare Company know how to entertain a family on a picnic blanket. Their mouths may say, "Now is the winter of our discontent," but their eyes say, "Isn't this a glorious summer evening?"

July GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids this Month

Summer has crept in under cover of June Gloom, and there are so many ways to enjoy it, in town or out. Already free summer concerts are rockin'; free summer movies are rolling, and the beaches are beckoning. Read on for the best of July in LA, Ventura, and Orange County. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily, of course, and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, but here's your chance to book ahead for some July favorites.

Click through to the full listings, and you can automatically add them to your personal calendar.

10 Fun Things To Do on Melrose with Kids (No Piercings Involved)

For most Angelenos, the stretch of Melrose Avenue between Fairfax and La Brea evokes images of uber hip twenty-somethings being punctured by tattoo needles and pierced through any number of body parts—not necessarily a destination for tots. But an afternoon meandering Melrose with kids in mind can be both family friendly and super cool. Why not revisit one of the streets of your youth with your youths in tow, and up the style factor of your LA brood? For more ideas in the neighborhood check out 25 Things To Do in Hollywood with Kids.

4th of July Fireworks Shows - Where To Watch in LA & OC

Who's ready for some rockets' red glare? LA and Orange County's many communities compete for sky space on July 4th, launching fireworks willy-nilly at the stroke of 9pm. From the mountains, to the valleys, to the ocean, Angelenos have plenty of directions to look on Independence Day. Whether your plan is to book a fireworks cruise, to lay a blanket in a park, or to close all the windows and try not to wake the baby, it helps to know where those firecrackers are being aimed. Below is a list of locations lighting up the night sky on the 4th of July (plus one on June 25).

Water Feature: 10 Free Water Playgrounds and Parks with Splash Pads in LA

Remember those great summer afternoons running through a sprinkler with the neighborhood kids? Over in New England and Nebraska that’s probably still happening, but in parched SoCal we really can't be turning on the hose to while away a lazy afternoon. Instead, packs of puddle-loving Angeleno kids splash through the heat at parks with free and fabulous water features, like the ones below. So if a pool or a water park sounds like too much work today, cool those kids down at a splash pad!

Free (or Almost Free) Summer Movies for LA Families

And... action! A familiar annual scene is playing out at locations throughout the Southland, as the season of free, nearly free, and glorious outdoor summer movies starts rolling. At malls, museums, and parks, indoors and outdoors, in the early morning and by the light of the moon, families can catch both recent blockbusters and timeless classics for free or close to it. (While free is awesome, we think a dollar is still pretty good!)

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