30 Best Free Things To Do in Los Angeles (California)

By Anabel Chung on Jul 24 2022

Los Angeles has so many things for you to do that you will never run out. If you are travelling on a budget or even a tight budget, there are plenty of free things to do and still have the best time in LA. Here at Bagsort, we know the struggles of travelling on a tight budget or wanting to save up for other things during the trip, but want to enjoy the trip and have fun. It is why we have put together a list of the top 30 free things to do in Los Angeles.

1. Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park

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Griffith Observatory, located on the south slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park and overlooking the Los Angeles valley, not only offers spectacular views of the city, but it also hosts approximately 60 interesting exhibitions and allows you to explore the universe for free through live presentations that will immerse you in the wonder and meaning of the cosmos. Depending on if you visit during the day or night, it will give you a different view of the city. The entry fee is completely free. But if you wish to see the planetarium shows, you will have to pay between $3 and $7.

2. Santa Monica Pier & Beach

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Located to the west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica Pier and Beach is a must-visit spot if you are in LA. The different scenes are some of the best and most famous in the United States. You might have even seen it in a movie or a TV show. Restaurants in the area are great, and the nightlife is even better. Access to the pier and the beach is free. A small amusement park, concession stands, and areas for catching views and fishing can be found along the pier.

3. Browse Around The Last Bookstore

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If you are visiting LA and love books, The Last Bookstore is a must-stop for you! A lot of people come for books, and lots of tourists come to this place to check it and take pictures too since it is practically a tourist stop. The Last Bookstore features new books, used books, rare books, and so much more. You might feel like you are walking into a fairytale world, with artistic creations including pages from books flying or even books flying around and even tunnels made from books.

4. Hollywood Walk of Fame

Established in 1960, with more than 10 million visitors annually, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is iconic. It features more than 2,500 stars embedded in the sidewalk across 2.4 miles of Hollywood Boulevard. It is around 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. If you are visiting Los Angeles, this is an iconic walk you should do. Millions of people come to find the star they are looking for and take a picture with it.

5. TCL Chinese Theatre

Opened in 1927, the TCL Chinese Theatre, also known as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, is one of the most iconic movie palaces located on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame and one of the most famous Hollywood cinematic figures. It represents the excess of Hollywood’s Golden Age and is the largest IMAX auditorium in the world. It features over 50 events every year, including imprint ceremonies, movie premieres, and film festivals.

6. Hike Runyon Canyon

Located on the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, Runyon Canyon is your ideal place to go if you are looking for a workout while at the same time being rewarded with a great view of the city. Locals and tourists alike come for a hike or a run-up Runyon Canyon, even celebrities. Therefore, if you are looking to spot a celebrity or even two during your time in Los Angeles, Runyon Canyon could be your place to go!

7. Venice Beach Boardwalk

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This famous concrete strip is a colourful place that features anything and everything you can imagine, from skateboarders to hippies to surfers. It is a must-visit for anyone visiting LA! There is so much to see and do here; you can go to the tourist shops, ride a bike, walk around and watch different people doing different activities, eat at one of the many restaurants in the area, and enjoy the atmosphere created by the musicians and artists along the boardwalk.

8. Rodeo Drive

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Rodeo Drive is an upscale shopping two-mile-long street located in Beverly Hills, and it is famous for its designer stores and Haute fashion. Rodeo Drive is commonly known as a shopping destination for celebrities and the wealthy, as well as a destination for tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of famous fashion icons or even celebrities. Rodeo Drive would be a fun place to visit for a couple of minutes or an hour and do some window shopping while strolling around.

