The Best Free Things to do this Summer in Los Angeles

Grand Performances, 2023. Photo by Brian Champlin

A summer of free things to do around Los Angeles sounds awesome, right? And in the months to come you’ll find no shortage of options to keep you enjoying and exploring the city nonstop. There’s the return of Grand Performances at California Plaza, Sunset Concerts at Skirball, Dance DTLA at the Music Center, KCRW Summer Nights, and Latin Jazz at LACMA, just to name a few. But with everything at your disposal, how will you organize such a massive itinerary of possibilities? Well in the space below we’ve put together a handy guide to meet such a challenge. This is how we break it down:

To start, we will catalog our top Summer Event Series, all featuring multiple dates, all free to attend, and all worth at least one stop in your summer of fun. If you’ve never been to one of the recommended series, definitely keep it at the top of your list.

Next we’ll key in on a few key Free Festivals and Celebrations with a keen eye towards local outdoor block parties and music events. Here you will find options like the Echo Park Lotus Festival, the Leimert Park Jazz Fest, and multiple CicLAvia stops.

Finally, we’ll give you a quick rundown of Free Outdoor Movies (since who doesn’t love a free movie?!?)

Plus, because we know “free” is a relative term, nearly all of our top picks are accessible by Metro rail and/or bus service, meaning you can ditch the parking costs and forget the freeway logjams if you want to take public transit. Pretty sweet, right?

All in all, the summer of ’24 in L.A. promises a world of low cost entertainment if you know where to look. And if you’re looking here, you’re right on track.

Summer Event Series

KCRW Summer Nights in Chinatown, 2023. Photo by Brian Champlin

Summer of Salsa (ongoing through September 13) -> The LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Summer of Salsa series kicked off earlier this month, but the rhythm continues one Friday each month through the end of summer, highlighting some of the city’s best salsa and Cuban bands in the process. Doors open at 6 p.m., and music starts at 7 p.m. Always free to attend. Go Metro: Take the A, B or D Lines to Union Station.

LACMA Latin Sounds (starting May 25) -> LACMA is bringing a series of Saturday evening, outdoor concerts at Dorothy Collins Brown Amphitheate (just north of the La Brea Tar Pits Museum) in celebration of the exhibition Painting in the River of Angels: Judy Baca and The Great Wall. The lineup for Latin Sounds includes Cuban violinist and band leader Dayren Santamaria, the East L.A.-based son jarocho band Cambalanche, Boogaloo Assassins, and others. All concerts are free to attend, and run 5 to 7 p.m. Go Metro: Take Line 20/720 along Wilshire Blvd.

Off the 405 (starting June 1) -> The Getty’s annual after-hours concerts series offers five dates for the summer of 2024. Off the 405 kicks off on June 1 with Ethiopian musician and composer Hailu Mergia, with a schedule to follow that includes performances by Slauson Malone 1 (June 15), Helado Negro (July 20), Julia Holter (July 27), and Woods (August 24). You’ll need to pre-register for free to attend, and remember that parking is $10 after 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Go Metro: Take Line 761 to Sepulveda / Getty Ctr.

KCRW Summer Nights (starting June 1) -> The lineup has dropped for KCRW’s summer of free programming, and 2024 promises another exciting season of music events popping up at iconic venues and cultural institutions around Los Angeles. On select dates starting June, catch evening shindigs at the California African American Museum, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Union Station, LA Plaza, Descanso Gardens, Chinatown Central Plaza, The Autry, Century Park, and KCRW HQ in Santa Monica. Just about all the locations are Metro accessible, so be sure to use the Metro Trip Planner to guide you’re using public transport.

Grand Performances (starting June 1) -> Outdoor concerts in the heart of downtown on Fridays (and some Saturdays) from June to August. This year’s Grand Performances kicks off with a KCRW collaboration on June 1, to be followed by a diverse schedule of performances, including the Women’s Mariachi Festival, a tribute to Celia Cruza, the Cali Soul Jam, a pair of Friday night poetry shows, and more. All shows free to attend. Most events are 6 to 10 p.m., but be sure to check the full schedule for complete details. Go Metro: Take the A or E Lines to Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill station.

