- The Beach. Unlike New Jersey, California’s beaches are 100% free to visit, so don’t hesitate to indulge in your desire to stroll along the sand or try your hand at surfing. Just remember to bring your sunscreen. If dipping your toes in the water isn’t enough excitement, Santa Monica has a great pier to enjoy as well, though pier activities do cost. Also, make sure you search carefully for free parking. Parking lots along the California coast do tend to charge for parking or impose limited hours of use.
- Free Concerts. Spaceland Presents offers concerts at various venues such as The Echo and The Love Song Bar, several of which are free. Check out the site to find the time and locations of the latest free concerts in the Los Angeles area www.spacelandpresents.com.
- California Science Center - Located on Exposition Drive in Los Angeles - If you have a passion for learning or have kids, this is a great place to visit. There are a few exhibits that charge an entry fee but the Center itself is completely free. Just walk in and start exploring the hundreds of informative and interactive exhibits. The Science Center is open every day from 10:00am to 5:00pm. https://californiasciencecenter.org/
- The Annenberg Space for Photography - Located in Los Angeles - Enjoy the photo exhibits on your own or join a free 30 minute guided tour of highlighted works on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission to the gallery is always free. https://annenbergphotospace.org/
- Hollywood Walk of Fame. The walk of fame runs 1.3 miles, most which runs along Hollywood Boulevard from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue. Peruse some of Hollywood’s most famous stars and take photos on this free public sidewalk. Don’t forget to take a moment to people watch too. The walk of fame is near many of Hollywood’s major studios (like Sunset & Gower) and you just might catch a glimpse of someone famous.
- The Getty Center and/or the Getty Villa. The Getty Center is a museum filled with European and American paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculptures and decorative arts. It also has beautiful gardens. And admission is always free. The Getty Villa is different from the Center in a few ways. While it is also completely free, it does require you to get a timed entry ticket online (https://www.getty.edu/visit/villa/plan/hours.html), it’s a bit smaller, and it’s located just off of the Pacific Coast Highway, giving you a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean in addition to the gorgeous art.
- Hammer Museum - Located in the Westwood area of Los Angeles - The Hammer Museum is an artist focused museum with contemporary art. The Hammer Museum is an affiliate of the University of California but, like everything else on our list, it’s free. Just take note: the museum is closed on Mondays.
- Griffith Park. This massive park touches the border of several major cities inside Los Angeles County, including Burbank, Glendale, and Hollywood. From picnicking to hiking, there are many activities you can do at no cost. You can even catch a free summer production of Shakespeare in the park (visit iscla.org for details). Griffith Park also has multiple spots where you can get a fantastic view of the Hollywood sign. Admission to Griffith Observatory is also always free.
- Broad Museum. If you like contemporary art, check out The Broad Museum. General admission is free; though, you’ll need to select the day and time of your entry online if you want to avoid long lines (https://www.thebroad.org/visit). There are also free tours available at various times.
- The Greystone Gardens. While the mansion is only open for special events, the gardens are open to the public daily except for holidays or when there is a special event booked. These Beverly Hills gardens sprawl over 18 acres and are considered a local historical landmark. Alternatively, another free-to-access beautiful garden is the Exposition Rose Garden, which is located next to the California Science Center (#3 above, much smaller than 18 acres but also free).
- DTLA Art Walk - Located from Spring and Main St. Between 2nd and 9th Street - If you are interested in a more informal art experience, try the DTLA Art Walk. It’s a self guided tour of local art galleries which is available to enjoy free on every second Thursday of the month. The walk also takes you along the streets of downtown Los Angeles as you make your way to each of the various galleries, so take a moment to admire any street art you can get a glimpse of as well. Maps to participating galleries are available online and on paper at select gallery guide pick up spots. https://downtownartwalk.org/
*Note: Parking availability and cost varies.
If you have a suggestion of something fun to do in Los Angeles for free or have questions about our list, please leave a comment below.