21 Places to Celebrate Día de los Muertos

Posted Thursday, October 27th, 2016



Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is the perfect time to remember departed loved ones and to celebrate the life we have left with food, music, crafts and more.

Paint your faces with some seriously sweet sugar skull decorations (here’s how!) and then meet up with family and friends at these Day of the Dead celebrations. Don’t forget to check out Kidsguide’s Day of the Dead Pinterest board, too.


1. Día de los Muertos at Olvera Street

October 25-November 2: Watch a nightly procession of “Living Muertos” honoring ancient traditions and modern day celebrations, with champurrado and sweet bread and a viewing of community altars in the plaza afterward! Nightly, 7 p.m. Enjoy entertainment and face painting on festival days, October 29-30 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and November 1-2 from 4-8 p.m. Free.

(213) 485-8372
125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles


2. Festival de los Muertos at MOLAA

October 27-30: The Museum of Latin American Art hosts a string of community events and exhibits celebrating Día de los Muertos. On display through December 2, MOLAA’s Da de los Muertos Exhibition is a juried display of art and altars featuring Southern California artists. Also watch for these activities:

Sugar Skull workshop
Using colorful frosting and sequins, kids (13 and under) will decorate their own original sugar skull!
Thursday, October 27, 3:30- 5 p.m. Free.

Día de los Muertos Marigolds
Kids (13 and under) can learn how to make colorful tissue paper marigold flowers to celebrate Day of the Dead. Marigolds, known as cempaschil or “flower of the dead,” are believed to guide the spirits to their altars using their vibrant colors and scent.
Friday, October 28, 3:30- 5 p.m. Free.

Día de los Muertos Festival
Learn more about this important holiday as you enjoy free art workshops, live performances, gallery tours, face painting and craft vendors! Da de Los Muertos attire is strongly encouraged – come dressed as a calavera! Food and drinks available for purchase.
Sunday, October 30, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free.

(562) 437-1689
628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach


3. Free Sugar Skull Workshop in Santa Ana

October 28: Join Heritage Museum of Orange County for sugar skull decorating, create an altar craft, and watch a movie. Friday, 1-7 p.m. Free.

(714) 540-0404
3101 W Harvard St., Santa Ana


4. Papel Picado at the Norton Simon

October 28: Papel picado, or “perforated paper,” is a Mexican folk art that involves cutting paper into a variety of designs. It is often used as decoration during Day of the Dead celebrations. Kids (6-10) can take a look at The Flower Vendor (Girl with Lilies) by one of the world’s most famous artists, Diego Rivera, and create papel picado for your home. Friday, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Included with admission. Meet in Entrance Gallery.

(626) 449-6840
411 Colorado Blvd., Pasadena


5. Día De Los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

October 29: The 17th annual Día de Los Muertos will be held at Hollywood Forever, Los Angeles’ oldest memorial park, to honor and celebrate the memories of beloved souls. Día de Los Muertos attire strongly encouraged. Come dressed in your finest Calaca apparel. Enjoy music and dance performances, fine Mexican cuisine, arts and crafts, skeleton costume contests and a children’s art project area. This year’s theme is The Tree of Life. Saturday, noon – midnight. $20 per person, exact change; kids (8 and under) and seniors are free until 4 p.m.

(323) 469-1181
6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood


6. Halloween and Día de los Muertos Fishy Fest at Santa Monica Pier

October 29-30: Get ready to celebrate Halloween and Día de los Muertos with special arts and crafts projects for families and the plastic bag maze (make your way through and come out a winner, ready to say no to single use plastic bags), plus a marine artifacts graveyard. Saturday and Sunday, 12:30-5 p.m. Visit their website for schedule. Adults, $5; kids (12 and under), free. Beach level, beneath the Carousel at the Santa Monica Pier.

(310) 393-6149
1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica


7. Bootacular and Día de los Muertos at MainPlace Mall

October 29: Witches, ghouls and goblins can participate in a unique celebration that combines the fun of Halloween with the traditions of Día de los Muertos. Bootacular features a costume parade at 3:30 p.m., trick-or-treat tote bag decorating, face painting, a DJ, skull mask painting with The Bowers Museum and a Día de los Muertos photo booth, plus crafts, games and prizes (while supplies last). Saturday, 2-5 p.m. Free.

2800 N. Main St., Santa Ana


8. Day of the Dead Celebration at La Habra Library

October 29: Join the La Habra library for one of their favorite annual events. Events and activities for all ages. Saturday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Crafts & Face Painting from 11 a.m. – noon; Corona Dance Studio Ballet Folklorico, 1-2 p.m.; and Aztec Dance Group Huehueteotl, 2-3 p.m. Free. Library Program room.

(714) 526-7728
221 E. La Habra Blvd., La Habra


9. Day of the Dead at Grand Park LA

October 29-31: For the fourth year in a row, Grand Park partners with Self-Help Graphics & Art. The park presents 35 altars and art installations created by local artists and community groups in honor of Da de los Muertos. The altars, which will remain in the park all week long, will focus on themes that impact local communities. Altar subjects range from personal stories that celebrate families and lost loved ones, to more contemporary expressions of current affairs and community challenges, such as gang violence, immigration reform and education. Saturday, 7-9 p.m.; Sunday and Monday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Free.

