Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is coming up soon, and we have your list of where to celebrate this holiday. Family fun and cultura all wrapped into one!
About Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead celebrates the unity of life and death, considered by many to be the most important holiday of the year in Mexico and other Latin American countries. This is the time when the spirits of loved ones who have died return to earth to celebrate this holiday with friends and family. It is not Halloween, nor is it meant to be scary. The holiday is spent in celebration with friends and family, as a time to offer hospitality to the spirits and to honor and remember loved ones.
Every year, I create a Day of the Dead altar in memory of my dad then visit a few Day of the Dead celebrations to share my memories with others. The events highlighted below are those loved by families year after year. Don’t see a favorite on the list? Let me know!
Where to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Southern California
Downtown Santa Ana
More information: http://www.vivalavidasantaana.com
Time: 1 pm – 10 pm
Where:Downtown Santa Ana – on 4th street between French and Bush Streets
Held in the heart of Orange County, Santa Ana’s Dia De Los Muertos Festival “Viva La Vida” captures the very essence of our cultural and artistic spirit. Organized by community members, the purpose of the celebration is to honor ancient traditions of the festival through art, culture, and compassion.
In addition to viewing beautifully created altars, attendees will be able to buy local artwork from vendors while being entertained by cultural performances and live music. This event takes us to a time when friends, family, and communities came together to celebrate life with all of our senses.
Plaza De La Raza Cultural Center
Time: 7:00 P.M. – 2:00 A.M.
Where: 3540 N Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90031
The 9th Annual “El Velorio” Cultural Celebration and fundraiser celebrates the cultural spirit and heritage of the Dia De Los Muertos tradition. A percentage of all proceeds from ticket sales, art sales, and other event activities will benefit the Plaza De La Raza Cultural Center.
The celebration will include two main stages with full programs of entertainment including, (Main Stage) Hosted by Gazoo Olmedo and headlining band Buyepongo & Subsuelo, Nancy Sanchez and Isaac Pelayo; (Backstage) Hosted by Calipso Aranda and featuring DJ ChrisRox and Disloe Poke, E.v Dub-Music Everardo Garcia, ERA and Machetres.
The event will feature an art exhibit showcasing the talents of over 100 various artists, showcasing original one of a kind Dia De Los Muertos pieces created for “El Velorio” and this year’s theme “Til Death Do Us Part”. The event will also include food, dancing, fashion show by Loretta “Vampz” Valdez, various arts & crafts vendors and more.
October 25 – November 2
Dia de los Muertos at Olvera Street, Los Angeles
More information: https://www.olveraevents.com/day-of-the-dead-olvera-street
Time: Novenario Procession: October 25 through November 2 at 7 pm
Saturday & Sunday, October 27 & 28 from 10 am-8 pm
Thursday & Friday, November 1 & 2 from 4 pm – 8 pm
Where El Pueblo de los Angeles
For over 30 years, the merchants on Olvera Street have celebrated Dia de los Muertos. The celebration has evolved to incorporate the pre-Columbian, Aztec, Mayan and Catholic rituals surrounding death. Each night, a vibrant and colorful procession sets the stage for our ceremony. Dia de los Muertos at Olvera Street is the only celebration of its kind in Los Angeles – A nine (9) day festival, with altars on display, children’s workshops, face painting, and entertainment throughout. Novenario procession takes place at 7pm each night.
Hollywood Forever // Los Angeles
More information: http://www.ladayofthedead.com/event-info/
Time: 12 pm – 12 am
Where: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038
The theme for this years event is Coatlicue “Mother of Gods”. Musical performances by Grammy Award winning recording artists.
General Admission: $25 per person – (please bring exact change); Children under 8 and Seniors 65 and over free until 4pm
Dia de Los Muertos attire strongly encouraged – Come dressed in your finest Calaca apparel. Spend an eventful day relaxing and watching the evening stars appear as the cemetery comes to life with joyful celebrations. Enjoy fine Mexican cuisine and a wide spectrum of Day of the Dead arts and crafts available for purchase. Pre-Purchase your tickets to avoid lines day of the event.
