Día de Los Muertos LA
Credit: Michelle Moro and Beau Ryan

12 Ways to Celebrate Día de los Muertos in LA This Year

These Day of the Dead Celebrations Are as Sweet as Pan de Muerto

Día de los Muertos is a sacred Mexican holiday that pays homage to ancestors and loved ones who have crossed to the other side. During this beloved holiday, personalized ofrendas, or altars, are adorned with everything from sugar skulls and photos to vibrant florals as offerings to the deceased. The festivities take place on Nov. 1-2, bringing together community and culture in one of the most beautiful and symbolic ways. Whether you’re looking to add a new tradition to your holiday or are celebrating for the first time, here are 12 ways to celebrate Día de los Muertos in Los Angeles this year. 


Lola’s Long Beach 

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Credit: Ed Visions

Long Beach locals can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern twist at Lola’s! Considering a sugar skull is the eatery’s emblem, it is beyond fitting for those looking to quench their thirst with an ice-cold Modelo in celebration. In addition to having Modelo on draft, Lola’s Long Beach also serves bottled Modelo Negra, so take your pick before diving into some much-need apps. Start with the house guacamole and some homemade sopes, and definitely order one of the signature mole dishes as your main course.

Location: Long Beach


El Patron Cantina

Between the sugar skull artwork and hanging floral sculptures, El Patron Cantina in DTLA provides the ideal backdrop for dining out on Día de los Muertos. With both Modelo Negra and Modelo Especial on draft, you can keep the good times and good beers flowing all night long. Though you can’t go wrong with any of the tacos, the quesabirria tacos are cheesy, decadent and rich, making them worthy of a special celebration. If you’re in the mood for something on the lighter side, go for the Mexican Caesar salad with chicken or shrimp.

Location: Downtown Los Angeles



La Luz del Día Restaurant 

For some of the most authentic Michoacán in the city, head to La Luz del Día Restaurant. Though this locally loved eatery usually closes before dinner, they will have special hours on Día de los Muertos, opening from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 1-2. Since it is cafeteria-style, guests are able to enjoy a taste of everything, and the creamy beans and flavorful rice make for the ultimate sides. Pair your food with a bottle of Modelo before continuing the celebration elsewhere.


Día y Noche de los Muertos @ Hollywood Forever

Día de Los Muertos LA
Credit: Robert Swapp

On Oct. 28, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is hosting a double feature of festivities. This year’s theme is Máscaras de México: Vida y Muerte en La Máscara, encouraging attendees to don their best masks and costumes in honor of storytelling that has kept history and culture alive through generations. Día de los Muertos kicks off at 9 a.m. and will have everything from a children’s plaza and stage performances to over a dozen culinary vendors. At 5 p.m., the festival will transition into the evening portion, and though there will be similar activities and offerings, a separate ticket is required. 

Location: Hollywood


Olvera Street Día de los Muertos Festival

From Oct. 25 to Nov. 2, Olvera Street turns into a one-of-a-kind festival that celebrates life while honoring the dead. Novenario processions with traditional Mayan blessings are held each day, and attendees can also enjoy face painting, theatrical performances—including a performance of La Danza de la Muerte from Teatro del Barrio—outdoor community altars and more. If you’re hoping to surround yourself with like-minded celebrants who keep tradition at the core of each activity, the Olvera Street Día de los Muertos Festival is an absolute must for LA locals.

Location: Downtown Los Angeles


Los Muertos 5K Run/Walk

Get your blood pumping for a great cause! The Los Muertos 5K starts at 8 a.m. sharp on Oct. 28 in DTLA. The course runs along historic Olvera Street and is open to everyone, whether you’re a walker or a runner. There is even a runners’ altar, where participants can place a photo of their own loved ones. During the race, children can partake in face painting, but since there are only 10 face-painters and more than 3,000 runners, try to get there as early as possible. 

Location: Downtown Los Angeles


Main Street Canoga Park Día de los Muertos Festival

Valley dwellers should mark their calendars for 10 a.m. on Nov. 5 for the 23rd annual Main Street Canoga Park Día de los Muertos Festival. This family-friendly gathering goes above and beyond to cater to people of all ages and interests. From the traditional cultural procession the a classic car show, Canoga Park pulls out all of the stops for Día de los Muertos. Fill your belly with bites from one of the many food trucks and take in the mesmerizing performance of the talented Folklorico dancers before the festival ends at 5 p.m.

Location: Canoga Park


Santa Monica Día de los Muertos Celebration

Día de Los Muertos LA
Credit: Santa Monica Día de los Muertos Celebration

Watch as the Third Street Promenade turns into a colorful and community-oriented festival for Día de los Muertos. The celebration runs from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, and live performances will be made by Neiya Arts, Ballet Flor de Mayo, Grupo La Rosa, Folklor América, Poco Pocho and several Latinx student groups. Listen to the tunes as you browse the extensive pop-up market that will showcase everything from paintings to jewelry to food. Also, don’t forget to admire the La Catrina sculptures created by LA artist Ricardo Soltero. 

Location: Santa Monica


Candlelight Glendale: Día De Los Muertos

Credit: Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández

Looking for a completely unique and unforgettable experience on Día de los Muertos? Candlelight Glendale: Día De Los Muertos is a multi-sensory concert by The Adelaide Band. This four-piece mariachi band includes talented vocalists who play guitarrón, guitar, violin, and vihuela. As you sit surrounded by the gentle glow of candlelight, enjoy the soothing sounds of traditional folk songs along with more modern favorites like “Remember Me” from Disney’s tear-jerking film, Coco. The concert is only 65 minutes, and since late entry is not permitted, be sure to get there early. Check the website for dates and times.

Location: Glendale


Self Help Graphics’ 50th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration

Día de Los Muertos LA
Credit: Pablo Aguilar

Pay a visit to the East LA Civic Center for the Self Help Graphics’ 50th Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration. During the entire month of October, Self Help Graphics will host kid-friendly workshops in preparation for the main event. During the highly anticipated celebration, attendees can expect a Muertos Market, where they will be able to shop local artisan creations, enjoy live music, visit countless ofrendas and indulge in cuisine from local food vendors. Dressing up in traditional Día de los Muertos attire is highly encouraged, and the celebration is expected to run from 4 to 10 p.m. each Saturday in October.

Location: East Los Angeles


MOLAA’s annual Day of the Dead Family Festival: Hecho Con Amor

Credit: Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández

MOLAA’s annual Día de los Muertos Family Festival’s theme is none other than Hecho con Amor, which translates to Made with Love. The event, which takes place on Oct. 29 and is free to attend, is set to have more than 36 merchants, allowing you to get a first-hand look at some of LA’s most unique artisan goods. In addition to nine different food stations, beer and wine will also be available for purchase, and there are plenty of kid-friendly activities like face painting and sugar skull making. DJ Caveman will also be playing during the entire duration of the event, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Long Beach


Grand Park’s Día de los Muertos Ofrendas

Día de Los Muertos LA
Credit: Michelle Moro and Beau Ryan

Celebrate the holiday at the 12th annual Gloria Molina Grand Park’s Downtown Día de los Muertos. With 19 different ofrendas set up by professional artists, visitors will have the chance to admire the beauty of gathering together in reverence. In addition to the 19 altars created by professional artists and community organizations, there is also a 20th altar that you can actually contribute to in order to honor the victims of the tragic Maui wildfires and the victims of gun violence at Monterey Park. If your day is already packed on the days of the holiday itself, this event will first open on Oct. 21, allowing you to get a head start on celebrating. It runs daily through Nov. 2.

Location: Downtown Los Angeles

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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.




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