Congratulations! You just successfully spent another beautiful summer week in Southern California indoors, forgoing the country's most coveted climate for a climate-controlled office and that incessant landline. Your well-earned reward is a weekend al fresco. That's right: Other than your eight (or ten, or twelve) hours of shuteye a night, we want you outside soaking up the sun and making all your East Coast friends jealous. (Thanks, Instagram!) We've lined up three days (here's looking at you, Friday) of al fresco dining, shopping, fitness and cinema, to keep you outdoors from dawn until dusk. Grab your sunnies and let's get started.
Keep reading for Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale, a free festival at FIGat7th and cheap eats at The Kitchen...
Your al fresco weekend starts at The Grove with the best kind of triple threat: shoes, tunes and happy hour. Start at Nordstrom's, where the store's famed Anniversary Sale enters its final weekend. Plenty of discounted designers to browse (Rag & Bone, Dolce Vita and Elizabeth and James, to name a few) then head to the Boot Mobile, parked right outside. This outdoor boutique-on-wheels gives footwear enthusiasts a sneak peek at (and first dibs on) fall styles.
Tote your heavy bags and now-lighter wallet over to the West Patio for the Summer Music Series at The Farmers Market. Choose from a wide selection of walk-up eateries and casual sit-downs and free live music from 7-9 pm.
LACMA stays firmly in first place for coolest museum in the city with its Free Jazz in the Courtyard series. The summer continues with legend Bob Sheppard, plus extended museum hours so you have plenty of time to check out two exhibitions in their last days: Ends and Exits, a contemporary art collection, and Stephen Prima's installation.
There's nothing funny about Unnecessary Evil - unless, of course, you're referring to the stand-up comedy show by the same name. Then it's very funny. Head to the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica: Doors open at 7:45 pm, laughs start at 8 pm. Tickets are $10.
Silver Lake/Los Feliz
Feeling artsy? Even if you're not, you can brush shoulders with people who are at the iam8bit gallery in Echo Park. The Los Angeles leg of the Sketchbook Project summer tour sets up shop this weekend in this roomy space, with a "lending library" of sketchbook submissions from participants the world over. Get a library card and browse the collection by topic, keyword or author name. Last year's event featured a cash wine bar, and sketchbooks included everything from pen and ink drawings to collages and poetry. If inspiration strikes while you're there, you can sign up for next year's round here. Entry is $25, but groups enjoy discounts of 15-20%. Open from 7-11 pm, RSVP here.
When you're done at iam8bit, head across the street (literally) to the Echo to catch brooding beauty (read: our new crush) Daughn Gibson. His 2012 debut earned a strong 8.1 from music bible Pitchfork, and his deep baritone and dark lyrics earned him comparisons to legend Johnny Cash. We love his sound - moody, beautiful music for the dance-floor ready - and the fact that he's easy on the eyes doesn't hurt either. Take a listen and grab a ticket ($10).
At the same time, over in the Silverlake Lounge, the July Residency continues with local band the Absolute. Their electric guitar-heavy rock pairs exceptionally well with the lounge's wide beer selection and extended happy hour (until 8 pm!) and we think the show flier says it all: "No cover, so come and party your pants off." Duly noted.
We've heard a ton of buzz about FIGat7th, and this weekend their Downtown Festival is a broke girl's dream come true. Happy hour starts at 5:30pm at Taste Lounge, with bites, a cash bar by Sapporo and DJ set to loosen you up. Main stage music starts at 7 pm, with Jose James and Grammy-nominated Carolyn Malachi, forerunners in jazz and hip-hop and by all accounts a must-see. Festivities continue with an after party at Taste at 9:30 pm. Did we mention it's all free? RSVP required--get your name on the list here.
Special promotions continue through Saturday with discounts like $1 PBR at The Melt, complimentary dessert at Morton's and BOGO cupcakes at Sprinkles.
