A trip to L.A. can be the experience of a lifetime. Finally arriving in the City of Angels and experiencing the L.A. Lifestyle only before seen on TV and Film. However, the City can certainly be expensive. Food, Drinks, Hotels, attractions, even the flights in all add up. However, L.A has a huge number of attractions sights and things to see and so that will cost you absolutely nothing.
We take you through the best free attractions in L.A and show you all the best things to do in Los Angeles for Free. From seeing the Hollywood sign to lounging on the beach. Spotting the True A-listers to grabbing a slice of culture. There is so much in L.A. that costs you nothing at all you can have the trip of a lifetime and spend almost nothing!
Of Course, you will have to spend money on accommodation, food and getting around. We also recommend seeing the free stuff along with a few of the incredible paid attractions the City has to offer. We can’t help get you those for FREE but we can help you keep the costs down significantly:
Los Angeles most famous landmark and right at the top of most people’s must-see list when coming to the City. However as most Tourists discover the Hollywood illusion is even in play with the Cities sign, It’s just not as big as you thought! Well actually it is, it’s just much further away. The Hollywood image id the sign looming large over the landscape, but the reality is the sign is hidden from view from most locations in Hollywood, and even if you do get to an elevated spot it’s a mere smudge on the hillside. No Good for Selfies at all!
But fear not. There are loads of places where you can venture out and get much closer to the sign, where it begins to take on the proportions you imagined and you can set up for that perfect selfie shot so those at home will really know you are in L.A.
We prepared a handy guide to all the best locations for seeing the Hollywood sign.
There are three big reasons to see the Griffith Observatory. One it’s Free! Two it’s a fascinating piece of science and history and, three…Those Views! The Griffith Observatory offers the most staggering views out over the city. The metropolitan mass just sprawling out as far as you can see in all directions. You also get great views of the Hollywood sign. However despite being an observatory do not expect much in the way of stars, not much gets through L.A.s light pollution.
The building itself is a stunning piece of architecture and is free to enter and take in a Planetarium show and check out the exhibits. It is a great place to visit whatever your interests but even if it’s just for the view you won’t be disappointed. If you want to know more check out our full guide to visiting the Griffith Observatory.
Hollywood Walk Of Fame
We know this is SO cliche it hurts but really you cannot come to L.A. and not check out the Walk Of Fame. So many people will tell you to skip this as it’s a tourist trap from hell and really it’s just a pavement in a pretty crappy part of town.
Ignore them. While everything they say is true, it is no reason to avoid it. Hollywood Boulevard where the Walk is situated is part and parcel of the City. When visiting a place you need to see it warts and all and hitting the boulevard is all part of it.
There are loads of things to see besides the stars too. You have the Chinese Theater,
The Getty Center is a little hard to describe. it is part Museum, Part Arcutecture Park, and park scenic overlook. It is quite amazing to find something like this completely free to the public. But that was the intention of the founder J. Paul Getty’s intention and remains to this day free of charge.
Take a stroll around the grounds and check out the striking architecture and sculptures. Marvel at some of the art inside including Van Goughs Irises and Paul Cezanne’s Still Life with Apples. Finally, check out the view from the upper terraces which is simply breathtaking.
Also Free is the Sister Museum the Getty Villa which is simply stunning. Head down the PCH towards Malibu and you will find this stunning Roman-styled villa housing more works of art and sculptures with fantastic gardens, Ponds, and fountains. While the Villa is free, tickets are limited and must be booked beforehand.
Rodeo Drive – Shopping
Shopping is not really free, well not if you buy anything, but window shopping does not get much better than Rodeo Drive. There are several Iconic shopping streets in the world but Rodeo tops the lot. Expect Big Name high fashion brands and many people just like us unable to afford any of the designer luxuries on offer.
At the south end is the Beverly Wiltshire, of pretty woman fame and again not in our price bracket but it is still fun to wander around and pretend you can afford to shop here!
One Street across is North Beverly Drive. Here you may find the shops a little more affordable! If you want to go the other way North Robertson Blvd is even higher end than Rodeo Dr. Here amongst the ultra-high-end boutiques and restaurants you might even spot people able to afford to shop there, including celebs!
We know we shouldn’t have favorites, but we can’t help it. Santa Monica is our favorite suburb of L.A. This upmarket Coastal city is exactly what you think of when you imagine L.A. beaches, sun sea, and surf. This is the quintessential Californian coastal town. Acres of golden sand, crashing pacific waves, and a long ocean front walk filled with runners, cycles, and dog walkers.
