Los Angeles is known for a lot of things- being affordable isn’t one of them.
Unbeknownst to many, the city of stars is actually filled with free things to do. Whether you’re into the outdoors, entertainment, or site seeing- you’ ll be able to find something that piques your interest.
1. Visit the Dead
If you’re into the eerie this is the stop for you. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of the most reknowned cemeteries. You can visit the graves of uber-famous celebrities like Judy Garland, Johnny Ramone, and Mickey Rooney. It’s completely free to visit and you can still be buried there to this day for a pretty hefty price.
They also have events at the cemetery- from concerts to movie screenings. Some people may find it to creepy, but if you’re up for it it’s definitely a venue you won’t forget.
2. Go to a Taping for a TV Show
This is one of my personal favorite things to do. I’ve seen taping of The Voice, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (he does special shows in LA). You can get tickets from the website 1iota.com pretty easily- and of course, it’s completely free!
Sometimes you even have opportunities to see a concert like I got to! I saw One Direction just before they broke up (may they Rest In Peace). There are even opportunities to meet your favorite stars at some events. I definitely made eye contact with Harry Styles and I’m pretty sure we fell in love.
You get to see all of the behind the scenes action. I watched a makeup artist powder Adam Levine’s bald head. You also see how some of the “audience shots” are done. When I went to The Voice we would film clips of everyone cheering while nobody was even on the stage. When I saw Jimmy Fallon he took time to talk to the audience and answer questions for us!
3. Check out Some of the Many Beaches
Beaches are one of the most abundant destinations to choose from in Los Angeles. Some of my favorites include Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu.
Santa Monica is the beach I would go to almost every night when I lived in LA to do yoga. They had the beautiful and exciting carnival pier, but you could also venture further out and find a nice quiet spot that wasn’t super crowded. It’s a super nice area so I always felt safe there even as a solo female.
I can’t say this one feels very safe, but it’s definitely a lot of fun. Venice has a skate park a beach gym, volleyball courts, and tons of other ways to keep yourself entertained. You can also venture through the Venice Canals and feel like you’ve teleported to Italy. It’s nearly impossible to go to Venice without something weird happening to you- but that just makes it all the better.
Malibu is a perfect beach for a quiet afternoon. This is also a super safe area- home to many celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey. It’s also an expensive area so pack your own food to bring with you!
4. Take a Hike
You wouldn’t usually think off a bustling city like LA as a good place for a nature hike- but it’ll surprise you. The most famous hike you may have heard of is called Runyon Canyon. It’s frequented by many celebrities so you may even run into a face you recognize. This hike features the Hollywood sign and amazing views of the entire city.
This way you can adventure around Los Angeles and squeeze in a great workout!
5. Go to a Museum
Los Angeles is absolutely laden with museums and the best part is- most of them are free. I’ve added a list of ten museums in LA you can get into for free. In no particular order:
- Getty Center
- Lancaster Museum of Art and History
- Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
- Orange Empire Railway Museum
- LACMA (free on the second Tuesday of every month)
- Hammer Museum (free on Thursday’s)
- California Science Center
- Museum of Comtemporary Art (free on Thursday’s)
- The Broad
- Natural History Museum (free on the first Tuesday of every month)
6. Gaze at the Stars
Griffith Observatory is a place where you can gaze at the stars in a very literal sense. It’s high up on a hill in Hollywood so the view of Los Angeles is amazing. They even have a giant telescope and a ton of astronomy information inside the building. This is a free spot that I’ve personally gone to over 20 times- I never get bored of it.
The Walk of Fame is where you can find a different kind of star- entertainment stars. Almost any celebrity you can think of probably already has, or will someday have, a star on the sidewalk. It’s super interesting to walk along it and read all of the different famous people; there are some pretty silly ones.
7. Window Shop
You don’t have to spend money to window shop and it can be just as fun. Check our LA’s massive malls like Hollywood and Highland, The Grove, and my favorite, Westfield Century City. These are all incredibly nice malls with every store you can imagine. Also, don’t forget to stop at the fro-yo or ice cream places in the malls to get a free sample!
Rodeo Drive is a very famous strip of luxury stores known for having celebrities roaming constantly. Even if I did want to spend money, it wouldn’t be here, but still- it’s fun to look!
LA is also home to the “The Original Farmers Market,” right by The Grove. It’s open every single day and totally free to browse around. You’re sure to find some interesting booths.
8. Enjoy a Picnic With Live Music
The Hollywood Bowl is a beautiful venue in the heart of Los Angeles that is home to many concerts. If you’re up high enough you can see the Hollywood sign from your seat.
July through Mid-September, on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, the LA Philharmonic rehearses from 9am-noon. You can bring a full picnic spread and listen to an incredible live orchestra for free! I’ve never tried this one before but I have many friends that rave about the experience. It’s up next on my to-do list for sure!
9. Take a Tour
It’s free to tour many different areas, buildings, and even movie locations in Los Angeles. I’ve made another list, but this time highlighting all of the free tours you can go on in LA!
In no particular order:
- The Los Angeles Times
- Los Angeles Public Library
- Hsi Li Temple
- Eagle Rock Brewery
- Wrigley Garden and Tournament of Roses
- LA Sanitation Sewage
You can also take a plethora of different self-guided tours like historical Los Angeles or celebrity homes. Tours are a great way to learn and see a lot all at once.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but after having lived in and around LA for years, I can’t even begin to explain how many weird things happen there. If you pick a bench on a busy street you’re bound to see something whether it’s Ryan Gosling or a high-speed car chase.
There are days worth of things to do in LA without spending a dime. This also makes it a perfect candidate for van life if you can find somewhere to park (try a 24 hour WalMart).
I hope this list englightened you about all the different free opportunities the city of Los Angeles has to offer!