Food and flowers are fine, but fun is better. This Mother's Day, shake things up and take advantage of Los Angeles' wide range of things to do beyond basic brunch. From slides-in-the-sky to “subliminal” spaces, mariachis to marijuana, comedy to craft beer, and so much more — here are 10 alternatives to the usual mom day staples throughout LA and beyond. Book or buy your tickets now to reserve your spot!
Craft Brews and BBQ
This Mother’s Day, here's a thought: You drive and let your mom drink-artisanal beer and ale. Boomtown Brewery is hosting a Family Day with moms at heart, offering creative activities for families and kids, like chocolate decorating, succulent designing, a bounce house, face painting, a petting zoo and a photo booth, plus hand-crafted gifts. There's a BBQ, too, so mom doesn’t have to cook. Boomtown Brewery. 700 Jackson St.; downtown; Sun., May 13, noon- 6 p.m. All ages. Free. More info here.
Epic Escape Room Fun
Let's face it, every mother needs an escape from reality sometimes. Bond with your mom by taking her on a trust exercise neatly packaged in a fun Mother's Day escape room adventure. Will you make it out alive? Only if you work together! The 60 Out escape rooms, with 20 rooms in seven locations and different themes to choose from, make you and your fellow the players active participants who must work as a team to solve intriguing problems, escape from precarious situations and unravel the plot before time runs out. The locations and themes are: Downtown L.A. — The Krampus and Flight of the Pandorus (opens May 12); Hollywood — Da Vinci’s Secret, Doctor Psycho and P.U.T.I.N Bunker; Koreatown — The Orphanage and Nautilus; Marina Del Rey — Titanic, Wizards Workshop, Outbreak and Zen; Melrose — Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, Hangover, Ghost Ship and Grandma’s Masterplan; Silver Lake — The Cartel; and West L.A. — Mystery of Senator Payne and Casino. All challenges have one objective … to escape within 60 minutes! Rooms are ranked by difficulty – easy, medium or hard, and each room requires 2-6 players (except Jumanji, which needs 4-8 players). Minimum age ranges from 10-12, depending on room. Use discount code MOM18 to receive $25 off, valid until May 14, on all themes except Jumanji. More info here.
Library Girl Presents: It's A Family Affair
After your brunching is done, feed your mom some culture (and indulge in dessert) at the Library Girl Presents: It's A Family Affair/Annual Mother's Day Night Show. This year's entertainment features readings by writers Chanel Brenner, Charles Freericks, Jerry Garcia, Sara Mortimer-Boyd, Cheray O'Neal, June Stoddard, Wyatt Underwood and Jane Zingale and music by Mason Summit and Irene Greene, with guest Claire Holley. Library Girl, now in its ninth year, is curated and hosted by L.A. literary maven Susan Hayden. Set in a small, intimate theater, you can feel the warmth, and it really is a family affair. “Mother's Day is my favorite day of the year and it always lands on the second Sunday of the month, the night of Library Girl,” says Hayden. “There isn't a better gift than getting to spend the evening with my son, Mason Summit, opening my show with his music, and watching my own beautiful mother in the audience, beaming with her love and gratitude.” Admission includes snacks, beverages and dessert. Seating is limited and advance ticket purchase is encouraged. Proceeds are donated to Ruskin Group Theatre. Ruskin Group Theatre, 3000 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Sun., May 13, 7-10 p.m.; $10. Tickets here.
A Unique L.A. Mother's Day
If you don't know what to buy mom, take her shopping! Unique LA touts itself as the largest curated pop-up marketplace in the county. More than 300 designers and crafts-people will be selling their wares. Plus, there's food, cocktails, immersive art installations, DIY projects and a photo booth. Admission includes a free tote, zine and ice cream! California Market Center, 110 East 9th St., 13th floor, downtown; Sat.-Sun., May 12-13. 10 a.m.-5 p.m; all ages, $15-35. Tickets here.
Mamacita Poderosas: Día de las Madres Breakfast Buffet & Mariachi
Are you ready to go big or go home? Torres Banquet Hall has gone all out for its first Mother's Day event in East Los Angeles. “There's nothing else like this,” says Johanna Torres, co-owner of the family-run banquet hall. “Normally people have to leave East L.A. to have glam for Mother's Day. We want to show you can have glam right here.” General admission to the super-fiesta is $42, with a mega breakfast buffet, fruit table, photo booth and raffle ticket, and special packages range from Mamacita Fuerte for $50 — with a Mariachi greeting, a floral arrangement, two drinks and two raffle tickets — to the mama, or la reina, of all packages: the Mamacita Luchadora package for $100. It is a pretty big deal — limousine service with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, a souvenir photo, a Mariachi greeting leading your mom and family to VIP seating, a large floral arrangement, priority access to the buffet, unlimited drinks, six raffle tickets and a surprise gift box worth $70. Raffle items include luxury handbags, a Sephora gift box, Patron tequila, VR glasses and two hours of free limousine or party bus service and more. With a DJ and entertainment for kids like a slide jumper, face-painting, superhero impersonators and, yes, a candy bar, there is something for the whole family to enjoy. (And if you can't make it to brunch, a dinner event is also available.) Torres Banquet Hall, 1265 Goodrich Blvd., East Los Angeles; all ages, Free for 4 and under. $24-$100. Tickets here.
