Things to Do for Free in Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles
••• Downtown Los Angeles. WireImage / Getty Images
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    Walk on the Beach

    Taking a Walk at Manhattan Beach
    ••• Taking a Walk at Manhattan Beach. ©2008 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Los Angeles beaches are a great place for walking, people-watching and relaxing. There's no admission fee, and you can spend as much time as you want there. You can choose an urban beach with a paved walking path or a more natural setting where you might see dolphins swimming offshore or a migrating whale passing by.

    Pick your beach from the Guide to the Best Los Angeles Beaches

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    Check Out Downtown Los Angeles

    Downtown Los Angeles
    ••• Downtown Los Angeles. WireImage / Getty Images

    There's more to do and see downtown than most people realize. You can check out Chinatown, Union Station and the oldest parts of Los Angeles. Take a peek inside some landmark buildings and take a stroll through the Broadway Historic District.

    Use our self-guided tour, and you'll find plenty to see for free. Just walking that whole tour will take you an entire day.

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    Hollywood Boulevard

    USA, California, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre
    ••• Hollywood Boulevard. Westend61 / Getty Images

    Most of the sights on Hollywood Boulevard are free: the Walk of Fame, handprints and footprints at the Chinese Theatre, and people-watching that's among the best you'll find in all of Los Angeles. 

    If you use our guide to Hollywood Boulevard, you won't need to pay someone else to show you around.

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    Be In a Studio Audience

    CBS Television City, Hollywood
    ••• CBS Television City, Hollywood. Alan Light at Flickr under Attribution 2.0 Generic License

    You might think it's hard to get into a studio audience, but it isn't — and to make it better, it doesn't cost a penny. 

    All you need are an advance reservation and some time to be in the studio audience for selected sitcoms and game shows.

    Find out how to do it in the ​Guide to Being ​in a Studio Audience.

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    Go Window-Shopping on Rodeo Drive

    Shopping on Rodeo Drive
    ••• Shopping on Rodeo Drive. David McNew / Getty Images

    The shops on Rodeo Drive are expensive, but window-shopping is free and so is the parking.

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    Entertainment for Free

    Hollywood Bowl
    ••• Hollywood Bowl. Michael Li/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    At the Hollywood Bowl,  you'll pay to get into an evening performance, but some morning rehearsals are open to the public. Call 323-850-2000 for info.

    You can get free tickets to concerts, plays, and other events, too. All you have to do is sign up for a free account at Goldstar. You'll get offers for comp tickets in Los Angeles, but you can also use it to save money wherever you live. This guide will tell you all about it.

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    Griffith Observatory

    Griffith Observatory
    ••• Griffith Observatory. GC Images / Getty Images

    The Griffith Observatory doesn’t charge an admission fee, except for a few special exhibits. Don’t just turn up your nose, thinking the Observatory is another boring science museum. It’s also a place where you can get the answers to all those pesky questions: why the moon has phases, what causes an eclipse or how tides form. You can see a genuine moon rock and get some gorgeous views of the City of Los Angeles.

    Y​ou can find out everything you need to know about going in this Guide to the Griffith Observatory.

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    Go Behind the Scenes of Horse Racing

    2014 Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita Park
    ••• 2014 Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita Park. Harry How / Getty Images

    Take one of Santa Anita Race Track's free tours to see the places where legendary racehorse Seabiscuit lived and ran. You will also the jockey's room, silks room, saddling paddock, the walking ring, and carriage horses in their home under the Grandstand.

    Find out more about this legendary track in the guide to Santa Anita Park.

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    Museums for Free

    Getty Museum Hosts Vast Collection Of Art And Antiquities
    ••• Getty Museum. David McNew / Getty Images

    The California Science Center is free all the time. 

    The Getty Museum and Getty Villa have no admission fee (although they will charge you to park).

    Thanks to generous benefactors, the Hammer Museum at UCLA is also free. So is the Broad Museum downtown, but you do need a ticket to get in — and planning ahead to get that free ticket.

    Others offer free admission on selected days only.

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    Watch the Rose Parade for Free

    127th Tournament Of Roses Parade Presented By Honda
    ••• Tournament Of Roses Parade Float. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

    To get a front row seat for the Rose Parade, you'll have to camp out overnight—or buy an expensive grandstand ticket. Or so most people think. But you'll know better after you read this Guide to Watching the Rose Parade the Cheap and Easy Way. All you need to know to see the parade — at the last minute and for free — are in it.

     

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    More Things You Can Do in Los Angeles

    DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES
    ••• Downtown Los Angeles. Ken Levine / Getty Images

    There's a lot more to do in Los Angeles. You may also want to take a look at some less well-known LA attractions that are really fun to visit.

    Do you want your kids to have fun in Los Angeles? Here's where to take them.

    It might rain in the winter. Here's what to do in LA when it's raining. And if it's summertime when you visit, you'll definitely want to know ​What to Do on a Los Angeles Summer Night. Or for that matter, find out what you can do at night in LA anytime.

    Things Not to Do in LA

    There are some tourist traps you may want to avoid in LA, but you also don't want to get arrested, surf at the wrong beach, sound like a doofus or freak out over weird driving. You can learn how to avoid them all in this guide to What Not to Do in Los Angeles.