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25 Free Things to Do in LA

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.

25 Free Things to Do in LA //

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Last Updated: January 5, 2023

25 Free Things to Do in LA

1. Explore the Old L.A. Zoo →

4801 Griffith Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, map

Sitting right in the middle of Griffith Park lies the ruins of the old LA Zoo.

More: The Old LA Zoo Griffith Park

Explore the Old LA Zoo + More Free Things to Do in Los Angeles //

2. Griffith Observatory →

2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, map

This is one of the most iconic views of LA and you can visit multiple times. The day time and night time give you totally different views of the city, and they offer free stargazing events too.

More: Griffith Observatory LA | Things to Do in LA

Griffith Observatory is a popular spot for both locals and tourists + Click through to see 25 Free Things to Do in Los Angeles //

3. Browse Around the Last Bookstore →

453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, map

This bookstore feels like you’re walking into a fairytale world. They carry new and used books, but the big draw are the permanent artistic creations that literally have the pages from books flying.

More: The Last Bookstore: Coolest Bookstore in America


4. Venice Canals

33.9835027,-118.4698692, map

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.

best photo spots in la venice canalsPin

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.

More: The Last Bookstore: Coolest Bookstore in America

los angeles getty center + free things to do in laPin

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.

Amazing Views at the Observation Deck at City Hall in LA //
photo: Shabdro Photo

9. The Hollywood Sign →

34.1340213,-118.3238652, map

There are several viewpoints around LA to see the Hollywood Sign, but have you hiked to it?

More: Hiking to the Hollywood Sign

Hike to the Hollywood Sign + More Fun Free Things to Do in LA //

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.

The Hollywood Bowl + 25 Free Things to Do in LA //
photo: S. Savanapridi for Los Angeles County Parks

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.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame has more than 2500 stars on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street //
photo: Karol Franks

12. Hike to the Wisdom Tree

34.1359778,-118.3342581, map

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.

wisdom tree los angelesPin

13. Urban Light of LACMa →

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!

More: Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Modern Art

Urban Light at LACMA / LA County Museum of Art.

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?

Bradbury Building - a piece of LA's architectural history. You might remember it from Bladerunner, 500 Days of Summer, or The Artist //
photo: Anson Chu

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.

17. Bike Up the LA River

33.974415,-118.5211928, map

Hop on a bike and ride along the LA River. If you start at Atwater and end at Glendale Narrows, it’s a solid 7.4-mile ride with beautiful greenery.

Bike Along the LA River // photo: Serena Grace // 25 Free Things to Do in LA -
photo: @serenagrace

18. Santa Monica Pier →

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.

More: 7 Fun Things to Do in Santa Monica on Your First Visit

things to do santa monica pierPin

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.

Amoeba Music is an iconic and massive music store on Sunset. They sometimes host free shows //
photo: Celia Alba

20. Hike Runyon Canyon →

2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, map

Join the locals and tourists for a run or hike up Runyon Canyon. It is definitely a workout, but you’ll be rewarded with a great view of the city, and you may even spot a celebrity or two.

Hike Runyon Canyon - the most popular and most touristy hike in LA + 25 Free Things to do in LA //

21. The broad Museum

221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, map

This is LA’s newest contemporary art museum in DTLA and general admission is free.

The Broad Museum + 25 Best Instagram Spots in Los Angeles California //
photo: Melly Lee

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.

Murphy Ranch in Rustic Canyon LA used to be a base for nazi activities in the US //
photo: Melly Lee

23. Tour the Disney Concert Hall

111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, map

Check out the mind-bending architecture by Frank Gehry at this concert hall. You can do a self-guided or led tour for free.

Walt Disney Concert Hall + Top LA Photo Spots (photo: erinoldfieldart) // Local Adventurer #photography #discoverla #losangeles #california #lalalandPin

24. Go on a Tour of All the Popular Instagram Spots in LA →

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!

More: 37 Most Instagrammable Places in Los Angeles


25. Watch Surfers Along the Coast →

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.

More: 15 Abosolutely Amazing Surfing Beaches in California


Map of Free Things to Do in LA

Essential Tips

  • 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

Planning Checklist

Are there any other free activities that we missed? What is your favorite place to visit in LA?

Esther and JacobPin

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.

Follow on Instagram (E + J), YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Katie

    For the Getty Villa you need to book reservation tickets in advance. You can do that online or over the phone.

    1. Esther JuLee

      Thanks for the tip, Katie! It’s been a while since we’ve been. :)

  2. lakhvir singh

    if someone Want to explore LA but don’t want to spend a lot of money?
    then he should read this great article.

    1. Esther JuLee

      Aw that’s disappointing. Thanks for letting us know, Bob! :)

    2. Bob Marlowe

      “Free on your birthday” is now completely gone…

  3. Bee

    Thank you! :)

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