Los Angeles is the place to be during the summer. Besides the great weather and beaches that attract tourists from all over the world, one of the things us Angelenos look forward to during the summer are the countless number of FREE events and concerts happening in LA. KCRW’s Chinatown Summer Nights is one of my personal favorites. This family friendly event takes place at the Central Plaza in the heart of Chinatown in Los Angeles every 3rd Saturday of June, July and August from 5PM – 12AM.
Chinatown Summer Nights offers a variety of entertainment and best of all, an array of gourmet food selections. You can expect to see live performances at the LA Weekly main stage by talented local bands, dance to the tunes of KCRW Dj’s on the quad, enjoy craft beers at the beer garden and try delicious food from a variety of food trucks and local restaurants offering authentic Chinese cuisine. If that isn’t enough, you can also buy clothes, art, jewelry and watch cooking demonstrations by culinary chefs at the West Plaza.
Did I mention, Chinatown Summer Nights is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles to take photos. The historic Chinatown buildings light up the night sky with neon fluorescent colors while the traditional red lanterns accentuate and provide vibrant lighting idea for any photographer. Throughout the festivities, confetti cannons fill the skies and cover the entire floor adding to the atmosphere creating a surreal scene unlike any other. If you want to take that epic Instagram photo or “snap” the perfect video/photo this is the place to do just that.
During the last few hours of the night, families start calling it a night as they head home while the party people are just getting their nights started. Within the Central Plaza, you have the Grand Star Jazz Club and closer to the Hill St. side you have General Lee’s. The Grand Star Jazz Club is a two story restaurant which turns into a bar and club around 10PM. The upper level has a dance floor, bar and usually plays hip hop and a variety of good music to get down to under the shiny disco ball. The lower level of Grand Star Jazz Club also has a bar, a mini dance floor but offers a variety of music depending on what night it falls on. General Lee’s is the perfect place if you are looking to enjoy some fancy but fairly priced cocktails or your favorite beer with a nice ambience. They carry a huge selection of liquor and can make just about any drink you. This classy establishment offers two floors with full bars and Dj’s on each floor spinning classic Hip Hop, R&B, Reggae and House. There is no cover for General Lee’s so definitely stop by and check it out.
The Chinatown Summer Nights schedule and event details can be found here. The next one will take place on Saturday, July 16th. A few of my favorite food trucks such as the Lobsta Truck, Kogi Truck and The Lobos Truck are scheduled to be at the next one (July 16th). The Craft Beer Garden will be offering beer selections from the Arrogant Bastard Brewing Co., Avery Brewing Co. and Port Brewing Co. At the Culinary Stage of the West Plaza, there will be cooking demonstrations throughout the day and also calligraphy and candy sculpting activities for the family and the little ones. I highly recommend this event to anyone showing out of towners what LA has to offer during the summer. I’ve been coming to Chinatown Summer Nights every year since the first one I went to years ago.
You don’t want to miss out on this FREE event and you don’t want to be that person leaving the “TFTI” comment on your friend’s photos from last night!