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Day of the Dead Events 2019 in Southern California

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!

Day of the Dead altar

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, and organized by city. Don’t see a favorite on the list? Let me know!

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) events in Southern California - Where to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in Orange County, Los Angeles, Inland Empire and San Diego. | #LivingMiVidaLoca #DayoftheDead #SouthernCalifornia #DiadelosMuertos #OrangeCounty

Where to celebrate Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) in Southern California

Day of the Dead events in Anaheim

Dia de Los Muertos – A Night of Community and Culture – November 1, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1291763351027826/

Time: 5 pm – 9:30 pm
Where: This free community event brings you a fun-filled night of arts, music, culture and dance in support of the City’s youth development program, Project S.A.Y. (Support Anaheim’s Youth). This year’s event will showcase 40+ altars, art displays, live mariachi music, Aztec dancers, kids crafts, face-painting, and so much more. Don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs and a blanket.

Day of the Dead events in Canoga Park

Dia De Los Muertos Festival in Canoga Park – November 3, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/DiaDeLosMuertosFestival/

Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Sherman Way and Owensmouth Avenue
Join the city of Canoga Park at its 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!

Day of the Dead events in Costa Mesa

Fall for All! – October 19, 2019

Time: 12:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.

Where: Julianne and George Argyros Plaza, FREE

Kicking off at noon, El Centro Cultural de Mexico will host a Día de los Muertos activity where kids and families can make paper flowers to put on a community altar. Performances by Las Estrellas Ballet Folklorico, Cryptix – A Halloween A Capella, and Green Room Studios will enliven the Argyros Plaza throughout the day. Fall for All concludes with Dev Edwards’ popular line dance class from 3:15-4:00 p.m.

Lila Downs’ Día de Muertos: AL CHILE – October 27, 2019

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Where: Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Tickets start at $39.

One of Mexico’s greatest singers and cultural ambassadors, Lila Downs brings her unique interpretation of traditional Mexican and Mesoamerican music, with Día de Muertos: AL CHILE. The program features a blend of ballet folklorico and mariachi as the singer is joined by Grandeza Mexicana Folk Ballet Company, the premiere folk ballet company in Los Angeles, and Mariachi Femenil Flores Mexicanas, the leading all-female mariachi group in the Southwest. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early to this musical extravaganza and immerse themselves in the rich cultural significance of Día de los Muertos in the Concert Hall lobby where a local artist will build a traditional altar. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the altar tradition and the significance of the altar elements.

Sugar Skull! A Día de los Muertos Musical Adventure – November 9-10, 2019

Time: Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Where: Samueli Theater. Tickets are $20.

Young Vita thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Why throw a party for the dead? But when a candy skeleton, on her abuelita’s cemetery ofrenda, suddenly springs to life, Vita finds herself on a magical, musical journey to unravel the true meaning of Día de los Muertos. Sugar Skull! is a joyous, heartfelt adventure that delves into the rich, tuneful traditions of Día de los Muertos. Featuring Mexico Beyond Mariachi, a company of gifted musicians and dancers rooted in Mexican traditions, this colorful stage production is the perfect fall entertainment for youth and family audiences alike. Join us before performances of Sugar Skull! for a Día de los Muertos celebration including special visual arts projects, a photo op and other fun festivities exploring the history and traditions behind this popular holiday.

Day of the Dead events in Claremont

Claremont’s Day of the Dead Celebration – November 2, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/DiaDeLosMuertosFestival/

Time: 11 AM – 4 PM
Where: Rio de Ojas, 250 Harvard Ave, Claremont, California 91711
Experience the community of Claremont Village. Enjoy Art, including chalk Art, Classic Cars, Altars at Shelton Park, live Music, children crafts, Face Painting, Food, Restaurants and more.
Volunteers are welcomed, Want to build an Altar? Call 909-624-4141!

Day of the Dead events in Fullerton

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center – November 3, 2019

More information: http://themuck.org

Time: 12 pm – 4 pm
Where: The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave, Fullerton, CA 92833


They will have festive activities for the whole family, live music, local artisans, and arts and crafts for kids

They will also have ofrendas (altars) to honor late family members. If you’re interested in honoring a loved one with an ofrenda, please call 714-738-6595 or email [email protected].

Fullerton College – October 24, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1716730308471837/

Time: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where:Fullerton College, Campus Quad

The Fullerton College Social Sciences Division – Ethnic Studies Department invite the campus community to enjoy the moving sights and sounds of our Annual Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event.

Guests are invited to bring a photo or memento for the Community Altar. Students and staff can participate by volunteering and planning alter displays. For more information contact 714-992-7047.

Day of the Dead events in Irvine

Pretend City Children’s Museum, Irvine – November 4, 2019

More information: https://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 their special Altar and partake in the celebration!

