Free Things to Do in Los Angeles on Vacation

Planning a vacation to Los Angeles? Our insiders put together a list of our top free things to do in Los Angeles.

Check out these free attractions for fun adventures that won’t break the bank. They offer the best of LA’s history, entertainment, and scenery. Whether you want to explore the great outdoors or enjoy LA’s diverse cultural scenes, you’ll find something to love on this list.

Looking for more things to do, check out the Go Los Angeles® Card, which includes admission tickets to top Los Angeles attractions for one low price.

By BrianLiao [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By BrianLiao ( [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Paramount Ranch

Amble on over to Paramount Ranch and experience Hollywood’s version of the Wild West. Although it’s actually located between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley, this “movie ranch” was built by Paramount in 1927 and has been used for filming Hollywood hits ever since.

Bring your camera to take pictures of the kids on the Old West town set. You can also go hiking on one of the two easy trails and bring a picnic for a fun family daytrip.

Point Dume State Beach

Bask in the rays at Point Dume State Beach while the kids sprawl in the sand. This Malibu state park is the perfect nature getaway for your family with wide beaches, coastal bluffs, sand dunes, and rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean.

It’s quieter than most LA beaches, and there are great shallow tide pools that will impress the kids with small sea creatures. Stairways built into the bluffs make for safe access to breathtaking ocean views, so snap a few photos while you’re there.

Downtown Art Walk

If you’re in town on the second Thursday of the month, be sure not to miss this exciting local thing to do. Each month has a different theme and features different galleries and art installations, even including performance art and graffiti.

This free self-guided tour is a great way to explore the LA arts scene with friends.

Griffith Park

This substantial urban park attracts local and visitors alike year round because of its combination of carefully cultivated spaces and picturesque wilderness.

Roam bike paths, take advantage of picnic benches, or go for a free-range hike.

Tip: this is one of the ways you can hike up to the Hollywood sign.

If you’re travelling with kids, take them to the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, a historic hand-carved carousel that has attracted visitors since 1937.

Runyon Canyon Park

Enjoy an afternoon at Runyon Canyon Park, a nature haven in the Santa Monica Mountains with scenic views of all of LA.

As it’s known for its liberal off-leash pet policy, kids will love watching the many dogs frolic alongside their owners. Pack a picnic and bring a kite for some outdoor fun and stay to watch the gorgeous West Coast sunset.

Graystone Mansion

This historic home is located in the charming, more remote part of Beverly Hills, away from the hustle and bustle of Rodeo Drive and the like.

Explore this beautiful historic structure and its stunning gardens during regular business hours. You can always roam the gardens for free, although tours inside the mansion are offered for a modest fee (advance reservations required for interior tours).

Levitt Pavilion

This outdoor amphitheater in Old Town Pasadena offers free performances throughout the summer months, from musical genres as diverse as jazz/blues, fusion folk, and even interactive musical performances just for kids.

With over 50 free shows to choose from in June, July, and August of each year, you can find something to appeal to practically every taste. Be sure to bring a blanket (or chairs) and a picnic dinner to enjoy as you soak up the music.

Travel Town Museum

Hop on board to the Travel Town Museum and enjoy the many stationary train exhibits. Young children love to climb through the old empty trains at this Griffith Park historical site.

A miniature train ride also runs around the perimeter of the facilities, providing a magical experience for kids. This low-key attraction with a gift shop on location is great for a laid back afternoon.

Metro Art Tours

Want to learn more about the fascinating artwork of the LA Metro system? Then be sure to join up with one of these free, docent-guided tours, offered through the Metro’s official art site.

The various paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and murals scattered throughout the Metro system represent several decades of commissioned artwork and a wide variety of artistic styles and creative voices. A must-do for artsy folk.

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