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Cool Spots

9 Go-To Spots When You Really Want to Do Something for Free in L.A.

November 11, 2015 by Brian Champlin

When you sit back and think about how much free stuff their is to do in L.A. it kind of boggles the mind.

The thing is, some venues/locations offer more in the way of free than others, continually delivering cost-free live events, experiences, concerts, talks, or in some cases simply providing an avenue to explore sights previously unknown. These are what I call, my go-to spots.

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To help you on your journey through Los Angeles we’ve catalogued a list of our favorite such places below.

Enjoy!

[RELATED: 57 Fun & Free Things To Do in L.A. Every Angeleno Needs to Try Once]

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

1. The Last Bookstore

Not only is this the largest used bookstore in SoCal, but every single week The Last Bookstore offers a range of workshops, multimedia experiences, author talks and even the occasional music concert… and just about all of those are free! Give their calendar a look to see what’s coming up. All else fails, just go upstairs to take some photos of the book labyrinth.

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2. Amoeba Music

You’d have a hard time arguing there’s a better current record store in Los Angeles than Amoeba. But more than just an amazing selection of new and used DVDs, CDs, vinyl, and posters, the thing that separates Amoeba is the monthly slate of free performances, DJ sets, and signings. Be sure to check their schedule of upcoming shows often.

3. LACMA

The Los Angele County Museum of Art isn’t free, per se, but L.A. County residents receive free general admission every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday after 3:00pm, plus there is free entry all-day the second Tuesday of the month and several special federal holidays throughout the year. LACMA also has weekly/seasonal music programs (free and open to the public) ranging from Sundays Live to their Latin and Jazz concert series. Between the permanent collections at the museum, the music, the Urban Light installation on Wilshire Blvd, and the Tar Pits next door, this is easily one of my favorite places in L.A. to just take a walk and get out of my own head.

Be sure to check the program calendar for upcoming events and concerts.

4. The Hammer Museum

Entry to the Hammer Museum is always free and there isn’t a venue in the entire city that hosts a more diverse set of (free) performances, screenings, talks, classes and other events, all on a monthly basis. From meditation sessions to live talks and festivals, be sure to check the Hammer Museum calendar on a regular basis for updates on what’s on tap.

5. The Music Center

The Music Center, which encompasses the Ahmanson Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is
home to some of L.A.’s most culturally relevant musical companies, including the LA Opera and LA Philharmonic. But did you know that the Music Center also hosts tons of monthly and annual events which are free and open to the public, such their summer dance party series, the Sleepless after-hours parties, or even a holiday sing-along for the Christmas season? Oh, and the Blue Ribbon Garden on top of the concert hall is a cool little free spot too!

Music Center Los Angeles Steps

The steps at the Music Center across from Grand Park. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

6. Griffith Park

Over 4,200 acres of both natural terrain and landscaped parkland with some of the most spectacular views of the city you’ll ever see. I find every time I go for a hike I find a new reason to appreciate Los Angeles.  And so I put it to you… when was the last time you really explored some of the trails in Griffith?

7. Griffith Observatory

Well, we can’t mention Griffith Park without highlighting the Observatory. Besides being one of the most stunning locations in the entire city, you’ll also find a string of awesome public events scheduled every month including their public star parties, All Space Considered, and the monthly sunset hikes.

Griffith Observatory

Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

8. Grand Park

If we’re going to talk about the Music Center then Grand Park, which is just across the street, goes hand-in-hand.

You’ll find Grand Park’s events calendar packed with fu  the annual 4th of July block party and New Year’s Eve celebration, the Downtown Bookfest, annual concert series, free yoga, artistic installations, cultural exhibitions, daily food trucks stops, and much, much more.

Lunch time Grand Park

Lunch time in Grand Park. Credit: Brian Champlin

9. California Plaza

Perched at top of Bunker Hill overlooking Angels Flight Railway and the rest of the historic core below is one of the most unique musical venues in all of DTLA. Cal Plaza hosts Grand Performances free concert series and their free fall-movie series, plus it’s just an out-and-out chill spot to grab lunch and relax while scoping the skyline of downtown.

Where are your go-to hangout spots to do free things in Los Angeles? Let us know in the comments below!

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