100 Free things to do in Los Angeles, 50 -100
The city where arts and culture, attractions, activities, health and beauty, concerts and recreation come free of charge.
50. Night hike: For years, the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club has been leading guided hikes through the many trails of Griffith Park.
51. Learn to swim: At select facilities, the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks offers Operation Splash, free summer swimming lessons sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.
52. Get self-centered: Sahaja Yoga Meditation Center in Tarzana offers free meditation classes. The free workshops and guided meditations are scheduled weekday evenings, Saturdays afternoons (in Spanish) and Sunday mornings. All levels are welcome.
53. Banning Residence Museum: The 1864 Greek Revival residence, the Banning Residence Museum, is the former home of General Phineas Banning, the “father” of the Los Angeles Harbor.
54. California African American Museum: The California African American Museum’s exhibitions enhance public knowledge of African American contributions to society.
55. California Science Center: Through hands-on experiences in the galleries at the California Science Center, you’ll learn about human inventions and innovations, the processes of living things and more. Opened October 30, 2012, the Space Shuttle Endeavor exhibit is also free, but advance, timed tickets are required, and a nominal service fee applies.
56. Fowler Museum at UCLA: Exhibitions from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas, past and present, lend a unique and intriguing atmosphere to Fowler Museum events.
57. Getty Center: Overlooking the California coastline and the L.A. skyline, the Getty Center surrounds guests with breathtaking views and a world-class art collection including European paintings, contemporary photographs and decorative arts.
58. Getty Villa: This magnificent Malibu property includes an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.
59. Hollywood Bowl Museum: Located on the grounds of the iconic venue, this museum houses the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and also highlights great moments in classical and Latin music, jazz and rock & roll.
60. Homestead Museum: In the City of Industry, this historic site features two homes dating from the 1840s and 1920s, and a private cemetery.
61. Annenberg Space for Photography: Nestled within the Century Park office complex, inside the former Shubert Theatre space, these galleries are dedicated to celebrating both digital and print photography.
62. The Paley Center for Media: More than just a museum, the Paley Center is an institution dedicated to educating the public and exploring the intersection between media and society. It leads discussions about television, radio and emerging platforms, and the cultural, creative and social significance of these expressions.
63. Santa Monica Museum of Art: The Santa Monica Museum of Art organizes dynamic exhibitions of contemporary art in all mediums and across disciplines, complemented by outstanding educational programs for people of all ages.
64. Travel Town Museum: Located in Griffith Park, this museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of railroading in the western United States, featuring displays of historic steam locomotives, passenger cars and trolleys.
65. The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising: FIDM’s collection of more than 15,000 costumes, accessories and textiles from the 19th century through the present day includes film and theater costumes.
66. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust: LAMH dedicates itself as a primary-source institution, one that commemorates those who perished and those who survived the Holocaust, by housing the precious artifacts that miraculously weathered the war, the ghettos and ultimately, the death camps.
67. Autry National Center: The center’s galleries explore broad themes relating to the history and diverse cultures of the American West. Free admission on the second Tuesday of every month.
68. Craft & Folk Art Museum: Primarily focused on folklore and folk art, the museum features exhibits that cover artistic expression from around the globe, showcasing a wide variety of cultures. Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month.
69. Hammer Museum: Collections include works by Monet, van Gogh, Rembrandt and Sargent. The venue also hosts lectures, symposia, film series, readings and musical performances. Free admission every Thursday.
70. Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens: An oasis of art and culture on 207 acres, explore breathtaking themed gardens, a conservatory, four art galleries and a library showcasing collections of rare books. Free admission on the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets, which can be reserved online or by phone.
71. Japanese American National Museum: This museum is internationally recognized for its commitment to exploring the meaning of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the experience of Japanese Americans through exhibitions, public programs, an award-winning museum store, and resource center. Free admission every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and every third Tuesday of the month.
72. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): With more than 120,000 works in its permanent collection, LACMA is the premier visual art museum in the western United States. With the addition of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), LACMA became the first encyclopedic museum with a dedicated facility for contemporary art, which is uniquely appropriate to Los Angeles. Free admission on the second Tuesday of every month.
73. Mak Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House: One of LA’s most significant cultural venues, the MAK Center for Art and Architecture is located in the historic Schindler House and features rotating art exhibitions about cultural issues, experimentation and invention. Free admission on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., as well as on International Museum Day (held annually in May) and Schindler’s birthday (September 10).
74. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA): Downtown’s premier art museum features one of the best permanent collections in the country, with works by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko and more. Free admission every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
75. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA: With cutting-edge exhibitions, hands-on education programs and popular evening events, this is your source for inspiration and a must-see for contemporary art enthusiasts. Free admission every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
76. Museum of Latin American Art: With a focus on rotating exhibitions, the museum highlights significant contributions to the field of contemporary Latin American art. Meanwhile, its permanent collection anchors the museum with works by Wilfredo Lam and Alejandro Colunga, among others. Free admission every Sunday.
77. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: The museum, recognizable by its 1913 original fitted marble walls and rotunda, holds the title of being the third-largest museum of its type in the U.S., boasting more than 3.5 million specimens and counting. Free admission on the first Tuesday of most months, except July and August; free every Tuesday in September.
78. Norton Simon Museum of Art: The permanent collection features European art from the Renaissance to the mid-20th century, including works by Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Goya, Monet, Renoir, Degas and van Gogh, and sculptures from India and Southeast Asia. Free admission on the first Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
79. Skirball Cultural Center: At the Skirball, enjoy museum exhibitions — including the ever-popular Noah’s Ark at the Skirball — family programs, performing arts, world music, film, lectures, classes, dining, shopping and more. Free admission every Thursday.
