Catch A Free Flick Under The Stars
MoviePass may be folding like an empty bag of popcorn, but you can still see tons of movies all over LA at outdoor screenings — many of them for the low cost of nothing. Whether its Front Porch Cinema on the Santa Monica Pier or the Silver Lake Picture Show, all you have to worry about is stocking that cooler .
Take A Movie Star Tour
As the home of Hollywood, it shouldnt surprise anyone that a lot of movie stars live in Los Angeles, and there are several tours that will show you some of the most notable celebrity homes.
In addition to bus tours that cover the homes of the rich and famous, we also have a self-guided tour for those looking to save some money or avoid the crowds while sightseeing.
For more details, make sure to check our post about taking a celebrity homes tour in Los Angeles.
Enjoy The Artwork At The Museum Of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art is the only gallery in Los Angeles that features exclusively contemporary art and is another one of the free things in Los Angeles. It is full of thousands of outstanding pieces by artists from all over. There are two locations to choose from.
The museum on Grand Avenue is found in downtown LA and boasts over 5,000 items. You will not find any ancient artwork at MOCA though because everything they have is from 1940 and newer. Some of the big names include Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Franz Kline, Susan Rothenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein.
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Discover Manhattan And Hermosa Beaches
We tell all of our Australian to head to the South Bay beaches of Manhattan and Hermosa, which are not far from LAX.
These beach towns are two of the best places in Los Angeles that offer a local vibe and feel, especially compared to the over touristy Santa Monica, and Venice.
If you enjoy beach volleyball, then Manhattan Beach and Hermosa are the best places to visit in Los Angeles to have a friendly game. In fact, they call Manhattan Beach the Volleyball Capital of the World.
We love to ride along the beach promenade between Manhattan Pier and Hermosa Pier . Its one of our fave family activities in Los Angeles.
City Hall Observation Deck
For some amazing free views over the city of Los Angeles, head to the City Hall any weekday between 8am and 5pm. The Art Deco City Hall itself is worth the visit. To get to the observation deck, walk through the public entrance off of Main Street, grab your Visitor pass from the desk and take the elevator to the 22nd floor, where youll then take another elevator up to the 26th floor.
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Find Poignant History And Amazing Mexican Food On Olvera Street
Get a dose of local Mexican-Angeleno culture and history on Olvera Street, also known as El Pueblo Historic Monument. There are plenty of restaurants where you can indulge in Olvera Street classics like taquitos at Cielito Lindo with the money youve saved by partaking in the free tours of Avila Adobe, Old Plaza Church, and the Old Plaza Firehouse.
Take A Day To Go To Disneyland
February is the best month to visit world-famous Disneyland! Why? Because most American schools are back in session so the lines are short!
Plus, it is winter in California so the weather is perfect for a day of romping around riding rides.
For more ideas of things to do with kids in LA, see our post things to do in LA with kids.
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Catch A Free Exhibit At The Broad
The Broad Museum in Downtown L.A. makes art democratic by extending complimentary general admission access to Eli and Edythe Broads personal collection of nearly 2,000 pieces of contemporary art from the 1950s to the present. The museum, which opened in 2015, also hosts ticketed exhibitions from big-name artists like Jasper Johns.
Venice Boardwalk And Skate Park
There is no better place in the city to people-watch than the Venice Boardwalk. Its easy to get entertained by the many aspiring artists and all the random things going on at the beach. There are also many shopping places and restaurant options. Just towards the beach, you can watch skateboarders do their special tricks.
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Visit One Of The Many Free Museums In Los Angeles
Learning while on vacation can be exciting – especially when its free. When looking for absolutely free things to do in Los Angeles, you have to visit one of these extraordinary museums.
71. Stroll through the Santa Monica Museum of ArtTheres plenty of masterpieces for you to see here.
72. Remember and honor at the Los Angeles Museum of the HolocaustTake time to learn about and remember what happened during the Holocaust.
73. Take advantage of the annual So-Cal Free Museum for All DayLA offers free museum days throughout the year. Take advantage of it!
74. Explore the Greystone Mansion GroundsOwned by the City of Beverly Hills, you have to explore this estate.
75. Be taken back at the Jet Propulsion LibraryTo see the robotic exploration of the solar system, you need to make your reservation well in advance.
76. Stargaze at Griffith ObservatoryCant get enough of the Los Angeles night sky? Head to the Griffith Observatory.
78. Take a snapshot at the Annenberg Space for PhotographyAn excellent free activity for photographers and photo fanatics.
