12 Red-Hot LA Summer Food & Drink Events

By Lesley Balla  |  June 23, 2015
Credit: Taste of the Nation/LaykinPhoto

Summer is the time to really indulge, at least when it comes to food, wine and beer events. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, some of the biggest and best festivals take place all over the Southland, from celebrating street eats at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena to burger and beer blowouts at the Coliseum downtown. Read on for more information on those and 10 more events you'll want to put on your calendar right away.

  • Credit: Chinatown

    June 27: Chinatown Summer Nights

    This food, beer, art, music and cultural event in Chinatown’s Central Plaza is one of the hottest spots to be every summer. Food and drink options range from specialties at local restaurants to food-truck fare, eating contests and a beer garden for local suds. The evening line-up has something for everyone, from cooking demos to KCRW DJs, open art galleries, live music and more. You can always saunter over to one of the great restaurants in the area, including newbies like Pok Pok Phat Thai, Ramen Champ and The Little Jewel of New Orleans.

    Essentials: All events are free; food and drink cost extra. Festivities usually get started around 5 PM, with music going until midnight. The event takes place again on July 25 and August 22. The Gold Line is a great way to get there. (943 – 951 N. Broadway)

  • July 3-5: 626 Night Market

    The huge night market is back at the Santa Anita Park for a fourth year, bringing all sorts of food, merchandise, crafts, arts, games, music and entertainment to the SGV. If you can't make this one over Fourth of July weekend, there are two more sessions on August 7-9 and September 4-6.

    Essentials: The market begins at 4 PM and goes until 1 AM on Friday and Saturday nights, and 11 PM on Sunday. Admission is $3, kids are free, as is parking (285 W. Huntington Dr.)

  • Credit: LA Street Food Fest

    July 11: LA Street Food Fest

    The biggest street-food festival in LA is back at the Rose Bowl with more vendors than ever, including some of the city’s top chefs and street-food superstars, plus live music, all-you-can-drink beer and cocktails, the ice cream social, donuts and coffee, and more. Unless you’re a major college football player or soccer star, this is the only time you’ll get to roam the Pasadena field.

    Essentials: The best way to go is VIP ($90), which gets you early entry and no lines; and with only a limited amount of VIP tickets sold, you get to enjoy the food and drink without super-long lines. General admission is $60. VIP goes from 3-4:30 PM, with GA from 5-8 PM (1001 Rose Bowl Dr.).

  • July 11: The Garagiste Festival

    In France, the word “garagiste” started out as a term for renegade winemakers, the small producers who didn’t follow “the rules.” Here in California, it describes some of the winemakers producing 1,500 cases or less a year, and this event will bring together more than 40 of them at The Wiltern. Since most of these wineries don’t have tasting rooms, this is the perfect chance to make some new discoveries.

    Essentials: Premium tickets are $99 for VIP (2-6 PM) and general admission is $69 (3-6 PM). You get unlimited samples; bread, charcuterie and cheese; and a commemorative crystal glass (3790 Wilshire Blvd.).

  • July 13-26: DineLA Restaurant Weeks

    Back for its second session this year, this 14-day dining extravaganza features discounted lunch and dinner menus at hundreds of restaurants around Los Angeles. It’s one of the best ways to explore the culinary diversity across the Southland. Newcomers this year include Akasha Richmond's Sambar, Ray Garcia's BS Taqueria and The District by Hannah An.

    Essentials: Prix fixe menus are generally priced at $15, $20 and $25 for lunch and $30, $40 and $50 for dinner. Watch the website for updated menus and participants.

  • Credit: Lesley Balla

    July 17: East LA Meets Napa & Bordeaux

    The annual event at Union Station celebrates some of our best Mexican food and restaurants plus the success of Latino-owned vineyards in California and beyond. Some of LA's best, like Guisados, Loteria Grill and Chichen Itza, serve tacos, huitlacoche, carnitas and tamales to go along with the great wines and live music. All proceeds benefit Alta-Med Health Services.

    Essentials: 6-9 PM. Tickets are $150 and $200. The best part is that you’re already at Union Station — take the train (800 N. Alameda St.)

  • Credit: Luckyrice

    July 30: Luckyrice

    Back once again, this celebration of Asian cuisine is back at Create Nightclub in Hollywood. Hosted by Andy Ricker (Pok Pok), you'll get food and cocktails from places like Asian Box, Badmaash, the forthcoming Blue Ribbon, Little Sister, Parks BBQ and more.

    Essentials: 8-10 PM (VIP starts at 7 PM). Tickets are $150 for VIP, $88 for general admission. Find them here (6021 Hollywood Blvd.).

  • August 1-2: Big Bite Bacon Festival

    For the love of all things porcine, this second annual event brings top chefs from the Long Beach area and beyond to The Queen Mary for a day of bacon bites and beer. 

    Essentials: 11 AM-3 PM on Saturday, and noon-4 PM on Sunday. General admission is $40 in advance and $50 at the door; add beer sampling for another $10 and $15, respectively; and VIP is $70 in advance and $80 the day off. 

  • Credit: Cassell's/Ryan Tanaka

    August 8: LA Weekly's Burgers and Beer

    More than 35 burgers and 30 breweries will be waiting those lucky enough to get inside the LA Coliseum. Look for faves like Cassell's, Belcampo, Animal, Barrel & Ashes, Hache LA and many more. 

    Essentials: 3-7 PM. Tickets are $65 in advance and $80 at the door. VIP early entry is $85. For the non-drinkers, $45 gets you AYCE burgers sans beer.

  • August 27-30: Los Angeles Food & Wine

    Back for its fifth year, the massive food and wine festival once gain hits the red carpet Downtown. From the people behind Pebble Beach Food & Wine and LA's Faith & Flower restaurant, LAFW pulls together top local talent as well as celeb chefs from around the country for lunches, festive dinners and the grand tastings in front of the Disney Concert Hall. 

    Essentials: Tickets can be purchased on the event website, including full- and half-day packages, as well as specialty ticketed events throughout the city.

  • Credit: The Taste

    September 4-6: The Taste

    The Los Angeles Times’ three-day food event over Labor Day weekend returns to Paramount Studios. As in years past, expect the paper’s food personalities and writers to join local chefs for cooking demos and panels, plus a walk-around food and drink tasting on the studio backlot.

    Essentials: The weekend pass is always the best route so you can pick and choose from the various day and evening events and get more bang for your buck. Festival passes are usually around $175 and individual events around $85 per person. Watch the website for more details and announcements.

  • September 4-27: LA County Fair

    When it comes to putting anything in a deep fryer, the county fair is the tops. Of course there are grilled things, too, and even a "Farm Fresh" exhibit with vegetable flatbreads. But you're there for the kettle corn, sausages and donut burgers, admit it.

    Essentials: Tickets range from $20 one-day admission to $119 season passes. Get all info here.