9. The Broad Museum of Contemporary Art

General admission is free! Yes! You heard it right! The Broad is one of the newest contemporary art museums located on Grand Avenue in Downtown LA. Besides offering free general admissions to its permanent collection galleries, The Broad has an active program of rotating exhibits as well. Also, if you enjoy architecture or building designs, The Broad Museum’s architectural design is captivating and worthy of admiration. *temporarily closed due to ongoing pandemic

10. Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard is one of the most iconic avenues in the United States, and it has been the setting of various famous films, especially the classic “Sunset Boulevard.” This palm-lined street connects downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood, the Pacific Coast Highway, and Beverly Hills and still preserves its cinematic appeal today. The Sunset Strip portion of it is probably best known for its nightlife. It is one of Los Angeles’ busiest areas for clubs and music.

11. California Science Center

Located in Exposition Park, next to the Natural Museum of Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California, California Science Center is a world of exploration and fun for kids, and curious adults as well. Admission to permanent exhibition galleries is free, but IMAX and special exhibits may incur a fee. The California Science Center features fun, hands-on science exhibits, live animals and habitats, and many other different exhibits.

12. Zuma Beach

If you want to go to the beach and are looking for a beach that is a bit cleaner than those at Venice Beach or Santa Monica, Zuma Beach would be your best option. Zuma Beach is a 1.8-mile beach located in the Northern part of Malibu. Amenities include restrooms, showers, restaurants, volleyball nets, and a bus stop. It is also one of the largest and most popular beaches in LA, known for its long wide sands and excellent surf.

13. Urban Light at LACMA

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) may have an entrance fee, but you can still visit their Urban Light exhibit for free. People are known to come here throughout the day to take artsy pictures, depending on the type of pictures they prefer. If you want to visit the museum, you can do so for free on certain days of the week and during certain hours.

14. Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Located in the southern part of Venice, blocks away from Venice Beach, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a mile-long strip of fashion, food, and art, where you can stroll around and do some window shopping. If you decide to take a trip down to Venice Beach, do not forget to walk down Abbot Kinney Boulevard and get a sense of the riches that the community has to offer there.

15. Venice Canals

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Built-in 1905, by architect Moses Sherman, the Venice Canals are hidden between Abbot Kinney and the Venice Boardwalk. A stroll through these three canal-lined blocks—reveals a picturesque scene of pedestrian bridges, beach houses, and even ducklings. If you wish, you can bring your paddleboard and have some fun in the water while enjoying the beautiful view.

16. Walt Disney Concert Hall

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Located in downtown Los Angeles and opened in 2003, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center. Frank Gehry designed its jaw-dropping architecture. The Walt Disney Concert Hall provides free one-hour tours. On weekdays, guided tours are available, and on weekends, self-guided audio tours narrated by John Lithgow are available.

*temporarily closed due to ongoing pandemic

17. The Rose Garden at Exposition Park

Located in Exposition Park, Los Angeles, the Exposition Park Rose Garden is a historic 7-acre sunken garden. The Rose Garden is an LA treasure, filled with rows and rows of many types of roses. If you love roses, this would be a stop worth your time. It is nice to walk around while checking out the roses and breathing in the fresh air and the aroma of the roses. You are welcome to bring a snack and relax on the benches or picnic tables.

18. The Getty Villa or The Getty Center

Opened to the public in 1997, The Getty is well known for its beautiful gardens, fascinating architecture, and marvellous views that overlook the city. Admission is free to both of the museums. Besides its well-maintained and beautiful gardens, its architecture, and the view of Los Angeles you can get there, these museums feature Greek, Etruscan, Roman, and European art as well.

19. Observation Deck at City Hall

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If you want to catch a great view of downtown LA, head over to Los Angeles City Hall, and check out the 27th floor. You will be able to see the whole downtown area at a glance and even catch a glimpse of Los Angeles’ marvellous sunset and the whole city lighting up once nighttime falls.

20. Korean Bell of Friendship

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In 1976, the Republic of Korea gave this traditional Korean bell to the United States to celebrate the U.S. bicentennial. It is a symbol of the entangled histories between the two countries. This monument, located on a hill in San Pedro’s Angel’s Gate Park, overlooks the Pacific Ocean, which connects the shores of both countries. It measures over 7 feet tall and weighs approximately 17 tons. Access to the bell is free.

