Los Angeles has so much to offer families with world class museums, amusement parks and endless entertainment.
The West Coast’s largest hands-on science center has a multitude of varied and interactive activities that can keep the whole family busy for days here. The Discovery Room is designed for kids 7 years old and under to learn more about the exhibits. I couldn’t leave out the beaches that line the coast and make LA a fun beach destination.
Many local favorites include Leo Carrillo State Park which offers nature walks, Will Rogers State Beach, Manhattan Beach, Malibu Surfrider Beach and of course, the famous and eccentric Venice Beach.
Check the calendar of events on each area to hopefully see festivals and parades during your visit. Free TV Show Tapings – It is possible to attend a taping and see the behind the scenes actions of some of your favorite  TV shows.
That is wonderful that the science centre is free, that has to be one very good council to keep that going. I didn’t make it to the Griffith Park Observatory but would include it on my next visit. We’ve never been to Los Angeles (only my husband, almost a decade ago) so your guide will help us greatly when we go.
An island girl at heart who loves cruising, National Parks & traveling the world with two kids in tow. 3.) Walk the Venice Boardwalk – free and full of eclectic jugglers, face-painters, dancers, roller-bladers, and sidewalk art – Venice Beach Boardwalk is a spectacle every day of the year and is unequivocally FREE. 4.) Window Shop Rodeo Drive – Rodeo drive has some of the most expensive glamour and glitz in the world, something it proudly is famous for.
5.) Be part of a TV Show Audience – Attending a TV show screening is one of the highlights to any trip to LA, but what most people don’t know is that you can see it free and live – you just have to plan in advance. 10.) The Banning Residence Museum is an 1864 Greek Revival Museum, a fabulous mansion, and home to life as it was back in the late 19th century. 11.) The California Science Center is routinely a family favorite where through interactive exhibits you can learn about everything under the sun – literally. 12.) The Getty Villa – Something like the little sister to the bigger Getty Center, the Getty Villa focuses on Greece and Rome, with a fantastic sculpture garden and education center. 14.) The Fowler Museum at UCLA – The Fowler exhibits pieces from all over the world – including Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, and is free to all. 15.) The Hollywood Bowl Museum – Located on the same grounds as the legendary Hollywood Bowl, the Hollywood Bowl Museum is free for those interested in the great acts that play and once-played LA.
16.) Downtown LA Artwalk – The Second Thursday of every month, downtown Los Angeles’ galleries become available to the public in the coolest event of the Los Angeles summer.
19.) Summer at the Hammer Museum – Every summer the Hammer Museum puts on free outdoor concerts. 20.) Saturdays Off the 405 at the Getty Center – Boasting not only some of the best views in all Los Angeles, but from May 18 – Aug. 21.) Twilight Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier – Reggae, Indie, Pop – you name it – if it goes well with people and the summertime, the Twilight Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier will be playing it. One of the best parts about living in or visiting Los Angeles is that you can have an amazing time without breaking the bank. And don’t forget, if you like this list, sign up for our free weekly e-blast that regularly alerts you to the Top 5 Things To Do in LA every Weekend. 2.  Abbot Kinney First Fridays – On the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10pm, Abbot Kinney supports local artists, products, and music by bringing all of their favorite local merchants to you. 12.  Rodeo Drive – If a Prada handbag is not in your budget, there is still nothing wrong with doing a little window shopping on LA’s most exclusive shopping strip. 28.  Night Hiking – Hike under the stars through the many trails of Griffith Park with members of LA’s Sierra club. 48. Words With Friends Project – Be a part of the Words With Friends Project and have your photo taken with your favorite words, quotes, or sayings written on your body.
57 – Watch ‘Ellen’ Live – Spend the day with the hilarious Ellen DeGeneres and her celebrity guest stars by watching a free taping of her show. 58.  Autry National Center – Learn about our native history in all of its forms at this cowboy’s interesting etablishment.
61.  La Brea Tar Pits – Stand in a dinosaurs footsteps and learn about the land before time at this historic landmark in mid-city Los Angeles. Whether you are looking for the newest designer couture or the best place to eat fish tacos while soaking in the SoCal sun.
If you’ve been looking to get to know Los Angeles on the cheap (and have loads of fun in the process) then this is the map you’ve been waiting for! The nice thing about the Google Maps Maker is that you can actually de-select the layers so if, say, you only want to look for free museums, it’s extremely easy to filter for those. Feel free to bookmark, embed on your own site, and most of all, enjoy (and if you have suggestions or corrections please let us know in the comments below).