The Music Center’s Dance DTLA (starting June 21) -> Free evening dance parties return to The Music Center’s Jerry Moss Plaza every Friday from June 21 through August 16. At Dance DTLA, instructors will be on hand to teach guests easy-to-follow steps, allowing everyone to get into the groove right from the jump. The 2024 schedule included themed nights for Bollywood, Samba, Hip-Hop, Disco, and more. Always free to attend. Go Metro: Take the B or D Lines to Grand Park / Civic Center station OR take the A or E Lines to Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill station.

NoHo Summer Nights (starting June 22) -> Starting June 22, NoHo Summer Nights brings film screenings and/or live performances to North Hollywood Recreation Center every Saturday through August 24. Free to attend, and no RSVP required. Go Metro: Take the B Line to North Hollywood station.

Sunset Concerts at Skirball (starting in July) -> The schedule for Skirball Cultural Center’s annual Sunset Concert series is still TBA, but word is there will be a handful of concerts beginning in July, offering after-hours performances from artists of the Jewish, African, and Cuban diasporas. There should be full details available by the end of May. Parking is available from $15-$20. Go Metro: Take Line 761 to Sepulveda / Skirball Center.

Shakespeare in the Park (starting July 10) -> The Independent Shakespeare Co. is once again bringing a summer of the Bard to Griffith Park, but unlike in past years, the 2024 season will focus on a single production. From July 10 to September 1, catch Wednesday-through-Sunday performances of As You Like It at ISC’s familiar space near the Old Zoo. Word is they will be releasing some new details on the construction of their permanent stage in the park too, so stay tuned on that front. Go Metro: Take Line 96 to Griffith Park / Crystal Springs.

Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles Concerts (Starting June 22) -> Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles routinely offers the most prolific annual concert series in the city, offering some 50 individual events on dates from June to September. The official 2024 schedule isn’t out yet, but they are holding a benefit concert on June 7 at the Regent as a prelude to a 17th season of free summer concerts at MacArthur Park. Stay tuned for more details, but definitely keep it on your list. Go Metro: Take the B or D Lines to Westlake MacArthur Park station OR take Line 20/720 along Wilshire Blvd.

Free Festivals and Celebrations

From CicLAvia Meet The Hollywoods event in 2022. Photo via CicLAvia Los Angeles

Venice Pride Block Party (May 31) – > Celebrate Pride by the beach! The 2024 edition of the Venice Pride Block Party features a headlining DJ set by Victor Rodriguez, special community booths, LGBTQ vendors, and food trucks, all centered around 99 Winward Ave in Venice. Runs 5 to 11 p.m. Free to attend. Go Metro: Take Line 33 to Main / Grand.

Summer Exhibitions Opening Celebration at the Hammer (June 8) -> The Hammer is hosting a summer celebration to welcome several new exhibitions to the gallery, including Refashioning: CFGNY & Wataru Tominaga and David Medalla: In Conversation with the CosmosHouseguest: Mute Flesh, and Hammer Projects: Jordan Strafer. Expect after-hours access to the art (until 10:30 p.m.) plus a cash bar. Go Metro: Take the 20/720 along Wilshire Blvd.

54th Annual LA Pride Parade & Block Party (June 9) -> The annual LA Pride Parade & Block Party runs along will include over a hundred floats, along with a block party adjacent to the parade route, all free to attend. The official route is still TBA, but it should be accessible via multiple B Line stops along Hollywood Blvd.

TARFEST: A Day in the Park (June 15) -> The 21st edition of TARFEST pops up at Pan Pacific Park for a one-day festival featuring a reggae and afrobeat musical extravaganza curated by Boomtown LA, free art-making activities, dance classes, artisan booths curated by Runway Boutique, face painting, and local food trucks. Go Metro: Take Line 14/37 to Beverly / Curson.

Pasadena Chalk Festival (June 22-23) -> The Pasadena Chalk Festival returns to The Paseo for a two day-long event featuring art and music featuring some 200 murals and over 500 artists  This event is free to attend. Go Metro: Take the A Line to Memorial Park station.