21. Hike To The Wisdom Tree

Just a short and steep hike will lead you to this unique, lone-standing tree, along with a breathtaking view of Los Angeles for you to enjoy. This lone tree survived the 2007 wildfire, and it is a 15-minute walk west of the Hollywood sign. Under the tree, you will find a green ammo box filled with journals, where people who visited write their feelings, thoughts or simply anything they want to say. The Wishing Tree is also known as the Wishing Tree or the Tree of Life.

22. Los Angeles River

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There are so many different ways to experience the Los Angeles River. There are paths for you to walk or bike, pocket parks, seasonal boating, and many other activities as well. It has beautiful greenery, and the LA River Bike Path, also known as Los Angeles River Trail, is a bicycle and pedestrian path approximately eight-mile-long for you to walk or bike while enjoying the splendid greenery.

23. Free Concert at Amoeba Music

Amoeba Music is the world’s largest independent record store. Besides being this massive and iconic music store, they also host free concerts from big artists and great up-and-comers. So if you love music, check out Amoeba Music, located in its new space on Hollywood Boulevard, and catch a free concert there.

24. The Original Farmers Market and The Grove

Located in the south of West Hollywood, this historic market is a favourite destination and landmark among locals and tourists. Founded in 1934, both locals and residents come for fresh produce and a different array of snacks. It has over 100 gourmet grocers and restaurants for you to enjoy. Entry to the market is free, but you may want to bring some cash with you if you want to buy something freshly cooked or baked to eat while checking the market out.

25. Tour Popular Instagram Spots in LA

Los Angeles is full of Instagrammable murals and walls. If you love taking pictures, especially for Instagram, this is ideal for you. Most of them are free, and the walls and murals are artistic and aesthetically pleasing as well.

Some of these spots are:

• Stairs at Barneys New York, Beverly Hills

• Pink Wall at Paul Smith

• Silver Retna Mural at Gallery Brown, Beverly Grove

• Colette Miller’s Angel Wings Project

• Curtis Kulig’s Love Wall at Smashbox Studios, Culver City

• Carrera Cafe Mural

• The Container Yard

26. Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Formerly known as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles exhibits works from national, international, and local contemporary artists. The best part of this? It is free! Located in the southern part of the Arts District, this little museum is more low-key, and it feels cozier than many new museums in the area. It is located in a renovated industrial building, and there is also free one-hour parking in their front lot.

27. El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument & Olvera Street

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More than 2 million visitors come to El Pueblo every year. El Pueblo is the oldest district in Los Angeles, rich in culture and history. Olvera Street is one of the most popular tourist destinations in LA. It has a colourful Mexican marketplace, and various historic buildings are located along the brick-lined block as well. It also features restaurants, shops, and other businesses.

28. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Established in 1979, MOCA is the only artist-founded museum in LA. It collects and exhibits contemporary art, and it has two locations in Los Angeles. The main branch is located in downtown LA, close to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Its other location, which is now known as the Geffen Contemporary, is located in Little Tokyo. Exhibits consist mainly of European and American contemporary art.

29. Visit the Original In-N-Out Replica

The first In-N-Out opened in 1948 at Francisquito Avenue and Garvey Avenue in Baldwin Park. In-N-Out Burgers is a must-go while visiting anywhere on the west coast, especially LA in our case. Although the original, first store does not serve customers anymore, many still visit the replica that has the original potato peeler, cash box, and cigarette vending machines. So, if you are an In-N-Out fan or tried In-N-Out for the first time during the trip and loved it, check out its original replica in Baldwin Park, where it all started.

30. 3rd Street Promenade

Located a couple of streets from the Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade in the middle of Santa Monica’s shopping zone, featuring a diversity of restaurants, bars, movie theatres, and upmarket and mid-market stores. It goes back to 1965, and today, it is famous for its wide range of stores and restaurants and many street performers. Walking down the street, you will be able to see musicians, dancers, clowns, living statues, and magicians as well.