  • Smart Art (Times Vary): Sugar Skulls > Colorful skulls are a symbol of Dia de Los Muertos. Stop by the Art Studio to create your own sugar skull using rainbow bright colors and different materials 
  • Dance Performance: (11:00 a.m.) Folklorico Echale Porras > Watch the colorful dance styles of this dance group
  • Sensational Storytime (11:30 am): Dia de Los Muertos > It’s time to remember loved ones who have passed on from this life. Join us for this short story that introduces the traditions of this celebration and how we can honor our deceased loved ones. After the story, children will make their very own marigold to take home. 
  • Language Lessons (3:00 pm): Spanish Lesson > Join us in Orange Plaza for a mini Spanish lesson

Day of the Dead events in Long Beach

Dia de los Muertos Family Festival – November 3, 2019

More information: https://www.molaa.org

Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Museum of Latin American Art – 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 and an interactive community altar, face painting, food and unique craft vendors.

Día de los Muertos attire strongly encouraged – come dressed as a calavera!

Open to all ages and free admission. Parking $10

Day of the Dead events in Los Angeles

Día de los Muertos Free Community Arts Workshops – October 5, 12, 19, 26, 2019

More information: https://www.selfhelpgraphics.com/events-calendar

Time: 12 pm – 3 pm
Where:Self Help Graphics & Art, 1300 E. 1st St. Los Angeles

Self Help Graphics offers free art workshops where participants will learn about and create traditional crafts to honor the dead. The workshops are free, for all ages and all materials are included.

Minors must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the workshop.

“El Velorio” Cultural Celebration – October 12, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/ElVelorio/

Time: 7:00 P.M. – 2:00 A.M.
Where: Plaza De La Raza Cultural Center – 3540 N Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90031

The 10th 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.

Family Days: Coco Screening – October 27, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/560406381144223/

Time: 12 – 8pm

Where: LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes – 501 North Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

Explore the historical and cultural significance of Day of the Dead traditions. Enjoy live music, dance, and culinary, garden, & art workshops. Pixar’s animated film follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living. Food is available for sale at both events. Screening at 6:30pm. Free event.

6th Annual Olvera Street Muertos Artwalk – October 5, 2019

More information: www.olveraevents.com.

Time: 10am – 7pm

Where: Olvera St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Celebrating its 6th year, the Olvera Street Muertos Artwalk brings together over 30 artists from the greater Los Angeles community selling original artwork, jewelry, accessories, clothing, face painting & more.

The Muertos Artwalk is a hand-curated show designed to highlight the work of local artists. Shop small and shop local by supporting these artists, and the merchants on Olvera Street. This event is free and open to the public – all are welcome!

Dia de los Muertos at Olvera Street – October 25-November 2, 2019

More information: https://www.olveraevents.com/day-of-the-dead-olvera-street

Time: Novenario Procession: October 25 through November 2 at 7 pm

Festival Days
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.

Dia De Los Muertos at Echo Park – November 1, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/462048231015394

Time: 3 PM – 9 PM
Where: Echo Park Farmers’ Market, 1146 Logan St, Los Angeles, California 90026

Hollywood Forever – November 2, 2019

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 year is the Monarch Butterfly and its winter home the Mexican state of Michoacán.

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.

Day of the Dead events in Oceanside

Old Mission San Luis Rey – October 27, 2019

More information: http://www.mslrdiadelosmuertos.com/

Time: 10 am – 4 pm
Where: 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, CA 92057

Free parking. $2 support fee in the form of a ticket. Pre-purchase ticket online to avoid the ticket lines on the day of. Please note, if you do not have a ticket on the day of the event, you will have to find one of the 3 tickets booths in order to gain entrance to the event. Also, the price will also increase on the day of the event from $2 to $3, so, better to purchase now and make sure you have yours.

Day of the Dead events in Orange

Dia De Los Muertos Annual Festival – November 2, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/MorenosRestaurant

Time: 5 pm – 9 pm
Where Moreno’s Restaurant, 
4328 E. Chapman Ave, 

Enjoy their iconic Mariachis, Folkloric Dancers, and music native of the state of Veracruz, featuring the talented Los Danzantes del Sol.

Fun activities for kids include face painting, treats and prizes! Bring the whole family to celebrate this special holiday!

Call (714) 639-2181 to make your reservation!

Day of the Dead events in Pasadena

Day of the Dead Celebration – October 25 and 26, 2019

More information: www.oldpasadena.org/dayofthedead

Time: Friday, October 25, 6-9pm; Saturday, October 26, 1-7pm
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.

Day of the Dead events in Riverside

Riverside Day of the Dead – November 2, 2019

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.