We go to LA once a month due to its close proximity to our home and our ties to family and friends who live up there. This award-winning museum with an enviable hilltop location and stunning architecture is also very family-friendly. The treasure-hunt wall with peepholes has art collection details and is a great way to engage kids with art.
For a minimal $2 reservation per person fee online, visitors are taken into exhibits on the history of the Endeavor, interesting film on how it was moved to here closing the streets of LA that took over 60 hours.
There are over twenty beaches in the region and open to many activities that range from tidepooling, surfing, windsurfing, beach volleyball or just playing in the sand.
There are 53 miles of trails for hikers of all levels and plenty of open spaces for picnics and a day in the park. Los Angeles is a very diverse area and one of our favorite things to do is explore the various ethnic neighborhoods. My kids enjoy visiting the temples, seeing the merchandise and trying out food in these neighborhoods. We especially love going to the beach this time of year (winter) and going to the tide pools. I know you’ll like how they put the Endeavor exhibit together and its many Southern CA ties. Mulholland Drive and the Santa Monica mountains sport some of the best views in all LA, and the sunsets here are magical.
This doesn’t mean that Rodeo Drive isn’t for the rest of us too – it makes great window shopping and it’s perhaps one of the best places to spot a star in LA. Probably the most iconic museum in all of Los Angeles, the Getty sits high atop its perch in the Santa Monica highlands and boasts a truly impressive array of renaissance paintings, sculpture, and modern photography. The first Friday of every month plays host to the Venice Beach artwalk which is fast becoming one of the area’s highlight events.


Shop, eat at authentic Mexican restaurants, listen to Mariachi music, tour the Avila Adobe (the oldest existing house in LA), and visit the Old Plaza Church and Old Plaza Firehouse. LA is a city where all kinds of attractions, activities, arts, culture, nightlife, music, sports, fashion, and entertainment come free of charge. Dante’s Poetry Lounge – There’s nothing like a little slam poetry to bring you back down to earth after a long weekend of LA nightlife. World Dodgeball Society – Joining this local dodgeball league not just hip, but an awesome way to make LA friends outside of the workplace. LA Art Walk – LA’s finest local artists gather together downtown to display and exhibit their latest works.
Topanga Canyon State Park – Located in the Santa Monica Mountains the expansive park is made up of 36 miles of oak trees, grassland, and gorgeous waterfalls.
LA Flower Mart – Before you check out the Art Walk downtown, spend the morning browsing at LA’s biggest flower market where this vast abundance of flowers are at their freshest. Drive up the PCH – From Santa Monica to Malibu you will find breathtaking views along the coast.  Drive up to Zuma Beach in Malibu for a wonderful journey and relaxing destination.
Be in a Live Studio Audience – Experience the ins and outs of what its like to film a television show by being part of a live studio audience. Venice Beach Skate Park – Not only does this awesome skate park hug the pacific ocean but is packed with talented skaters throughout the entire day.
Santa Monica Stairs  – Take a break from your usual hike and work out those gluts on the Santa Monica stairs. Runyon Canyon – The workout is great, the view is incredible, and you are guaranteed to make a few friends on the way up. Cruise Mulholland Drive – Pack a great playlist for the road and make your way through the twists and turns of the legendary Mullholland drive. Olvera Street – Be a part of LA history when you visit the oldest part of downtown Los Angeles. Check Out LA’s Murals – Los Angeles is famous for its creative street art.  Check out this site for a list of the city’s coolest murals to check out. Artesia – Experience India right inside of Los Angeles by wandering the streets of Artesia for the most authentic Indian food, clothing, and jewelry.
Chinatown – Participate in Chinese culture, architecture, music, and food in this expansive Chinese neighborhood downtown.
MOCA– Make sure to check out famous works by Basquiat, Hockney, and Pollock every Thursday evening  from 5-8pm. Visit the “Hollywood Sign” – You drive by it every day, might as well go visit it up close. Craft and Folk Art Museum – For over 30 years this museum has been sharing incredible hand made art with Los Angeles. Visit Venice High School – Walk the halls of the school that you know and love so well from the classic movie GREASE.
Once you arrive, be ready for a day gorgeous views, beach volleyball, and public events almost every weekend.
