24 Fun Things to Do in LA That Are Totally Free

Experience the City of Angels on a budget with these free things to do in L.A.

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Tourists flock to Los Angeles for a behind-the-scenes peek at the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but there's so much more to this SoCal city beyond the Walk of Fame, stargazing on Sunset Strip, or window shopping at the designer boutiques on Rodeo Drive. The best part is, a trip to the city doesn't have to break the bank — in fact, there are plenty of fun, free things to do in L.A.

Here are the top 24 free things to do in Los Angeles.

1. Get Your Culture Fix at LACMA

Urban Light sculpture by Chris Burden at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California
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Immerse yourself in the California art scene at LACMA, which is free to Los Angeles County residents every day after 3 p.m. and free to all visitors on the second Tuesday of every month. Chris Burden's Urban Light exhibition in front of the museum is free to access daily.

2. Channel Your Inner Hermione Granger at the Book Hotspots of DTLA

Surrealist sculpture in The Last Bookstore

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Pay a visit to the magnificent Central Library in Downtown L.A. — a dream destination for any book and architecture lover. Also in DTLA, make sure you head to The Last Bookstore to see the ever-Instagrammable labyrinth of books.

3. Hike With the Los Feliz Crowd at Griffith Park

Hiking Trails Landscape and Los Angeles City Skyline
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Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness areas in the country, and the 4,210 acres of natural, chaparral-covered terrain make for a great place to hike, picnic, and play. Not only are all the hiking trails — including the hike up Mount Hollywood Trail — free, but visitors are also welcome to tour the iconic Griffith Observatory at no charge. At the base of Griffith Park is the lovely village of Los Feliz — roam the streets that feed directly into Silver Lake.

4. Check Out the LA Music Scene With Ongoing Free Concert Series

Smiling Black DJ on urban rooftop
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Ears will be happy and wallets will be full thanks to the countless free concerts offered during the summer. There's the Grand Performances in DTLA every Saturday from June to September, the eclectic lineup at the Summer Sounds Free Outdoor Concert Series in West Hollywood, Saturdays Off The 405 at The Getty Museum, and more.

5. Hit the Beach and Bike With Locals Along the Strand

Bike Path Winding Across Beach Towards Santa Monica Pier at Sunset - Aerial
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Work off all those famous Angeleno street tacos with a stroll or bike ride down a portion of the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, also known as The Strand — a mostly-flat, well-paved 22-mile beach path running along the Pacific from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance.

6. Flex Your Yogi Muscles at Runyon Canyon

Aerial view of rural mountain road
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L.A. is a city that loves yoga, so join the fray by hitting up one of the many donation-based yoga classes around the city, like those at Runyon Canyon. Keep the free fun up — and snap a picture in your cutest pair of yoga leggings — on a hike around Runyon after the class.

7. Walk the Walk — the ArtWalk, That Is — in DTLA

Los Angeles Exteriors And Landmarks - 2020
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It's a feast for the senses at the Downtown L.A. ArtWalk, where the blossoming community within the galleries on Spring and Main streets opens its doors to the public on a daily basis for free, self-guided art experiences.

8. Give Back to the Environment

Panoramic aerial view of Los Angeles skyline, California, USA
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You can help counteract the effects the local car culture has on the environment by planting trees with the folks at TreePeople, then spend the afternoon hiking Fryman Canyon, a lesser-known trail that's much more invigorating than being stuck on a star-seeking tour bus.

9. Partake in a Classic Venice Beach Spectacle

People crossing the street along Abbot Kinney

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Head over to Venice for Abbot Kinney First Fridays to support locally owned businesses and peruse displayed art and food trucks aplenty along one of the hippest streets in Venice. Come early and take a walk along the Venice Canals, which are as scenic as the homes lining the waterways.

10. Immerse Yourself in the Watts Towers Architecture

The Watts Towers are photographed framed by a flowers growing in the garden of a home across the street, in Los Angeles
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Crane your neck at the historic Watts Towers, a series of 17 interconnected sculptural structures built over 34 years by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia. An iconic symbol of Los Angeles, the tallest of the towers reaches a height of over 99 feet, all of it made from ceramics, bottles, tiles, shells, and other scraps contributed by the local community. While entrance to the towers is currently closed, you can explore the outside of the magnificent structures at no cost.

11. Find Art in Every Corner of LA — Even in the Metro Stations

Subway Escalator and Stairs
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Though L.A. isn't known for its public transit system, one does exist. There are even free Metro Station art tours put on by the department of transportation which highlight murals, architecture, digital installations, and more.

