14 very L.A. things to do on Father's Day that don't involve golf or fish
I'm proud to say that I never once gave my dad a necktie for Father's Day (or any other occasion for that matter). Nor did I ever gift him anything golf- or fishing-related (unless a bowl of seafood chowder during a visit to Boston counts). It's not that he didn't deserve to be honored each third Sunday of June (he totally did — he was a great dad). It's just that he wasn't the necktie-wearing, golf-playing or fishing type of father.
He was, however, a risk-taking, try-anything kind of guy (especially when it came to food), and one of my fondest memories is of the time my sister and I got him to eat sushi for the first time. (That may not sound particularly adventurous until you realize it was in Vermont in the mid-1980s.) As a result, my gifts to him, Father's Day or otherwise, always tended to be either experiential (a Penn & Teller magic show in Las Vegas) or edible (a suite of flavored popcorns from a Chicago airport kiosk, bottles of hot sauce so spicy they required a safety waiver).
In that spirit, and with Father's Day on the horizon (it's June 19 this year), features writers and editors for The Times scoured the Southland to compile a list of some seriously fun, out of-the-ordinary places to go and things to do (and eat) with dad.
And if you, like me, find yourself referring to your father in the past tense these days, why not embark on one of the suggested adventures in his honor? I'm pretty sure my dad would be amused by a visit to a cannabis consumption lounge, and he actually might relish the opportunity to learn pickleball.
1. Dad-snack your way through the Original Farmers Market
Few places in Los Angeles offer the kind of Father's Day foraging found at the Original Farmers Market at the corner of Fairfax Avenue and 3rd Street, so consider taking Pop on a palate-pleasing adventure through the various vendors here. Give your family's king of the grill the day off by snapping into mouth-watering meat options ranging from Texas-style barbecue (at Bryan's Pit Barbeque) to chunks of beef, lamb, Brazilian sausage or bacon-wrapped chicken sliced right off skewers onto waiting plates at the Pampas Grill Brazilian Churrascaría. (If you want to treat him but don't want to let him off the hook entirely, pick up some Nancy Silverton-blend ground beef at Huntington Meats. Named in honor of a local chef, it's formulated to all but guarantee any backyard burger is a restaurant-worthy one.)
Even if you're not ready to strap on the feed bag in advance of a sit-down Father's Day brunch (a full stack of Du-par's buttermilk pancakes will go a long way toward locking in most-favored-offspring status), there's plenty of gustatory grazing to be had thanks to merchants such as Magee's House of Nuts (if it was good enough for Ike — Dwight Eisenhower's visit is immortalized in a photo on display — it's good enough for dad); Light My Fire, a hot-sauce emporium with myriad mouth-melting bottles emblazoned with names such as "Widow No Survivor" and "Satan's Blood"; and Kaylin + Kaylin Pickles, which offers up a range of flavors including horseradish, jalapeño and honey mustard.
If you really want to make Poppa proud, then put your (or perhaps his) intestinal fortitude on display by entering one or both of you in the the Kaylin + Kaylin-sponsored pickle-eating contest, which is scheduled to take place the day before Father's Day. The inaugural Pickle Palooza from 1 to 3 p.m. in the plaza is expected to feature foodie and TikTok influencers snarfing their way to brine-soaked glory alongside local chefs and regular folks. Even if you don't win, you'll be losing for a good cause because a portion of proceeds from the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society's ResearcHERS program. — Adam Tschorn
📍: 6333 W. 3rd St.
☎️: (323) 933-9211
⏰: 10 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
2. Outdoor yoga with Nic and Lu ... and Dad at Echo Park Lake
Parents aren’t always good about self-care, so why not treat Dad to an only-in-L.A. respite: alfresco yoga on the lawn of Echo Park overlooking downtown L.A. and the lush, lotus-filled lake? Upbeat yoga instructors Luciana Johnson and Nicole Grey, a.k.a. Nic and Lu Yoga, offer classes every Sunday to participants of every skill level and, in a nice touch, take turns offering tips on form while the other leads class.
“We started Nic and Lu Yoga from a desire to create an outdoor space that brings together all different types of people with different skill levels,” Grey said. “Our mission is to weave this beautiful community back together again and hold a safe space to flow, grow and connect.”
At a recent class, the yoga instructors joked that doing yoga in a public park is an endless series of pivots with ducks, birds and birthday celebrations adding to the cacophony of class. Nature balances things, however. Look up during triangle pose and you’ll be greeted by palm trees, clouds and blue sky, which feels like a hopeful moment to share with someone you love. Free parking in a city lot nearby. — Lisa Boone
📍: Echo Park Lake, 751 Echo Park Ave.
