It’s pretty rare to hear an Angeleno bored with their life. After all, Los Angeles is full of exciting activities and neighborhoods with stores and boutiques to explore. Most of the time though, the good stuff is going to cost you. Luckily for you, L.A. offers a treasure trove of fun free things to do. We put together some to help you have some fun while saving a buck at the same time.
1.) Hike To The Hollywood SignChances are you’ve seen The Hollywood Sign off in the distance, but why not see it from another perspective? From Bronson Canyon, or from many other routes, you can trek to the top of the famous sign. Don’t forget to bring your camera or snap away for your Instagram account. You’ll feel like you’re at the top of the world and can take photos to brag to all of your friends.
2.) Walk The Sprawling Greystone Mansion GroundsFrequently the backdrop of weddings and events, The Greystone Mansion (also known as the Doheny Mansion) was once the home of Edward Doheny Jr., or the son of oil tycoon Edward Doheny. Following the purchase of the mansion by the city of Beverly Hills, it was made into a public park where you can walk the beautiful grounds and take in the scenery. With gardens and peaceful spots to have a picnic or just waste the day away, its one of LA’s best free things to do.
3.) Hang Out At Echo Park LakeWith Downtown L.A. as a backdrop, Echo Park Lake is a great place to set up a picnic or just lay back and enjoy the skyline.
4.) Sit In On A Live TV ShowAlthough backlot tours of studios like NBC, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Fox and Sony will cost you a price for admission, there are a ton of television shows that give away tickets for free. Sit in on a live taping as part of the audience on shows like The Tonight Show, Ellen, Wheel of Fortune and many more. Check out the show’s website for information.
5.) Explore San Pedro’s Sunken CityAlthough its technically off limits to the public, it doesn’t stop people from checking out this old neighborhood that basically fell over the cliff and into the water in 1929. Today, the area contains the ruins that are leftover from the natural events. Explore the area and you’ll find the remains of home foundations, curbsides, piping and more.
6.) Walk Olvera StreetLocated across the street from Union Station, Olvera Street is full of interesting goods being sold by local vendors. Stroll through, and admire local artists, listen to musicians performing, and taste some real authentic Mexican food.
7.) Take Advantage Of Free Admission To Many Of LA’s Top MuseumsWhen it comes to Los Angeles museums, getting in free has a great ring to it, right? From The Getty Center and The Getty Villa to The California Science Center, The Hollywood Bowl Museum, and more, many of LA’s best museums offer free admission each and every day. Museums free to get into including the ones mentioned include the Paley Center for Media, the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Hammer Museum, the LA Museum of the Holocaust, the Fowler Museum at UCLA and many more. Even LACMA offers certain times when you can get in free. Stop by on the second Tuesday of the month or if you’re an LA resident, come by Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday after 3pm to get in free!
Opened in 1912 and shuttered in 1966, the abandoned ruins of the zoo remain and make for a interesting spot to roam around, have a picnic nearby and set on one of the hiking trails afterwards.
9.) Free Birthday Trip To CatalinaMost Angeleno’s don’t know that you can get a free trip to Catalina just for being born. For your birthday, Catalina Express will set sail from LA to Catalina Island. All you need to do is register online at Catalina Express.
10.) Downtown Art WalkTo get a little culture in, head to Downtown Los Angeles as it puts on the DTLA Art Walk every second Thursday of the month. Explore art, culture and terrific food.
11.) Explore Grand Central MarketLocated Downtown, Grand Central Market has gone through somewhat of a resurgence as of late. As the oldest open-air market on the west coast, Grand Central Market features terrific food vendors like Wexler’s Deli and G&B Coffee.
12.) Hike Runyon CanyonGet out and get a little exercise by taking on the popular Runyon Canyon trails. The 160-acre park lies at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains and offers easy, medium and difficult trails to choose from.
13.) Explore The Historic Bradbury BuildingAn iconic and historical landmark of Los Angeles, the Bradbury Building has been featured in countless movies and TV shows. Located at 304 Broadway in Downtown LA, the building was built in 1893 by LA gold mining millionaire Lewis L. Bradbury and stands as one of LA’s best architectural landmarks. Although as a visitor you can only go to the lobby, you’ll get all the views you need from there. Look up and sit in awe at the elevator and other architectural wonders.
