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Free Things to Do in Los Angeles

Free Things to Do in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, often known for its glamor, celebrity culture, and bustling city life, also harbors an array of activities that don’t cost a dime. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, here are ten free things you can enjoy in the City of Angels—if you’re looking for a great way to get around and see as much as possible, get a ticket for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour that allows you easy access to some of the best sights in the city!

Griffith Park, one of Los Angeles’ most beloved green spaces, offers an escape into nature without leaving the urban environment. Spanning over 4,210 acres, it has a network of hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and scenic viewpoints. A highlight within Griffith Park is the iconic Griffith Observatory, an Art Deco masterpiece that offers breathtaking views of the Los Angeles skyline and the Hollywood Sign. Admission to the observatory is free, providing visitors access to various exhibits, telescopes, and the famous Zeiss telescope, which offers spectacular views of the cosmic world. Whether you’re a stargazer or just seeking a panoramic view of the city, Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory are must-visit destinations that encapsulate the natural beauty and scientific spirit of Los Angeles.

Griffith Observatory (©Nathan Dumlao)
Griffith Observatory (©Nathan Dumlao)

Another gem in the heart of Los Angeles that offers a glimpse into its storied past without costing a penny is the Greystone Mansion and Park. This grand estate, nestled in Beverly Hills, is surrounded by 18.3 acres of lush gardens open to the public. Built in 1928, the mansion’s architecture and sprawling grounds offer a stunning backdrop that has been featured in numerous films and television shows. Visitors can roam the meticulously maintained gardens, enjoy the tranquility of the reflecting pool, and marvel at the classic design of the estate. Although the mansion’s interior is only open for special events, the exterior and gardens provide a serene escape and a peek into the luxurious lifestyles of Los Angeles’ early elite.

Greystone Mansion (©Melanie Lee)
Greystone Mansion (©Melanie Lee)

Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, The Getty Center is an architectural marvel that offers more than its striking design by Richard Meier. The Center houses an impressive collection of artworks from the Middle Ages to contemporary times, including European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The meticulously landscaped gardens and open spaces offer a serene setting, pairing art with nature uniquely. In addition to its art collections, The Getty Center provides panoramic views of Los Angeles, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts and sightseers. With no admission fee, The Getty Center is a testament to Los Angeles’ commitment to making art and culture accessible to all.

The Getty (©Lisa Li)
The Getty (©Lisa Li)

For pop culture fans, Funko Hollywood offers a unique and free experience in the heart of Los Angeles. This vibrant store brings the whimsical world of Funko to life with its floor-to-ceiling displays of life-sized figures representing characters from movies, television, sports, and more. Exploring its themed areas, visitors can immerse themselves in different universes, from the wizarding world of Harry Potter to the adventurous landscapes of Marvel and Disney. Funko Hollywood is not just a store; it’s an interactive experience where fans can engage with their favorite characters in extraordinary settings, making it a must-visit destination for enthusiasts of all ages. The opportunity to snap selfies with oversized pop figures and to cherish the creativity and nostalgia that each section of the store offers ensures that a trip to Funko Hollywood is an unforgettable adventure without spending a dime.

Funko Hollywood (©Melanie Lee)
Funko Hollywood (©Melanie Lee)

The Santa Monica Pier and Beach are quintessential landmarks of Los Angeles, offering many free activities that encapsulate the Southern California beach culture. The pier, with its iconic Ferris wheel and carousel, presents a nostalgic slice of Americana. At the same time, the expansive beach stretches beneath, inviting visitors to soak up the sun, surf the waves, or simply enjoy a stroll along the water’s edge. The pier also serves as a vantage point for some of the most stunning sunsets over the Pacific Ocean. Beyond its scenic and recreational offerings, the Santa Monica Pier hosts a variety of free concerts and events throughout the year, making it a vibrant hub of entertainment and cultural exchange. Whether you’re looking to catch a glimpse of local wildlife, enjoy live music, or simply relish in the laid-back beach atmosphere, Santa Monica Pier and Beach are must-visit destinations for anyone exploring Los Angeles without spending a penny.

