Los Angeles, CA is known for its glamor and glitz, but did you know that there are also plenty of free things to do in this vibrant city? From stunning natural attractions to world-class museums and cultural institutions, LA offers a wealth of experiences that won’t cost you a dime.
Whether you’re renting an apartment in LA, or looking for budget-friendly things to do while you save up for a house in Los Angeles, you can have a great time exploring the city’s diverse neighborhoods, taking in the sights, and immersing yourself in the local culture. So grab your walking shoes and get ready for an adventure, because these are the best free things to do in Los Angeles.
15 free things to do in Los Angeles
1. Hike in Griffith Park
Griffith Park is a large urban park located in Los Angeles and is one of the city’s most popular outdoor destinations. The park offers a variety of hiking trails that range from easy to challenging, and the best part is that it’s free to enjoy.
Some of the most popular trails in Griffith Park include the Griffith Observatory Trail, the Bronson Canyon Trail, and the Griffith Park Trail. These trails offer stunning views of the city, and are a great way to experience the beauty of the outdoors while being in the heart of Los Angeles.
Additionally, Griffith Park is home to several attractions, including the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Greek Theatre, making it a great destination for a full day of fun and exploration.
2. Visit the Griffith Observatory
Discover the universe and immerse yourself in a memorable and educational experience at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Admire panoramic views of the city and the stars and participate in interactive exhibits and live shows – all for free.
3. Walk along the Venice Beach Boardwalk
The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a popular attraction in Los Angeles, located near the famous Venice Beach. The boardwalk offers a lively atmosphere with street performers, vendors, and tourists. It is a free activity, and a great way to experience the unique culture of the area.
Some popular sights along the boardwalk include Muscle Beach, the Venice Sign, and the skate park. It is a great place to people watch, grab a bite to eat, or just enjoy the ocean breeze.
4. Explore the Getty Center
The Getty Center is a museum located in LA and is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Admission to the museum’s galleries and exhibitions is free, although there is a charge for parking.
The Getty Center offers a diverse collection of art, including European paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs, as well as American and European decorative arts. The museum is housed in a beautiful, contemporary building designed by architect Richard Meier, surrounded by gardens with breathtaking views of the city.
Visitors can also enjoy the numerous outdoor sculptures, fountains, and picnic areas on the grounds. Overall, exploring the Getty Center is a fantastic free activity for those interested in art and culture.
5. Visit the California Science Center
The California Science Center is a museum located in Los Angeles, dedicated to promoting public understanding of science and technology. Admission to the permanent exhibits is free, although there is a charge for some special exhibits and IMAX films.
The California Science Center has a wide range of interactive and educational exhibits, covering subjects such as life sciences, environmental science, and physical sciences. Some of the museum’s most popular exhibits include the Space Shuttle Endeavour, World of Life, Ecosystems, and World of Genetics.
6. Check out The TCL Chinese Theatre
Experience Hollywood history for free at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. While catching a movie inside the theater requires a ticket, simply visiting the iconic venue and admiring its famous handprints and footprints of Hollywood legends is completely free of charge.
The TCL Chinese Theatre is famous for its iconic exterior, including its famous hand and footprint ceremony, and its opulent interior, including its grand foyer and large screen. It is a popular tourist destination and a great place to take photos and learn about the history of Hollywood and the film industry. Visitors can also take a guided tour of the theater, which is also free, to learn more about its history and famous ceremonies.
7. Take a stroll through the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Taking a stroll through the Hollywood Walk of Fame is another free activity in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a famous sidewalk that runs along Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Hollywood.
The sidewalk is lined with over 2,600 stars that commemorate some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including actors, musicians, directors, and producers. The Walk of Fame is a popular tourist attraction, and a great place to see the names and handprints of some of the biggest stars in entertainment.
8. Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Going to the LACMA art museum in LA isn’t free – you have to pay to get in. But if you’re a local resident with ID, you can get in for free on specific days of the week.
LACMA is one of the largest art museums in the country, located in Los Angeles. The museum has a diverse collection of art, including American, European, Asian, Latin American, and Islamic art, and is also home to several special exhibitions throughout the year. The museum also offers a variety of educational programs, tours, and events, making it a great place to learn about art and culture.
