Free things to do in LA can be hard to find. LA can be an expensive place to be, but there are a lot of free little nuggets of gold that can be found and explored in the midst of this giant metropolis. Here’s my top tips for the best freebies in LA and why they should definitely be on your list.
Wander the Incredible Art Collections and Gardens at the Getty Centre
Whether you’re an art lover, an architecture fan or you just adore a great view and a nice garden the Getty Centre is LA’s #1 sight to visit for a reason. Perched atop a mountain that overlooks LA, The Getty Centre is a free collection of some pretty impressive artwork (including Renoir and Van Gogh) as well as rotating exhibitions. The complex itself is designed to look somewhat like a Grecian villa, it’s bright and lined with water features that flow into aqua pools. If art isn’t your thing, then just wandering around the curated gardens and picnicking on the lush green grass should be enough to warrant a visit. It’s hard to find this kind of greenery in LA, so it’s a real treat.
Walk Up to the Griffith Observatory
If you’re in an active mood, the walk through Griffith Park up to the Griffith Observatory is a great one to get the blood pumping. Mostly uphill and dusty and dry with not a lot of shade, this walk may test you on a hot summer day. When at the top, though, you are afforded a great view of the iconic Hollywood sign as well as a somewhat smoggy view of the LA skyscrapers in the distance. The observatory itself is free to wander around in with some pretty fascinating installations about astronomy and space. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a wedding.
Take in a Santa Monica Sunset
Is there any greater joy than spending an afternoon on the beach and watching the sun melt into the ocean? I think not. Find a spot next to the Santa Monica Pier (also free to wander) and sit patiently as the sky turns the colour of fire and the people on the beach become mere silhouettes. There’s very few things I love more than a good sunset and Santa Monica sunsets are up there with the best.
Spot the Celebrity Handprints at the TCL Chinese Theatre
What’s a trip to LA without a bit of celebrity? People love to walk the Hollywood Boulevard and check out the different stars immortalised on the walk of fame, but a far more enjoyable and kitschy celebrity spotting activity is to head over to the forecourt at the TCL Chinese Theatre and see the celebrity handprints and signatures moulded in the cement.
Admire the Street Art along Hollywood Blvd
I’m an avid street art fan, so I keep an eye out for it wherever I go and LA has a fantastic amount of street art ready to be admired for those who wander a little off the beaten path. In the side streets off Hollywood Boulevard there are murals and celebrity portraits galore. Where else could you find Frank Sinatra painted on a shop’s security roller door?