08/31/2012 01:02 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2012

Labor Day LA: BGG Tells Us About Block Parties, Major Festivals & the County Fair

It doesn't take a genius to imagine how we feel about the almost-here, right-around-the-corner 3-day vacation otherwise known as Labor Day weekend. While it's true that we're already tired of hearing our friends ramble on about their upcoming weekend trips to fascinating, far-off destinations, we consider each of these yawn-inducing conversations to be a sacrifice well worth the extra day of leisure. Here's how we plan to make the most of what lies ahead (no yachts, jets, or passports required):


Get into fighting shape for the weekend ahead by booking a treatment at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Friday only, massage packages are 40 percent off, which means you can feel as good as those top-shelf BH ladies at nearly half the price. Joke's on them. Next, drive over to Steingarten LA for the Dogfish Head Total Tap Tower Takeover. The legendary Maryland-based microbrewery is in residence pouring and discussing some of their most- and least-known brews. You can brush up on your stouts and your ales -- and maybe brush up against some cute, well-meaning beer geek.

Since you're already on the west side, swing by the Pico-Robertson Block Party, where everything you need comes out of a truck, including The Bun Truck, The Lime Truck and Le Fashion Truck. Don't linger too long, though, because you'll need to be back in Hollywood at 8 p.m. for a UCB show that's near and dear to our hearts: The OKCupid Show. Because really, if you can't laugh at the ridiculousness of online dating, what can you laugh at? Post-show, check the board at Franklin & Company to see if any of your friends have bought you a drink. If not, take the opportunity to tuck yourself in early -- you've got a long, long weekend ahead of you.


Saturday kicks off with an impressive selection of stellar L.A. festivals, which means you've got a "Choose Your Own Adventure" on your hands.

If Blackboard Eats and Tasting Table are your most-clicked newsletters (after BGG, of course), Los Angeles Times' The TASTE is where you'll want to be. On your way, grab an I Am Rejuvenated juice from Café Gratitude -- you'll want to keep breakfast light and healthy considering the indulgent day that awaits. Settle in at Paramount Studios for the 11 a.m. Field to Fork event hosted by L.A. Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and FIG chef Ray Garcia. Your ticket grants you access to several hunger- and thirst-inducing seminars, including How to Taste Wine Like a Master Sommelier, Market Basket Challenge, and a cooking demonstration with Jason Kim of Forage. Take a breather mid-afternoon by window-shopping some of our most-ogled shops around La Brea and Beverly--favorites include Shelter Half and men's shop Standard Goods. Pick up a light dinner at Sycamore Kitchen before you head back to Paramount for Cocktail Confidential with food and nightlife writer Jessica Gelt and L.A.'s resident mixology impresario Julian Cox.

Sports fans, we know you've been waiting for this day all year, so don't think we forgot about you! If you can manage to tear yourself away from your fantasy team, then head to the Coliseum for an all-you-can-eat tailgate party hosted by Lawry's Steakhouse. They're celebrating the first football game of the season, USC vs. Hawaii, with island-themed dishes. If you don't have tickets to the game (or you spent all your cash on the aforementioned beef and pineapples), head over to the last night of Street Food Cinema, where they're screening Talladega Nights. Just try to keep the out-loud quoting to a minimum, Ricky Bobby.

We probably don't have to tell you diehard music girls what's also happening this weekend: the hotly (literally, figuratively) anticipated FYF Fest is back for its 9th year. Starting at noon and running for twelve hours on over four stages, you'll see performances by everyone from Simian Mobile Disco to Sleigh Bells, Chairlift to Refused. And then come back on Sunday for more! There are no ins and outs at the festival, so we recommend stopping by Bäco Mercat beforehand for elevated street food that definitely beats the so-called edibles inside the show grounds. And we'll see you Monday when you come up for air.


If you're not indulging in a lost weekend with either the L.A. Times' Taste or the FYF Fest, start the day at Coffee Tomo in West L.A. Take your coffee and one of the shop's highly addictive sweet-potato-and-cheese-filled pretzels around the corner to In Residence, where you can peruse their stellar selection of emerging and indie designers. Later, hop up Sepulveda to the Getty Center to take in the last day of Herb Ritts' L.A. Style.

After you've spent the afternoon sating your culture cravings, grab an early dinner at Fundamental in Westwood. We love the Japanese sword squid with salsa verde and charred romaine, all in convenient small plates for your post-pretzel enjoyment. After dinner, head to the Hollywood Bowl for The Big Picture to celebrate Paramount Picture's 100th Anniversary with iconic scores from films like The Godfather and Titanic. If your heart will go on, why not venture north to Ventura Boulevard rather than deeper into Hollywoodland? We're stopping by Black Market in the Valley for a handcrafted nightcap off the beaten path.


Wind down this marathon weekend with some wholesome summer holiday events. First, check out the closing event at TASTE, a Labor Day picnic extravaganza hosted by Noelle Carter of the L.A. Times Test Kitchen and Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry. Entry includes wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and appearances by Thomas Keller, Nancy Silverton, and more.
Later, head east to Pomona for some small-town-style hijinks in this most sprawling of cities. The L.A. County Fair is celebrating its 90th year and pulling out all the stops with rides, food, a safari (really), and loads more.

Back home in Los Angeles proper, sidle up to the bar at ink for a small bite before winding it down at School Night in Hollywood. DEF SOUND is bringing his relaxed and dreamy hip-hop to the stage for the perfect cooldown to these epic three days.

And now that the weekend's over, return to your job on Tuesday with blown-out eardrums, a few extra pounds, and a backseat full of plush fair toys -- in our opinion, not a bad way to start the workweek.


Labor Day Love