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach
More information: https://www.molaa.org
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: 628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802
Explore Día de los Muertos, a vibrant celebration of life and loved ones at MOLAA’s annual family festival! Learn more about this cultural tradition through art workshops, live performances, gallery tours, face painting, food and unique craft vendors. Día de los Muertos attire strongly encouraged – Come dressed as a calavera! FREE with admission
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM, LA Opera’s Zarzuela Project with Mariachi Voz de América
1:30 – 2:30 PM, Ballet Folklórico Nueva Antequera with Maqueos Music Philharmonic Band
Downey Dia de los Muertos Art Festival
More information: http://ddlm.downeytheatre.org/
Time: 11 am – 8 pm
Where: Downey Theatre, 8435 Firestone Blvd, Downey, California 90241
This all day festival includes: Live Music and Dancing, Ballet Folklorico, Aztec Dancers, Papel Picado demonstrations and display, Decorate Calaveras, Altar Contest, Car Art Display, Exhibition by local artists, Sculpture Alley, Food Trucks, Beer and Wine Garden and the return of the “Casa Calaveras” Exhibit.
Old Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside
More information: http://www.mslrdiadelosmuertos.com/
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Where: 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, CA 92057
Learn about many cultures and traditions. Free admission; parking $5 per car. Skip the traffic and take the free shuttle bus from El Camino High School on Rancho del Oro.
Downtown San Pedro Dia de los Muertos
More information: http://sanpedrodayofthedead.com
Time: 3 pm – 9 pm
Where: 398 West 6th Street. San Pedro, California 90731 ($7 event parking)
Visitors will experience a vibrant downtown filled with a festive live entertainment lineup.
With freshly prepared Latin American bites, guests can sample regional Mexican fare. Face painting, children’s area, handmade jewelry, clothing and other specialty items made by artisans will be available as well. Children can experience creating a Dia de los Muertos souvenir at the free arts and crafts activity center.
Featuring uniquely designed altars at the Altars Competition and Exhibition and over 35 food and craft vendors, visitors are encouraged to come dressed in Dia de los Muertos themed costume and participate in the festivities.
Downtown Anaheim Community Center
More information: https://www.anaheim.net
Time: 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Where: Downtown Community Center, 250 E Center Street, Anaheim, CA 92805
Come one, come all, to Dia de los Muertos: A Night of Community & Culture! This FREE event benefits Project S.A.Y. (Support Anaheim’s Youth) Development Program. There will be a LIVE mariachi band, arts and crafts, altars, vendors, and food.
Anaheim Cemetery Dia de los Muertos Celebration
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/290528788446504/
Time: 6 pm – 8 pm
Where: Anaheim Cemetery, 1400 E Sycamore St, Anaheim, California 92805
This free event begins at 6 p.m. with a Dia de los Muertos Blessing.
Performances by the Rhythmo Mariachi Acadmey and Ballet Folklorico Donaji. Fun Kids Craft Table. Enjoy free desserts, Pan de Muertos, and small bouquets of Marigolds for gravesite or ofrenda decorations (while supplies last).
Pretend City Children’s Museum, Irvine
More information: http://www.pretendcity.org/event/dia-de-los-muertos-celebration/
Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Where 29 Hubble, Irvine,CA 92618
Celebrate Dia De Los Muertos with vibrant, educational activities for the little ones. Bring a photo of your loved one to add to our special Altar and partake in the celebration!
Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary, Santa Ana
More information: 714 633 1442
Time: 7 pm – 8 pm
Where: Fairhaven’s Waverly Chapel, 1702 Fairhaven Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92705
Please join us as we remember friends and family we have lost with a special Dia de los Muertos event. Bring a photo of your loved one to place at the altar.
Memorial service officiated by Deacon Luis Gallardo. Featuring a traditional offertory and special entertainment by Los Pasejeros Mariachi and Relampago del Cielo dancers. Complimentary refreshments provided by EL INDIO Tortilleria, INC.
Dia De Los Muertos Annual Festival, Orange
More information: https://www.facebook.com/MorenosRestaurant
Time: 5 pm – 9 pm
Where Moreno’s Restaurant, 4328 E. Chapman Ave, Orange
Come join everyone at Moreno’s Restaurant for their 6th annual Dia De Los Muertos celebration with Folklorico dancers Mariachi and Veracruz Music, featuring Danzantes del Sol. There will also be face painting, treats and giveaway prizes. Enjoy dinner and drinks and bring the whole family to enjoy the celebration.
Self Help Graphics & Art Día de los Muertos Celebration, Boyle Heights
More information: https://www.selfhelpgraphics.com/dia-de-los-muertos-2018/
Time: 5 pm – 10 pm
WhereMendez Learning Center, Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School, 1200 Plaza Del Sol, Boyle Heights
Boyle Heights’ Self Help Graphics & Art has presented this Day of the Dead celebration for over four decades. The free event begins at Mariachi Plaza, where a handful of theater groups lead an animated procession to Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School (across the street from Self Help) where you’ll find local food and craft vendors.
