Visiting Los Angeles on a budget? Here are the best free things to do.
If you’ve seen our ultimate LA bucket list, then you know there is plenty to do in LA. You can never run out of things to do, and that’s one thing we loved about living there. Even if you’re on a really tight budget, you still have a lot of options.
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Last Updated: January 5, 2023
4. Venice Canals
The Venice Canals are hidden right between the Venice Boardwalk and Abbot Kinney. The three canal-lined blocks have beautiful pedestrian bridges and cute beach houses. You can bring a non-motorized vessel or paddleboard and view the neighborhood from the water.
5. The Getty Center or the Getty Villa
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, map
Admission is free at both of these museums, but you do have to pay $15 per vehicle for parking. If you want to save money, load up the car with all your friends.
6. Watch Movies at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038, map
Walk the grounds of this cemetery where many of early Hollywood is buried. Directors, writers, and performers make their home here. They have a summer outdoor movie screening series too and many are free.
7. DTLA Art Walk
Every second Thursday of the month, downtown LA comes alive with art, culture, and food.
8. Observation Deck at City Hall
200 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, map
If you love getting great views, check out the 27th floor of City Hall. There is a free observation deck where you can get a great view of downtown.
10. The Hollywood Bowl
2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068, map
The Los Angeles Philharmonic rehearses for their evening stage performances and often offers visitors a chance to watch the rehearsals for free. You can also check out the Edmund D. Edelman Hollywood Bowl Museum free of charge.
11. The Hollywood Walk of Fame
6901 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, map
Over 2,500 stars span across 2.4 miles of Hollywood Boulevard to make this iconic walk. Find the star you’re looking for and snap a photo with it.
12. Hike to the Wisdom Tree
On the top of Burbank Peak lies a lone tree that survived the 2007 wildfire. You’ll find ammo boxes at the foot of the tree, where you can leave a diary-styled note or enjoy the views.
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, map
Although LACMA has an entrance fee, you can still visit their Urban Light exhibit for free. A ton of people come here to take photos and you can visit day or night. If you’re interested in visiting the museum, check their website for their free days!
14. Bradbury building
304 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013, map
The Bradbury Building is the oldest commercial building remaining in the central city and has one of the most unique interiors around. As a visitor, you can only go to the second floor but it’s still worth the visit. Do you recognize this building from 500 Days of Summer?
15. Get Free Archery Training
405 Freeway, Van Nuys, CA 91411, map
Woodley Park Archers offers free beginner lessons to the community every Saturday at 9 AM and Wednesday at 6 PM. They even provide equipment so go unleash your inner Katniss.
16. Visit the Original In-N-Out Replica
13766 Francisquito Ave, Baldwin Park, CA 91706, map
In-N-Out is pretty synonymous with the west coast, and especially LA. Although the original store no longer serves customers, you can still see the replica with the original potato peeler, cash box, and cigarette vending machines.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, map
The pier at Santa Monica Beach is the focal point here and is home to the iconic Ferris wheel, aquarium, fairground games, and food stands. It’s a great place to people watch and enjoy the sunny LA weather, and they also hold special events throughout the summer.
19. Amoeba Music
6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, map
Amoeba Records is an iconic and massive music store on Sunset, but they also host free shows from surprisingly large artists and great up-and-comers.
22. Explore Hidden Nazi Ruins
2050-2054 Sullivan Fire Rd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, map
Murphy Ranch in Rustic Canyon is covered with graffiti but was once a secret Nazi sympathizer compound. Since then it has become a popular spot to hike to.
LA is full of Instagrammable murals and walls. We’ve put together a guide of the 25 Best Instagram Spots in Los Angeles, and you’ll be happy to know that most of them are free too!
The Los Angeles area has great surfing beaches and we always love going out to watch them catch waves. Soem of the most popular beaches are Manhattan Beach, Surfrider Beach, Redondo Beach, Venice Peach, and more.
Map of Free Things to Do in LA
- To save money on travel, consider going by train or bus. In addition to saving money, you’ll get to see the beautiful landscapes of the United States. A good option to search prices is GoTicket, a company dedicated to showing the best ways to reach your destination.
- If you’re renting a car, check out these guidelines about rental insurance.
Best Places to Stay in LA
Are there any other free activities that we missed? What is your favorite place to visit in LA?
SEE More CITY Bucket Lists
“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.