The best things to do in Los Angeles for autumn 2022

From art exhibitions and outdoor movie screenings to the arrival of Primavera Sound, here are the greatest things to do in Los Angeles for autumn 2022

Words by Valorie Clark
Last updated: September 13, 2022
LA in autumn 2022 | red and white striped background with red cherries
A vibrant piece at LACMA's Objects of Desire exhibition

September and October in Los Angeles are the months people write home about. As the weather cools from around 30°C to the more tolerable mid-20s, events begin to move outside again. Los Angeles beaches are still warm enough for sunbathing; hiking becomes more comfortable; and the lingering warm evenings are a perfect time for fire pits and long happy hours at the city’s glut of great restaurants and bars. Though it’s not considered peak season, fall in LA is pretty special in its own right.

The best exhibitions in LA for autumn 2022

The best things to do in LA in autumn 2022 | A cut paper work from Picasso, depicting a face adorned with flowers
Picasso Cut Papers. Photo by Zarko Vijatovic

Appreciate Picasso in a whole new light

What: See Pablo Picasso’s oft-ignored work at the Hammer
When: 1 October – 31 December
Where: Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA 90024
Price: Free

Pablo Picasso was one of the most prolific artists of his age, and exhibitions of his work often limit themselves to his most famous works or specific periods of his practice. Opening at the Hammer this fall, Picasso Cut Papers is a much longer exploration of his full body of work. From the age of 9, Picasso was using scissors and paper to create some of his “most whimsical and intriguing works.” Rarely shown in public, these pieces show a more private side to his celebrated practice, allowing fans a new, inside glimpse at one of the world’s most famous artists.

The best things to do in LA in autumn 2022 | A graphic shot of cucumbers taken against a matching green background
Objects of Desire at LACMA

Fall In Love with the Art of Advertising

What: LACMA’s new exhibition explores how advertising utilises art to sell
When: 4 September – 18 December
Where: L.A. County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Price: 25 USD

When beautiful holiday photos and videos of cheerful travellers with cute suitcases send you combing the internet for promo codes and travel dates, that’s advertising. When done well, it’s also art. LACMA’s fall exhibition, Objects of Desire, explores the intersection of art and advertising, looking at how photography created a visual language that commodified daily life, as well as how photo artists have been exploiting advertising’s language to challenge that very commodification. The exhibition features more than a dozen names, including Barbara Kruger and Elad Lassry.

A black and white photo in the landmark immersive King Tut exhibition
The immersive Beyond King Tut exhibition

Immerse Yourself in Ancient Egypt

What: Discover the imagery of King Tut and Ancient Egypt in this immersive installation
When: 7 October – 31 December
Where: Magic Box LA 1933 S. Broadway, Los Angeles California 90007
Price: 26-68 USD

Created in partnership with National Geographic, the Beyond King Tut exhibit takes viewers on a cinematic journey exploring Egypt. Visitors can experience sunrise over the Pyramids of Giza, meet the Egyptian gods Ra and Anubis, and take a virtual reality descent into the extraordinary discovery of King Tut’s tomb. Instead of artefacts, the exhibit relies on the combined expertise and photographic reputation of National Geographic. Reviews from previous cities on the tour have called it “nothing short of breathtaking”. The various levels of tickets grant visitors different types of access – be sure to upgrade to the full VR experience of King Tut’s tomb.

Leda and the Swan, 1962 Cy Twombly, © Cy Twombly Foundation Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art

Explore Cy Twombly: Making Past Present at the Getty Center

What: A deep dive into the American artist’s fascination with the ancient Mediterranean world
When: August 2 – October 30, 2022
Where: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Price: Free, but requires booking an entry slot

A new exhibition at Los Angeles cultural institution the Getty Center explores artist CY Twombly’s lifelong fascination with the art and poetry of ancient Greece and Italy, which inspired his evocative work. The multifaceted display includes never before seen sculptures from the artist’s personal collection, alongside notable works in Twombly’s inimitable expressive scrawl.

Also on at The Getty is The Fantasy of the Middle Ages. Europe’s Medieval period has long proven fertile ground for modern imaginations. Storytellers of every generation have recast the imagery of dragons and castles, military campaigns and rescued princesses, inspiring stories as varied as the Brothers Grimm fairytales and Game of Thrones. This exhibition explores these fantasies by bringing together pieces such as concept art inspired by Sleeping Beauty and 15th-century paintings on parchment, the exhibition looks at the blend of the magical and the historical with an eye toward what keeps us coming back.

