Free Things to Do Around LA

One of the best things about living in this great Southern California Metropolis is that there is always something to do. I definitely like that fact most about living here and it was one reason to raise my kids here. Finding free things to do is pretty easy in the land of sun and perpetual summer. Previously, I wrote about the Griffith Observatory and Olvera Street, and I wanted to mention other free things to do with kids or on your own.

1. Museums
I told you about free museum day, but free doesn’t only happen once a a year. In fact, a lot of the museums on the list were free all of the time. And those that aren’t have a free day once a month. For example, LACMA, one of my favorite museums, is free on the second Tuesday of the month for anyone. It’s also free for LA county residents after 3 pm Monday thru Friday. The Page Museum (LA tar pits) is free the first Tuesday of the month. The Page Museum is the showcase for the La Brea Tar Pits and revealing what Los Angeles was like during the ice age. Great for kids who want to learn about Mammoths. This was one of the first museums I visited with my child’s first grade class thirteen years ago.
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Image from Page Museum
LACMA is at 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits is at 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

2. Beaches

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Southern California usually conjures images of palm trees, beaches and Hollywood in people’s minds. The beaches are definitely here to take advantage of at no cost with the exception of parking ($4-9). But, picking the right beaches and going early makes street parking a little easier. The beaches most people associate with LA are Santa Monica State Beach and Venice Beach. Santa Monica gives you the iconic Santa Monica Pier which most people are so familiar, while Venice has the famous Muscle Beach and street performers. But I prefer beaches a little less crowded. We used to head down to Seal Beach in Orange County most often. Street parking was easy, Ruby’s was on the Pier (closed in 2013), and It never felt too crowded. Recently someone I know suggested Zuma beach as a great, quiet beach. Finding the beach that you like best requires exploring, which I am always up for!

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Image from LA County Dept of Beaches and Harbors

3. Griffith Park

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If you like hiking, astronomy or just want some open space for your kids to run, Griffith Park has it all. Located on the eastern part of the Santa Monica mountains, it is the largest municipal park in the United States. The park houses many attractions like the Greek Theater, the Griffith Observatory, the LA Zoo, The Autry Center, the Equestrian center, and a 68 horse Merry Go Round. The observatory is free, and so are the numerous hiking trails and picnic locations. The Hollywood Sign can be seen from many hiking trails in the park.
Griffith Park lies just west of the Golden State Freeway (I-5), roughly between Los Feliz Boulevard on the south and the Ventura Freeway (SR 134) on the north. Parking is free and the park closes at 10:30pm, with hiking and bridle trails closing at sunset.

4. Music festivals

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Summer is a great time for free music in and around LA. Ever since we moved to Southern California, my husband keeps me updated on any free music events. One that I like a lot is Make Music Pasadena. Happening June 7th this year, This festival spans 20 city blocks and has multiple stages. You can hop on the metro and get off at Memorial Park station and explore the many stages by hoping on and off the ARTS bus for free. We took our kids and saw The Antlers and Matt and Kim among other bands. My husband also likes to take advantage of Grand Performances in downtown LA. They have free summer concerts in California Plaza in the heart of downtown LA.

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8 responses to “Free Things to Do Around LA

  1. Great post! I live in LA as well and have just started to appreciate how awesome the museums are. I also love the Annenberg Space for Photography which is having an awesome National Geographic exhibit at the moment (until end of April) – free too!

    Happy travels :)

  2. Love this post! I live in LA too and I’m just starting to realize how awesome our museums are. The Annenberg Space for Photography is also a good one that has an amazing National Geographic exhibit at the moment. It runs until end of April and it’s free as well!
    Happy travels :)

  3. You know, you’ve completely motivated me to reducing the debt load in my life . . . free things make me happy :)

    That said, living outside of DC for as long as I did, I got spoiled by free museums. Seriously. Visiting NY, where I love the museums, is quite different now.

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