Although not a summer-only activity, escape rooms like The Basement LA and Escape Key Entertainment have recently exploded in popularity. These interactive games pit you against the clock as you and your friends scramble around the room looking for clues and solving puzzles in order to escape. Companies like Room Escape Live include adventure-based challenges as well, choosing not to focus solely on the fear factor many other escape rooms use. Set design and, in some places, performers interacting with you as part of the storyline help fully immerse players in the experience. As a general rule of thumb, phones are strictly prohibited during these challenges; what better way to disconnect and spend some time with your friends?
LA is one of the biggest hubs of entertainment in the country, so it only makes sense for music festivals to make their home here. Residents this year include Hard Summer, a hip-hop and bass music-heavy festival created by electronic music DJ Destructo, and FYF Fest – a festival encompassing many diverse genres of music. Music festival producers are always looking to make their events the best of the best, so while you’re listening to music curated by well-known tastemakers in the industry, you can also expect to find stimulating art installations and popular food items there.
Warm nights call for movies under the stars, and LA definitely delivers on that front. All across the city, outdoor movie events are popping up just in time for the summer – from Moonlight Movies on the Beach to the Rooftop Cinema Club to Cinespia’s now-famous Outdoor Cemetery Films. These occasions provide a more intimate experience than most movie theaters can provide, with some places even allowing you to bring picnic blankets to really settle down for the night. A great twist on a typical date idea, outdoor movies seem to bring out the best of the city for couples looking to enjoy a night out together.
Once you’ve found a favorite bar in the city, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut; but why not try something new? All over LA, rooftop bars such as Perch and the Rooftop at the Standard Downtown are opening their doors to crowds looking for a change of scene for the season. It’s a great way to make the most of the weather at night while also enjoying the views that Los Angeles has to offer. These places also tend to fill up quickly, especially on the weekends, so remember to arrive early to beat the lines to get in.
Looking to add a bit of high art to your summer? Shakespeare by the Sea, a non-profit theatrical organization, puts on different Shakespeare plays in LA and South Bay during its Free Summer Festival. The program, which was founded in 1998, aims to promote literacy and encourage a passion for the arts in the communities they serve while also providing a space for artists to exercise their skills. The plays for this year, Cymbeline and Othello, will be performed in many different open-air venues all over Southern California, so it’s best to bring a blanket and some good company.