Los Angeles is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Its wonderful climate, beaches, and cultural diversity also makes it one of the most expensive places to live in and visit. Here are some fun things you can do for free in LA in order to save money on your trip.
This 7.4 mile stretch from Atwater up through the Glendale Narrows offers surprising amounts of greenery and wildlife as you ride along the river.
It actually belongs to oil tycoon Ed Doheny, but this 18-acre estate acts as the millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski’s digs in the movie – and a sweet garden tour to boot!
First Fridays events have galleries and swag galore (but you’ll still have to pay for the food).
Once considered the mural capital of the world, LA’s Van Nuys Blvd in Pacoima is worth checking out.
This recently renovated, half-mile mural along the Tujana Wash drainage canal in the SFV depicts the history of LA from 20,000 BCE to 1984, after that you’ll have to figure out what happened.
Dude, seriously, some big acts play these free gigs, along with some great up-and-comers.
The Bradbury Building, one of the oldest commercial buildings in central LA and the home of glass skylights, ornate iron railings, and elegant staircases that you may remember from Blade Runner.
Ditch that pricey gym membership and head to the beach by the pier for the massive outdoor gym. Get a free workout/watch others get a free workout.
Stroll through five avers of manicured grounds to check out more than 70 sculptures from the 19th and 20th century, then take your date to one of the nearby UCLA-friendly bars.
Gather some free firewood online and head to the only place in LA County where you can have a legal bonfire on the beach. Save cash by parking on the street to avoid the parking lot free.
Every Thursday night until 9pm, hit up Grand Central Market for free rounds of ping pong, cornhole, board games, and more.
Head to Little Tokyo every first and third Tuesday (spring through fall) for free, actually interesting performances from all sorts of local artists.
Known officially as the Marcing Braude Bike Trail, this 22-mile stretch is a perfect mellow cruise with a badass ocean view, especially after enjoying some of the beachside bars along the way.
There are literally dozens of free museums and free museum days for you to explore when you’re in Los Angeles. From MOCA to the Getty Center, there is bound to be something for your taste!
A neighborhood gem in the heart of Silver Lake. Drive by during the evening hours to see this bright tree at night.
Get an amazing view of downtown Los Angeles by going up to the observation deck on the 27th floor of City Hall.
The Venice Canals were originally built by developer Abbott Kinney in 1905 as man-made homage to the city of Venice, Italy.
When you need peace and stillness, head to the Peace Awareness Labyrinth.
UCLA Public planetarium shows are offered by current astronomy and astrophysics graduate students, with featured content that includes presentations about the current night sky, constellations, and other unique astronomical phenomena.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in La Canada Flintridge, just northwest of Pasadena.
Explore the architecture of the Bertram Goodhue Building and brush up on the history of LA.
Docent tours are free, and meet in front of the Library Store in the main lobby.
Monday-Friday: 12:30 pm
Saturday: 11:00 & 2:00 pm PLUS a 12:30 pm – Art-in-the-Garden Tour
Sunday: 2:00 pm
One of the most famous bookstores in California and the largest independent bookseller in the entire state.
Grand Park is known as “the park for everyone.” It’s not just the open green space and the gorgeous setting surrounded by the DTLA skyline, but also a commitment by the park to provide locals with a great lineup of free activities.
Do you enjoy people? Detest gyms? How about trying a running group. The DTLA Running Group is one of the best. The Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings to run along different routes in and around Downtown, using different routes to accommodates different running levels.
Every month the Hammer Museum offers great free events, including talks, tours, and discussions lead by local personalities.
Twice a year, more than 100 artists open up their studios for this free art walk in the former PBR brewery. There’s a beer garden, and though it isn’t free, they have a selection beyond tall boys.
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The Korean Friendship Bell is the perfect place to hang out, enjoy the view, and take some gorgeous photos on a sunny afternoon at a park by the sea. Bring a picnic, fly a kite, or play some pickup basketball.
On the cliff side in San Pedro is a beached ship from more than 50 years ago.
Not a theme park, but rather a massive glass installation built in the front yard of an Echo Park residence. It’s one-in-a-lifetime awesome!
Enjoy the spectacular views at one of the most famous whale watching spots in the area.
Another way to save money while staying in Los Angeles? Use a vacation rental instead of a hotel. See our collection of Los Angeles vacation homes here.