As the largest city on the West Coast and home to Hollywood, the City of Angels may seem like a playground for the rich. Appearances, however, can be deceptive. As many tourists and visitors to the city find out, Los Angeles has a ton of activities lined up for you that do not make a dent on your wallet. In the following selected list, you will discover the top 12 things to do for free in Los Angeles.
1. Rodeo Drive
This is an exclusive shopping district featuring exotic brands and exclusive privately managed boutiques. Rodeo Drive was made memorable by the venerable Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman. Ever since, hordes of visitors visit the place to catch a glance of their favorite celebrities and browse the stores. There is no compulsion to shop, and most of the store owners are used to tourists.
2. Griffith Observatory
Located atop the south side of Mount Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory offers a stunning view of the city and the adjacent areas. While the planetarium shows cost money, visitors can enjoy the spectacular hiking and biking trails and make use of some of the best photo-ops at this massive urban park. Other attractions include the zoo and botanical gardens, the iconic Hollywood sign, and an impressive museum of selected exhibits.
Related: Special Things to Do in Los Angeles
3. Venice Beach
When it comes to free Los Angeles activities, a trip to the iconic Venice Beach is among the top attractions. While Venice the city is inspired by Venice, Italy, the beach has now acquired a distinct Californian identity of its own. Scores of tourists come to the beach to enjoy sunbathing, the famous boardwalk, and a chance to look at all the funky and eclectic characters around.
4. Santa Monica
It’s not an overstatement to say that the beach at Santa Monica is among the most iconic in the US. Visitors to Santa Monica are rarely short of activities and things to see with some of the most eye catching street performers, spectacular nightlife, and soft sandy beaches on offer. The famous pier and the Ferris wheel are also worth mentioning.
5. Getty Center
Designed by the legendary Richard Meier, the Getty Center is undoubtedly one of the most famous architectural landmarks in America. The center is home to some of the most sublime works of arts from across the globe. Whether it is Baroque sculptures or Renaissance artworks, visitors can look forward to some of the most delightful and intriguing masterpieces at the Getty Center. The magnificent views of the city are an added bonus.
6. Hollywood Walk of Fame
Visitors to Los Angeles will miss something if they don’t take the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Consistently rated among the most fun things to do in LA for free, the Walk is the who’s who of Hollywood. As a bonus, you can also visit the TCL Chinese Theater where some of the most iconic Hollywood movie star hand prints and signatures can be found.
7. Walt Disney Concert Hall
This is yet another architectural masterpiece right in the center of downtown Los Angeles. This Frank Gehry masterpiece is credited with transforming the cultural landscape of the otherwise dull downtown LA. Visitors can choose to listen to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra or simply take a guided tour of this venue which is offered for free.
8. Sunset Boulevard
This magnificent location has been immortalized in a number of Hollywood movies. Clearly one of the most recognized thoroughfares in the US, the Sunset Boulevard offers visitors a peek at the glitzy lifestyle of Hollywood’s who’s who. This charming palm-fringed strip has now transformed into a lively nightlife hub with several eateries and live performance centers.
9. Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is a lovely outdoor Amphitheater that has been graced by some of the biggest names in the world of music including the Beatles and Madonna. Visitors can look forward to an outstanding musical experience in this surreal setting. In addition, the museum at the venue has impressive artwork and memorabilia showcasing its history.
10. Runyon Canyon Park
For those who cannot get enough of trails and views to die for, there is no better place than Runyon park. Located minutes away from the Hollywood Boulevard, visitors to the park can look for sweeping and expansive views of the Pacific and the San Fernando valley.
11. Grand Central Market
This is a downtown LA foodie’s paradise with over 30 vendors serving up food from tacos to ramen noodles. Plus, it is open every night until 10 pm so there are plenty of places to enjoy a late dinner or grab a craft brew.
12. Bradbury Building
It is the oldest commercial building left in LA but that’s not why this building is a tourist attraction. With its beautiful, light-filled central atrium that rises almost 50 feet high, marble stairs, and ornate iron railings, the Bradbury Building has been featured in many films, most notably in Bladerunner and (500) Days of Summer.