Top 10 Free Things to Do in Los Angeles

Like A Local Guide • 17 Sep, 2017

While Los Angeles is an expensive city overall, there’s a bunch of cool things you can do and see for free. Our local ambassador Monica has listed 10 fun things to do in the City of Angels without spending a dime.

1. Catch some rays on the coastline

This one’s a no-brainer. Los Angeles is a very sunny city with a warm, arid climate, and Angelenos love their beach time. There’s a lot of coast to work with – whether you want to check out the alternative scene of Venice and Muscle Beach, the pristine, swanky beaches of Malibu, or you want to find something in between like Will Rogers State Beach, there’s a sandy strip for you. Grab your towel and some sunscreen, and enjoy Los Angeles’ natural beauty.


2. Explore a museum

There are plenty of free museums in Los Angeles, and many more that are free on specific days of the week. The Getty Museum is always free, offering some of the best views of Los Angeles, a beautiful garden and well-curated exhibitions. The Hammer Museum in Westwood eliminated all entry fees in 2014, and offers interesting art, speakers and films. LACMA, perhaps the best-known and largest of the L.A. museums, is free on the second Tuesday of every month and on some federal holidays, though you can always wander through their famous Urban Light display for free. A true Angeleno knows their museum schedules and makes sure to take advantage of the free days.


Photo credit: Monica Santos

3. Get active, take a hike

Los Angeles is lucky to have a wide range of topography at its fingertips, and you’ll find hiking trails in many different parts of the city. Want to go for a hike near the water? Check out Will Rogers’ Inspiration Point hike. While not directly on the water, when you reach the top you get a gorgeous view of the whole coast. Interested in getting a glimpse of the Hollywood sign? Take the Griffith Park trail or the aptly named Hollywood Sign hike to get right up close for a perfect view. Locals also love Runyon Canyon.


Photo credit: Monica Santos

4. Take a self-guided L.A. Conservancy tour

The L.A. Conservancy offers a variety of guided tours, but they also have some great walking tours listed on their website that you can print out and do on your own. Interested in following scenes from your favourite film? Want to check out some art, architecture or history? The Conservancy has a tour for you, with great instructions and interesting facts about the city.


Photo credit: Steve & Michelle Gerdes

5. Get lost in the book maze at The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore downtown is a behemoth. With two storeys and countless sections, it contains books on any subject you could imagine. Downstairs you’ll find new releases, comic books, children’s books, records and some comfy couches. Upstairs, things get really interesting. From the various sculptures constructed out of old books to the maze in which everything is a dollar, you never know what you’ll see on the second floor. As you complete the book maze and round the corner, you’ll come upon a handful of artists’ lofts and galleries. Depending on the time of day, you may be able to speak to an artist or curator, or even watch them work.


Photo credit: Monica Santos

6. Discover different artists at Bergamot Station

Bergamot Station is Los Angeles’ largest collective of artists. Made up of over 30 galleries, there’s some type of art for every eye. Grab a drink at the café and wander through the spaces exploring the variety of art, or hang out at the benches for a good chat. Bergamot is a great space to wander through galleries, examine murals and talk to different artists, and they have great parking.


Photo credit: Monica Santos

7. Pedal your way to a free scoop of ice cream at Peddler’s Creamery

Peddler’s Creamery is a delicious ice-cream parlour downtown with a special selling point; all of their ice cream is churned by cycling. If you would like to help them churn a batch (and reap a free scoop of ice cream as a reward), make sure to sign up either by phone or in person for a half-hour shift.


Photo credit: Peddler’s Creamery

8. Scope out The Chandelier Tree

The Chandelier Tree began when a local artist decided to start hanging chandeliers on the branches of a tree outside his home. Over time, Adam Tenenbaum has managed to accumulate over 30 unique pieces. While it’s always a sight to behold, try to stop by in the early evening if you want to see it while it’s lit. Also feel free to drop a few coins in the parking metre to help cover electricity costs.


Photo credit: Monica Santos

9. Get your groove on at The Echo or the Echoplex

The Echo and the Echoplex put on some great shows throughout the week, and for many shows, if you arrive before 10 or 10:30 pm (depending on the show), you can get in for free. If you’re looking for a really fun dance party with some 70s throwbacks, you need to make your way to this Silver Lake hotspot on a Saturday night. If you’re interested in channelling your old teenage angst, the first Tuesday of every month is Emo Night, while the Dub Club show on Wednesday nights celebrates reggae.


Photo credit: Jessica Watkins

10. Attend a yoga class

The yoga community in L.A. is strong and energetic, and attending a class here will definitely help improve your personal practice. L.A. has a few free yoga classes on offer and countless more donation-based classes. City Yoga and Runyon Canyon both offer free classes, as does Lululemon on certain days of the week. There’s also the donation-based option, though these classes are not free and your instructor will probably be upset if you don’t leave anything. If you’re willing to spend what you can, Bryan Kest Power Yoga is a great option.


Photo credit: Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga

Bonus: Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

This one’s a bonus because admission will cost you $5, but it’s definitely a must-see for budget travellers or otherwise. Los Angeles is a world entertainment hub and its calibre of comedians is undeniable. At UCB, viewers get an interactive, entertaining show for an excellent price.


Photo credit: Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

For more local recommendations read:
What locals like to do in Los Angeles
Where locals like to eat in Los Angeles
Where locals like to party in Los Angeles

Special tip:
For a more authentic Los Angeles experience, get the Like A Local mobile app

Like A Local Guide
Like A Local Guide is about stepping off the tourist trail and finding cool and cosy spots where locals like to spend their time. We built a website and mobile app to bring insider recommendations from around the world to your fingertips.

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