There’s no need to travel to far away places during the summer to experience a new culture. Opportunities abound for families to discover and enjoy cultures from every corner of the world right here in Los Angeles. Whether you want to expose your family to something new or deepen their appreciation for their own heritage, there’s sure to be something of interest to you. Take a look and mark your calendar. Seize the opportunity before school and sports are back in session.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 7 & 8 *
Pacific Islander Festival, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, Saturday & Sunday. Discover the rich and diverse cultures of the Pacific Islands through traditional craft demonstrations, ethnic cuisine, educational programs, storytelling, and an ocean of entertainment, including music and dance performances. The festival will feature various cultures, including Hawaiian, Fijian, Marshallese, Chamoru, Tahitian, Samoan, Tokelau, Tongan, and Maori.
Silk Road Story Time: Calligraphy, USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, Saturday, 10:30am. Also July 12: Ramadan and August 2: China. Gather in the travelers’ tent for fabulous tales from along the Silk Road, plus a fun hands-on craft, Asian snack, and balloon. Free admission for kids ages 11 and under.
Andell Family Sundays—Dig It: Egyptian Art, LACMA, Sundays in June, 12:30pm-3:30pm. Also June 15th, 22nd, and 29th. Check out LACMA’s collection of Egyptian art—some of it is over 2,000 years old! After exploring artifacts of all kinds, make your own Egypt-inspired art in workshops.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 14 & 15 *
Chinatown Summer Nights, Chinatown, Saturday, 5pm. Also July 12 and August 9. Chinatown Summer Nights presents an exciting spot for families this summer. Dine at one of the many local restaurants or enjoy LA’s gourmet food trucks. Shop the neighborhood’s wares and peruse an artist and flea market. Chinese chefs will perform cooking demonstrations and there will be large-scale, outdoor video projections. Enjoy family-friendly cultural workshops and music and dancing with DJs and local bands.
21st Annual Brazilian Summer Festival: Celebrating the World Cup!, Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood, Sunday, 5pm. The theme of this year’s festival is World Cup soccer in celebration of the 2014 FIFA World Cup taking place in Brazil this summer. The festival will feature all-star Brazilian bands and non-stop music and dancing. In addition to the internationally acclaimed bands, the festival will include one of LA’s top DJ’s spinning Brazilian dance hits, as well as elite samba drummers and elaborately costumed samba dancers.
The Big Irish Fair & Music Fest, El Dorado Park, Long Beach, Saturday & Sunday. This festival features 16 areas of music, song, and dance; sports such as Irish football and hurling; a walk through the legends and lore of ancient Ireland at Tara Village; a Children’s Leprechaun Kingdom; Irish Art Show; a marketplace with Irish import and gift shop vendors; and special events such as a Grand Parade of the Irish, a sheep herding show, and an Irish dog show.
18th Annual Día de San Juan Festival, Queen Mary Events Park, Long Beach, Sunday, 10am-7pm. This family-friendly festival celebrating Puerto Rican culture will have entertainment artists from Puerto Rico and local bands, food, merchandise vendors, and lots of dancing.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 21 & 22 *
28th Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival, Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach, Saturday & Sunday. Experience the Bayou with this two-day family festival featuring authentic Cajun and Creole food, cultural music, dance lessons, crawfish eating contests, a children’s corner with arts and crafts and other activities, and a Mardi Gras parade. There will also be live performances at the Zydeco Stage, Blues Stage, and Children’s Stage.
* WEEKEND OF JUNE 28 & 29 *
Family Evening in the Chinese Garden, The Huntington, Pasadena, Saturday. Explore the Chinese Garden during a special evening of cultural discovery including music, art activities, a lion dance, and more. Register online.
* WEEKEND OF JULY 5 & 6 *
Andell Family Sundays—Korean Treasures, LACMA, Sundays in July, 12:30pm-3:30pm. Also July 13th, 20th, and 27th. Explore the special exhibition Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392–1910 and see how respect for the king, family, and faith inspired artists during the time. Then make your own treasure in art workshops.
* SPECIAL SUMMER PROGRAMS *
JUNE 21 – AUGUST 31, Family Amphitheater Performances, Skirball Cultural Center. The Skirball offers a diverse program of performances for families on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer. Clap and drum along to the rich Afro-Cuban beats of one of LA’s top marimba groups, experience a groovy and melodic take on Japanese taiko drumming, enjoy colorful storytelling told through traditional Korean dance, listen to a master storyteller present enchanting stories from around the world, enjoy traditional Filipino music and dance, experience the music and dance of the Pacific Islands, watch an acclaimed local dance troupe perform in celebration of African-American history, move to the beats of West African drumming and dance, just to name some of the many special performances. See website for full schedule.
JULY 5 – SEPTEMBER 6, Big!World!Fun! Family Series, Ford Amphitheatre, Hollywood. Big!World!Fun! is a series of performances that will enchant and delight families (with children ages 4 to 12) with music and dance from as far away as West Africa, China, and Cambodia. The hour-long performances take place on Saturday mornings at 10am. There are also pre-show nature activities prior to each performance in the Ford’s entryway gardens. See website for schedule of performances and ticket information.
JULY 7 – AUGUST 1, SummerSounds: World Music for Kids, Hollywood Bowl. SummerSounds is a four-week series of lively concerts combined with art workshops that takes place on weekday mornings. Dynamic hosts lead you on a journey to discover music, dance, and art from cultures around the world. This year’s program includes traditional Irish music with Chicago Reel, classical Indian Bollywood music with MKM Bollystars, West African music with Babá Ken & the Nigerian Brothers, and finally, Salsa and Latin jazz with Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Ensemble. See website for schedule and ticket information.