While summer stages and events wind down in other parts of the county, the West offers many outdoor evening gatherings well into fall. Check out these al fresco dinners, movies, plays, and concerts in September and October.
In Northern California, fall is a beautiful time to visit wine country with special events like Kendall-Jackson’s Farm-to-Table Dinner series where a former French Laundry gardener provides the outstanding produce and the wines flow freely ($175 per person). Seghesio Family Vineyards’ Summer Supper Series, a casual family-style meal on the property’s Tuscan Terrace, is another great option through October with wines by the bottle available for purchase ($30 per person). For entertainment, check out the line-up at the Mountain Winery, which includes acts such as Third Eye Blind, Norah Jones, the Beach Boys, Alanis Morissette, Boy George, and comic Craig Ferguson (tickets from $39.50).
In Southern California, Los Angeles is rife with possibilities for plein air evenings. At the Melrose Rooftop Theatre in West Hollywood, enjoy cult movie screenings like Stand by Me and Pretty Woman with your own headset and beanbag. Don’t skip the great southeast Asian fare at E.P. & L.P. before heading upstairs ($65 per person for dinner and a movie). At The Everly, a newly debuted Kimpton hotel where your room might look out on the Hollywood sign, the 5th floor pool deck is the place to be. Late-night swimming hours for guests and public events such as Panoramic Picnics, which offers charming picnic baskets and a live D.J. with the Hollywood Hills as your backdrop, draw people outside (rooms from $264, picnic basket for two is $35 plus a cash bar for drinks). And don’t overlook classic L.A. venues that make for spectacular warm evenings, such as a live show at Hollywood Bowl (tickets from $23).
Shakespeare doesn’t get more magical than it is on the Allan Elizabethan Stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and by September, high temperatures—and the region’s seasonal wildfires—have died down a little. Shows run on the outdoor stage through mid-October, and this year’s line-up includes a pitch perfect rendition of Romeo and Juliet, The Book of Will, and Love’s Labor’s Lost (tickets from $30). Up north near Portland, enjoy the signature touch of the McMenamin brothers at Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn where, through late September, you can kick back with friends and enjoy the house brews and casual food before acts such as Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Ben Howard with Wye Oak (tickets from $49.50).
Nights don’t get tolerable in Arizona until the fall, which is why the Arizona State Fair runs October 5 to 28 (general admission $10) and you see an uptick in outdoor evening gatherings in September and October. Mesa Amphitheatre also provides evening entertainment with a fall line-up that includes Miguel: the Ascension Tour, Cody Johnson, and the Phoenix Symphony playing the music of the Eagles (tickets from $30).
Less than an hour’s drive east of Phoenix, Cloth + Flame, a producer of unique outdoor meals, will host a dinner September 29 in the Superstition Mountains ($135 per person) along with two other Arizona dinners this fall to benefit local nonprofit organizations. Outstanding in the Field, from farm-to-table innovator Jim Denevan, comes to Steadfast Farm in Queen Creek on October 17 ($245 per person) and also hosts several events in Southern California this fall. Both companies offer gourmet meals in distinct wilderness landscapes that you won’t soon forget.