In a city where the cost of one drink or parking can run you $15 or more, it’s usually a good idea to find some free things to do in Los Angeles whether you are visiting or a local. There is such a wide of variety of free options including art, outdoor spaces, free concerts, museums, and gardens. You can find things to do for the whole family, including your pup!
If Los Angeles is on your USA bucket list or California bucket list, let this guide of free things to do help you see more of the city! Short on time? you can easily do one day in LA and cover your bases.
Free Things to do in Los Angeles
Escape from the noise of daily life and visit the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens in central Los Angeles.
Check out the Downtown Art Walk every second Thursday of the month where the local culture and community shines.
Go to Catalina Island on your birthday! All you need to do is register online through the Catalina Express.
Enjoy a summertime dose of Shakespeare in the Park with a picnic and some cold drinks.
If you have a dog, check out Rosie’s Dog Beach at the only legal off leash dog beach in Los Angeles.
Take a hike to the Wisdom Tree. The Wisdom tree can be found at the top of Burbank Peak. This special tree made it through the 2007 wildfires. Enjoy the view and take a moment of gratitude.
Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art on the second Tuesday of every month. If you are from the area and looking to find free things to do in Los Angeles, it is free after 3 PM on weekdays (with your driver’s license or identification).
Visit the Gardens of the World and explore six different gardens all unique in their own way.
Check out the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. This area contains a shrine, temple, and meditation garden for all devotions.
Griffith Observatory is one of the best (maybe the best?) of the free things to do Los Angeles. You can view the Downtown LA Skyline once you have hiked there. On certain Saturdays each month, there will be a free star party where you can try out different telescopes. Perfect for those who love stargazing!
Roll the windows down and go for a spin on Mulholland Drive! It is truly a beautiful and scenic drive through the Santa Monica Mountains and towards the Pacific Ocean.
Hanging out at the beach for the weekend? Relax in the summer evenings with the Moonlight Movies on the Beach films.
Visit the Korean Friendship Bell. This incredible gift was given to the city of Los Angeles by the Republic of Korea as a symbol of friendship. The bell and pavilion that protects it is located in the San Pedro area.
What’s a trip to the city of Angels without a hike to the Hollywood Sign? You can hike up to the sign through Bronson Canyon.
Visit La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Downtown LA to check out the Mexican-American exhibits. Free all week except for Tuesdays.
Watch a free movie at the University of Southern California –just make sure you check the time and RSVP. Chances are as a college student you are probably looking to find free things to do in Los Angeles!
Visit the Orange Empire Railway Museum and learn about the history of trains in the area.
Fashion is such a huge part of Los Angeles culture. Visit the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum which is free Tuesday through Saturday.
Explore the Los Angeles staple, the Broad Museum. Be sure to reserve your free ticket ahead of time.
Check out the California Science Center which is great for kids and adults alike. Make sure you get your tickets online! General admission is free.
History buffs might appreciate the Wende Museum. This museum has a variety of art from the Cold War era. It is free on Fridays and on weekends.
Explore the Venice Canals. Inspired by the original Italian Venice Canals, this lovely area is an excellent place for a romantic walk.
Wander around Grand Central Market. You can simply visit and take photos of the wide variety of dishes available or grab something to eat and enjoy a free game night on Thursdays.
Take the kids to Family Night at Kidspace! This takes place on the first Tuesday of the month. What kid doesn’t love a museum just for them full of games? What parent doesn’t love to find free things to do in Los Angeles for kids? The museum is free from 4pm to 8pm.
Window shop on Rodeo Drive. This is one of the best places for shopping if you are on a girls trip!
Enjoy the Lancaster Museum of Art and History which focuses on Post-War American and specifically California art.
Catch a sunset on the beach.
Check out The Chandelier Tree! This may seem odd, but its actually very beautiful in its own right. The tree is located in central Silver Lake area and is lit up in the evenings.
Contemplate over contemporary art at the Marciano Art Foundation. You do need to book your tickets online, and in advance.
Go to North Hollywood and visit the McDonaldland Museum. Open daily. You need to call to schedule a tour at this retro museum.
Explore the gorgeous grounds at Getty Villa. You will find amazing photo opportunities while surrounded by Greek and Roman art and architecture as well as gardens and reflecting pools. Free every day except for Tuesdays. Reserve a ticket for an admission free timed ticket entry. You’ll find plenty of great locations here for Instagram shots!
Tour Eagle Rock Brewery! Enjoy free tours on the weekends at 3pm. Beers are available on draft for purchase, of course.
Settle in for a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl. During the day, the bowl acts as a public area with free parking (huge plus!)
Take the family to the Monrovia Friday Night Family Street Fair on Fridays at 5pm. You’ll find live entertainment and food stalls.
Take photos of an amazing view of Downtown Los Angeles at the City Hall observation deck. Go to the 27th floor and get some serious insta-worthy shots!
Take a tour of the Los Angeles Times building. Tours can be made by appointment, but if you happen to wander in, the front lobby is open with famous front pages throughout the years as décor.
Take a tour of the Hsi Lai Temple which contains 15 acres of Chinese architecture and gardens. There are free self-guided tours available. It is affiliated with a Buddhist organization from Taiwan. Another beautiful example of the many cultural-themed free things to do in Los Angeles.
Take a tour of the Robinson Helicopter Company Factory! If you snag a limited reservation, tours are free on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Take this sweet tour of the E. Waldo Ward & Son Jelly Factory! You can learn how all sorts of treats from fruit butters to jellies are made. Send an email and request to book a free tour on Saturday.
Visit the Getty Museum and Gardens!
Check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame and take photos of your favorite celebrity’s name and star. If you’re lucky to catch a new star’s ceremony, those are also free to attend.
Visit the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition. You can learn about the origins of Scientology and Ron Hubbard’s life in his famous new-age religion. Guided tours are available daily. Perhaps one of the more off the beaten path of free things to do in Los Angeles but could make for a quirky experience!
What’s a trip to Cali without a beach day? Visiting area beaches is one of the most popular free things to do in Los Angeles. Free beaches include Venice, Santa Monica, Manhattan, and Playa Vista.
Cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway! This scenic drive provides gorgeous views of California’s rugged coastline.
Check out the instagrammable walls of Los Angeles. Be an influencer for a day and visit Collette Miller’s Angel Wings murals. This is perhaps one of the most fun free things to do in Los Angeles if you want your Instagram feed to showcase the awesome art in LA.
Los Angeles has every kind of parade you can imagine, and they are massive. If you’re coming around a holiday like Halloween or would like to enjoy Pride – it’s free to attend the parade festivities.
Check out the buzz of the Sunset Strip!
Visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Sure, it’s a little creepy, but fun! You can find a map online to locate the graves you’d like to visit and pay your respects to.
The best way to start your trip is with a free (or pay what you’d like) walking tour in Downtown Los Angeles. This can help you get an idea of the area and what some good locals’ spots are from a native.
Enjoy family-friendly free things to do in Los Angeles by joining in on summer activities with the whole crew at the Levitt Pavilion Concert Series. They host about 50 concerts a year.
Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
There is truly a variety of free things to do in Los Angeles. It is easy to spend a lot of money on activities or dining out, so it is good to mix it up a bit with some free activities, which in their own right, are very much iconic to LA and California. For example, would you go to Los Angeles without taking a hike to the Hollywood sign or without going to a famous beach like Malibu? Plan ahead and you can make this a memorable trip without breaking the bank!
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