Here is my list of the top 10 free things to do in Los Angeles.
I have been lucky enough over the years to discover, and rediscover, parts of L.A. that will fulfill your L.A. desires! Here are 10 FREE things to do in Los Angeles that are among my favorite adventures.
Best Time To Go
As you know, the whole point of L.A. is that the weather is pretty great all year long, so it is a perfect getaway weekend whenever you need a little pick me up! There are rainy and foggy days throughout winter and spring, so if you are looking for the hot beach and tanning days, then summer is your best bet! Most of the 10 free things to do in Los Angeles are outside, so bring your sunscreen and hat!
Where To Stay
If you prefer to stay in a VRBO, I highly recommend the West Hollywood/Laurel Canyon area. It is safe, beautiful, and a superb neighborhood launching spot for all kinds of excursions! If you are looking for a hotel, search on Sunset. We often stay at the Best Western Plus on Sunset Blvd. It is a great location, affordable, and has a really nice pool!
Traffic and parking in L.A. can be a big challenge sometimes, but more manageable than public transportation. Obviously, use your GPS when driving!!! Public transportation is available, but simply not the way to go, especially if you are short on time. With the invention of ride apps like Uber and Lyft, don’t feel obligated to get in the car if you don’t want to.
Enjoy these 10 Free Activities in L.A. and have a great time!
Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park is home to 160 acres of hiking and views, in the Santa Monica Mountains, right in Hollywood! . Take a simple walk through gorgeous neighborhoods off Hollywood Blvd and enter a beautiful hiking paradise. Enter at North Fuller Ave off Hollywood Blvd. Plenty of trails with lots of incline if you are looking for real exercise. It is the best for stunning views of the whole city, and flora and fauna for days. The edges of some trails offer peeks at homes of the rich and famous, featuring both modern and mid century architecture. It is a favorite spot for dog walking and sunsets. You can even have a view of the iconic Hollywood sign.
Griffith Park & Observatory
Griffith Park, located on Mt. Hollywood, overlooks the L.A. Basin, at 2800 East Observatory Ave. It is over 4000 acres with over 50 miles of trails perfect for hiking and biking. The park is known for its stellar views and awesome planetarium at the Griffith Observatory. The Los Angeles Zoo, Botanical Gardens, and Autry Western Museum are also in the park. The Planetarium costs under $10 but visiting the observatory is free! Park along the road leading to the observatory to avoid the parking lot fee.
The Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is on Mt. Lee, which is also in Griffith Park. There are three routes to the sign: The Easy Mt. Hollywood Trail, the Moderate Brush Canyon Trail, and the Difficult Cahuenga Peak Hike Trail. Park at 3200 Canyon Dr. Be sure to check on the day you want to go for any closures due to overcrowding or mountain lion sightings! Parking is limited at the trail heads, so go early and grab a spot. There are bathroom facilities at the Griffith Observatory.
The Getty Museum
The Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Dr., designed by Richard Meier, is an archotectural gem! It is one of my favorite art museums in the world. In the hills above western L.A., The Getty offers views, views, and more views. The permanent collection is vast and really varied in style. I think most people will find galleries that they enjoy. There is a range of American and European favorites to keep you busy for a long time. What I like best, however, are all the outdoor spaces. The gardens and architecture embrace the sculptures and fountains. The design is so integrated with the environment that a primary feature of the museum is the structure itself, not simply the art within. You pay for parking ($15or $20) down below, take a free tram ride to the entrance and stay all day if you want. There are several café areas for indoor or outdoor relaxing.
The Original Farmers Market
The Original Farmers Market, on 3rd St. just south of West Hollywood, was established in the 1930’s, and is a great place to stop when you are hungry! Parking is free for 90 minutes with validation. The vendors are known for their produce, meats, fish, and lots of ready-to-eat dishes. It is a family favorite spot since my parents had a lovely conversation with Paul Newman there many years ago!
Venice Beach & Venice Canals
Venice Beach and Venice Canals are a must see. Of course, you have to go to the iconic Venice Beach and walk on the boardwalk to see the performers and skate boarders. It is fun for a bit, but also funky and an area known for its many young homeless people. Just north of the main entrance to the boardwalk area are the canals designed after Italy’s Venice. There are no Italian gondoliers, just beautiful homes on the water with charming paths and bridges connecting them. Really quiet and pleasant and VERY different than the Venice Boardwalk and the famed Muscle Beach scene.
Rodeo Drive & Beverly Hills
Rodeo Drive and a free and personal Beverly Hills home tour is such a fun activity. Simply drive along Sunset Blvd into Beverly Hills and turn right into the neighborhoods. Give yourself a tour! No need for the open-air bus or the Map to the Stars. The DIY version can be just as much fun. There are truly gorgeous homes and gardens to see. A lot of the mansions are, of course, gated and surrounded by walls of bushes, but it is quiet on many of the streets and an easy way to fantasize about living your best L.A. life in BH! Then park in the public lit at the top of Rodeo Drive and go window shopping! Yes, you may see some celebrities, but you might just have a blast posing like one!
~El Matador State Beach in Malibu
~Hermosa Beach in Hermosa Beach
~Manhattan Beach in Manhattan Beach
Looking for the best beachfront dining experience in L.A.? Check out Malibu Farm-The Best Beachfront Restaurant in California
Hollywood Walk of Fame & TCL Chinese Theater
The Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theater is not my favorite spot in L.A. but you need to see it at least once! The stretch of Hollywood Blvd passing the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater tends to be packed with tourists, cameras, and street impersonators asking you to pay for photos with them. Get your shots of the sidewalk stars and handprints for free. Keep your purse close and move on! Parking is very challenging here! Walk from where you are staying, or take an Uber because the aggravation is not worth it! IHowever, in just under 2 miles away, on Santa Monica Blvd is the quiet and serene Hollywood Forever Cemetery, also free activity, if you want to see where some of the great stars are buried, like Rudolf Valentino and Judy Garland.
Santa Monica Pier & Beach
Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach are among L.A.’s top tourist spots that you have to visit. You can walk or bike along the trail above the beach, hang out in the sand, and stroll the pier for free. If the spirit moves you, take a ride in the amusement park on the famous Ferris Wheel and eat cotton candy! Enjoy the people watching while you are at it. It is a very beautiful coast line with some of L.A.’s most luxurious hotels, shops, and restaurants across the street. Parking is tricky, but you can usually find a meter spot if you don’t want to go into one of the many garages.
Be in touch when you check out the 10 Free things to do in Los Angeles and let me know which is your favorite! I’m also always happy to add helpful details about things to do in Los Angeles if you send me input!