Los Angeles

10 free activities to do in LA

Whilst Los Angeles is known for its glamorous lifestyle, you don’t need a Hollywood-sized budget to experience the best this vibrant city has to offer. In fact, there are actually a ton of free activities to do in LA! From stunning parks, interesting museums, and lively neighborhoods, you’ll discover it’s easy to explore the the City of Angels without breaking the bank. Discover 10 free activities to do in LA!

1. Explore Hollywood

You can’t visit LA without exploring Hollywood, the home of movie studios. And luckily for us (and you!), you can experience the best of Hollywood without spending a dime! Exploring Hollywood is a budget-friendly way to experience the glitter and glamour of LA.

10 free activities to do in LA: Walk of Fame

In the heart of Hollywood lies Hollywood Blvd, which is also home to the legendary Walk of Fame. We strolled around here for hours, searching for our favorite celebrities! From Britney Spears, Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp, and Elton John, we had so much fun spotting iconic celebrities from the past and present. We also stopped at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, where you can spot celebrity handprints. Funny to see how small Kelvin’s hands were compared to those of NBA all-star Kobe Bryant. 😂

Lake Hollywood Park

And, of course, no trip to Hollywood would be complete without catching a glimpse of the world-famous Hollywood Sign. While getting up close to the sign requires a hike or tour, the best views can be enjoyed from Lake Hollywood Park!

Griffith Observatory

But that’s not all! On Mount Hollywood, only 20 minutes away from Lake Hollywood Park, you can find the Griffith Observatory. This is a super cool and beautiful building that offers amazing views of Downtown LA, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean! Although the views are amazing all day round, it is especially beautiful if you visit the observatory for sunrise or sunset. That is, if the weather is your friend, of course (spoiler alert: this was not the case with us 🙁).

2. Visit a free museum

Our favorite thing about LA is that art is so accessible! We are both museum-geeks, and love visiting museums abroad. In New York, for example, we visited 6 museums in 10 days. Some were included in the Citypass, but we also had to buy some separate tickets. This usually takes a big bite out of our budget, most museums are not cheap unfortunately. We were so happy to see that LA has so many free museums! The only thing you usually have to do is reserve a time slot in advance. Below you can find our favorite museums in LA:

The Broad

10 free activities to do in LA: The Broad

If you only have time for one museum, we definitely recommend The Broad! This contemporary art museum is one of the most unique museums to visit in LA. The museum’s collection is very impressive, with artworks from popular artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jeff Koons. And the building itself is pretty spectacular, too!

The Broad: Infinity Mirrored Room

But the real star is undoubtedly Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room. We’re not going to give too much away so you can experience this for yourself, but we can tell you it was an incredible and unique experience! The Infinity Mirrored Room was definitely the highlight of our visit, we recommend not missing it!

Admission to The Broad is free, but you have to book a time slot in advance. The time slots for the following month are released on the last Wednesday of the month before (at 10 AM LA time). There are two types of time slots available: one including the Infinity Mirrored Room, and one without. As we mentioned in our preparation guide, we made sure to reserve our time slot the Wednesday itself to make sure we could visit the Infinity Mirrored Room. We noticed that tickets for the Infinity Mirrored Room were sold out only 24 hours after the time slots were available! Make sure to reserve your time slot the Wednesday itself, so you can visit the Infinity Mirrored Room.

Pro tip
We started refreshing the page 15 minutes before the deadline, and were able to snag a reservation 5 minutes before the “official” time. We don’t know if this was a one off, or that they always open a few minutes before deadline, but we really recommend doing this too!

LACMA

LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is another great museum in LA. Normally a ticket costs about € 22,50 per person, but the second Tuesday of each month admission is free! We saw impressive artworks by well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso, René Magritte, Joan Miró, and Frida Kahlo. There are multiple floors where you can roam free and discover new art pieces!

