Los Angeles, fondly nicknamed as the “City of Angels”, is a bright and dazzling destination that lures extravagant travelers with its eye-catching Hollywood celebrities, energetic vibe, and sunny beaches. Famous for its modern-day wonders, energetic nightlife and cutting-edge movie studios, LA is truly a hotbed of culture, media and tourism in America.
But, behind the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown is an awesome collection of delights that won’t cost a dime. Yes folks, there are tons of freebies in store for you in Los Angeles. Whether are planning on exploring a neighborhood, visiting a free museum or spotting celebs in LA, we’ve got the lowdown on the top free things to do in the City of Angels.
Wondering where to go in Los Angeles , when you’re short on budget? Here’s a list of the best Los Angeles attractions that you can enjoy without spending a dime. Once you’ve landed on a Los Angeles airport, grab a map, and spot these amazing sites and experiences.
1. Get a load of the city’s architectural treasures
From the spiritual to the modern and sleek, LA is brimming with stunning architectural gems that will surely awestruck its beholders, such as the Getty Center, Broad Contemporary Art Museum, US Bank Tower, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Even if you’re not a bona fide architecture lover or photography enthusiasts, you’ll still find these LA attractions amazing and awe-inspiring.
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2. Climb the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
Are you an outdoor aficionado who’s for some fun things to do in Los Angeles? Wondering what to do in LA to burn some fats? Why not take a hike to the top of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook? Not only is it a great way to burn excess calories, but climbing the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook will also give you a panoramic view of LA.
3. Get more awe-inspiring views of Los Angeles
Aside from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, there are tons of other places where you can get breathtaking views of the city, including the Hilltop Park, the Grove Parking Lot’s top, Vista Hermosa Park, Angels Point in Elysian Park, City Hall’s observation deck, and Turnbull Canyon.
4. Griffith Observatory’s star parties
Every month, volunteers from the city’s astronomy groups would set up a few telescopes outside the Griffith Observatory, to help curious locals and tourists catch sight of stars and planets. Personally, I think it’s one of the best free things to do in Los Angeles.
Speaking of stargazing, you can experience a free astronomy presentation called as the “Afternoon with the Stars” in Glendale Community College.
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6. Sightseeing at Venice beach
Wander around Venice beach, and take in the beautiful sights around the area. From street dancers and roller-bladers to chainsaw jugglers, there are also a lot of different interesting people and street entertainers in Venice.
7. Admire the Chandelier Tree
When nighttime sets in, take a drive in the Silver Lake neighborhood, and spend a couple of minutes admiring Adam Tenenbaum’s gleaming Chandelier Tree.
8. Explore LA’s free museums
There are dozens of museums in Los Angeles that offer free admissions.
9. Spend a lovely afternoon at the grounds of Greystone Mansion
The Greystone Manion, one of the most serene and gorgeous spots in the city, boasts a slew of sights that will take your breath away.
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10. Check out a historic stone castle
The Lummis House, or also called El Alisal, is a beautiful rustic stone house built in the late 1800s by Charles Fletcher Lummis.
11. Hollywood Boulevard ceremonies
One of the best ways to get a close up look of your favorite Hollywood celebrities is to watch the star dedication ceremonies on Hollywood Boulevard, which are usually held twice a month.
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12. Swing by the Getty Center
Take a close look at the contemporary sculptures as well as the European pre-20th century manuscripts, drawings and sculptures displayed at the Getty Center. Afterwards, take some time to admire its intricate and unique architectural design.
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13. Visit the Hollywood Bowl Museum in summer
Want to see more incredible works of art in LA, California? During summertime, the Hollywood Bowl Museum gives free access to its collection of historic and art exhibits.
14. See the permanent exhibits of LACMA
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or also referred as LACMA, offers free admission to all its permanent galleries every second Tuesday of the month.
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15. Take pictures of the murals in Los Angeles
LA has a plethora of murals that tell stories of the city’s cultural future, present and past. You can find these treasures mostly in the city’s Metro Stations. Better yet, swing by the Mural Conservancy, to get complete info regarding the city’s murals.
16. A leisurely stroll at Olvera Street
In Olvera Street, tourists get a chance to listen to cool mariachi music, watch colorful folkloric dance performances as well as visit the Avila Adobe, which is one of the oldest existing buildings in Los Angeles. Plus, the area has a handful of other restored historic edifices, such as the Old Plaza Firehouse and Old Plaza Church.
17. Delve into the fascinating culture of Japan
18. Rub shoulders with some of the country’s top authors
Meet and greet hundreds of authors who annually show up at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which is held on a weekend in April on UCLA’s campus.
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19. Art overload with the DTLA Art Walk
Held every second Thursday of the month, the DTLA Art Walk transforms downtown Los Angeles into a spectacle with a dynamic mixture of food, culture, community and art.
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20. Drop by Hammer Museum
Visit Hammer Museum, and feast your eyes on its spectacular artwork collections, including the works of Sargent, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Monet.
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21. Free Shakespeare performances
For those who are overly fond of theaters, there are a few free performances from Shakespeare at the Park and Shakespeare by the Sea every summer.
