Saturday, October 1, 2022

40 Best Free and Cheap Things to Do in Los Angeles


Los Angeles is packed with sights and lots of exciting stuff to enjoy. To prove this, we’ve rounded up 40 things that you can do in LA without breaking the bank. Check them out below.

Saunter along Hollywood Boulevard

Cost: Free

Window shop from lots of great stores, stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and maybe even stop by the numerous famous landmarks.

See the Hollywood Sign

Cost: Free (depending on the viewing site)

Another must-do when visiting the City of Angels is to see the Hollywood Sign. Thanks to its location, you have lots of options when it comes to seeing it. One is at the Hollywood and Highland Center where the entrance is free.

Explore the Hollywood and Highland Center

Cost: Free

This shopping complex is packed with lots of shops and diners so you’ll have lots to see inside. It’s also the former site of the old Hollywood Hotel, making it a historic spot as well.

Griffith Observatory

Cost: Free

Hike up to the Griffith Observatory, and enjoy views of the city, get a closer look at the Hollywood Sign, and enjoy various kinds of activities here.

Plan a Museum Tour

Cost: Various

LA is brimming with culture, history, and lots of information that’s just waiting to be explored. So if you have the time, add a number of museums in your itinerary.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Cost: Free every 2nd Tuesday of the month and for LA County residents on weekdays from 3 PM onwards

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is an art museum located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles. Hailed as an essential stop in the city, the LACMA is brimming with interesting exhibits and collections.

The Broad

Cost: Free (through a reservation system)

The Broad touted as the best contemporary art museum in the city, this is a stop that you shouldn’t miss.

Getty Center

Cost: Free

The Getty Center is home to the extensive J. Paul Getty Trust’s art collection, there are literally tons to see in this marvel of a place.

California Science Center

Cost: Free

The California Science Center is a state agency and museum located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, next to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California. Love science and technology? This is a stop worth adding to your itinerary.

Marciano Art Foundation

Cost: Free

Highlighting the works of emerging and up and coming artists, this can be a thrilling and informative stop for you. Check out the Marciano Art Foundation center, a non-profit arts foundation located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It was established by the co-founders of Guess, Maurice Marciano, and Paul Marciano.

Drop by the Barnsdall Art Park

Cost: Free (not including tours and events)

Since you’re already on Hollywood Blvd, make sure to stop by the Barnsdall Art Park as well. Here you’ll get to enjoy the beautiful vistas of the city and sight-see a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.

Theatre Hop

Cost: Free (if you’re not watching a movie)

Still, along Hollywood Boulevard, you can add stops to the many different theatres along its stretch. Check out the Dolby Theatre, Chinese Theatre, El Capitan Theatre, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood Pacific Theatre, Pantages Theatre, and the Vista Theatre.

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Cost: $8

Don’t expect to see fossils and archaeological finds here as this is a weird museum that will really make you curious.

Annenberg Space for Photography

Cost: Free

Featuring some of the most interesting exhibits in the city, you should check out this place if you love photography.

LA Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Cost: Free every Thursday from 5 to 8 PM

Housing thousands of contemporary art pieces, the main branch of the MOCA at Grand Ave open their doors for free every Thursday.

Hammer Museum

Cost: Free

Aside from viewing their extensive collections, you can also attend lectures, screenings, and concerts at the Hammer Museum.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Cost: Free

Home to the former Santa Monica Museum of Art, there are tons of exciting things to see here.

Museum of Latin American Art

Cost: Free on Sundays from 11 AM to 5 PM and fourth Thursdays from 5 to 9 PM

Aside from its collections and exhibits, the architecture of this museum is also worth seeing.

Hollywood Bowl Museum

Cost: Free

Even without a live show going on, you can still visit the Hollywood Bowl and learn more about this popular venue from its museum.

FIDM’s Museum

Cost: Free

If your main fascination with Hollywood has a lot to do with its fashion, you shouldn’t miss FIDM’s Museum. The FIDM Museum & Library, Inc. was founded in 1978 to serve the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and the community.

Craft Contemporary

Cost: Pay what you can on Sundays

For the craft and folk art obsessed, this is a delightful place to explore.

Paley Center for Media

Cost: Free

Paley Center for Media for the TV buffs, shouldn’t miss a chance to stop by here.

Attend a Festival

Cost: Varies, sometimes free

There’s always something happening around the city so you can always find some fun event to attend no matter what time of the year it is.

See a Free Concert

Cost: Free

Some venues host free events on Monday nights that lots of people love.

Explore the La Brea Tar Pits

Cost: Free, $12 museum entrance fee

If you’re a big natural history buff, this place will be exciting to see.

Check out the Los Angeles City Hall

Cost: Free

Not every city has a government building as a major attraction, so make sure to stop by the LA City Hall. You can also get a scenic view of the downtown area from its observation deck.

Explore the LA Central Library

Cost: Free

The books aren’t the only things that will draw you into this stop as they’re also housed in an exquisite building.

Explore the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Cost: Free

Considered as one of the most lavish public parks in LA, this is also a popular venue for events, concerts, and movie screenings.

Stroll Down the Santa Monica Pier

Cost: Free

As the focal point of the Santa Monica Beach, there are lots to see and enjoy in this area.

Drop by the Annenberg Community Beach House

Cost: Free, $10 for swimming pool use

This community beach club isn’t just packed with things to enjoy but it’s also a historic site.

Take a Scenic Drive

Cost: Varies

Love road trips? There are quite a few scenic drives in LA that will make you feel like you’re in a movie. Take on the Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Strip, Palos Verdes Drive, the Canyon Roads, or the Linda Vista Avenue for a unique experience.

Explore Downtown LA

Cost: Varies

Even just the downtown area of LA offers lots of sights and experiences, so make time to stop by.

See the Korean Bell of Friendship

Cost: Free

Perched in what lots of people describe as the most idyllic spot in all of LA, this is a great place for a laidback day outside.

Catch a Movie for Cheap

Cost: $2.50 to $6.50

Some of LA’s historic moviehouses like the Regency Academy Cinemas and Vista Theater host special and low-priced screenings that you might want to check out.

Bask in the Beauty of LA’s Botanical Gardens

Cost: Varies

The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Garden, South Coast Botanic Garden, and USC Exposition Park are just some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the City of Angels. You can spend a fine day strolling around or having a picnic in these spots.

Visit an Aquarium

Cost: Varies

Want to learn more about marine creatures? LA has quite a few charming aquariums like the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, The Sea Lab, and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Window Shop at Rodeo Drive

Cost: Free

Another classic thing to do in LA is to stroll through the luxury shop-laden Rodeo Drive. The stores may be expensive but it won’t cost you a dime to just window shop.

Attend an Art Walk

Cost: Varies, sometimes free

As the City of Angels is brimming with art, you can also attend an art walk to explore it better.

Ramble along the Venice Canals

Cost: Free

Quaint and whimsical, this area will make you feel like you’re transported to a magical world.

Farmers Market

Cost: Varies

Get fresh produce and enjoy tasty bites at the various farmers’ markets around the city. Most neighborhoods host one but there are also popular ones like the Americana at Brand, Yamashiro, Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market, and the Original Farmers’ Market that you can go to.

John Diep
John Diep
Founder, Editor-In-Chief // A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, ICANN, and Raytheon. A mentor at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Entrepreneur School, Dr. David Choi. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; and invested in some. // Let's Connect:


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