In the land of splashy pool parties and Hollywood movie studios, swag reigns supreme — but you don’t have to be red carpet royalty to get things for free. Here, some tips and tricks for seeing LA's must-see spots – and maybe the stars — for a bargain.
Go for a Hike
Nobody walks in LA, they say. But they do hike. Hit the trails with the actors, trainers, dog lovers and other beautiful (and fit) people at Runyon Canyon Park for a great workout and city vistas, or take the shorter trek from Trails Café in Griffith Park to the Griffith Observatory (a location in Rebel Without a Cause) and get a view of downtown. Crave a more urban adventure? Go for a stroll through downtown’s neighborhoods, including Little Tokyo and the Downtown Arts District.
Check out the Architecture
The city is known for its Midcentury Modern houses and striking landmark buildings by big-name architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry. Explore its architectural treasures on foot with Free LA Tours, which takes you to Gehry’s stainless steel Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Egyptian Revival splendor of the Los Angeles Country Library, the starkly modernist Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the Art Deco City Hall (which has a killer view from the 27th-floor observation deck) and the stately Bradbury Building, which was featured in The Artist, 500 Days of Summer and Blade Runner. For insight into LA’s great modernist tradition, stop by the Mak Center for Art and Architecture, in a historic 1922 West Hollywood house designed by Rudolph M. Schindler (admission is free on Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m.).
See the Stars (if You're Lucky)
Star-struck? Follow the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard to the historic forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theater, or see the final resting place of A-listers like Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille and Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. For prime celeb viewing, try the lobby of the Chateau Marmont, the Tower Bar, the Brentwood Country Mart and the Malibu Country Mart.
Discover Cool Art
With a growing museum and gallery scene, LA has become a world class art town. The sprawling campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which also includes the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, would take a full day to explore; it's free to the public on the second Tuesday of every month. Downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art offers free Thursday evenings, and there is never an entry fee at the Annenberg Space for Photography, the Hammer Museum, the Getty Center or Getty Villa, which specializes in Greek and Roman antiquities. For less formal viewing, along with cheese cubes and white wine, check out the open studio days at the Brewery Artists Lofts and the monthly Downtown Art Walk. And while you’re in that part of LA, consider a trek to see the Watts Towers, a Gaudiesque sculptural work that ranks among the finest examples of folk art in the world. Another must-see: Subliminal Projects, the Echo Park creative HQ of Shepard “Obey” Fairey.
Taste Some Local Grub
If you’re looking to do some light grazing, hit one of the city’s 250-plus farmers markets, where there are always samples of local produce and goods. Our favorite is the wildly popular Grand Central Market, a downtown landmark that features Valerie Confections, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream and an awesome breakfast spot called Egg Slut. You can also snack free of charge at the Honor Fraser Gallery, where artist Kenny Scharf has been known to turn vintage cars into donut buffets at his openings. Or check out the happy hour grub at some of LA’s more colorful watering holes. The Scarlet Lady Saloon in Culver City has karaoke and complimentary hot dogs and nachos, the Red Lion beer garden in Silver Lake offers discount brews along with chili or chicken wings.
Go for a Drive
Everyone moans about traffic in LA, and it can be a beast, but driving can also be an unparalleled pleasure. Put the top down and twist through the hairpin turns on Mulholland Drive from Hollywood to Topanga State Park — it’s great at night, as well as during the day — or motor up the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu to see the cliffs and boulders at Point Mugu.
Get Some Exercise, LA-Style
When it comes to outdoor activities, Los Angeles has it all: dozens of parks with free tennis courts, including the ocean breeze–cooled Rustic Canyon Recreation Center in Pacific Palisades; bike paths in the Valley, along Ballona Creek from Culver City to the Pacific Ocean; and skater- and jogger-clogged boardwalks. For free yoga, try the daily session in the grass at the Fuller Avenue entrance of Runyon Canyon Park, or a lunchtime sun salutation in downtown’s Grand Park. Or do your Downward Facing Dog indoors at a pay-what-you-can session at Yogala in Echo Park. If you’re seeking something a bit more brave, try free archery lessons on Saturdays at Roving Archers in Pasadena.
For the full rundown of all 64 freebie things to do in LA, visit our friends at Jetsetter.
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READ THE ORIGINAL STORY: 64 Things to Do for Free in LA