Venice Fest (June 22) –> Head to Venice Fest for a day of fun for all ages featuring local bands, yoga, games, and classic cars on display. There’s also a beer garden and food trucks to refuel. Go Metro: Take Line 33 to Venice / Grand View.

CicLAvia (June 23 & August 18) -> L.A.’s signature open streets program has a pair of summer offerings (both sponsored by Metro), including a 5-mile South LA course on June 23, and a Meet the Hollywoods event on August 18. Both events are free to attend, and both will be accessible by multiple Metro service stops.

Pier 360 (June 29-30) -> This two-day, all-ages, free festival hosted at the Santa Monica Pier features ocean sports competitions, interactive games, a beer garden and plenty of live music on both days. Go Metro: Take the E Line to Downtown Santa Monica station.

Echo Park Lotus Festival (July 13) -> The 43rd annual Lotus Festival honors the people and culture of the Philippines for 2024 with live music, children’s activities, a lantern launch, dragon boat races, and more. Free to attend, but you want to participate in the lantern portion you can buy tickets starting at $25. Go Metro: Take Line 92 to Glendale / Santa Ynez.

Nisei Week Japanese Festival (August 10-18) -> This August, Little Tokyo hosts a week-long celebration of Japanese and Japanese American heritage and traditions through a series of cultural exhibits and performances, a grand parade and a plaza festival. More info here. Go Metro: Take the A or E Line to Little Tokyo station.

Leimert Park Jazz Festival (August 31) -> Details are still light on the 2024 Leimert Park Jazz Festival, but if it’s anything like last year you can expect a full day of Jazz sets supported by a kids zone, wine lounge, and food court at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Festival hours are still TBD. General admission is free. Go Metro: Take the K Line to Martin Luther King Jr Station.

Free Outdoor Movies

Movies Under the Stars at One Colorado in Old Pasadena. Photo by Christina Champlin

Movie Night at Debs Park (starting May 24) -> Four select Fridays from May to August, the Audubon Center at Debs Park is hosting free outdoor movies in the center courtyard. More information should be forthcoming, but each event is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Movies Under the Stars (starting June 1) -> Old Pasadena shopping mall One Colorado is hosting Movies Under the Stars on select Saturdays for the months of June and July The series opens on June 1 with a showing of Crazy Rich Asians, to be followed by a lineup (popping up on alternating Saturdays) that include Barbie, Mamma Mia!, Pitch Perfect, and Legally Blonde. Public seating is first-come, first-served. Go Metro: Take the A Line to Memorial Park station.

NoHo Summer Nights (starting June 22) -> Starting June 22, NoHo Summer Nights brings film screenings and/or live performances to North Hollywood Recreation Center every Saturday through August 24. Free to attend, and no RSVP required. Go Metro: Take the B Line or G (bus rapid) Line to North Hollywood station.

Movies at Warner Park (starting August 3) -> The Valley Cultural Foundations’ Movies at Warner Park series returns to Woodland Hills every Saturday night in the month of August. Kicking off the fun is a screening of Barbie, with other slated films to include The Blind Side, Wish, Elemental, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Each event starts at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Go Metro: Take Lines 150/169 to Topanga Canyon / Marylee.

Friday Movie Nights at Ovation Hollywood (ongoing) -> Ovation Hollywood’s Friday Movie Nights bring outdoor film screenings to the center courtyard of the shopping destination once per month starting at 7 p.m. Next up: A screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem on May 31. Go Metro: Take the B Line to Hollywood / Highland.

More Freebies to Consider

Downtown Burbank Arts Fest. Photo via Jackalope Arts

Need more ideas? Below is a quick link list of some other free events/series you might want to keep on your radar in the coming months.

Want to get the best things to do in L.A. sent straight to your inbox? Join over 60,000 Angelenos who subscribe to our twice weekly email newsletter!

Sign-Up for We Like L.A.’s Emails

* indicates required
Additional Newsletter Options
By subscribing, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy and consent to receive emails from We Like L.A. about news, events, offers, and partner promotions.