79. Check out the lobby of the Capitol Records BuildingWhile you cant tour the building, the lobby is equally as marvelous.
80. Let the kids explore Travel Town in Griffith ParkKids will love discovering Travel Town in Griffith Park.
81. See an out of this world Glendale Planetarium showSit under the stars and explore the universe – for free.
Get Your Culture Fix At Lacma
Immerse yourself in the California art scene at LACMA, which is free to Los Angeles County residents every day after 3 p.m. and free to all visitors on the second Tuesday of every month . Chris Burdens Urban Light exhibition in front of the museum is free to access daily, as is the sculpture garden.
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Watch The Surfers Do Their Thing
It’s no secret that the beaches in the Los Angeles area are home to some of the greatest waves on earth. All along the Pacific Coast, you’ll be able to catch sight of surfers doing their thing any time of year, especially if there’s a storm brewing and the waves are higher than usual. Popular L.A. surfing beaches include El Porto , Malibu , Redondo, Hermosa, Venice Beach, Ocean Park, Topanga Beach, Sunset Point, Zuma Beach.
If you happen be in town when there’s a major surfing competition going on, head to the beach and spend the day cheering along with the fans as some of the world’s most talented surfers take on the waves. About an hour south of Downtown L.A., the U.S. Open of Surfing takes place in Huntington Beach in late July or early August. Closer to the city, the International Surf Festival happens in early August about 35 minutes away in Manhattan Beach.
If you’re not too familiar with Los Angeles and don’t want to shell out money for a professionally guided tour, try doing a self-guided walking tour with the GPSMYCITY app, available on the App Store or Google Play.
Check Out Some Local Fall Foliage
$Arguably the most exciting part of the fall season is watching nature shift from the verdant greens of summer to the rustic reds, mustard yellows, and burnished browns of autumn. And while our perennially sunny city doesnt undergo the same dramatic transformations that youll witness further north, you can head to botanical gardens like theLA Arboretum and Descanso Gardens to observe the seasonal shift. At the Arboretum, youll be privy to sights like the Hong Kong Orchid tree with maroon and pink blooms, eucalyptus trees with white, yellow, and green leaves, and oleander trees with vibrant yellow flowers. Fall foliage is on view at Descanso Gardens in October and November, along with blossoming sasanqua camellias, toyin berries, and ginkgo.
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La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
As with many museums and cultural centers in LA, the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum offers free entrance at selected times, including on the first Tuesday of every month except July and August, and every Tuesday in September. The fascinating museum has been dubbed the “Gateway to the Ice Age,” and is known for having one of the world’s greatest fossil collections. For LA county residents, the museum is free Monday through Friday from 3pm to 5pm
Los Angeles Fashion District
One of the first places I explored while living in the city was the LA Fashion District. This place is not only fun for people-watching but for finding small trinkets and tasty snacks and desserts. Many people come for the wholesale shopping experience and to purchase some of the many things found here, such as clothing, flowers, blankets, shoes, party supplies, electronics, and much more!
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Things To Do In La At Night
LA is one of those cities that never sleeps! While some museums and attractions might close up when the sun sets, a lot of places and activities are available much later.
For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post on things to do at night in LA.
As we mentioned in the top 10 section, you may also want to consider ideas such as going to a concert, a sporting event, or a musical.
You might also want to consider visiting an amusement park, as most are open after dark!
Here are just a few more things to enjoy in LA at night.
- Take a night bus tour.
- Enjoy a dinner cruise.
For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post on things to do at night in LA.
Go On A Sightseeing Tour
If youre looking for a bus tour, we have a great comparison of L.A.s best. From hop-on-hop-off buses to nonstop our nighttime tours, youll find one to suit you.
Another option is to check out a studio tour. See what it is like to be a working Hollywood actor or a gaffer. Or find out what a gaffer does!
Check out our post about studio tour options.
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Enjoy The Views From Griffith Observatory
The grounds and the observatory are always free to visitors. Hours and special events vary.
You may recognize the iconic building from films like Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean.
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Look Through The Telescopes At The Griffith Observatory
Shoot for the stars, moon, or sun when you look through one of the many telescopes found on the lawn of the Griffith Observatory. Looking through the telescopes and entering the building are free, but if youre on a budget, use public transportation or hike to get to the observatory as parking is quite expensive.
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Tcl Chinese Theatre Tour
One of the top things to do with kids in Los Angeles is to visit the famed forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre where you can see the hand and foot prints of all the families favourite stars!