80. Sunbathe at the beach: Take your pick, whether it’s to show off your tan or to relax in solitude.
81. Wander around Griffith Park: With more than 4,210 acres of both natural chaparral-covered terrain and landscaped parkland and picnic areas, Griffith Park is the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the country, and provides a mix of free activities for the whole family. Picnic on one of the broad lawns or hike one of the park’s many free trails.
82. Discover LA’s wilderness: Los Angeles possesses a wealth of natural wilderness, which attracts avid hikers and bikers to such sites as Topanga State Park, Malibu Creek State Park and the Angeles National Forest.
83. Go surfing: Whether you’re getting on a board for the first time or you’re a seasoned rider searching for LA’s best breaks, there’s something for everyone.
84. Birdwatching at Audubon Center at Debs Park: The Audubon Center at Debs Park was the first LEED Platinum-certified building in the United States, which alone might be reason enough for a visit, but it’s also great for just getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnecting with nature.
85. Hike the urban trail: At any given time of day or night, the renovated walking path around the Silver Lake Reservoir is filled with joggers, walkers, strollers and dogs on leashes. With a crushed granite surface, the flat, two-mile path has become an outdoor gym for residents of the artsy neighborhood.
86. Relax on LA’s own “Riviera:” The Marina del Rey harbor offers spectacular views and many outdoor activities, including jogging, roller skating, bicycling or just relaxing in the park.
87. Palisades Park: Palisades Park features some of the city’s most magnificent sunsets and views of the ocean. It’s one of the city’s oldest parks, and also one of the most beautiful. A jogging and biking path runs along steep cliffs overlooking the Pacific, while palm trees are scattered throughout, adding to the peaceful landscape.
88. Stop and smell the roses: On UCLA’s campus you can enjoy two beautiful gardens for the price of nothing. Check out the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Gardens and the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, as well as Exposition Park’s Rose Garden near USC.
89. Point Fermin Park and Lighthouse: Perched above the Pacific Ocean, Point Fermin is often overlooked by visitors. But the 37-acre park and its coin-operated telescopes offer some of the best views along the coast, while the 1874 lighthouse makes for picture-perfect photo ops. Picnic, go for a jog or just sit and lose yourself.
90. Free archery lessons in Pasadena: Bet you didn’t think of this one. Pasadena Roving Archers offers free lessons for first-timers every Saturday (a small donation applies to subsequent classes).
91. Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve: Located in Van Nuys, the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve debunks the myth that LA is a concrete jungle. In the reserve, it’s difficult to tell that you’re in the city at all. Groves of trees fill out the landscape, while a variety of wildlife — waterfowl, ducks, herons and more — go about their day.
In Los Angeles, summer means that free outdoor concerts are in full force, beckoning visitors to get outside and enjoy LA’s thriving music scene. From blowout shows to Sunday afternoons in the park, the following free events in Los Angeles will keep you tapping your feet. So get out there, enjoy the weather and tune into the music.
92. Farm-fresh summer music at Farmers Market: It’s all about wholesome family fun at this annual summer music series. Combine great food from LA’s historic Farmers Market with groups hailing from traditions such as Latin jazz, blues, rock and more. Thursdays and Fridays, May 24 – Sep. 6, 2013.
93. Grand Performances at California Plaza: At lunchtime on Fridays, hundreds of Angelenos put down their work and take a cultural break with a bit of fresh air and music. Additionally, Grand Performances presents an array of free performing arts events in the evenings — music, dance and theater — as multicultural as their audience, giving local talent a chance to shine. Jun. 21 – Aug. 24, 2013.
94. Ford Amphitheatre J.A.M. Sessions: Monday night J.A.M. Sessions (short for “Jazzed and Motivated”) are part of an interactive series that encourage audiences to sing, dance and play along with professional musicians and other artists. The events take place most Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., through Sep. 30.
95. Pershing Square Summer Concert Series: In the high-rise heart of Downtown is a palm tree oasis known as Pershing Square, where the summertime brings neighbors, tourists and professionals together for lunchtime concerts on Wednesdays, tribute bands on Thursday nights, films on Friday nights and national touring acts on Saturday nights. Jul. 10 – Aug. 18, 2013.
96. Wine & Jazz Summer Series: Celebrating its 10th year, this event series gives you a chance to hobnob with the coolest cats of jazz at Hollywood & Highland, while sampling the gifts of Bacchus and helping to end world hunger, all at the same time. Although it is a free event, wine tasting donations benefit Project Angel Food. Early June through early August on Tuesdays.
97. Twilight Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier: This popular concert series is constantly reinventing itself, but count on a diverse line-up of talent including reggae, rock, indie pop, R&B and even a little ’80s. The 2013 summer season starts on Jul. 11, and continues on Thursday nights through Sep. 12.
98. Boulevard Music Summer Festival in Culver City: The sun’s not the only thing that’s going down in Culver City during the summer. When the day ends, the music begins, bringing you an eclectic array of musical offerings including classic rock, country, bluegrass and salsa. Held in the courtyard of city hall, the series runs on six consecutive Thursdays from Jul. 11 – Aug. 15.
99. Summer music at the Hammer Museum: Summer nights are a great time to catch live acts performing at the Hammer Museum’s outdoor courtyard. In the past, bands such as Sea Wolf and Tokyo Police Club have played to a packed crowd. Shows take place Thursday nights from Jun. 27 – Aug. 1, with a mix of KCRW DJs, jazz and special guests TBA.
100. Saturdays Off the 405 at the Getty Center: The Getty Center courtyard comes alive with this popular series, which boasts incredible nighttime views of the city to go with the eclectic sounds. Grab a drink at the cash bar and then check out the musical guests. May 18 – Aug. 24, 2013
100 Free things to do in Los Angeles, 50 -100