(213) 972-8080
200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles


10. Day of the Dead in Old Pasadena

October 30: Head to Old Pasadena for its first ever Day of the Dead Fiesta, including self-guided tours of altars hosted by participating businesses, free calavera face painting, fun, hands-on craft activities sponsored by the Armory Center for the Arts and Color Me Mine Pasadena, Day of the Dead merchandise and artwork from local artisan vendors, 75-minute family program with nationally recognized storyteller Olga Loya, musical performance by a six-piece Mariachi Tesoro de Rebecca Gonzales and dressed in extravagantly plumed costumes, In Tlanextli Tlacopan Aztec Fire Dancers will provide an authentic ritual performance. Sunday, 2-6 p.m. Free to attend. Metro Right of Way at Union Street (between Colorado and Holly Street).

100 E. Union St. , Pasadena


11. Day of the Dead Workshop in Long Beach

October 30: Join the workshop to make Giant Sugar Skulls, Small Sugar Skulls, Chocolate Skulls, Candy Skulls, plus paint and decorate paper mache skulls and drawings. Sunday, noon -4 p.m. $58 per person, sign up on their website. Register early, this one fills up quickly!

(562) 439-4777
3823 E. 7th St., Long Beach


12. Día de los Muertos in San Pedro

October 30: Celebrate the Day of the Dead with restaurant food samples, an altar exhibition, kids’ zone, Aztec and folklorico dancers, and live music. Sunday, 3-9 p.m. Free admission.

398 W. 6th St., San Pedro


13. Día de Los Muertos in Santa Monica

October 30: The City of Santa Monica presents its fifth annual Day of the Dead. The family-friendly event focuses on the traditions that are part of this celebration of life and death and offers a variety of ways for participants to discover the meaning, philosophy and history of the day. The event begins with an opening procession and ceremonial blessing led by Ketzaliztli dancers, featuring traditional Mexican music and Day of the Dead inspired folk tales, myths, legends, and personal stories. Craft workshops include offerings for loved ones who have passed, calavera masks and adding stories of loved ones to the communal memory wall. There will also be a special guest appearance by La Catrina, the satirical and elegant female skeleton. Fresh tamales, tacos, pan de muerto and aquas frescas will be available for purchase. Sunday, noon – 4 p.m. Free admission and bike valet. Woodlawn Cemetery.

(310) 458-8688
1847 14th St.


14. Día de los Muertos in Oceanside

October 30: Celebrate departed loved ones with mariachi bands, a classic car show, ballet folklorico performances, Aztec entertainers, arts and crafts, traditional food and vendor booths. Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Find schedule on their website. Free admission. Parking, $5; shuttles at El Camino High School. Mission San Luis Rey.

4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside


15. Día de los Muertos Art Festival in Downey

October 30: The Downey Theatre hosts the annual Día de los Muertos Art Festival, indoor/outdoor vendors, decorate Calaveras, Papel Picado demos, alter contest, art exhibition, live music, ballet folklorico,Aztec dancers, food trucks and more. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Free.

(562) 861-8211
8435 Firestone Blvd., Downey


16. Celebrate Día De Los Muertos at Pretend City

November 1: Celebrate Día De Los Muertos at Pretend City! The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed away. Visit Pretend City to participate in fun, vibrant activities that will teach your children about this traditionally Mexican holiday. Tuesday, check their website for schedule of activities. Included with admission.

(949) 428-3900
29 Hubble, Irvine


17. Día de Los Muertos in Los Angeles

November 2: Celebrate the joyous tradition of Mexico’s most famous holiday at 24th Street Theatre’s free annual block party, with music, dance, homemade tamales, face painting, crafts booths and a graveyard where families can make their own altars for their departed loved ones. Bring a flashlight for the 5 p.m. procession! Wednesday, 5-10 p.m. Free. 24th Street Theatre.

(213) 745-6516
1117 W. 24th St., Los Angeles


18. Noche de Altares Celebration in Santa Ana

November 5: During the 14th annual Día de los Muertos celebration, community members construct dozens of beautiful altars for display. The family festival also includes cultural performances and live music, face painting, craft and food booths, and free art workshops. Saturday, noon -10 p.m. Free to attend.

(714) 333-6161
4th and Birch Streets, Santa Ana


19. Target Free Sunday Día de Los Muertos Celebration in La Habra

November 6: Visitors will enjoy the festivities while making decorated sugar skulls and whimsical Calaveras masks, as well as traditional face painting. *A total of 500 people are admitted on Target Free Sundays. Sunday, Session times are 1-2:45pm and 3:15-5pm.

(562) 383-4236
301 S. Euclid St., La Habra


20. Day of the Dead and Teen Festival in Fullerton

November 6: The Muckenthaler presents Latino arts and crafts, altars, art workshops, food vendors and live music! Plus performers, regional dance groups, and festive activities. Stroll the Muckenthaler Cultural Center grounds and celebrate this special event! Sunday, noon -4 p.m. Free admission.

(714) 738-6595
1201 West Malvern Ave, Fullerton


21. Day of the Dead Festival at Bowers Museum

November 6: Join a celebration of life and honor dearly departed loved ones. Leave a note of love on the beautiful ofrenda (memorial offering) for that person or pet that continues to be loved and missed. Then celebrate life with music, dance and art with the popular Mariachi Kids, Las Estrellas Folklorico of the Orange County School of the Arts, Xipe Totec Danza Azteca, Classical guitarist Joel Aceves and Estudiatina del Sol. Decorate sugar skulls and calavera masks and create many other day of the dead art projects while enjoying hot Mexican chocolate and pan de muerto. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Free admission

(714) 567-3600
2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana






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