LACMA: Urban Light installation

If you’re not free the second Tuesday of the month and don’t want to pay admission, we recommend visiting the Urban Light installation. This cool installation can be found at the entrance of the LACMA, which means you do not need an admission ticket. The installation consists of 202 restored vintage street lamps, really incredible to see. If you’re looking to take a picture with no-one in the background, be prepared to wake up early. This place gets really crowded later during the day, so bear that in mind. You can visit Urban Light 24/7. At night you can see the installation illuminated, which really adds to the experience! It is an iconic installation and cannot be missed during your visit to LA.

Getty Center

Getty Center

The Getty Center is so much more than just a museum. This remarkable place offers amazing art, modern architecture, stunning gardens, and spectacular city views. On top of that, you also get to ride a tram to get you to the actual museum. How fun is that! The Getty Center has an incredible art collection that ranges from the Middle Ages to today. You can even find some works of Van Gogh, Monet, and Cézanne here! Obviously, the rooms with the works by Van Gogh are the busiest.

Getty Center

Even if you’re not into art, The Getty Center is still worth a visit. The panoramic views of the city, the gorgeous gardens, and the spectacular architecture alone are worth a visit! We really love the museum courtyard. It has some food and drinks stalls, countless places to sit, and an amazing fountain! It’s an amazing location where you can unwind and grab something to eat or drink.

You can visit the Getty Center for free, you just need to reserve a time slot in advance. Timeslots open one month in advance. Keep in mind that if you come by car, you have to pay € 18 parking. The Getty Center is located outside the city center, and not easily accessible by foot (car or public transportation might be your best bet).

Getty Villa Museum

Getty Villa Museum

In addition to the Getty Center, you also have the Getty Villa Museum. This museum, located along the coast and only miles away from Malibu, displays Greek and Roman art in a recreated Roman seaside home. The villa is almost as impressive as the art you can admire here! Again, admission is free, you just need to reserve a time slot in advance. If you want to visit both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa Museum, make sure you visit both in one day! That way you only have to pay for parking once, as the ticket can be used for both venues.

3. Admire the Walt Disney Concert Hall

10 free activities to do in LA: Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is an architectural gem from the outside, and one of the most spectacular buildings we’ve ever seen. The asymmetrical shapes were something we had never seen before, hats off to the architect Frank Gehry!

This place has so much to offer. First of all, you can attend concerts here but unfortunately, these are not free. Luckily, the gorgeous and unique building is just as impressive as the performances happening inside! Another super cool thing about the Walt Disney Concert Hall is that they have a rooftop. The Blue Ribbon Garden rooftop, 10 m above Hope Street, offers amazing views over LA’s famous landmarks (like the Hollywood Sign!). We didn’t know this when we visited, but we wanted to make sure that you do!

PS: The Walt Disney Concert Hall is located right next to The Broad, so no reason to skip this iconic building. 😉

Pro tip
There are free, self guided audio tours of the Concert Hall that you can take year-round! That is, if you’re visiting with a group of 14 people or less. Visiting with 15 or more? You’re looking at € 9 per guest.

4. Stroll through the Arts District

10 free activities to do in LA: Arts District

We already mentioned that art is really accessible in LA, and the Arts District is another perfect example of this! You can find some amazing murals here, all you have to do is walk and look around. We spotted a lot of original and creative murals, but the mural at 4th St really stood out. This breathtaking mural is a collaboration between artists Christina Angelina and Fanakapan. It is such an intimate image! The entire mural consists exclusively of shades of gray, we love that you can express yourself this much with so little color. The Art Share L.A. Building and Undiscovered America by Earth Crew 2000 are two other murals that are worth mentioning! We started walking from The Broad in the direction of the Art District and it was a fun, calming walk. We recommend you do the same!

5. Admire the views at Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake

A true hidden gem in LA is Echo Park Lake. This lake and urban park offers some sweeping views of Downtown LA! The park itself is stunning, with fountains in the middle of the lake and swan boats sailing around. If you’re looking for a romantic date, make sure to hop on one of those swans. 😉 We also spotted a lot of ducks, which was so much fun!

