"Summertime and the livin' is easy..." Those classic lines from famed composer George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" made music history. Later, The Lovin' Spoonful would sing their number-one hit, "Summer in the City" – a tribute to how the city comes alive after sundown.
Music truly captures the magic of the long, warm nights of summer. And whether it's jazz, sing-alongs, undiscovered bands, outdoor concerts, world music, opera, or something new, there are many options to enjoy live music in Downtown Los Angeles throughout the summer.
Intrepid urban explorers and nighttime revelers, seek no more: 213, the first nightlife developer to stake a claim in Historic Downtown Los Angeles, has created nine distinctive bars set in re-imagined architectural gems, increasing your nocturnal wanderlust and entertainment possibilities.
Visit the nightlife calendar to see upcoming live performances in 213's many hotspots in Downtown LA – including favorites such as Seven Grand, Casey's, Golden Gopher, Cole's, Las Perlas, and more.
MORE INFO: 213nightlife.com/calendar
Active Arts at the Music Center
BUNKER HILL • 135 N. GRAND AVE. [directions]
Friday Night Sing-Alongs – June 22 - August 17, 2012, 6:30-8:00pm
Enjoy warm summer nights and join hundreds of voices belting out popular favorites and classic tunes, accompanied by live musicians. Lyrics provided, no experience necessary. For the off-pitch, off-key and singing-challenged.
Dance Downtown – May 4 - September 7, 2011, 6:30-10:00pm
Two left feet? Learn how to dance and shake, move and groove under the stars with live music/DJ and beginner dance lessons. No experience necessary.
Additional programs include: Make Music, Tell Stories, and more.
MORE INFO: (213) 972-3660 / musiccenter.org
Art Walk Lounge
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN • 334 S. MAIN ST. [directions]
Each 2nd Thursday of the month, 12:00-9:00pm
The free, self-guided, public art phenomenon known as the Downtown Art Walk brings together art lovers and community friends to the ever evolving Downtown Los Angeles.
As the official "Visitor's Center" of the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk, the Art Walk Lounge is THE spot to meet up with friends on Art Walk Thursdays! Enjoy live performances by local bands, and pick up maps, complementary refreshments, giveaways!
MORE INFO: (213) 617-4929 / downtownartwalk.com / yelp.com
CIVIC CENTER • 108 W. 2nd ST. [directions]
A blend of the past, present, and future, The Edison inspires the romance of such legendary nightspots as The Coconut Grove and Ciro's, while reminding us that we live in a city of dreams at a time of great invention. Located in the sub-basement of the historic Higgins Building, The Edison recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2010.
The Edison features live performances by bands on Thursday nights, starting at 8:30pm – so let down your hair or loosen your tie as the party begins. Visit the website for a calendar of upcoming bands.
MORE INFO: (213) 613-0000 / edisondowntown.com / yelp.com
First & Hope
BUNKER HILL • 710 W. 1st ST. [directions]
As if the dazzling space, modern American comfort food, and handcrafted cocktails weren't enough to help you get away from it all, the live acts will transport you to a bygone era.
Inspired by the elegant, yet theatrical settings of late 1940's and early 1950's American cabarets and supper clubs, First & Hope plays host to a variety of comedy acts and exciting live music. Rising star Brenna Whitaker is not to be missed, but their monthly schedule is filled with unique and diverse performances – so visit their site to learn more.
MORE INFO: (213) 617-8555 / firstandhope.com / yelp.com
Grand Performances at California Plaza
BUNKER HILL • 350 S. GRAND AVE. [directions]
Grand Performances put on free, outdoor concerts at California Plaza in Downtown LA throughout the summer. Grand Performances presents performing arts that reflect the best of global culture and inspire community among the diverse peoples of Los Angeles. All shows are FREE, open seating, and wide open to anyone and everyone to attend.
MORE INFO: (213) 687-2190 / grandperformances.org / yelp.com
Grand Star Jazz Club
CHINATOWN • 943 SUN MUN WAY [directions]
The Grand Star Jazz Club takes pride in showing some of the greatest Jazz Los Angeles has to offer, but also embraces Hip Hop, R&B, Rap and Blues. Visit the website for upcoming performances and special events.
MORE INFO: (213) 626-2285 / grandstarjazzclub.com / yelp.com
SOUTH PARK • 800 W. OLYMPIC BLVD. [directions]
L.A. LIVE is in the heart of the city synonymous with entertainment, offering the most exciting selection of event venues. Home to STAPLES Center, Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, Club Nokia and the GRAMMY Museum®, L.A. LIVE is where LA comes alive with the best in music, entertainment, sports and events. Visit the website's events calendar for a list of upcoming concerts at L.A. LIVE.
MORE INFO: (213) 763-5483 / lalive.com / yelp.com
SOUTH PARK • 1038 S. HILL ST. [directions]
Build in 1927 by leading LA architect Stiles Clements and designed by Mexican artist Francisco Cornejo as a spectacular Mayan revival theater, it opened with George Gershwins' musical "Oh Kay". It is one of only eight buildings built in pre-Colombian style with hand-carved, richly painted walls, a spectacular Sun Calendar and chandelier.
