10 Free Things You Can Get in L.A. If You Know Where to Look and How to Ask

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If you’ve ever heard the maxim “ask and you shall receive” then you probably realized that sometimes in life it pays to be pushy. Squeaky wheel getting the grease and that whole bit.

Well in Los Angeles there’s actually quite a few free things you can get, and you don’t even have to be a big jerk about it. That is, if you know where to look, and how to ask.


To that end, listed below are just a few of the things you might not have known about but should definitely be on your radar.

Free admissions, free classes, free services… basically free STUFF, that if you know how to ask for it, is yours for the taking.

Hope you guys find it useful!

Enjoy the rundown.

[RELATED: 40 Fun & Free Things to Do in Los Angeles Every Angeleno Should Try Once]

Catalina Express Docked
Catalina Express. Credit: David Prasad via flickr

1. Free Trip to Catalina

One of the best things about having a birthday in Los Angeles?  Taking a free roundtrip ride on the Catalina Express.

Before your big day arrives, simply register online (using the appropriate code they’ll send you via email), then bring a valid government I.D. when you show up to depart (NOTE: The offer is valid only on your actual birthday).

And remember, if Catalina is not your thing, there’s plenty of other free birthday stuff you can get in Los Angeles that we’ve written about previously.

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2. Free Museum Admissions

Well duh!

We’ve written about it before but it’s always worth noting again: There’s like nearly 40 free museums and botanical gardens in Los Angeles you can take advantage of that are either always free or have free days throughout the month/week/year. In some cases (like the Getty Villa for example) you’ll need to book a reservation in advance, but the freeness of it is well worth it!

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3. Free Trees

Free trees? Seriously?  Yep.

If you live or own property within the City limits of Los Angeles, you are eligible to receive up to seven free shade trees via the City Plants program,

If you qualify the Los Angeles Conservation Corps will deliver them to your home along with stakes, ties, and fertilizer pellets.

Got it? Now get planting!

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City Plants Volunteers
Volunteers from City Plants Making L.A. Greener. Credit: City Plants on Facebook

4. Free Mulch

Since we’re on the whole landscaping kick, let’s continue with this one. But some of you might ask, what the hell do I need mulch for?

Per Wikipedia:

Many materials are used as mulches, which are used to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and for aesthetics. They are applied to the soil surface, around trees, paths, flower beds, to prevent soil erosion on slopes, and in production areas for flower and vegetable crops.

So basically if you’re serious about gardening, you’re probably going to need some mulch. Good news is that the Bureau of Sanitation provides free quality mulch in 11 different locations throughout the City of Los Angeles that are open to the public. Just bring your own shovel and container, and take as much as you need!

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5. Free Rain Barrels

Using water captured via a rain barrel can help save you money on utilities , boosting the health of your lawn with chemical-free water, avoid city-wide water restrictions, and overall just be a nice boost to the local environment.

Last month the city gave out 1,000 free rain barrels, but the supply was quickly exhausted by the high demand.

Fortunately, the mayor has said that 400 more will be made available in January and there will be a $100 rebate if you buy your own.

Oh, and if you want to make your own rain barrel on the cheap, here’s some instructions on how to do that too!

[UPDATE:  Additional dates have been added in March and April 2015 to obtain free barrels but you must preregister in order to receive a barrel]


6. Free Road Side Assistance

At some point if you drive enough your car might end up breaking down at the worst possible location: an L.A. freeway. The good news is that there are people here to help in your time of need.

The Metro Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is a team of tow truck drivers patrolling freeways all over Los Angeles County to provide help to stranded motorists and assist in clearing traffic accidents to keep traffic moving. And the best part? Yup, free of charge.


Services include:

  • Changing flat tires
  • Jump-starting dead batteries
  • Refilling radiators and temporarily repairing leaking hoses
  • Providing a gallon of fuel

If the FSP cannot get a stranded car running within ten minutes, it will tow the vehicle to a safe location off the freeway.

To call an FSP truck, simply call free 511 and say motorist aid from your mobile phone, or call for help from a freeway callbox.

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7. Free Condoms

Seriously? A website dedicated to condoms in Los Angeles? Yep, we’ve got that too.

And guess what, if you live in Los Angeles county and choose to fill out a brief form on their website, they’ll ship you 10 male condoms, absolutely free of charge.

Don’t say I never gave you anything worthwhile!

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8. Free Running Companions

Sometimes one of the best ways to stay fit is to do it as a team. And L.A. has free ways to do that too!

The DTLA Running Group is one of the largest and best options in the city, with over 1700 current members on meetup.com and a track record that includes nearly 700 past meet-ups.

They group meets most Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings to run along different routes in and around Downtown. Because they realize not every runner is at the same stage of fitness, different routes are provided to accommodate different levels of training.

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Downtown Los Angeles at Sunset
Credit: Neil Kreme via flickr

9. Free Downtown Shuttle Service

Free wha…..?!?!


I’ll let the Downtown News explain:

“Bunker Hill resident Michelle Thrower an idea: Start a shuttle business, Downtown Concierge, that is more like a cab service, but it’s free and the driver won’t take you the long way to get there. Customers call for a ride at a certain pick-up time within the company’s operating hours (9 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Then, the bus will take them from wherever they are Downtown to wherever they want to go in the community, whether the Music Center, L.A. Live or someplace else.”

So next time you’re in Downtown Los Angeles and you need a quick ride remember this info:

(213) 896-9260
Sun-Thu 9am-12am
Fri-Sat 9am-2am

10. Free Archery Lessons

Need to pick up some cool skills for the zombie apocalypse? Time to harness your inner Robin Hood, and totally for free!

Woodley Park Archers offers free introductory archery instruction to the community, designed specifically the the beginner / novice who has no previous experience handling a bow. Classes are held every Saturday from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM and on Wednesdays from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. There is absolutely no cost to join, and all equipment is provided.

The catch is it’s first come, first serve, so the organizers advise arriving at least 30 – 60 minutes before class time to get in line and register.

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Know of other free stuff you can get in L.A. if you just bother to ask for it? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!


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