Your Saturday morning options are all, per our theme, al fresco, but we'll give you a sliding scale of start times.
For the early risers: Rise & Shine Saturday at the OC Fair scores you $3 General Admission tickets (Reg. $11) between 10-11 am. The fair closes on August 11, so get in your requisite fair food and rides before the rush. Unless, of course, you were planning on doing the OC Fair 5k Sunday at 8 am? That's what we thought.
If you prefer fitness to fair food (congrats! everyone hates you), Santa Monica Place offers free zumba class Center Plaza from 9-10 am. It's free to participate, and just for completing the class, you get 10% off at Lorna Jane, proof that Aussies really do it better. We love their line of inspirational tanks, emblazoned with cute sayings like "fit & fabulous" even when you're feeling not so much.
If you're sticking around the west side, pop into The Misfit Restaurant and Bar, voted best happy hour on the westside by the LA Times in 2012. A year later, we're still regulars at the 12-7 pm daily happy hour, with discounts on cocktails, mimosas, and our personal favorite sipper, the white sangria.
A similar fete is going down in Westwood with the Wellness Weekends series at the W Hotel, featuring free poolside pilates at 9 am by celebrity trainer Kit Rich followed by a free mimosa and 20% off brunch at the Backyard. Stay by the pool for The Burn Studios DJ Lab 2013 Launch Party. Entry is free and includes a Posso DJ set from 3-5 pm. Al fresco for the win!
"Shop. Sip. Socialize. Repeat." It's almost like the people behind The Market read our minds. Hosted by No. 9 Candle Co., this 12-6 pm event features a whole host of local artists and businesses gathered in the Papillion Institute of Art. Free entry + free booze + food trucks = all day outdoor bonanza. Enjoy.
Hot off its inclusion on LA Eater's 20 Most Underrated Restaurants, Cafe Pinot serves up a 'Secret Garden' menu of Californian-French bites and libations on its outdoor patio. Happy hour lasts 2:30 pm to closing, Friday through Sunday, and features $5 beers, $6 wines, and $7 handcrafted herb cocktails.
Drive on over to the Electric Dusk Drive-In, which is screening cult-favorite Little Shop of Horrors at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $10, or $8.50 with a group of 10 or more. Have fun - just don't feed the plant!
A few other options for outdoor movies:
Cinespia hosts a screening of Jim Henson's 1982 muppet epic The Dark Crystal at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tickets $12.
Heritage Square hosts a screening of the 1925 silent film version of cinematic classic the Wizard of Oz. Tickets $10.
Silver Lake/Los Feliz
Whether spin, yoga or something in the middle is your thing, YAS Silverlake has an array of classes throughout the day to get you energized for the week ahead. Your first class is free and the studios have periodic sales for almost 50% off classes ($10; Reg: $19) and promos like a free towel for downloading their app. Other locations include Downtown LA and Venice.
Hungry after all that spin? Head to The Kitchen, voted one of the 10 Best Restaurants for Brunch in Los Angeles by the LA Weekly earlier this year. Brunch items are a flat $11 and include tasty temptations like the Caramelized Onion Frittata or the prosciutto and blue cheese Breakfast Sandwich. Or try this week's rotating special - Sweet Pea soup with mint and crème fraiche, coming in at $3.50 for a cup/$7 for a bowl.
The Over a Barrel Art Exhibit at the Angel City Brewery ends today, so check out the six featured local artists while you grab a pint of their small-batch, craft brew in the heart of the Arts District. Then head to the Libros Shmibros Third Anniversary Party from 3-6 pm. Entry is only $5, and in addition to directly supporting literacy in the community, admission includes cake (!!), music, a one-year membership to the lending library and a free book of your choice.
Don't forget to enter this Instagram contest by the LA Conservancy. Winner gets two free passes to any regular walking tour (Reg: $10); contest ends Aug 5.
Get a preview of your al fresco weekend in the slideshow below!