The best festivals in LA for autumn 2022

LA in autumn 2022 | The exterior of Grandmaster Recorders art deco building
Grandmaster Recorders is one the restaurants taking part in the L.A. Food Bowl. Photo by Frank Lee

Celebrate LA’s Diverse Food and Restaurant Culture

What: A month-long celebration of LA’s food scene
When: September 2022
Where: Various locations
Price: 145-680 USD

These days LA’s food and drink industry is sprinkled with enough stars (Michelin and otherwise) to rival New York, and the hot new openings just keep on coming. Every year, the L.A. Times dedicates a month to celebrating the best restaurants and culinary expertise in the city with the L.A. Food Bowl. Starting with the Launch Party on 1 September, the month will be full of markets, awards, and dinners worth attending. Try to snag an exclusive seat at the awards dinner for L.A.’s Restaurant of the Year, Anajuk Thai. The Gold Award Dinner on September 9th celebrates chef Genet Agonafer’s supremacy in vegetarian cuisine, and the celebrations wrap up with the 100-restaurant-strong Night Market on September 23-25.

The best things to do in LA this summer | Watch Macbeth at the annual Shakespeare Festival
A still from Macbeth at LA's annual Shakespeare Festival. Phot by Mike Ditz

Take in a performance at the annual Free Shakespeare Festival

What: Free performances perfect for enjoying summer evenings
When: 2 July – 4 September
Where: The Dell in Griffith Park
Price: Free 

Every summer, Shakespeare lovers gather inside Griffith Park to watch free Shakespeare performances by talented actors. This is the perfect place for a blanket and a picnic basket. This summer, the Independent Shakespeare Company is putting on The Knight of the Burning Pestle (2-31 July), written by Francis Beaumont, a contemporary of Shakespeare, and darkly iconic Macbeth (6 August-4 September). Certain evenings will also have adjacent events: pre-show fairs, director’s salons, and family-friendly workshops in the park. Performances are always free, but audiences are limited to 450 people this year, so booking in advance is key.

The best things to do in LA this summer | Street Food Cinema
Street Food Cinema

Combine movies, food, and live music

What: Street Food Cinema is LA’s largest outdoor movie series
When: 2 July – 9 October
Where: Various locations around LA
Price: From 19 USD

LA’s famously temperate weather means that anything that can be done outdoors will be, including movie screenings booked months in advance without worry. The Street Food Cinema screenings combine popular movies, street food, interactive games, and live music for a great night. With a few screenings per week, you can catch quintessentially Los Angeles movies like (500) Days of Summer at The Autry Museum or enjoy more travel-adventure themes with Catch Me If You Can at LA State Historic Park. Each event’s music and food truck presence differs, so check the detailed listings online when you purchase your tickets.

The Mediterranean’s largest music festival lands across the pond

What: The famous Primavera Sound music festival is coming to Los Angeles
When: 16 September – 18 September
Where: LA State Historic Park
Price: 149 USD for a one-day General Admission ticket

The largest music festival in the Mediterranean, Primavera Sound, is crossing the Atlantic to bring three days of music and festivities to Los Angeles. Integrated into the city’s landscape, the show brings artists from different genres and disciplines together, with a lineup including Lorde, Nine Inch Nails, and Arctic Monkeys headlining across the event. If that sounds like your kind of thing, fall is perfect for outdoor LA concerts. In addition to Primavera Sound, other upcoming music festivals include Desert Daze, a Joshua Tree music festival with serious indie cred, and Maestro of the Movies, a three-day celebration of John Williams’s blockbuster scores. Don’t forget your lightsaber.

The best things to do in LA in autumn 2022 | Watch a live orchestra at the Mount Wilson observatory
The Mount Wilson observatory makes for a stunning backdrop to a live orchestra. Photo by Irina Longra

Soak up scenic jazz concerts

What: Peaceful concerts for contemplation on Mount Wilson
When: 4 September; 2 October 
Where: Mount Wilson Observatory, Los Angeles, CA
Price: 50 USD

The Mount Wilson Observatory is dedicated to helping us find our place in the universe. And what could be better for quiet contemplation of our lives than small intimate concerts inside the dome of the observatory? Because of the way the dome is formed, the acoustics rival the great cathedrals of Europe and are perfectly formed to make an intimate concert feel consuming and surrounding. The upcoming October 2nd concert focuses on longer-standing classics like Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins and Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello. Seating is limited, but luckily there are two performances per day.