⏰: 10 a.m. Sundays
3. Play a game of pickleball, the ultimate dad sport
Amid the rise and fall of Zoom happy hour, quarantine beards and DIY sourdough, there’s one pandemic-fueled activity still holding strong: pickleball.
Whether your dad is a devout pickleballer like mine is (at his 75th birthday party, we hung up a garland made of the plastic yellow balls and he beamed with delight) or simply pickle-curious, take him out to the courts on Father’s Day to play a few games. As Times reporter Connor Sheets explains, it’s “a democratizing sport with a low barrier to entry.” Anyone can pick up a paddle and start getting a feel for how it works within the first few hits.
The challenge may be finding an open court — pickleball advocates say there aren’t enough places to play in L.A. — but you can start your search on USA Pickleball’s Places 2 Play. The site lists the courts closest to you, along with fees, user reviews and whether or not you need a reservation. — Michelle Woo
4. Laugh and sing along at Weird Al's show at the Wiltern
A "Weird Al" Yankovic show is basically the ultimate dad-joke fest. Really, what pun-loving father among us wouldn't appreciate lyrics like “Might as well face it you’re addicted to spuds” and “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh Oreo. What’s in the middle? The white stuff”?
On Father’s Day, take Pops to Weird Al’s show at the Wiltern, which was recently added to his the Unfortunate Return of the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour. The setlist, which will be a surprise, will draw from the musical satirist's massive catalogue of 14 studio albums, featuring under-the-radar original songs. He’s going bare bones this time around, with no props, video screens or costumes (aside from his signature Hawaiian shirt).
Watch Dad laugh and sing along with the crowd. Fair warning: You'll both be humming Yankovic tunes on the drive home. — Michelle Woo
📍: The Wiltern, 3790 Wilshire Blvd.
⏰: 8 p.m. June 19
💰: Tickets start at $50
5. Bike the Venice Electric Light Parade together
If you’d like something a little adventurous and very out of the ordinary for Father's Day, pack up Dad and your bikes and head for Windward Plaza Park on the Venice Beach Boardwalk to join the Captain — Marcus Gladney — and hundreds of other wheeled folk who ride in the dazzling Venice Electric Light Parade every Sunday at sunset.
Participation is free, but if you’d like to add a few strands of LEDs to your bike to blend in, get to the boardwalk early and seek out Sebastian “The Light Man” Butler, who sells strings of lights for about $40 and helps add them to your bike. His motto? “Get lit or get hit.”
These days, people start gathering about 7 p.m. and the ride starts as the sun goes down — about 8 p.m. — and Gladney cranks up the throbbing lights and music on his giant beach bike, Big Red. The route takes you west to the Santa Monica Pier, then back up along Abbot Kinney Boulevard and other streets in Venice, finishing at the end of West Washington Boulevard in Marina del Rey, about a half-mile from where it all began. If you don’t want to transport bikes, Gladney rents light-bedecked bikes for $99 a night (reserve ahead of time online). The rental includes a special Venice Electric Light Parade keepsake T-shirt. Plan at least three hours for the ride, and, if you rent from Gladney, expect to ride to and from the storage area where he keeps his bikes, about three miles from the boardwalk. — Jeanette Marantos
📍: Windward Plaza, 1 Windward Ave., Venice
⏰: Every Sunday at sunset (which, on Father's Day, will be at 8:08 p.m.), except during heavy rains
💰: Free, unless you rent a bike for $99
6. Bug out at the Southern California Carnivorous Plant Enthusiasts Show & Sale
If your dad hates flies and mosquitos as much as my dad did, he might really enjoy a visit to the second annual show and sale by the Southern California Carnivorous Plant Enthusiasts (a.k.a. SCCPE or "Skippy") at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar. Enthusiasts insist they care more about the beauty of these strange, exotic plants than their "carnivory," but get them talking and they will enthusiastically relate how a North American pitcher plant can collect so many bugs that it sometimes overflows (ewww). And at their show, they will offer exhibits of carnivorous plants cut open, so you can see how their buggy digestion systems really work (double ewww).
