Día de los Muertos Celebrations in Southern California: A Colorful & Festive Tradition

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a vibrant and heartfelt celebration deeply rooted in Mexican culture. Though it might sound spooky, this holiday is anything but scary.

It’s a time for families to come together and remember their loved ones who have passed away. But it’s not a time for sadness—it’s all about celebrating life and the memories of those who are no longer with us. Families create ofrendas, or altars, filled with photographs, the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks, candles, and marigold flowers, believed to help guide spirits back home.

In Southern California, this tradition takes on a unique and multicultural form, welcoming all who want to participate. Cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Long Beach host grand events and parades that attract people of all backgrounds.

2023 Día de los Muertos Events in Southern California

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Dia de los Muertos at Museum of Latin American Art
Long Beach | October 29, 2023

MOLAA’s Día de los Muertos: Hecho con Amor / Made with Love honors their partnership with Mexico and exhibition, Festin de Sabores – an intimate look at the richness and the complexity of Mexican cuisine.

Join MOLAA for their annual Day of the Dead Family Festival featuring over 36 merchants, nine delicious food stations, beer and wine, and sweets for the kids and kids at heart. Live performances and tunes spun all day by DJ Caveman. Kids can enjoy the face painting station, sugar skull workshop, printmaking station, and more. Go dressed in Day of the Dead regalia and enter to win prizes. Ballet Folklorica Nueva Antequera, Ballet Folkorica de El Salvador, and Danza Azteca Xochipilli will be performing.

The event is free to attend. Reservations not required, but encouraged. Walk-ins are welcome. Parking is $15 per car.

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Sugar Skull! A Día de Muertos Musical Adventure! at The Wallis
Beverly Hills | October 29, 2023

Sugar Skull! A Día de Muertos Musical Adventure!, a bilingual/bicultural musical for young audiences, uses traditional music and dance from Mexico to tell the story twelve-year-old Vita Flores who thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Why throw a party for the dead? But when a spirited candy skeleton suddenly springs to life, Vita finds herself on a magical musical journey to unravel the true meaning and tuneful traditions of Día de Muertos. Best enjoyed by grades Pre-K – 3. All wigglers are welcome!

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Disney Pixar’s Coco Live-to-Film Concert
Cerritos | November 13, 2023

Sit back and enjoy Disney Pixar’s Coco Live-to-Film Concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. The evening includes a screening of the complete film and a musical score performed by a 20-member ensemble Orquesta Folclórica Nacional de México. In addition to the original score by Giacchino, also featured is the Oscar-winning song Remember Me by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and additional songs co-written by Germaine Franco and co-director-screenwriter Adrian Molina.

Tickets start at $29. The VIP package is $144 and includes premium seating and a Coco gift pack.


Día de los Muertos Festival
San Pedro | October 22, 2023

Celebrate and honor the memories of the deceased with colorful displays, Grammy-winning Mariachi Divas, altar competitions, face painting, live entertainment, craft vendors, local food, and outdoor beer garden. Plus, screening of Encanto at the Grand Warner Theater (reserve tickets online).

Día de los Muertos Celebration at The Muckenthaler
Fullerton | October 26, 2023

A Día de los Muertos celebration with music on the amphitheater stage with Grupo Bella. The concert will also include free arts and crafts to make sugar skulls, papel picado, and paper marigolds. Plus, enjoy a market with vendors and the community ofrenda.

Dia de los Muertos Festival on Olvera Street
Los Angeles | Oct 25 – Nov 2, 2023

The nightly celebration begins in the plaza with Novenario Procession, featuring blessings, “living muertos”, and free sweet bread. Visit community altars, enjoy live entertainment, face painting, and La Danza de la Muerte, a vibrant theatrical performance that tells the story of Día de los Muertos.

Día de los Muerto Celebration at Fullerton College
Fullerton | October 26, 2023

Join Fullerton College for a free evening of music, food, activities, ofrendas, and performances. The community is invited to bring their chairs and blankets to see performances on the Quad and bring a copy of a photo to add to the community altar.

Día de los Muertos at St. Isidore Historical Plaza
Los Alamitos | October 28, 2023

Altar display contest, face painting, folkloric dancing, live music, and food and drinks. The public is invited to participate in the creation of altars.

Día de los Muertos at MainPlace Mall
Santa Ana | October 28, 2023

Enjoy live performances, face painting, sugar skull decorating workshop, illustration station, live painting, kid crafts and and the first 300 children to visit the welcome table will receive a swag bag.

Día de los Muertos Fiesta
Mission Viejo | October 28, 2023

Visit the Norman P. Murray Community Center to explore the educational and cultural significance of Day of the Dead traditions. Enjoy live mariachi music, folkloric dance, face painting, arts and crafts, and a movie screening of Coco.

Día de los Muertos Celebration
Downtown Santa Monica | October 28, 2023

Visit Third Street Promenade for festive live entertainment, colorful community altars, pop-up market, and a public art installation by Los Angeles-based artist, Ricado Soltero.

Día de los Muertos at Pretend City
Irvine | October 28, 2023

Create arts and crafts for loved ones. This enchanting celebration is all about honoring and remembering our loved ones in a joyful and meaningful way.

Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Los Angeles | October 28, 2023

The annual Día de los Muertos festival at Hollywood Forever returns featuring two separate ticketed events, Día de los Muertos and Noche de los Muertos. This year’s theme is Máscaras de México – Vida y Muerte en La Máscara. Daytime event features a children’s plaza. Both events include altars, art exhibitions, cultural performances, and vendors.

Día de los Muerto Pop Up Event at Wilmington Cemetery
Wilmington | October 28, 2023

Shop from over 60 booths and vendors, enjoy face painting, food and dessert, arts and crafts, and more.

Day of the Dead in Old Town San Diego
San Diego | Oct 28 – Nov 2, 2023

It’s the time of the year where we reunite the living and the dead. The tradition of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) continues in Old Town this year. More details TBA.

Día de los Muertos Art Festival
Downey | October 29, 2023

Now in its 10th year, the event features live music, ballet folklorico, Aztec dancers, car altar displays, papel picado, calaveras, face painting, food trucks, and more.

Día de los Muertos at Forest Lawn
Cypress, Covina Hills, Glendale | October 29, 2023

Forest Lawn will bring traditional Day of the Dead customs to life with folkloric dance and mariachi performances, Bob Baker Marionette performances, community ofrendas presentations, traditional catrina and alebrijes art works, crafts, face painting, plus food trucks and refreshments.

Día de los Muertos at Fairhaven Memorial Park
Santa Ana | November 2, 2023

Celebrate your loved ones with a blessing of the souls, marimba music, folkloric dance performances, and more.

Día de los Muertos at Hana Field
Costa Mesa | November 2-4, 2023

Enjoy food, music and crafts, create an altar for your loved ones.

Día de los Muertos Grand Parade & Festival
Long Beach | November 4, 2023

The Día de los Muertos Grand Parade & Festival returns to Rainbow Lagoon Park for a culturally rich showcase of costumes and traditional dances. The parade features Catrinas, Calaveras, musical groups, and more. The Arte y Ofrendas Festival at the park features Aztec dance blessing, altares, Children’s Plaza, art exhibits, face painting, artisan mercado, food vendors, and more.

Día de Muertos Celebration at Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
Rancho Dominguez | November 4, 2023

Watch live performances from mariachi to baile folklorico, enjoy traditional food options, shop from vendors, and view ofrendas from the community.


This post was written by Kidsguide

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