Just back from the seafront, 3rd Street and Santa Monica Place houses an abundance of shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Santa Monica Pier is a great place for a stroll and to catch a breathtaking sunset at the end of the day.
Venice Beach is next door to Santa Monica and very similar visually. However, they could not be more different. Venice is quirky, raw, and weird. Filled with bizarre characters, Brinzed Beutys, and Nice little junk shops selling trinkets, souvenirs, and weed!
Home to the world-famous muscle beach and the original L.A. Hippy hangout Venice has a very unique feel to it. Its gentrification has changed it hugely from the rough almost No-Go area of a few decades back but it still has an edgy feel and at night can feel a little less safe than you might like. This is all part of the experience and Venice Beach is a must-visit part of the City!
This one is definitely not for everyone. But for those inflicted with an obsession with all things Kardashian, Calabasas is a mecca and a must-visit place to come to terms with your obsession. While the chances of spotting one in the wild are quite slim, Calabasas and the gated communities surrounding the area are their natural home.
If you are being dragged here against your will (I am not saying that happened to me!) the area gives an insight into how the other half lives. The area is meticulously manicured and there is a huge variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes to visit. It’s a pleasant getaway from city life and it is quite fun to visit even if you have no interest in the K’s.
But that is the primary reason to visit the sleepy little suburb. To get your fix of Reality TV Reality! While you are unlikely to be granted access to the huge gated communities the rest of the area is fair game and you can hunt away for a wild Kardashian to your hearts content!
La Brea Tar Pits
We love the Tar Pits. Set right in the heart of the City these important archeological “stores” contain the remnants of many prehistoric creatures that fell to their doom and were subsequently preserved in the deep tar reserves that are literally pouring out of the earth.
The Attached museum has a charge but the pits are completely free to all. The reserve is an urban park area and you can wander freely around the pits as gas and tar bubble up from deep inside the earth. It is a fascinating place as you witness the geology of the earth in motion as skyscrapers loom in the background. Check around in the undergrowth and you may even find a mini Tar Volcano erupting from the earth!
We recommend the museum but those looking for only free activities will have a fantastic time exploring the park. There is even free parking on the adjacent streets but make sure you check any restrictions and free parking will be tough to find at busy times.
The celebrity royalty of Hollywood really do live in and around the city and the chances of spotting a real A-lister out in the wild are greater here than anywhere else in the world.
You can head into the Hollywood Hills and hunt around the homes of the rich and famous or head to the studios and hope to see a Star on their way to and from work. Or check out the many popular restaurants and bars haunted by Celebs to try and catch a glimpse or even just out at the shops on Robertson. The best bet you have is on a Studio Tour but you will need to pay for that. If you can time it well you could always hit Hollywood on a premiere night where a plethora of stars is guaranteed! Or try our next tip!
Live Audience Screening.
Ever wondered where the Live Studio audiences that show with live studio audiences, come from? Well, for the most part, they simply give tickets away to members of the public who apply for them! It’s that simple and you really can just get tickets to a filming of your favorite show for absolutely nothing!
The Catch? There is always a catch right. Well, if that sounds too good to be true, it isn’t but like anything in life that is really appealing to a lot of people availability is erm… limited! Thousands apply for the most popular shows and your chances of getting in can be slim. But as they say, you have to be in it to win it so take the time to apply and you could be in the audience of your favorite show. There are hundreds of shows filmed in L.A. There is no central place to book so simply check whichever show you would like to see to find out how to book tickets, we have a few of the most popular below:
Pacific Coast Highway
Ok, not technically free as you will need a car and some Gas, but apart from that it’s free. The PCH is a truly iconic and beautiful road. Stretching the entire length of the western seaboard of the United States Route 1/101 is a must-drive for any traveler with wanderlust. It is a bit much to suggest driving the entire road in a “Free things to do in L.A” article but the stretch from Santa Monica out to Malibu and Beyond is a beautiful coastal road and hitting the highway will give you a taste of what it would be like to keep the pedal and down an cruise the entire coast.
As you head out of Santa Monica the pacific ocean rolls off to your left while the Sants Monica mountains rear up on your right. As you carry on towards Malibu, Million dollar homes line the seafront while multi-million dollar mansions sit proudly on the hillsides overlooking the ocean. Once at Malibu you can rub shoulders with the millionaires and celebs that call this paradise home as you look back down the coast towards L.A. It is the sort of experience you could scarcely dream of but can come true for very little outlay.
Have Your Say
Have we missed something out? Got a great tip for Free things to do in Los Angeles? Maybe you have tried one of our things to do? How did it go? Was it worth the effort or a big waste of time? Let us know in the comments below and if you have any questions at all just fire away.