To learn more about the theatre you can join a guided tour. On this tour you will learn the history of this cinema palace from inside and out and discover stories and amazing facts past and present.
This is one of the great family friendly things to do in LA, kids will love placing their hands and feet in the celeb imprints and parents will get a kick from hearing stories about Hollywoods biggest stars.
Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd on the Hollywood Walk of FameOpening Hours: Daily excluding special eventsPrice: $19 Adults | $9 Kids
Ride Angels Flight Railway
Also in Downtown LA, and across the road from Grand Central Markets , is a bright orange archway leading to the worlds shortest railway at 298 feet.
Angels Flight Railway is a quirky historical landmark and was originally built to carry residents of the luxe homes on Bunker Hill to their jobs in downtown.
If your kids like train rides, they will enjoy this family friendly LA attraction.
Open daily, 365 days a year, and only costs $1 each way. There you go! Much cheaper than the thrill rides of Disneyland!
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Dolby Theatre Guided Tour
Visiting LA after the infamous Oscars slap and want to see where it all happened? Head to the Dolby Theatre for a guided tour. Whilst it might not be one of the most interesting things to do in LA for kids, parents will no doubt enjoy walking through the Dolby Theatre. Take the 30 minute tour through one of the worldâs biggest entertainment venues. See this huge 3,400-seat theatre in all its glory as you walk through listening to interesting and entertaining facts and stories from your engaging tour guides.
As the theatre is used for productions, the guided tours are on days when no shows are scheduled.
Location: N Highland Ave & , Hollywood Blvd adjacent to the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre.Opening Hours: Varies pending what productions are on, check website for schedule
Save Money With A Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
To make the most out of your time in LA, and save a lot of money while seeing the sights, consider purchasing a tourist attraction discount pass.
Youll pay one fee upfront and receive free or highly discounted entry into many of the citys most popular attractions and activities.
Tourist discount passes work by bundling multiple tickets into one price, usually between 20%-50% the retail price.
Read our post comparing the different LA tourist discount passes. Several bus tour companies, including hop-on-hop-off buses, also offer discounts and deals.
For more ideas for any time of year, be sure to read our master post on Things to do in LA.
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Visit Santa Monica Pier And Beach
Opened in 1909, the historic Santa Monica Pier has a lot to offer people of all ages! And the beach is always free to enjoy.
Taking a stroll down the pier will lead you through a number of souvenir kiosks, and past a number of restaurants, street performers & musicians on any given day.
Get Wild At The La Zoo
Discover the amazing wildlife at the LA Zoo which is home to more than 1,100 mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles! Further, the zoos botanical collection includes over 7,400 individual plants located throughout the establishment.
Wildlife areas include Elephants of Asia, the Red Ape Rainforest, Campo Gorilla Reserve, and the Winnick Family Childrens Zoo. During your visit, make sure to stick around for various demonstrations and shows!
The zoo is open daily from 10am-5pm.
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See A Live Talk Show Or Sitcom
Attending a free TV show taping in LA, is a great opportunity to see your favourite television stars live and in person and is no doubt one of the best free things to do in LA. There are many online audience service companies that offer these free tickets.
As tickets are usually released 30 days in advance with popular sitcoms and talk shows booking out the day they are released, I recommend planning this in advance before you commence your family holiday. Just double check the minimum age requirement before booking to ensure the whole family can attend.
Family friendly tickets for shows and sitcoms can be obtained from:
1iota represents some great talk shows such as The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Late Show with James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and more not only are the hosts well known in their own right, the guests they have on are some of Americas greatest celebrities! If youve got older kids this is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles, that you cant do anywhere else!
On Camera Audiences specialises in providing audiences for talent shows like Dancing with the Stars, Americas Got Talent, and So You Think You Can Dance as well as game shows like The Price is Right, Family Feud and Lets Make a Deal. These shows are great for all ages and one of the great things for families to do in Los Angeles together.
Walk Along The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Located on Hollywood Boulevard near West Hollywood, in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is the most renowned 15 blocks in the world. The walk includes over 2,690 brass terrazzo stars along Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard.
These stars are monuments to honor those in the entertainment business from actors to theatrical groups. Starting in 1960, there have been almost 2,700 stars embedded along the famous Los Angeles walk.
Some of these include actors and actresses like Ann Margaret and Harrison Ford, musical groups like Alabama and NSYNC, and TV stars like Gene Autry and George Lopez. You can even find fictional characters along Hollywood Boulevard such as Mickey Mouse and Kermit the Frog.
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