Día de Muertos is a day of remembrance and celebration with family and friends. (SPARC)

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is both a remembrance and celebration for our dearly departed. Families create ofrendas (altars) to remember those who’ve passed. Often decorated with bright yellow marigolds, photos of the departed and their favorite items (including food and drinks), the offerings are said to encourage visits from beyond. They’re also a way families can celebrate together. Because of COVID-19, many traditional, in-person Día de los Muertos gatherings have been canceled or moved online. But you can still celebrate the holiday.

Don’t forget to dive into…

Monday, Oct. 26; 3 p.m.

Día de los Muertos with Maite Gómez-Rejón, ArtBites
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes welcomes Maite Gomez-Rejon, who will teach a food history lesson about the holiday, drawing on both indigenous and European traditions. Sip mezcal while learning about mole and preparing enmoladas. Register to view on Zoom or watch on Facebook.

Monday, Oct. 26 – Monday, Nov. 2

Los Muertos 5K/10K
The popular race through Olvera Street and downtown L.A. goes virtual this year, with participants running/walking on their own time and and at their own pace during the week leading up to Día de los Muertos. All registrants receive a medal, a shirt and a running bib. Premium running packages available.
COST: $42 – $57; MORE INFO

Artist Ricardo Soltero created sculptures of La Catrina, one of Día de los Muertos’ most recognizable figures. (Courtesy of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.)

Saturday, Oct. 31 – Monday, Nov. 2

La Catrina Sculptures
Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
Los Angeles-based artist Ricardo Soltero has created sculptures of La Catrina, one of Día de los Muertos’ most recognizable figures. On view at nine locations along the promenade and pier, the works range up to 14 feet in height and wear brightly colored traditional Mexican attire.

Sunday, Nov. 1; 4 p.m.

SHG’s 47th Annual Día de los Muertos
Self Help Graphics & Art concludes its month-long Ofrendas 2020 exhibition and commemoration of the holiday with a virtual celebration on its YouTube channel. Watch live performances by Ceci Bastida, Tropa Magica and Katzù Oso, curated by alt-Latin music club The Paramount. The event will be co-hosted by musician and scholar Martha Gonzalez and actor Annie Gonzalez.

Through Sunday, Nov. 1

The Museum of Latin American Art’s Día de los Muertos
MOLAA celebrates this Día de los Muertos with the theme “A Long Journey.” Chief Curator Gabriela Urtiaga has organized an online exhibition of selected artworks from the MOLAA collection featuring artists Lourdes Almeida, Ismael Vargas and Meredith Paul. A bunch of events happen online including Hot Chocolate & Pan de Muerto with Gusto Bread on Monday, Oct. 26 and a bilingual Nicho Workshop with Edgar-Arturo Camacho-González on Thursday, Oct. 29. The celebration closes with the unveiling of the Virtual Community Ofrenda with artist leunam nauj on Sunday, Nov. 1.

Sunday, Nov. 1; 1 – 3 p.m.

Día de los Muertos Drive-Thru Kids Art Kit Kiosk
The Muckenthaler Cultural Center
1201 W. Malvern Ave, Fullerton
Drive to, and through, the Muck’s parking lot to pick up art activities for kids. Face masks are required during pickup. Supplies are limited.

Sunday, Nov. 1; 7 p.m.

Coco: Free Drive-In Screening
First American Title Company (Parking Structure Rooftop)
8 First American Way, Santa Ana
The Viva La Vida festival and The Frida Cinema team up for this screening of the 2017 animated film. Watch a young musician’s adventures in the land of the dead as he discovers the meaning of family and unconditional love. This screening requires you to have an FM radio so you can hear the audio. Food trucks will be available onsite to purchase snacks. Face masks and social distancing protocols required.
COST: FREE with registration; MORE INFO

Forest Lawn celebrates Día de los Muertos virtually this year. (Courtesy of Forest Lawn)

Sunday, Nov. 1; 12 – 2 p.m.

Forest Lawn’s Día de los Muertos
This year’s virtual celebration includes remembrances with marigolds, live and larger-than-life sculpture Catrinas, dancing by Ballet Folklorico Internacional, music by Mariachi Juvenil Herencia Mexicana, a Bob Baker Marionette Theater performance, bilingual prayers, a spoken word performance and a brightly colored ofrenda. Watch live on Forest Lawn’s Facebook page, where it will also be streamable after the event.

SPARC’s 18th annual Día de los Muertos celebration and ritual will be presented virtually on Monday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. (Courtesy of SPARC)

Monday, Nov. 2; 6 p.m.

SPARC’s 18th annual Día de los Muertos
The Social and Public Art Resource Center presents a virtual celebration and ritual via Zoom. The organization recognizes that this year has been one of loss and transition. The public is invited to contribute to a virtual community altar by uploading a photo of a loved one they want to honor. The altar will be unveiled on Monday, and Martha Ramirez-Oropeza will lead a traditional invocation ritual in Nahuatl and Spanish, inviting the spirits to join the celebration.