These plants can be very expensive — $1,000 or more for collectors — but beginners should be able to snag a cool plant for around $30. Be sure to get tips about how to care for these plants. You can keep them outside, in a pot sitting in a saucer with a few inches of water to keep these bog-loving plants happy, or in a sunny window out of direct light. Admission to the garden is just $5, so take dad to the show and offer to buy him his own living fly catcher — and hope it never overflows. — Jeanette Marantos
📍: Southern California Carnivorous Plant Enthusiasts Show & Sale at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar
☎️: (949) 673-2261
⏰:10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 18 and 19
💰: Free with $5 admission to Sherman Gardens (children 3 and under and members enter free)
7. Bond with 007 (and each other) at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Your dad's favorite spy of yesteryear — well, probably — takes over the screen of the museum’s David Geffen Theater on just the right day. The movie is "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) from the Roger Moore era.
What's that? Your dad prefers one of the other Bonds? This is the perfect time to explain that he is mistaken. Or to redirect his attention to this film's brilliant villain, "Jaws" (actor Richard Kiel, not the shark). Moore and Kiel are both gone now, but once you've got them in mind as you roam the rest of the museum, isn't it easy to picture a Bond-vs.-Jaws fight scene play out atop the museum's signature dome? (In real life, you do see window-washers up there from time to time.) — Christopher Reynolds
If you and dad are down to double up on 007, The Times' listings coordinator Matt Cooper points out that it's as easy as crossing the street — literally — to the Petersen Automotive Museum. That's where you'll find the exhibition “Bond in Motion.” On display through Oct. 23, it features cars, motorcycles, boats and other vehicles used in James Bond films through the decades including the Lotus Esprit S1 "Wet Nellie" (from 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me") and an Aston Martin DB5 that's appeared in five Bond films — which happens to be as many appearances as George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan combined. Additional information and tickets available at petersen.org/bond.
📍: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, 6067 Wilshire Blvd.
☎️: (323) 930-3000
⏰: 7:30 p.m. June 19
💰: Cost for nonmembers is $10 per adult, $7 for seniors, $5 for students
8. Conquer the trails (and snacks) of Griffith Park together
First, park on Fern Dell Drive in Griffith Park. Then hike to Griffith Park Observatory (a 2.6-mile loop), return and eat lunch at the Trails Cafe (open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays) in Fern Dell. Calories out, calories in.
If you're more ambitious hikers, continue from Griffith Observatory to the Tom LaBonge Panorama atop Mt. Hollywood — that's another 1.4 to 3.2 miles round trip, depending on your route.
Once you're back at the observatory, you can have lunch at the Café at the End of the Universe (open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays), then return to Fern Dell. Or, if you can't be bothered with the calories-out part of this equation, just eat at the Trails and pretend you've been hiking. — Christopher Reynolds
📍: The Trails Cafe, 2333 Fern Dell Drive
☎️: (323) 871-2102
⏰: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Thursday. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
💰: Coffee, sandwiches, pie, baked goods, mostly $8.50 and under.
9. Savor a new dish at Smorgasburg L.A. with dad
If your dad loves to eat but is COVID-cautious and not quite ready to dine indoors, take him to Smorgasburg L.A., the largest weekly outdoor food market in the country, located behind Row DTLA. The event features more than 80 local vendors offering everything from oysters to tacos, vegan donuts to Ethiopian food, as well as design and crafts vendors. The first two hours of on-site parking are free. — Lisa Boone
📍: 777 S. Alameda St.
⏰: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays
💰: Free entry
10. Great Scott! Take a peek inside Doc's house
If Dad's a fan of "Back to the Future" — or just historic Los Angeles architecture — take him to the Gamble House. The property, which was famously Doc Brown's house in the 1985 classic, is having docent-led tours on Father's Day. Inside the 1908 Arts and Crafts building, you'll see intricate woodwork and stained glass galore. You'll learn about the Gamble family (yes, of Procter & Gamble fame) as well as the painstaking work that architects Charles and Henry Greene put into this stunning home.
Some bright spots of the tour include gawking at the 6-foot-4 front door with its impressive stained glass tree and drippy lead edging, spotting the carved bats in the living room, admiring the custom wood furnishings and noticing a purposeful hint of "wabi-sabi," or imperfection, in this highly designed home with Japanese influences. Perhaps while relaxing on the terrace, your Father's Day party can brainstorm the next flux capacitor. Or at least get a family photo by the koi pond surrounded by stones from the Arroyo Seco. — Brittany Levine Beckman
📍: 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena
☎️: (626) 793-3334
💰: $25 for nonmembers, $5 for children under 12
⏰: One-hour tours beginning at 11:30 a.m. June 19
11. See the Olvera Street fig take on new life
The 144-year-old Olvera Street tree that collapsed in 2019 has been reincarnated into a towering piece of art. The Moreton Bay fig tree, which once played backdrop to wedding photos and street festivals at El Pueblo de Los Angeles plaza, has been stitched back together in a Minecraft-inspired design for "A Forest for the Trees," an immersive show in Boyle Heights that examines our relationship with nature. If Dad has a special connection to this deeply rooted piece of L.A. history — or environmental preservation — he may be moved to see its new form. The fig tree's branches are suspended amid a latticework of steel boxes and frosted screens and brought to life by a colorful lightshow and original, soul-spinning music.
