Free Things to Do in Los Angeles, California
The Inn at Venice Beach is just minutes away from the famous Venice Beach Boardwalk, the ultimate destination for people watchers, art lovers, and adventurous shoppers alike. While the Boardwalk alone is an attraction and adventure unto itself, our Venice Beach, California hotel's surrounding Los Angeles metropolis beckons with free attractions you're sure to love. Here are a few of our favorites:
Step into Hollywood History. The forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre has been one of the most popular free attractions since the 1920s when, during the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's "King of Kings," actress Norma Talmadge accidentally stepped in wet cement.
Star gaze at Griffith Observatory. While Hollywood is famous for its cinematic stars, Los Angeles also offers a wonderful spot from which to gaze upon the heavenly stars. The exhibitions and displays found in this painstakingly renovated Griffith Park hot spot are all free, as is an introductory video about the building and its contents.
Window shop Rodeo Drive. Treasure hunt and star search along famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, home of the rich and well, the super rich.
Ballona Wetlands offer opportunities for integrative outdoor education and ecological restoration right in the middle of urban Los Angeles. Participants who partake in these learning and restoration activities have come to learn about the Ballona Wetlands history, the value of wetlands, native habitats, watershed issues and more, and can immediately engage in hands-on habitat restoration and nature exploration.
Shopping neighborhoods in LA. Rodeo Drive may be the most famous shopping area in Los Angeles, but it's just one of many wonderful shopping destinations in the greater metropolis. Other sources for window and actual shopping include Abbot Kinney Boulevard, La Brea Avenue and the up-and-coming West Third Street neighborhoods.
Explore Exposition Park. Five major attractions within walking distance of each other is a rare occurrence in LA, so take advantage of the USC/Exposition Park area with a walking tour. Attractions include the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Rose Garden, and the California African American Museum.
Check out the PCH. The famed Pacific Coast Highway—known as the PCH locally—is a sun-drenched road that hugs the gorgeous Pacific Ocean's rugged coastline. One of LA's signature drives, the PCH is definitely among the must-sees in the Los Angeles area.
Walk the walk. Find the most amazing and unusual street entertainers at Venice Ocean Front Walk. From chainsaw jugglers and swamis on rollerblades to street dancers and performance artists, you'll never be short of entertainment on this particular walk.
Discover fossil fun at La Brea Tar Pits. Located in Hancock Park, the La Brea Tar Pits harbor the world's richest discovery of Ice Age fossils. More than 100 tons of fossilized bones representing nearly 400 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish dating back to prehistoric times have been unearthed from the pools of this sticky asphalt.
Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. This is one of LA's most innovative buildings, and although it's the third-largest cathedral in the country, its size is no deterrent to its ability to inspire visitors with its warm, inviting interior. A perfect place for introspection, the Cathedral is also open for free walking tours.
Venice Canals. Winding through a quaint neighborhood of upscale and newly remodeled houses, the Venice canals feature arched bridges, the occasional gondolier and LA's beautiful weather—all of which contribute to the serenity one feels while exploring this charming piece of the city. Start your trip between Washington Avenue and Venice Boulevard for a particularly scenic bike trip.
Olvera Street. Shop, listen to mariachi music, watch folklore dances and dine at several authentic Mexican restaurants on Olivera Street, the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles. Take a historic tour of the Avila Adobe, the oldest existing house in the city. Other restored historic buildings include the Old Plaza Church and the Old Plaza Firehouse.
Keeping Up Appearances. While you're out shopping, take advantage of Express Service from Sephora. The famed beauty mecca offers free, quick makeovers for its visitors. Make this makeover spot a definite stop while you're experiencing some of LA's quintessential shopping malls, such as Glendale Galleria, the Beverly Center and Hollywood & Highland Center.
Hone in on LA heritage at our historical museums. Los Angeles is home to numerous free museums that celebrate our area's vast cultural contributions. Take a trip backwards in time at some of our city's most renowned historical landmarks, including the Banning Residence Museum, the Homestead Museum, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, and the Travel Town Museum.
Give your eyes a treat at our fine art museums. Check out award-winning shows at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Experience the eclectic contemporary exhibitions offered by the dynamic and educational Santa Monica Museum of Art. Discover the breathtaking city views and world-class paintings on display at the Getty Center.
Broaden your knowledge base at our free cultural museums. Whether you lean toward the humanities or have a passion for the sciences, Los Angeles is home to a treasure trove of cultural hotspots, including the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, the Hollywood Bowl Museum, the Paley Center for Media, the Fashion Institute for Design & Merchandising, and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.
The best beaches in Los Angeles. With more than 20 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline in Los Angeles County, you'll need a guide to find the best one to suit your needs. Zuma Beach is the place to go for the best waves, but if you prefer a shorter drive, Manhattan Beach is an excellent alternative. Venice Beach is perfect for people-watching, and if you need some time away from people, El Matador is a cozy, secluded pocket of coastline just perfect for a romantic getaway.