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22. Free comedy shows
There is no shortage of entertaining free comedy shows in the city of Los Angeles. As a matter of fact, there is at least one comedy show in this city every day.
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23. Concerts with zero-dollar admission
Thanks to Amoeba, you will no longer have to spend a fortune to see big acts like Billy Idol perform live on stage in Los Angeles.
24. Be a part of an audience of a live show
A back-lot tour of Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, NBC or Paramount Pictures will cost you around 20 to 50 USD. But guess what? You can grab free tickets to the TV tapings that take place at these world renowned studios. With these free tickets, you can be a part of the live audience for shows Ellen, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Deal or No Deal and Last Comic Standing. Pretty cool, right?
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25. Summer night concerts with KCRW
Every summer, KCRW offers a string of free outdoor concerts that feature DJ sets and live band performances all over LA. Who knows? You might catch the next big thing in the music industry, while watching one of these concerts on summer in Los Angeles.
26. Free classical music performances
Are you a big fan of classical music? The USC Thornton School of Music puts on live recitals that are open to the public for free. While some of them are amateurs, expect quality performances for these musicians.
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27. Listen to mariachi music in Boyle Heights
Make your way to the Mariachi Plaza, and listen to hopefuls auditioning for potential mariachi gigs. And, by the way, the mariachis here are friendly, and not as bad-ass as the character portrayed by Antonio Banderas in Desperado.
28. Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The owners of the controversial Hollywood Forever Cemetery have often been blasted for promoting it as a point of interest. But the thing is, any necropolis that serves as a home to the remains of luminaries like Jayne Mansfield and Cecil B. DeMille would become a tourist attraction, regardless. And besides, this cemetery is loaded with elaborate headstones and mausoleums.
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29. Hollywood sign
No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a slightly close glimpse of the iconic Hollywood sign. While the public is prohibited from entering the sign’s grounds, there are plenty of nearby areas where you can get great photo angles of this sign, such as The Griffith Observatory, Canyon Lake Drive and Mulholland Drive.
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30. Hollywood walk of fame
Take pictures of the brass stars and five-pointed terrazzo embedded in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The most popular names are located between 6800 and 6900 block in Hollywood Boulevard.
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31. The Korea Friendship Bell
The Korea Friendship Bell is, as far as I’m concerned, a terrific spot to hang out, relax, enjoy the view, and capture some gorgeous photographs.
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32. Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, the country’s largest Catholic cathedral and one of the most innovative architectures in LA, inspires its visitors with its warm, charming and inviting interior.
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33. The California Science Center
Traveling with a bunch of kids in Los Angeles, California? The California Science Center displays a marvelous array of exhibits that would surely delight your children. Of course, the museum has some interesting displays that would intrigue adults and spark your interest.
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34. Venice Beach Skate Plaza
Planning on spending a whole day at Venice Beach? Then, swing by the Venice Beach Skate Plaza, and watch the local skaters strut their stuff. And, if you also got the skills, grab a board, and show some of your abilities.
35. Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum, which is free for kids below five years of age, has exhibits that showcase the evolution of automobiles.
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36. Cruising the Mulholland Drive
Mulholland Drive is a famous scenic drive that will sweep you into bliss, with its gorgeous views and relaxing view. With its scenery and unique feel, the road has been featured in numerous novels, songs and movies. David Lynch, who directed and wrote a movie named after the road, sad that you can feel the history of Hollywood on this lovely drive.
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37. Check out the Pacific Coast Highway
Billed as one of the signature drives in Los Angeles and America, Pacific Coast Highway is a picturesque sun-drenched road that you must check out during your trip to LA.
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38. Romantic hikes
Traveling with your loved one? The city has plenty of romantic hikes to offer to those want to add an extra element of romance to their trip to LA. Here some of the best trails to take a romantic hike in Los Angeles.
- Del Cerro Park
- Los Liones Trail
- Temescal Canyon
- Wilacre Park’s Betty B. Dearing Trail
- Corral Canyon
- Solstice Canyon
- Hollyridge Trail
- Run Canyon
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39. Channel your inner Zen-master
In Tarzana, the Sahaja Yoga Meditation Center offers guided meditations and workshops on Sunday mornings and certain weekend evenings.
40. Grand Central Market’s free games
The Grand Central Market, every Thursday evening, offers free rounds of board games, cornhole, ping pong, and other exciting games.
41. Hit a beach in Los Angeles
Want to get some tan? Los Angeles, with its sunny weather and fabulous coastline, is definitely the best city to enjoy the quintessential endless summer experience in Southern California. And the best part is, there are plenty of public beaches available for free in this Californian hub, including El Matador Beach, Leo Carrillo State Beach, Malibu Surfrider Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Cabrillo Beach.
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42. Rodeo Drive window shopping
For budget-conscious fashionistas, one of the best free things to do in Los Angeles is to do some window shopping on Rodeo Drive. Immortalized on the silver screen by the 90s flick “Pretty Woman”, Rodeo Drive is a chic and upscale shopping street that features designer label stores and small private boutiques. Nested in Beverly Hills, this well-known area in Los Angeles is quite popular among lavish shoppers, sunglass-wearing celebrities and tourists who are hoping to see a bunch of fashion icons.
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