More information: www.oldpasadena.org/dayofthedead
Time: during participating business hours
Where: Throughout Old Pasadena
Old Pasadena celebrates Day of the Dead, the reverent yet vibrant Mexican holiday that honors loved ones who have passed before us. During the three-day event, dozens of Old Pasadena businesses will create beautiful altars in their spaces to showcase during the self-guided Tour of Altars. The weekend also includes a Community Altar, salsa dance party with live music and calavera face painting, and more to be announced. All events are open to the public and are free admission unless otherwise noted.
Riverside Day of the Dead
More information: http://www.riversidedayofthedead.com
Time: 1 pm – 10 pm
Where: White Park, 3936 Chestnut St., Riverside, CA 92501
The colorful cultural celebration of Día de los Muertos will come alive once again in historical downtown Riverside. The 14th annual anniversary of this traditional Mexican festival is held on every first Saturday in November from 1 pm to 10 pm; celebrated with food, art, music, dance and most importantly, the beautifully decorated and personalized altars honoring loved ones that have passed.
Dia de los Muertos at Mission Plaza, San Luis Obispo
More information: http://www.diadelosmuertosslo.org
Time: 10 am – 3 pm
Where: Mission Plaza, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
This festive, family-friendly event has decorated altars, traditional dances, mariachi music, poets, artists and sellers, art and crafts activities, educational talks, costume contests, Mexican food and beverages, decorating of sugar skulls and more!
Annual Noche de Altares, Santa Ana
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/2193174317638230/
Time: 12 pm – 10 pm
Where: El Centro Cultural de Mexico, 837 N.Ross St., Santa Ana
Come join 16 years of noche de altares “night of altars” at this free event.
Dia De Los Muertos Celebration, Ventura County
More information: https://www.facebook.com/DiaDeLosMuertosVentura/
Time: 11 am – 6 pm
Where: Conejo Mountain Funeral Home, 2052 Howard Road, Camarillo, California 93012
Free Admission to this event includes Live music and cultural performances, vendor booths, arts and crafts, authentic Latino foods, Costume Contest, Free drawing for prizes every hour, face painting, build your own altar, Muertos Art Exhibition, Craft Vendors, Vintage Car Show and Live Performances. At 5 p.m. everyone participates in traditional ceremonial procession around the cemetery after the blessing.
Old Town San Diego
More information: http://www.dayofthedeadsd.com/index.html
Time: November 3: 11 am – 8 pm ; November 4: 11 am – 6 pm
Where: Old Town State Historic Park
This event is designed to celebrate the history, culture and heritage of the San Diego region and to pay homage to this very important and festive tradition. Old Town’s diverse and historic legacy makes it the best site in San Diego to hold this celebration.
Old Town itself takes the place of the mercado, a traditional marketplace, providing goods, entertainment, and regional foods. There will be entertainment and activities for participants of all ages to enjoy.
Dia De Los Muertos Festival in Canoga Park
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/869840033213112/
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Sherman Way and Owensmouth Avenue
Join the city of Canoga Park at its 18th Annual Dia De Los Muertos Festival. Festival includes Aztec Dancers, Mariachi, Banda, Spanish and English Pop and Rock Music Performances, Unique Arts and Crafts, Vendors, Food trucks, Face painting, a Classic Car Show and so much more! Full schedule TBA. Free Event! Open to the Public! Accessible to all!
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton
More information: http://themuck.org
Time: 12 pm – 4 pm
Where: The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave, Fullerton, CA 92833
Festive activities, stage performances and special ofrendas (altars) to honor deceased loved ones and to celebrate life—a special event for the whole family.
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana
More information: https://www.bowers.org
Time: 11 am – 4 pm
Where: Bowers Museum, 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana (Key Courtyard & Bowers Kidseum)
Celebrate the Day of the Dead at Bowers! Dia de los Muertos is based on the Mexican belief that our departed loved ones come back to earth to be with us every year in a joyful celebration that lasts for three days. Join the celebration and enjoy pan dulce with Mexican hot chocolate, face painting, special art projects, and performances by Rhythmo Mariachi Kids, Folklorico Raices de Mexico, Trio Tres Souls and Xipe Totec Danza Azteca.
Tickets: FREE FESTIVAL. SPECIAL FESTIVAL OFFER: Purchase $15 Knights in Armor ticket and receive FREE admission to the ENTIRE MUSEUM AND KIDSEUM!
General admission to Bowers Museum is free on Festival Sundays for Members and Santa Ana residents only. Admission to Kidseum’s special-ticketed exhibition Kings, Queens, and Castles is $2 for Members and Santa Ana residents only.