A bouquet is so passé. This year give mom weed! Actually we're not proposing getting high with her (though for some, it might be an option especially now that it's legal). Instead, we suggest popping into Medmen on Mother's Day weekend where they're debuting a beautiful new collaboration gift box from artist Scott Campbell featuring CBD oil Beboe pens. These boxes, with rose gold accents and tattoo-inspired design (reading “Thank You Mom — For Everything” ) will be available exclusively at MedMen DTLA, 735 S Broadway, downtown; (213) 908-2244 and Medmen, Beverly Hills, 110 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Grove; (310) 307-3478. Available starting Sat., May 12. More info at Medmen.com.
MOMentum at Theatricum Botanicum
The annual Mother's Day MOMentum extravaganza is back at whimsical outdoor treasure Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. Treat your mom to a sweet and savory buffet, with breakfast (Belgian waffles with berry compote and homemade pastries, like Kona Inn banana bread, apple turnovers and cinnamon rolls), vegetarian choices (quiche, grilled asparagus, spinach salad) and non-vegetarian (grilled herbed chicken with white wine), with French Roast coffee and juice, followed by stage performances by Alex Bistrevski, Elena Brocade, Georgia Bryant, Elizabeth Carpenter, Kyla Carter, Tia Matza, Eric Newton, Lexi Pearl, Jacqueline Shaw and Dreya Weber. Brunch is available from noon to 1:30 p.m. if pre-booked as an add-on. The show begins at 2 p.m. Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga Canyon. $32.50. Tickets here.
Skyspace Family Brunch & Slide
Give ma some excitement this year: 360-degree views from the tallest building on the West Coast and a breakfast buffet (if the experience doesn’t make her queasy!) OUE Skypace LA’s Mother’s Day brunch includes access to a ride on the Skyslide (all levels) and unlimited rides for kids (5-12) plus an all-you-can-eat brunch, a string quartet and “selfie stations” with special Mother’s Day backgrounds. Brunch seating starts at 10 a.m. $60 for adults and $30 for kids 5-12. Skyspace. 633 W. Fifth St. #840, downtown; Sun., May 13, 10 a.m.-noon. Tickets here.
Make (Sub)Liminal Space For Mom
Every Tuesday, the Cloak and Dagger nightclub provides an after-dark escape filled with music, dance and decadent dress-up. Over the past two years, they realized that many of their members were dealing with common life issues, and they desired to go beyond the dance party experience. In the first of what C&D plans to be a series of salons, they will, according promoter Adam Bravin, “begin to address these issues and concerns, while also bringing our community together in new ways. Our ideology encompasses everything from creativity to mental/emotional health.” For the debut of (Sub)liminal Space Salon, speakers and topics include: Nicholas Ryan Howard (Creativity: The Rebellion), Tiffany Naiman (Deep Listening) and Nicoletta Heidegger (MindFuck: Mindfulness as a Tool for Greater Pleasure). Music, food, drinks and “multiple opportunities for growth” are promised, and since it’s on Mother’s Day, they have a special code so you can get mom a discount ticket ($10 off). We think it’s a great way to thank her for all those years she put up with your crazy goth and punk looks and antics, and a way to bring her into your world today. The discount code for moms: Cloakmom. Monk Space, 4414 W. 2nd St., Koreatown; Sun., May 13, 6-10 p.m. Tickets and info here.
UnCabaret Mother's Day Show
“The Mother Show of Alternative Comedy” as it's been called, Beth Lapides's Uncabaret offers a mother of a show: an eve of laughter and love/hate filled contemplation about family life, and life in general. The legendary stand-up gathering, hosted by comic Beth Lapides, has featured some amazing women over the years (Julia Sweeney, Janeane Garofalo, Kathy Griffin, Sandra Bernhard, Moon Zappa and Margaret Cho) and you never know who might show up for the Mom’s Day mayhem. Scheduled for Mother's Day night: Merrill Markoe, Jamie Bridgers, Alex Edelman and Steve Skrovan, who’ll be joined by a special unannounced musical guest. They encourage you to “come with the fam or escape the fam.” Au Lac (Bar Fedora), 710 W.1st St., downtown; Sun., May 13. 8-10 p.m; $10 – $30. Tickets here.