14.) Take A Stroll Through The Hollywood Walk Of FameSure, it’s a little touristy, but if you’ve never done it, what better time than now, right? Featuring over 2500 brass stars spanning 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, The Walk Of Fame is easily one of the world’s most recognizable attractions.
15.) Get A View Of L.A. At City HallHead down to the Observation Deck at City Hall for an amazing free view of Downtown Los Angeles. It’s on the 27th floor and will make you see the city in a different way.
16.) Walk The Grounds Of The Hollywood Forever CemeteryThe Hollywood Forever Cemetery is more than just a burial place. Take a stroll through the beauiful cemetery grounds in the heart of Hollywood and pay your respects to rock and roll legends like Johnny Ramone. Other famous celebs who you can seek out include Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, and many more of Hollywood’s greatest stars.
17.) Wander The Grounds / Watch Polo Matches At Will Rogers State Historic ParkOn weekends, catch the energy of a live polo match at Will Rogers State Historic Park or wander the beautiful grounds.
18.) Ride Your Bike Down The StrandIf you don’t have a bike, you can always walk the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, otherwise known as the Strand. This scenic bike path runs from the northern parts of Santa Monica around Will Rogers State Beach all the way south to Manhattan Beach right along the Pacific Ocean shoreline. 22 miles long, it’s completely free, healthy and you’ll get a day full of terrific views and scenery.
19.) Get A Workout In At The Santa Monica StepsFree to the public and open 24/7, 365 days a year, the Santa Monica Steps are are sets of steps (one wooden, one concrete). Enjoy a free and great workout outdoors!
20.) Art Viewing At The Old PBR Factory / Edison Electric PlantA twice annual open studio weekend at the world’s largest art complex just happens to take place at the old PBR Factory and the old Edison Electric Plant. Free for the public, the art walk features art from over 100 participating resident artists. Explore new works, speak with artists and more. The ArtWalk takes place in the Spring and Fall.
21.) Play Free Tennis in The Pacific PalisadesThere’s usually nothing more frustrating than playing tennis on public courts. But, in the case of the mostly hidden Rustic Canyon Park in the Pacific Palisades, things are quite different. Here, you can play on six terrifically kept up courts for free.
22.) Laugh Along At Indie ImprovHead over to The Clubhouse, located at 1107 N. El Centro Ave in Hollywood. Offering free improv shows every night of the week, you’ll get your chance to laugh your head off, and you won’t have to pay a dime for it.
23.) Walk The Santa Monica PierAlthough rides and food are not free, admission to walk around the pier is. As the focal point of Santa Monica Beach, the Santa Monica Pier offers a ton to see including the ferris wheel, an aquarium, games, and more.
24.) Visit The Annenberg Community Beach HouseLocated in Santa Monica, The Annenberg Community Beach House is free for all to visit is open daily, year-round. Here, there are splash pads, a playground, beach volleyball courts, beach soccer fields and beach access.
25.) Take A Bike Ride Next To The L.A. RiverStretching 7.4 miles from Atwater through Glendale, the scenic route offers wildlife and more as you ride along the river.
26.) Take In The Scenes At First Friday’s In VeniceOn the first Friday of every month, Venice’s Abbot Kinney Blvd. comes alive with shops open late, food trucks and more. Take a stroll down Abbot Kinney and enjoy the sights and sounds.
27.) Throw A Bonfire At Dockweiler BeachGet some friends together and head to Dockweiler State Beach, or the only beach in LA where you can legally have a bonfire on the beach. Sit back, knock back some cold ones and watch the sun set as your bonfire illuminates the night. It’s completely free and a fun activity. Your friends will thank you afterwards. We promise.
28.) Attend A Free Event At Grand ParkDowntown LA’s Grand Park offers free events year-round including live music, art classes, outdoor yoga classes and more. Check out the Calendar for events.