9. Tour the Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a world-renowned concert hall and a major cultural landmark in Los Angeles. The hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is known for its exceptional acoustics and stunning architecture.
Free tours of the Walt Disney Concert Hall are offered several times a day, and give visitors the opportunity to see the hall’s unique architecture, learn about its history, and hear about its role as a cultural hub in Los Angeles. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides and are open to the public, making them a great way to experience the hall for free.
10. Walk through the Farmer’s Market
The Original Farmer’s Market is a historic public market located in the heart of Los Angeles, near the Grove shopping center. The market has been a staple of the Los Angeles community for over 80 years and is a great place to sample a variety of fresh, locally grown produce, baked goods, and prepared foods.
Visitors can walk through the market and explore its many stalls, vendors, and shops, which offer a wide range of goods and services. The market is also a popular gathering place for locals, who come to enjoy the lively atmosphere, grab a bite to eat, or simply soak up the sights and sounds of the city.
11. See the street art in the Arts District
The Arts District is a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles that is known for its vibrant street art scene. The neighborhood is home to many murals, graffiti, and street art created by local and international artists, and is considered one of the city’s premier destinations for art lovers.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the Arts District to see some of the neighborhood’s most famous and awe-inspiring works of street art. Whether you’re interested in graffiti, murals, or other forms of street art, the Arts District is a great place to experience the vibrant and colorful world of Los Angeles’ art scene.
12. Visit the Sunset Strip
The Sunset Strip is a famous street located in the heart of West Hollywood and is known for its iconic music scene, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage.
Visitors can walk down the Sunset Strip and take in its sights and sounds, including its many famous landmarks, such as the Whiskey a Go Go, the Viper Room, and the Roxy Theatre. The Sunset Strip is also home to many popular bars, clubs, and restaurants, as well as a number of iconic street murals and art installations.
13. Stroll through the Beverly Hills Farmers Market
The Beverly Hills Farmers Market is a weekly public market held in the heart of Beverly Hills, where local farmers, artisans, and food vendors come together to offer a variety of fresh produce, baked goods, prepared foods, and handmade crafts.
Strolling through the Beverly Hills Farmers Market is a unique and free experience that offers a glimpse into the vibrant food culture of Los Angeles. Whether you’re looking to try some new foods, meet local artisans, or simply take in the sights and sounds of the city, the Beverly Hills Farmers Market is a must-visit destination.
14. Hike to the Hollywood Sign
Visitors can start their hike at various trailheads in the surrounding hills, including Griffith Park, Bronson Canyon Park, or Lake Hollywood Park. The trails vary in difficulty, but all offer a unique and memorable experience, with scenic views of the city and the Hollywood Sign itself.
Please note that while the hike is free, parking near the trailheads may not be. Visitors are encouraged to research parking options and fees in advance, or consider using public transportation to access the trailheads.
Overall, hiking to the Hollywood Sign is a unique and free experience that offers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the beauty of Los Angeles’ natural landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply looking for a fun and active adventure, a hike to the Hollywood Sign is a must-try experience.
15. Check out the exhibits at the Skirball Cultural Center
Checking out the exhibits at the Skirball Cultural Center is a free activity in Los Angeles on certain days of the week. The Skirball Cultural Center is a non-profit cultural institution that showcases a diverse range of exhibitions, programs, and events that celebrate the cultural heritage of Los Angeles and the world.
Visitors can explore the center’s many exhibits, which cover a wide range of subjects, including Jewish culture, the arts, and social justice. The exhibits feature a mix of permanent and temporary displays, as well as interactive elements and multimedia components, making for a dynamic and engaging experience.
Free admission to the Skirball Cultural Center is available on Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. and on the first Thursday of the month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to check the center’s website for the latest information on free admission days and hours, as well as any special events or exhibitions taking place during their visit.
Final thoughts on free things to do in Los Angeles
Los Angeles offers a wide range of free activities and experiences for visitors and residents alike. From exploring the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Hollywood Sign and the Walk of Fame, to immersing yourself in its rich cultural heritage at institutions like the Skirball Cultural Center, there is something for everyone in this vibrant and dynamic city.