Annual Day of the Dead Car Show – November 3, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/384027848945792/

Time: 9am – 3pm
Where: Glen Avon Heritage Park, 7701 Mission Blvd, Riverside, California 92509

pre-1972 classic and custom built cars, trucks and motorcycles.
Tickets are $5 online till October 30, 2019, or buy them at the event for $5 cash only.
Children age 12 and under are free with paid adult. All proceeds to benefit the Rubidoux High School Route 66 Car Club Scholarship Fund.
Please NO Dogs or other animals at the event. (except licensed Service Dogs of course). Students with ASB card from any school and/or Military with ID will be admitted for free.

Day of the Dead events in San Diego

Day of the Dead Old Town San Diego – November 2 and 3, 2019

More information: http://www.dayofthedeadsd.com/index.html

Time: November 2: 10:30am – 9pm; November 3: 10:30am – 7pm
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.

Day of the Dead Festival North Park – October 26, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/2603839703014877/

Time: 11 AM – 5 PM
Where: Artelexia, 3803 Ray Street, San Diego, California 92104
Enjoy artisan vendors, community altars, craft workshops, food vendors,  music, a cerveza and tequila cantina, and so much more!! Bring the whole family to this FREE community event! This year they’ve decided to work with a few local artists to create altars and interactive art stations.

Day of the Dead events in San Fernando

San Fernando Day of the Dead Community Festival – November 2, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/464488517482692/

Time: 7:45 AM – 4 PM
Where: San Fernando Cultural Arts Collective (SFCAC) welcomes everyone to share his or her Day of the Dead art and encourages families to build an “Ofrenda” (Atlar) as a family in order to collectively honor and teach our youth of their family tree; heritage, culture, and past members and friends that can only visit in spirit, whiling remembering their legacy together.

Family Altar-Memorials,
Art Exhibit, Sugar Skulls, Face Painting,
JAM Session (Aztec Dancers),
Vendors (Food & Artisians),
FREE Children Workshops, Family Photo Booth, Ballet Folklorico, Drumming, Leyendas: Story Tellng, Poetry, Mariachi, 5K run, and SO MUCH MORE!

Family Altars and vendors who want to set up the night before can arrive Nov 1st from 5pm to 12am…we will be showing “The Book of Life” and family will be able to spend the night with their muertos or booth

Day of the Dead events in San Luis Obispo

Dia de los Muertos at Mission Plaza – November 2, 2019

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!

Day of the Dead events in San Pedro

San Pedro Day of the Dead – October 27, 2019

More information: http://sanpedrodayofthedead.com

Time: 3 pm – 9 pm
Where: 398 West 6th Street. San Pedro, California 90731 ($10 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.

Day of the Dead events in Santa Ana

Día de los Muertos celebration – October 26, 2019

More information: www.shopmainplacemall.com

Time: 2pm – 5 pm

Where: MainPlace Mall – Event Held in Macy’s Court, Center Court and Food Court

During the celebration, there will be live music, dance performances, cookie decorating, art workshops, face painting and a photo booth. Attendees are encouraged to wear costumes. The first 300 children to check in to the table in Macy’s Court will receive a FREE swag bag filled with goodies.

Viva La Vida – October 26, 2019

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.

Mexican Day of the Dead Festival – November 3, 2019

More information: https://www.bowers.org

Time: 11 am – 3:30 pm
Where: Bowers Museum, 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana (Key Courtyard)

Join us in honoring the Mexican belief that departed loved ones come back to Earth for three days to reunite with family members in a joyful celebration including music, dance and food. Enjoy pan dulce with Mexican hot chocolate, face painting, special art projects and performances by Rhythmo Mariachi Kids, Folklorico Raices de Mexico, Bollillo y su Conjunto and Xipe Totec Danza Azteca.

Free festival. General admission to Bowers Museum is free on Festival Sundays for Members and Santa Ana residents only

Annual Noche de Altares – November 2, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1238339706370783/

Time: 12 pm – 9 pm
Where: Flower and Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana

Noche de Altares is a community-based event celebrating Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), one of México’s oldest, indigenous festivals.

Day of the Dead events in Temecula

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – October 27, 2019

More information: https://www.facebook.com/DiaDeLosMuertosVentura/

Time: 12 pm – 4 pm
Where: Falkner Winery, 40620 Calle Contento, Temecula, California 92591

FREE ADMISSION. Come enjoy a festive day of remembrance. For no one is ever forgotten!

A day that the whole family can enjoy with face painting, raffles, yard games, and friends and family dedication area. Wine, beer, cocktails, and food available for purchase.  For large groups of 10 people or more please rsvp at [email protected]

Day of the Dead events in Ventura

Dia de Los Muertos Ceremony and Celebration – November 2, 2019

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.

Pattie Cordova is founder of Cordova Media Group, LLC, a boutique social media consulting firm that develops and creates social media strategies for businesses. She manages LivingMiVidaLoca.com. In her spare time (what little there is LOL) she enjoys working out, hanging out with her family (two chiclets and a Hubster) and traveling.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Belinda Espinoza

    October 20, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Awesome list!!! I am definitely going to Noche de Altares in Santa Ana.

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