Santa Monica Pier (©Getty Images)
Santa Monica Pier (©Getty Images)

Another iconic and free attraction in Los Angeles is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Stretching along Hollywood Boulevard, this famous sidewalk is embedded with over 2,700 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars honoring the luminaries of the entertainment industry. A stroll down the Walk of Fame offers visitors a unique opportunity to walk alongside the names of legendary actors, musicians, directors, and other entertainment professionals. It’s not just about recognizing the names; it’s about the history and the stories behind each star. The excitement of spotting the star of a favorite celebrity and the possibility of witnessing a live star-unveiling ceremony make the Hollywood Walk of Fame an essential experience for anyone exploring the cultural fabric of Los Angeles without needing a ticket.

Hollywood Walk of Fame (©Oxana Melis)
Hollywood Walk of Fame (©Oxana Melis)

Runyon Canyon Park is another gem among Los Angeles’ free attractions, offering an urban oasis that appeals to nature enthusiasts and fitness buffs alike. Nestled just a short distance from the bustling streets of Hollywood, this 160-acre park is a favorite for locals and tourists seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Californian landscape. With its various hiking trails that range from easy to challenging, Runyon Canyon is a perfect spot for those looking to enjoy a scenic workout with stunning views of the Los Angeles Basin, including the Hollywood Sign and the Pacific Ocean, on clear days. The park is also an off-leash dog park, making it an excellent location for pet owners. With its accessibility, breathtaking vistas, and the opportunity to mingle with like-minded outdoor lovers, Runyon Canyon Park embodies the spirit of Los Angeles—where adventure and natural beauty are never far from reach.

Runyon Canyon Park (©Rika Ichinose)
Runyon Canyon Park (©Rika Ichinose)

Adding to Los Angeles’ exquisite palette of free attractions are the Venice Canals. These beautiful, man-made canals, inspired by their Venetian namesake, offer a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Wandering along these quiet waterways, you’ll find an array of charming bridges and walkways lined with eclectic homes, lush gardens, and artistic flair. The idyllic setting provides a perfect backdrop for a stroll, photography, or a moment of reflection. The Venice Canals embody a unique blend of history, architecture, and nature, illustrating yet another facet of Los Angeles’ diverse and accessible attractions.

Venice Canals (©Melanie Lee)
Venice Canals (©Melanie Lee)

Part of the rich tapestry of Los Angeles’ free cultural attractions, The Broad stands out as a contemporary art museum that offers both residents and visitors an unparalleled experience. Situated in downtown Los Angeles, this architectural gem, with its striking honeycomb-like exterior, houses an extensive collection of more than 2,000 works of contemporary art. The Broad offers a comprehensive look at the post-war and modern art scene, featuring pieces from renowned artists such as Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. Admission to this museum is free, showcasing Eli and Edythe Broad’s commitment to sharing their remarkable collection with the public. The Broad is not just a museum; it’s a dynamic space where visitors can engage with innovative exhibitions and digital installations, making it a must-visit for art lovers and those curious about the vibrant contemporary art world.

The Broad (©Tu Tram Pham)
The Broad (©Tu Tram Pham)

The La Brea Tar Pits represent one of Los Angeles’ most fascinating and unique free attractions, offering visitors a glimpse into the ancient past. Set in the heart of the city, these naturally occurring tar pits have been preserving fossils for tens of thousands of years, serving as a window to the Ice Age amid modern-day Los Angeles. Around the pits, the museum showcases an impressive collection of Ice Age fossils, including mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and dire wolves, excavated from the tar. While there is a fee to enter the museum, wandering the park grounds and viewing the tar pits and some of the outdoor exhibits does not cost anything. This site not only provides a rare opportunity for educational discovery but also serves as a striking reminder of the natural history that once roamed the area where skyscrapers now stand.

La Brea Tar Pits & Museum (©Nicholas B Yelp)
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum (©Nicholas B Yelp)

Rounding out the exploration of Los Angeles’ free attractions, The Original Farmers Market stands as a landmark that is as much about history as it is about fresh produce and diverse cuisine. Situated at the corner of 3rd and Fairfax near the Grove shopping complex, this bustling marketplace has been a beloved spot since its inception in 1934. It offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture through various vendors selling everything from artisanal foods and handmade crafts to fresh fruits and vegetables. The Farmers Market is more than just a place to shop; it’s a vibrant community hub where locals and tourists alike can enjoy a variety of international culinary delights, marvel at historic architecture, and soak in the lively atmosphere, all without spending a dime on admission. Its enduring charm and free access make The Original Farmers Market an essential experience for anyone seeking to discover the heart and soul of Los Angeles.

Farmers Market (©MK S)
Farmers Market (©MK S)
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