12. Learn About the Japanese Culture of LA in Little Tokyo

USA, California, Los Angeles, Little Tokyo
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Take in the lantern-lined streets and alleyways of Little Tokyo, a more than 130-year-old neighborhood bustling with restaurants, galleries, and indie clothing shops. While in Little Tokyo, head to the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center where you can stroll the James Irvine Japanese Garden — free and open to the public all year.

13. Tour the Exceptional Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney World Concert Hall

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Capitalize on the complimentary tours that take visitors through the interior space and gardens at the architecturally stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry.

14. Gallery Hop in Chinatown

looking up at an ornate building in Chinatown

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Take a self-guided tour of the up-and-coming galleries along Chinatown's Chung King Road on various Saturday nights, when they fling their doors open to the public. Be sure to check the Facebook page for event dates.

15. Nerd Out Over the Bradbury's Architecture

The Bradbury Building
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One of the city's most-filmed commercial buildings is also one of its oldest. The Bradbury is recognizable by its open cage elevators, marble stairs, and ornate iron railings all illuminated by ample natural light that spills in from the skylights above. The best part: It's free to poke around.

16. Take a Free Walking Tour Through the DTLA Arts District

Pershing Square, Los Angeles, California, USA, May 2010
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The Los Angeles Conservancy blows apart the idea that no one walks in L.A. Its website offers plenty of maps for self-guided walking architectural tours of the city, from locations spotted in the movie "500 Days of Summer" to the DTLA Arts District and more.

17. See the Stars at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Tombstones at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

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Built in 1899, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is the resting place for some of Hollywood's greats, like Johnny Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, and more. Walk the grounds and admire the intricate headstones and mausoleums of these luminaries.

18. Sweat It Out With a Run Up the Iconic Silver Lake Stairs

Low Angle View Of Staircase In Building
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Angelenos love to climb the city's staircases — originally designed to connect steep-streeted communities in the 1920s — to fit in a workout. Use this list from Discover Los Angeles to sweat like the locals in Echo Park, Silver Lake, Santa Monica, and beyond.

19. Head to The Grove in West Hollywood to Tour the Original Farmers Market

Los Angeles Exteriors And Landmarks - 2016
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The sights and sounds at the Original Farmers Market are a feast for the senses, and though entry is free, we can't guarantee you'll be able to resist forking over some dough for a couple empanadas at the famed Nonna's Empanadas.

20. Visit One of the Best Impressionist Collections on the West Coast

Gardens and fountain at Getty Villa

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With sweeping views of the city, the Getty Center is one of the most prized museums on the West Coast, boasting a world-class collection of European Impressionist works, contemporary photographs, and decorative arts. The entrance to the museum (which is known just as much for the architecture as the art within), the stunning gardens within The Getty, and the tram up to the museum are all free. Fans of the Getty Center can also visit J. Paul Getty's stunning Pacific Palisades property at the Getty Villa, which focuses on Greek and Roman art, for free.

21. Travel Back to the Ice Age at the La Brea Tar Pits

La brea tar pits

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The La Brea Tar Pits, in central L.A. right next to LACMA, are home to the only actively excavated Ice Age fossil site found in an urban location in the world. Wandering the outdoor grounds and checking out the pools of sticky asphalt is free, and it is a perfect stop before checking out LACMA's Urban Light.

22. See Some of LA's Best Trails and Wildlife With the Audubon Society

Rufous Hummingbird
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Indulge your inner birder and take a complimentary bird walk with the L.A. Audubon Society in the city's many woodlands, lakes, coastal scrubs, and saltwater marshes. The Audubon Society's guided walks take place most Saturdays and Sundays and explore beautiful areas like Topanga State Park and Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.

23. Catch a Free Exhibit at The Broad

facade of The Broad

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The Broad Museum in Downtown L.A. makes art democratic by extending complimentary general admission access to Eli and Edythe Broad's personal collection of nearly 2,000 pieces of contemporary art from the 1950s to the present. The museum, which opened in 2015, also hosts ticketed exhibitions from big-name artists like William Kentridge.

24. Find Poignant History and Amazing Mexican Food on Olvera Street

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument at placita Olvera or Olvera street
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Get a dose of local Mexican-Angeleno culture and history on Olvera Street, also known as the Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. There are plenty of restaurants where you can indulge in Olvera Street classics — like taquitos at Cielito Lindo — with the money you've saved by partaking in the free tours of Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church and the Old Plaza Firehouse.

Updated by
Maya Kachroo-Levine
Maya Kachroo-Levine
Maya Kachroo-Levine is the senior editor at Travel + Leisure. She covers hotels, destinations (focusing on Europe, Asia, California, and Mexico), food and drink, cruises, and luxury aviation.
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