Every Saturday night, the Mayan presents Tropical Saturday – the finest live Salsa Orchestras together with pulsating music by top DJ's from Los Angeles, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
MORE INFO: (213) 746-4674 / clubmayan.com / yelp.com
BUNKER HILL • 135 N. GRAND AVE. [directions]
Since the Music Center first opened its doors, it has been a major contributor to the Los Angeles cultural fabric, recognized for its dedication to artistic excellence. The amazing houses – Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, and the 2003 addition of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall – comprise today's 11-acre Music Center Campus.
Enjoy concerts, operas, musicals, and live theatre throughout the year. Visit the website for details on upcoming performances.
MORE INFO: (213) 972-7211 / musiccenter.org / yelp.com
Summer Concerts at Pershing Square
FINANCIAL DISTRICT • 532 S. OLIVE ST. [directions]
In the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, Pershing Square continues its tradition as a community gathering spot. Families and friends from all of Downtown LA's neighborhoods continue to gather here in support of the ongoing activities.
July 11 through August 18, 2012, Pershing Square presents the Downtown Stage, free and open to the public. This 6-week concert series includes the best of local talent, DJ's, Films and National Touring Bands, four nights a week. Pack a picnic or purchase food at the "Square".
MORE INFO: (213) 847-4970 / laparks.org / yelp.com
BUNKER HILL • 631 W. 2nd ST. [directions]
REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) is an adventurous performance center, introducing diverse audiences to the most influential developments in the arts from regional and global artists.
Though REDCAT's schedule also includes exhibitions, dance, film screenings, and literary events, their live music performances are some of their most stunning – spanning styles from classical compositions to experimental ensembles of custom-built instruments. Even better, performances at REDCAT are affordable, so check out their calendar today.
MORE INFO: (213) 237-2800 / redcat.org / yelp.com
Redwood Bar & Grill
CIVIC CENTER • 316 W. 2nd ST. [directions]
Warm, intimate and inviting, the Redwood – Downtown's favorite (okay, Downtown's only) pirate bar – welcomes you into the galley with an Ahoy! Sit at one of the Captain's tables and sample culinary delights from around the world, or pull up a stool and listen to the finest musical acts the City of Angels has to offer.
Visit their website for a calendar of bands and performances.
MORE INFO: (213) 680-2600 / theredwoodbar.com / yelp.com
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN • 247 S. MAIN ST. [directions]
Tucked away in an unassuming building with an entrance via a back alley, The Smell has been a community-oriented, not-for-profit, volunteer-run art and music space since 1998. Open to people of all ages who are interested in participating in an environment of creative innovation and freedom, it is dedicated to keeping events affordable – all shows are $5 unless otherwise noted on the website.
Tickets are only available at the door on the night of the show. See a calendar of upcoming performances on their website.
MORE INFO: (323) 861-6089 / thesmell.org / yelp.com
Street Food Cinema
Street Food Cinema is the new summer event series to hit Los Angeles, featuring cool outdoor movies, tasty food trucks and live music every Saturday from May 26th through September 1st. Grab your friends and a picnic blanket because great summer nights are straight ahead!
The Street Food Cinema experience starts with the most delicious food trucks in town like Kogi BBQ, The Munchie Machine and A ROCKin ICE, lined up to serve fresh, hot food that you take right to your picnic blanket. Then listen to live music from emerging Los Angeles music artists such as Erik Rico and Glen Iris. And finally, kick back with old friends and new ones to watch popular movies on the big screen! It's all in one awesome summer night. Share the experience.
MORE INFO: (323) 254-5068 / outdoorcinemafoodfest.com / yelp.com
Summer on the Plaza
FINANCIAL DISTRICT • FIGat7th, 735 S. FIGUEROA ST. [directions]
Spend summer afternoons on the FIGat7th Plaza enjoying live performances of Poetry and Blues to Zydeco, Jazz and more!
FIGat7th (formerly 7+FIG at Ernst & Young Plaza) is open to the public during construction. FREE parking with any purchase at the FIGat7th retailers or restaurants, 3 hour maximum stay.
MORE INFO: (212) 417-7000 / artsbrookfieldproperties.com
Tuesday Night Café
LITTLE TOKYO • ARATANI COURTYARD @ EAST WEST PLAYERS, 120 JUDGE JOHN AISO ST. [directions]
The 1st & 3rd Tuesday Night Café Series shows is one of the longest running free public art series in Los Angeles, with performance art, music, poetry, visual art, short film, and an eclectic array of Los Angeles performers. The Tuesday Night Project maintains a passionate space with a focus on new work from Asian American/Pacific Islander communities and from the Greater Los Angeles area.
Visit their website for details on upcoming performances.
MORE INFO: tuesdaynightproject.org / yelp.com
1st & 3rd Tuesdays at The Mezz
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN • ALEXANDRIA HOTEL, 2nd FLOOR, 501 S. SPRING ST. [directions]
The Mezz Bar at The Alexandria Hotel is Downtown LA's newest bar in its oldest location. Come for good company over a cocktail and live jazz, blues and soul music – all where the ghosts of Valentino and Charlie Chaplin are rumored to roam.
Doors open at 8:00pm, shows begin around 9:00pm.
MORE INFO: (213) 622-6287 / facebook.com / yelp.com