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How to Plan an Outdoor Event in Los Angeles

Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles

Where should I start?

The most populated city in California, Los Angeles is famous for Hollywood, health-craze scenes, and beautiful, if busy, beaches. LA is the world’s 7th largest city by population; with 87 neighbourhoods, spreading over 4,320 square kilometres, finding a venue for your event can feel overwhelming. Set to host the 2028 Summer Olympics, the event scene in the city of Angels is only due to get even bigger. 

There is no shortage of outdoor events to attend in LA, certainly helped by the year-round sunshine. In summer, in particular, there are an array of markets, parades, festivals, and sporting events, including a huge Pride presence in June. LA also hosts hundreds of music festivals, including Primavera Sound, displaying an array of music genres.

With a huge fitness scene, popular events include outdoor Zumba parties and yoga events, fitness events at Muscle Beach, and sports tournaments at the surrounding basketball courts at Venice Beach. Food and drinks tasting events are also hugely popular in LA; with summer wine and gin tasting festivals, Vegan Street Fair Festivals, and of course, coffee! There is no shortage of outdoor events.

1. Picking a Venue

With so much to offer, and so many fantastic neighbourhoods and locations, where should you begin? Whatever type of outdoor event you are planning to host, it’s important to research the area to make sure it’s the right area, attracting the right audience for you. TimeOut’s guide to LA neighbourhoods is a fantastic resource for getting to know the different areas.

Got a location in mind? Just type it in the search bar and the studio will take you straight to your site so you can get planning 🙂

Once you have found the neighbourhood, OnePlan’s accurate maps allow for 5x zoom, meaning you can not only plan in acute detail, but can search the local area for transport routes, larger spaces, and areas, and local attractions that may factor into your choice of location, event crowd flow or management. Considerations should include the area available, for crowds and event infrastructure, and transport accessibility.


Popular outdoor event locations include:

  • The Terrace at LA Live, Downtown
  • Descanso Botanrical Gardens
  • Locations in Topanga State Park
  • Catalina View Gardens, Golf Course nearby

2. Permits

The first thing you need to do when planning any public event is to check if your event will require a permit.  Providing your local government with a detailed event plan, risk assessments, and proof of public liability insurance is a necessary requirement in most cities, with LA being no exception. The LADBS provides guidance for Temporary Special Events; with a fee of $137, any event that meets the following criteria will require a TSE:

  • The event must be a maximum of 5 consecutive days
  • Tents or canopies, larger than 450 square foot, on a residential property.
  • Tents or canopies, larger than 12 feet in length or width, on a commercial property.Stages or platforms more than 30 inches above grade (structures higher than 30 inches intended for live loads require approved engineering prior to inspection).
  • Grandstands or bleachers.
  • Structures higher than 12 feet

Allow plenty of time for these to be processed (we recommend submitting them several months before the event). It is also suggested to connect with your venue, local government and local transport representative in case increased crowd flow may affect local transport. It is worth noting that for LA, “Events that exceed five (5) days or do not qualify as Temporary Special Events normally require a building permit or special approval from the Superintendent of Building prior to the event.” (LADBS)

3. Public Transport

Successfully planning an event in a busy city will be incomplete without a thorough crowd management plan – this includes how your attendees will get to and from the event. Although it can appear like a maze, the public transport in LA is considered some of the best in the country; with subways, buses, light-rail and shuttles running from Hollywood to East Los Angeles.

The Metro Trip Planner is a great tool for event planners to preempt event traffic, and to guide event comers on the best way to reach the venue. The Metro Bus system and DASH offer others ways to get across the city; with more information including maps, live services and schedules found here.

It is most likely your event goers will arrive by public transport, given the tendency for traffic, but it is worth providing routes, parking information, and live traffic updates to event goers in case they plan to arrive by car.

Design your Car Parks using our Area tools on the left-hand panel. Once you have mapped out your area, our software will calculate how many cars you can fit in each Car Park and you can even change the number of people in each car, perfect if you are promoting carpooling to save carbon emissions!

4. Crowd Management

Guidance for crowd flow and management for larger scale outdoor events can be found on the LA County Public Health website, with advice for how to manage increasing crowd flows in the wake of the pandemic and in hot weather. Using our crowd flow and management tools, OnePlan can assist ensuring a safe and smooth flow of attendees to and from the event. OnePlan’s toolkit enables event organisers to plot ticket checks on arrival, as well as calculate the expected duration and direction of crowd flow. Throughout the first half of 2022, we’ve seen a 150% growth in routes and wayfinding being planned in the US and Canada; highlighting the value and importance of this tool for managing event and crowd flow. 

Since 2013, all places of assembly in California with a capacity of more than 250 persons must designate and maintain a state-certified crowd-manager on-site at all times during regular business hours who must complete a daily  fire-safety checklist. This extends to any outdoor events, where the crowd capacity exceeds 250 persons. Keeping up to date with your state or neighbourhood health and safety requirements is also a key part of crowd management.

4. Planning with OnePlan

Using OnePlan’s planning tools, you can map and plan your event with ease. With millimetre precision and accuracy, plan infrastructure, tents, gazebos and marquees, as well as food and drinks stands. OnePlan’s new Object Array tool allows you to perfectly space out items on the map. You can input the number of items needed as well as the distance between them and OnePlan will generate a Snap-to-Grid on the event map.

Collaboration is key when planning any event; OnePlan’s Collaborative feature is essential for event planners; you can easily give your team or suppliers access to your event plan. Choose from different permissions like “edit” or “view-only”, to make sure the right access is given. Your team can see vendor status or if a booth is on hold, available, or claimed right in the moment. It’s a game-changer and makes collaboration easy.

Often, the events hosted by our event planners are annual; and when information learnt from previous years is analysed and key information is used to make improvements for the following year, an event is much more likely to be a success. Our ‘duplicate event’ feature is a perfect tool to build upon a previous years event; keeping the same location, layout and infrastructure, but allowing you to quickly change vendors, suppliers, and crowd routes and flow based on your new events needs.

Putting your event on a platform to advertise, even if the tickets are free, is always a good way to raise awareness of your event. There are multiple LA city event blogs and pages, including the Eventbrite LA page, to advertise your event.

"I would highly recommend OnePlan for small and simple plans as well as professional and complicated site plans."

LA Wild

Skip Harris

LA Wildlife Education & Rehab Center

Start planning for free today to deliver a spectacular outside event in sunny, beautiful Los Angeles! 

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