Greystone Mansion and Park – Explore Greystone’s beautiful mansion and property right in the heart of Beverly Hills.
The Getty Center – You can spend an entire day soaking in the views, art, and architecture at this stunning establishment on top of the hill.
Manhattan Beach – Walk down the pier to take in the gorgeous views of the ocean and then head over to the donation only Round House Aquarium to see some beautiful sea creatures. Santa Monica Pier – Take a walk down the iconic Santa Monica pier to not only watch street performers and amusement rides, but to take in the beautiful Pacific Ocean from the pier’s edge. Palisades Hike – There are many different trails when hiking the Palisades, but no matter what, you are guaranteed to stumble upon a serene waterfall or two. Walk of Fame – Head down to the streets of Hollywood, where literally each step is something to see. Kodak Theatre – Give your self a tour of the beautiful building that holds the Oscar Ceremonies each year. Sunset Junction  – Wander the funky neighborhood of Silverlake and check out its hip shops, bustling coffee joints, and its eclectic locals.
Hollywood Improv – Catch an improv show where every big name in comedy has played, including Richard Pryor, Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, and Jay Leno. Los Angeles Pride – No matter your sexual preference, the LGBT Pride Parade in West Hollywood is a blast.
Evening Jazz – The LACMA provides evening Jazz performances every Friday night April thru November. Hollywood Bowl Rehearsals – It’s a little inside secret that the Hollywood Bowl’s morning rehearsals with the LA philharmonic are usually open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday Mornings.
Getty Villa in Malibu – Take in the view at this gorgeous beachside mansion and immerse yourself in ancient Greek and Roman history. LA Times Festival of Books – Once a year gather with LA booklovers on USC’s campus in for readings, pannels, and art. The Price Is Right – Grab your friends, pack a lunch, and line up outside CBS to be a studio audience member of The Price Is Right! Between, the Ocean views, eclectic people, sidewalk performers, and local arts & crafts for sale, you are sure to have a full free day of entertainment. Norton Simon Museum – Discover Asian, European, and Contemporary Art in the gorgeous neighborhood of Pasadena.
Korean Cultural Center – Get to know more about Korean culture in this beautiful building right off Wilshire. Venice Canals  - The houses are gorgeous, the scenery is unbelievable and it’s the perfect place for a romantic stroll. Beverly Hills Police Department – Not only does this establishment hold the people who keep our streets safe, it’s also the famous building where ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ was filmed. Adopt A Pet - Save an animal’s life and make a great addition to your family by adopting a pet for free.
Roberston Boulevard – For some fabulous window shopping, interesting art galleries, and star sightings guaranteed, head to Robertson Boulevard to hang out with the A-listers.
Forrest Lawn Cemetery – See where Hollywood royalty such as Lucille Ball, Betty Davis, and Ricky Nelson are buried.
UCLA Sculpture Garden – Wander the gorgeous grounds of UCLA in Westwood and check out its collection of over 70 noteworthy sculptures. Universal City Walk – Although its known for its shops and restaurants, City Walk is also famous for its public entertainment and bright lights.  A walk down this colorful strip will make you feel like you’ve spent the evening at an amusement park. Angel’s Point at Elysian Park – Take in LA’s stunning Sunset’s from one if its best viewing points. Angeles National Forrest – Bring your bike or take a hike thru one thousand square miles of open space at Angeles National Forrest.
Genghis Cohen – Yes, you know and love Genghis Cohen for its reasonably priced Chinese eats, but what you don’t know is that this little restaurant has a little stage.


Pan Pacific Park – After your walk through The Grove walk right across the street to Pan Pacific Park for a lovely picnic and some kickball. Fox Theater – Stand on the sidelines with the paparazzi at the Fox Theater in Westwood and watch your favorite stars walk down the red carpet and into the movie they are staring in. Bel Air – Drive up and down the windy roads up Bel Air and pick our your dream home from the hundreds of stunning mansions that line the streets.
Old Town Pasadena – Old Town Pasadena is an adorable little neighborhood, packed with history, beautiful little churches, trendy shopping to boot. Rose Parade – Pack some food and drinks and stake your claim to piece of sidewalk where you can hang out and watch the festive floats and marching bands roll by at the annual Rose Parade.
Beach Volleyball – Head to Will Rogers beach to spike and volley with LA’s hottest beach bums. Live Concerts at the Grove – The Grove may have great shopping, but they also have an outstanding live concert series.