The best things to do in LA in autumn 2022 | A spooky doorway surrounded by pumpkins in different sizes and colours
Mr Bones Pumpkin Patch. Photo by Pascal Shirley

Creep yourself out with Halloween festivities

What: Los Angeles goes all-out for Halloween
When: Mid-September through 1 November
Where: Throughout Los Angeles
Price: Varies

It probably comes as no surprise that a city famous for making movies is inhabited by adults who love to play dress up. Halloween is an enormous deal in Los Angeles. With an unofficial start date of mid-September, spooky season in LA is so full of ghostly activities that it would be impossible to see them all. Highlights include the 200,000 sq ft Haunt O’ Ween celebration; Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch, a photo opp known for its celebrity attendees; the famous Haunted Hayride, running every year for more than a decade; the House of Spirits Haunted Cocktail Soiree, a macabre evening in a haunted mansion; Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, where you can immerse yourself in movie magic; and Delusion, an interactive horror play that will leave you afraid of what’s around the corner.

The best things to do in LA in autumn 2022 | A procession of women wearing white dresses with brightly coloured stripes and faces painted like skulls walks down a street holding maracas
Dia de Los Muertos. Photo by Robert Swapp

Encounter a Traditional Día (y Noche) de los Muertos Celebration

What: The Mexican diaspora in Los Angeles turns out to celebrate this joyful fall holiday
When: 29 October
Where: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Price: Tickets go on sale in September

Every year the Dia Y Noche de Los Muertos preserves this historic Mexican tradition. In fact, Hollywood Forever is the only cemetery in the US that welcomes and supports this spiritual practice. As it is every year, the 23rd annual Día de Los Muertos celebration promises to be an astounding celebration. Every year, there are expressive traditional altars to deceased loved ones, cultural performances, folk dances, food stands, and musical acts. The daytime event is child-friendly, while the night-time one is slightly less so. Be careful when purchasing – there are two separate tickets depending on the time of day.

The best autumn outdoor activities in LA

The best things to do in LA in autumn 2022 | Apple picking at Los Rios
Apple picking is great way to experience the change in season. Photo by @rileyatlosrios

Go apple-picking in an orchard

What: A timeless fall tradition
When: 3 September – 20 November
Where: Los Rios Rancho 39611 Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen, CA, 92399
Price: Pay for apples by the pound

One of the lovely things about Los Angeles is the beautiful weather year-round, but the downside of that is the lack of clearly defined seasons. To scratch that autumnal itch and see the leaves as they begin to turn, Angelenos have to leave the city and journey further inland – a day of apple picking is the perfect fall activity to pull out your best flannel shirt. Los Rios Rancho, about two hours from central LA, is the perfect place for this. The farm also offers other deliciously picturesque fall activities like a petting zoo, horseback rides, a corn maze, and cider tasting.

The best things to do in LA in autumn 2022 | The hills outside LA, perfect for hiking
Autumn is a great time to tackle LA's trails. Photo by Mat Weller/Unsplash

Hike Temescal Canyon’s Trails

What: Cooler fall weather makes these intermediate trails a more exciting adventure
When: Open year-round
Where: Temescal Canyon Trail, Los Angeles, CA 90272
Price: Hiking is free, 12 USD to park

Hiking during the summer in LA can be downright dangerous – temperatures above 30°C and exercising in direct sunlight don’t really mix. So once the weather starts to cool off, hiking trails become popular destinations again. There are hundreds of fantastic hikes around LA ranging from very easy to incredibly difficult, but the Temescal Canyon trails are some of the best urban walks available. With an entrance right off Sunset Boulevard, they’re the most accessible, and adventurers are rewarded with beautiful views of the beach, the mountains, downtown LA, and even Catalina Island on exceptionally clear days. Take a side spur to see Skull Rock, and if it’s not too dry out, you might even see a waterfall.

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