"A Forest for the Trees" includes other works too, such as a sculpture representing a 4,800-year-old bristlecone pine and talking trees with robot faces. If you want to splurge, buy Dad a brim hat from the Thunder Voice Hat Co. in the gift shop at the exhibit's entry. — Brittany Levine Beckman
📍: Ace Mission Studios, 516 South Mission Road, Boyle Heights
💰: $22.50 to $50
12. Take Dad to L.A.'s only open weed bar
If you've got a dad who likes to dab, why not take him to the only currently open cannabis consumption lounge in the L.A. area? If you bring Pops in on Father's Day itself, you'll save 25% on all your cannabis purchases. And if you swing by the day before (June 18) to stock up, the dispensary downstairs (as well as the rest of the Artist Tree locations) will be offering gift bags with pre-rolled joints, edibles and/or flower for a penny with qualifying purchases.
Also on June 18, there's a Puff & Paint event (in the third-floor space at 2 to 5 p.m., $50-$99, tickets available via Eventbrite) with artist Corie Mattie, which might afford you the perfect opportunity to create a piece of flower-fueled high art for your father to hang on the fridge. — Adam Tschorn
📍: The Artist Tree Studio Dispensary Lounge, 8625 Santa Monica Blvd., 2nd and 3rd floor, West Hollywood
☎️: (310) 362-1004
⏰: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
💰: $15 per person ($30 for up to five people) not including cannabis products
13. Take your dad to see "King James" at the Mark Taper Forum
Give your basketball-loving dad a hometown slam-dunk on Father’s Day. (Hint: You’re not going to the Crypto.com Arena for a special game.) Put on your best jersey, break out your favorite kicks and take your pops to the Mark Taper Forum in downtown L.A. for the world premiere of "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" playwright Rajiv Joseph’s “King James” (yes, as in Lakers and “Space Jam: A New Legacy” star LeBron James).
The new play, which is directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and co-produced with Steppenwolf Theatre Co., tells the story of two Clevelander fans (played by veteran stage actor Glenn Davis and "Abbott Elementary" star Chris Perfetti) whose lives evolve over 12 years as James lives out his hoop dreams. As The Times reported in March, “While the play tracks James’ career path from his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers to his controversial move to the Miami Heat, then his triumphant return to Ohio, 'King James' mines more universal themes, using basketball as a lens through which to view race, the ups and downs of friendship and the power of sports to bring people together.” The play has a 2-hour performance time, including a 15-minute intermission, and is scheduled to end July 3. — Marques Harper
📍: Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave.
☎️: (213) 628-2772
⏰: Show times and dates vary
💰: $35 to $110
14. Puff with Pops at a special double feature at the Montalbán Theatre
Sometimes it’s the right time to break new ground with Dad, especially when you’re celebrating a double holiday. (In case you forgot, Father’s Day and Juneteenth are both on June 19.) The Cannabis & Movies Club, a private group for weed-and-flicks fans, has you covered with its Juneteenth double feature of two Black cinema classics, 1985's “The Last Dragon” and 1988's “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka," at the Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood. (Come on, when’s the last time you’ve seen either of these screen gems? And on one night? And have the opportunity to get a little stoned too?)
That’s right. To make the night of bonding with your dad or father figure a bigger treat, you can consume weed during this rooftop screening. Doors open at 5 p.m. with pre-show entertainment including food (tacos, with a vegan option, and desserts), door prizes, giveaways and music. Cannabis delivery is also available, and the first film will start at sunset. You have to register at cannabisandmovies.com first. (According to the group, an annual membership for those 21 and older is covered in the purchase of your first ticket.) Also, plan ahead so you don’t consume and drive. As a bonus for some, the event is a block from the Hollywood and Vine subway stop. — Marques Harper
📍: Montalbán Theatre, 1615 Vine St.
☎️: (323) 461-6999
⏰: 5 to 11:30 p.m. June 19
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.