Learn Apple – Apple store gives free classes throughout the month on how to use your Mac better. Red Carpet Premiere – Stand outside Grauman’s Chinese theater to watch your favorite starts swagger down the red carpet and into their newest flick. Expand Your Mind – Free creative non-fiction workshop every Tuesday at 8pm at the Beyond Baroque Library Arts Centers. Open Call- Think you have what it takes to be a model?  Head to Ford Models and participate in their open calls Thursdays from 4-5 for women and Wednesdays from 4-5pm for men. Disney Concert Hall – If you are into architecture, make sure to head downtown and take a walk around the Dinsey Concert Hall.  The beautiful building is unlike anything else and is a great place to take pictures. LA City Hall – Head down to city hall to walk the grounds and see where Occupy protesters spent their days and nights.
Hollywood Farmers Market – Spend your Sundays on Cahuenga and Sunset for free live entertainment and local products to peruse.
Jet Rag $1 Yard Sale – Since everything we’ve suggested doesn’t a cost a penny, pull out that buck or two you saved from your back pocket and splurge on Jet Rag’s Sunday Yard Sale.  Dig through piles of hip vintage attire and make your way home with some fabulous affordable finds. Best visited on a clear, sunny day for a picnic and a stroll, the area features pristine views complemented by the yachts and charter boats of the harbor below.
The City of Angels has many diverse and iconic attractions but it’s not the most bargain-friendly city for families to visit.
The five, modern buildings house an extensive collection of European drawings, sculptures, decorative arts, photographs and paintings. Get the Scavenger Hunt cards for kids to take around the museum to enhance their museum visit.
Strolling the Ocean Front Walk is like walking through a carnival of lively characters and entertainers.
The LA Zoo, carousel rides, horseback riding, pony rides and museums among other things can all be found at this vast park. There are interactive exhibits for kids to learn all about astronomy like the 150-foot timeline of the universe, the Foucault Pendulum (demonstrates the Earth’s rotation) and various telescopes to see the night sky or see sun spots. Stay around the downtown area and you can visit Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Koreatown and Olvera Street. It’s a wonderful way to expose kids to other cultures and learn the variety of food, customs and languages. Most have a minimum age of 18 years old but there are some available Disney Channel shows with a minimum age of 10 years old. I did see the Space Shuttle when I was in LA – and tried to envision the world it flew in.
Thank you for letting people outside of LA know how many great things there are to do here with kids! It’s funny because when they were first transporting the shuttle to the center, I was driving to work one morning and was stopped at a traffic light. Though there are plenty of things to spend your money on in LA (Rodeo Drive and Dodger Stadium come to mind), there are still plenty of great free things to do in town if you’re looking into getting out into the Californian sunshine without spending too much coin. Head up to Malibu or keep winding through the pavement – you can take the PCH (aka Highway 1) all the way up into Oregon if you want. So, use this list of 101 awesome, free, and fun things to do in LA for your activity planning pleasure. It goes out only once a week and keeps you in-the-know about all things awesome in Los Angeles.
Tucked away in a quiet Santa Monica neighborhood, this work-out haven is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a  year.
After you hit up the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden, be sure to see their art exhibits scattered throughout the area. Farmer’s Market – Every summer the 3rd Street Farmers Market features a free Jazz summer music series. The reservoir is a scenic place to run, walk, or bike and there is plenty lo look at while you do it.
The Korean Cultural Center provides learning recourses, holds exciting events, and offers programs all to enrich your mind on the Korean way of life. Between the free improv shows, flea markets, and people watching, you are guaranteed to have a full day of excitement. Taping – While you are at the Grove by sure to get a glimpse of Saved By The Bell’s Mario Lopez hosting Extra! While the Hollywood sign’s grounds are barred from public access, some great nearby hikes allow for great angles for photos. Olvera Street has El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument which was the original site of the city’s foundation. Also check this website for more information to attend tapings or possibly be a game show participant.
When I looked to my left, the shuttle was parked a block away in the parking lot behind Citibank! So many, in fact, that it makes more sense to break them down into categories than to simply list them.
Where talented musicians apply for licenses to perform on the street in hopes to get discovered. From Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, go north on Beachwood Drive; turn left at Ledgewood Drive and twist and wind uphill. It was so amazing to see it even in that context, so I can imagine how awesome it will be to see it up close, especially once they start displaying the shuttle upright as if it were on a launch pad.



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