LACE presents an art performance and a Día de los Muertos celebration with Carmina Escobar. (Courtesy of the artist)

Monday, Nov. 2; 7 p.m.

Lo Único Seguro Es Que Nos Vamos A Morir (The Only Certain Thing is that We are Going to Die)
Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions presents a performative installation by artist Carmina Escobar about the cycle of life and death. Escobar will build a communal altar in LACE’s storefront with objects and offerings from fellow musicians, artists and friends. She has also started a processional recording of longtime collaborators Maqueos Music Oaxacan Brass Filharmonic by visiting the 28 band members and recording them from outside of their homes. This time-streched sound piece will accompany her ritual performance on Monday night, which will be livestreamed on LACE’s Youtube Channel.
COST: FREE with registration; MORE INFO

Aztec dance troupe Huitzilopochtli is scheduled to perform at 24th Street Theatre’s Annual Dia de los Muertos virtual Celebration. ( Cindy Marie Jenkins)

Monday, Nov. 2; 6 p.m. PT

24th Street Theatre’s Annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration
The theater’s annual block party moves online. Hosted by Gabriel Romero (Archer, Los Beltrán), the virtual festival features master conguero, bandleader and vocalist Louie Cruz Beltran and his ensemble; Xochi Flores, Cesar Castro and their Son Jarocho-Chicano group, Cambalache; Aztec dance troupe Huitzilopochtli; ballet folklórico Sol de Fuego; and Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor Edward James Olmos. The presentation also includes a screening of the short film Las Instrucciones and virtual workshops on how to build a Day of the Dead altar and face-painting. Watch on Facebook or YouTube.

Monday, Nov. 2; 5 – 6:30 p.m.

LAPL Día de Muertos Family Celebration
The Los Angeles Public Library celebrates Día de Muertos en Español and English. Aimed at kids and teens, the event stars the Lucky Band and Josué Cuentacuentos y La Catrina. Listen to stories and music then take part in creating crafts. The festivities will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube.

A community Dîa de los Muertos altar is now on view at FIGat7th. (Courtesy FIGat7th)

Through Monday, Nov. 2

FIGat7th Dîa de los Muertos Altar
FIGat7th – Lower Level M1
735 S. Figueroa St., downtown L.A.
Dalila Paola Mendez in partnership with Self Help Graphics created an altar to honor the elders, community heroes and lives lost from COVID-19 and racial injustice. It also honors public figures who were lost this year including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Lewis.

Grand Park celebrates Día de los Muertos this year with safety protocols. (Jose Sanchez for Grand Park)

Through Wednesday, Nov. 4; 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Día de los Muertos Community Altars and Audio Tours
Grand Park (Grand Avenue to North Broadway), downtown L.A.
Guests can experience and learn about the religious and cultural traditions of Día de los Muertos while visiting 11 altars located throughout Grand Park. Ten of the altars were done by artists and community partners. They represent the losses and causes of this past year.The 11th is the annual Community Altar created by Maestra Ofelia Esparza and her family. Stories and audio guides are available to complement the altar viewing. Visitors can access the audio through Grand Park’s Mixcloud and YouTube channels. Because of COVID-19, people are asked not to gather or linger in large groups, leave their own ofrendas or touch the Community Altar.

The Music Center celebrates Día de los Muertos with public art installations and digital ofrendas. (Jose Sanchez for Grand Park)

Through Wednesday, Nov. 4; 5 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Día de los Muertos Public Art Installation, including Digital Ofrendas
The Music Center Plaza
135 N. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.
Artist Maricela Sosa’s papel picados welcome visitors. Around the plaza, guests will encounter digital ofrendas and public art installations with personal health and wellness messages. Photos of lost loved ones will be shown on the plaza’s two large LED screens. The installation also features two photo exhibitions: Healing Sanctuaries, curated by Dancing Diaspora Collective; and Soul Survivors, curated by Khalid Jefferson, with photography by Nailah Howze, Damien Carter and Andrew Quesada. The Music Center’s audio guides are available on Mixcloud with additional details about the art and altars.

Nueva in Venice serves up drink specials for Día de los Muertos, including a flaming margarita. (Courtesy of Nueva)

Día de los Muertos Food/Drink Offerings

  • Las Palmas in West Hollywood offers a Day of the Dead brunch starting at noon on Saturday, Oct. 31 and Sunday, Nov. 1. Guests can enjoy a Yucatán-inspired menu and a michelada in collaboration with Calidad Beer. Reservations are required and can accommodate parties of four or six between 12 to 4 p.m. Guests should call 310-855-9955 to reserve a socially distanced table on the rooftop.
  • Nueva in Venice celebrates the holiday with a brunch from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 31. Look for pumpkin tacos ($4.50) with pumpkin seed salsa and drink specials such as flaming margaritas and the Mezcal Mummy.

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