The thing that stood out to us was the ability to drone over the lake. Our drone shots over the lake where we fly past the fountain with Downtown LA in the background are one of our favorites. 😍

Echo Park Lake is the perfect spot for a cozy, romantic picnic with incredible views. We really loved the atmosphere, it is not crowded at all and super cozy here! Also, there are plenty of food and drinks options available. Whether it’s a food stand or an actual restaurant, you can find it all here!

6. Window shopping on Rodeo Drive

10 free activities to do in LA: Rodeo Drive

The most famous shopping street in LA (or the world, even?) is undoubtedly Rodeo Drive. This 3,2 km street in Beverly Hills features all kinds of luxury brands and boutiques. From Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Prada, you can find just about any luxury brand here. Although the stores are not really in our price range, it is super fun to walk around here! If you are lucky, you can also spot some luxury cars that rich are trying to show off. We really loved strolling through Rodeo Drive because it’s so different from what shopping is like in Belgium! The combination of the luxury brands, expensive sports cars, and beautiful storefronts is something we’ve never ever seen before. It is definitely the most fashionable place to shop in LA!

7. Relax at Beverly Gardens Park

10 free activities to do in LA: Beverly Gardens Park

You probably know Beverly Hills for its memorable zip code. From the famous TV series to a Travis Scott song, you’ve undoubtedly heard the zip code 90210 before. 😉 Besides Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills also has lots of other things to offer. Beverly Gardens Park is one of those things! This beautiful park is the perfect place to stroll around, enjoy some people-watching, or even have a picnic here. It is located just a short walk away from Rodeo Drive, so why not combine the two? Besides that, Beverly Gardens Park also features the famous Beverly Hills Sign, one of the best photo opportunities in Beverly Hills! Win-win!

8. Take some pictures on Melrose Avenue

Paul Smith's Pink Wall

Melrose Avenue is one of LA’s most famous streets. Here you can find countless shops and restaurants. But the real reason we mention Melrose Avenue is because there are countless photo spots! The most Instagrammable spot is without Paul Smith’s Pink Wall. This is the facade of his flagship store, and an iconic photo spot! Make sure to wear something pink for some great photos. 😉 Other than that, Melrose Avenue is a great place to go for brunch or go shopping!

9. Explore Venice Beach

10 free activities to do in LA: Venice Beach

You can’t visit LA without exploring Venice Beach! This lively beach draws crowds to its vibrant boardwalk. You can find shops, restaurants, and even street performers along the boardwalk. Of course, the first thing you you have to do is stroll along the Venice Canals. There’s also a really cool Skate Park where you can admire the Tony Hawks from the future! Other than that, make sure to stop at the Muscle Beach too. This is a big outdoor gym where you can see a lot of people working out. So much fun! Lastly, don’t forget to take some pictures of the iconic Venice Beach Sign as well. 😉

10. Stroll through Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Least but not least: Santa Monica Pier. Although it is usually incredibly crowded here, this vibrant pier cannot be missed. We were so looking forward to be able to finally visit this iconic pier. Kelvin has been playing GTA all his life, so he immediately knew his way around here. 😂 It is so much fun walking around here! You come across colorful attractions, souvenir stands, and street performers. There is always something to do here so you certainly won’t be bored! The place is buzzing with energy.

You can also find the iconic Route 66 End of the trail sign here, which marks the end of the legendary Route 66. After visiting Amboy and Needles, we obviously had to make a picture here. And what would a pier be without water and a beach, right? Well, the Santa Monica Pier has plenty of both! If you’re looking for a relaxing beach day, this is the spot.

Where to stay in Los Angeles

Planning on visiting Universal Studios Hollywood as well? Make sure to read our Universal Studios Hollywood Guide with all our tips and tricks to get the most out of your day.

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