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Free Things To Do In Los Angeles

Are you heading to L.A. and looking for fun and free things to do on a budget? There are plenty of free things to do in Los Angeles, so whether you live here or are just visiting, you can make the most of your time without spending a lot of money.

See also our list of Free Things To Do In OC and San Diego.

Free Things To Do In Los Angeles

Best Free Things To Do In Los Angeles

Griffith Park

Griffith Park is a must visit for residents and visitors. There are a number of attractions to explore at your leisure, and there is plenty of free parking. There are plenty of hiking trails to explore including the trail to the Hollywood Sign, Bronson Caves, or the Old Abandoned LA Zoo. See the trains at Travel Town Museum, and free train rides by the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum. And best of all, you can explore the Griffith Observatory for free and enjoy stunning views of the Universe, and LA.

The Getty Center & Getty Villa

The Getty Center is in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa is in Pacific Palisades. Both offer free admission. Here you can explore art, architecture, and gardens. They have permanent and visiting exhibits, tours, family programs, and performances to enjoy at your leisure.

Annenberg Community Beach House

The Annenberg is a fun family destination for everyone to enjoy. The grounds are open to the public daily, while some activities may require registration or reservation, most things are free for everyone. A few things you’ll love here are the beach house, historic pool, splash pads, playground, fields, and beach courts.

Watch The Planes

Whether you’re taking the kids out to spot the planes or looking for a fun date idea, here are the best spots to watch the LAX planes take off and land:

  • W 92nd & Sepulveda – small park across from In-N-Out
  • 423 E Imperial Ave, El Segundo – Clutter’s Park
  • 12000 Vista Del Mar, Playa Del Rey – Dockweiler State Beach (hang out at the picnic area or lifeguard tower 50 to be right under the flight path)

Venice Beach

It’s a popular tourist destination and one that every resident should visit once just for the experience. Head to Venice Beach for some prime people watching on the boardwalk, then stroll through the Venice Canals, and do some window shopping on Abbot Kinney.

Dodger Stadium

Did you know that you can visit Dodger Stadium on days when there aren’t any games? It’s a cool thing to experience this giant ballpark (one of the biggest with seating for 56,000 seats, and the third oldest stadium in America), completely empty. You can visit the stadium, sit in the top deck and visit the Official Team Store daily from 10AM to 5PM.

Go Sightseeing in Hollywood

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to explore this tourist destination. A simple stroll through town and you can see all the major attractions including the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Dolby Theatre, TCL Chinese Theatre, Ovation Hollywood. It’s great people watching here too!

Hiking In LA

While most people think about the city, there are tons of hiking opportunities in the LA area. Here are some to check out:

  • Griffith Park/Hollywood Sign
  • Runyon Canyon
  • Temescal Canyon
  • Will Rogers State Historic Park/Backbone Trail
  • Murphy Ranch
  • Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
  • Franklin Canyon
  • Solstice Canyon
  • Eaton Canyon
  • Mount Baldy
  • Bridge To Nowhere
  • Box Canyon
  • Walnut Creek Park

Take A Bike Ride

There are a number of paths in LA both paved and unpaved to explore on two wheels:

  • Arroyo Seco Bike Path
  • Ballona Creek Path
  • Devils Canyon Dam Truck Trail
  • Griffith Park
  • LA River Bike Path
  • Park To Playa Trail
  • The Strand/Marvin Braude Bike Trail

Downtown LA ArtWalk

Take a stroll through the community and browse the art galleries and participate in free cultural experiences.

California Science Center

The California Science Center is one of the best family-friendly museums in the area, and all permanent exhibits are free, including the space shuttle Endeavour. Special exhibits and IMAX experiences require a fee. When you’re done, walk through the Exposition Park rose garden.

California African American Museum

Also located in exposition park, the California African American Museum offers free admission for all exhibitions, programs, and events.

Quick & Easy Free Things To Do In Los Angeles

  • Visit the Last Bookstore
  • Cruise the iconic Mulholland Drive and stop at the scenic overlook
  • Take a drive down PCH
  • Browse the quirky gifts at Echo Park’s Time Trave Mart
  • Take a stroll through the birthplace of Los Angeles at the Mexican Marketplace, Olvera Street
  • Get a glimpse of the prehistoric past at the Tar Pits (museum requires a fee but outdoor area is free to explore)
  • Take a walk through the gardens of the Greystone Mansion
  • Go window shopping along Rodeo Drive or the fashion district
  • Take a free bird walk with LA Audubon
  • Have a picnic at Grand Park
  • Browse the Original Farmers Market or Grand Central Market
  • Enjoy art at The Broad for free
  • Go on a hunt to find LA’s secret staircases
  • Soak up the nightlife on Sunset Strip
  • Visit the Santa Monica Pier and spend a day relaxing on the sand
  • Take a free self guided audio tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • Take the free self-guided Angels Walk Chinatown to explore the history of Chinese culture in LA
  • Take a free art tour to explore the murals in the LA Metro Stations
  • Explore local Japanese culture in Little Tokyo
  • See the Bradbury Building and its iconic architecture
  • Drive by the Mosaic Tile House in Venice Beach
  • Explore the gardens and art installations at the UCLA campus
  • Visit the Hammer Museum for free
  • Stroll around LA Live
  • Drive by Randyland to see amazing glass sculptures in an Echo Park yard (message him if you want to make an appointment to visit!)
  • Hike out to Sunken City near San Pedro to see the post-landslide remains of a lost neighborhood
  • Search for the final resting place of popular celebrities at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  • Meditate in a quiet garden and explore the peaceful grounds of the Lake Shrine Temple
  • Visit the Philosophical Research Society to browse the library of rare occult books
  • Check out the LACMA’s Urban Light exhibit
  • Score free tickets to a live studio taping
  • Drive Over Shakespeare Bridge (Franklin Avenue)
  • Wander through Oak groves, a meadow, and citrus grove at Pasadena’s Arlington Garden
  • Explore the grounds of the Malibu Hindu Temple
  • Enjoy the tranquility of the SuihoEn Japanese Garden
  • Step into a European village in the heart of LA in a small alley known as Saint Vincent Court
  • Explore the gardens, shrines, and take a moment to meditate at the Hsi Lai Temple

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Heidi Deal
Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights. When she's not writing you can find her solo hiking and going on new adventures with her kids and pup.