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Skirball Cultural Center
Photograph: Courtesy Timothy Norris

Where to see free concerts in L.A.

Free concerts in L.A. aren’t hard to find. Check out our picks for the best live music and performances in the city.

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
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Looking for free concerts in L.A.? Well, you’re in luck—music (aside from film, possibly) is the city’s most abundant form of entertainment. Whether you get your kicks dancing, at the club or along the Sunset Strip, there’s always tons of live music options—and surprisingly enough, not all of them will cost you.

Though L.A.’s clubs were once teeming with free Monday night residencies, these days you’ll find most spots charge at least a couple of bucks at the minimum—hey, your favorite venues need to pay the rent, you know? But that’s not the case during the summer months, when free alfresco shows pop up all over town. Read on for our top picks for free concerts in L.A.

RECOMMENDED: Find more free things to do in L.A.

Free upcoming concerts in L.A.

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  • Jazz
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  • Miracle Mile

One of L.A.’s best free live music offerings, Jazz at LACMA has featured legit legends over its three-decade run at the museum. Seating for the program is available in the museum’s plaza on a first-come, first-served basis, though you’re welcome to picnic on the grass, too (you won’t really be able to see the show, but you’ll still hear it). You’ll find the series on Friday evenings in LACMA’s welcome plaza (just behind Urban Light) starting in April.

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  • Westside

Hilltop sunset views and rising bands combine to make this Getty tradition a worthy destination for Angelenos on both sides of the 405. This year’s lineup of free Saturday night shows includes SPELLLING (May 20), Makaya McCraven (June 24), Etran de L’Aïr (July 22), Rahill (July 29) and Alabaster DePlume (Aug 26). Tip: Avoid the traffic and the crowds and arrive early, preferably after 3pm when the parking price drops to $15 (though it’s $10 if you wait until the show starts). You’ll get to visit the exhibits, which stay open until 8pm on Saturdays, and beat the dinner rush.

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  • Music
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  • Downtown

This epic (and free) outdoor concert series features live performances by artists from around the world at the totally overhauled California Plaza stage in DTLA, where the shallow water separating the stage from the audience has been replaced by a proper event lawn. Don’t miss a diverse and highly intriguing mix of bands, DJ sets and dance parties.

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  • Music
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  • Westlake

You know it’s summer in L.A. when the live outdoor music starts swelling all over the city, including at MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion. The Westlake concert series returns this summer with free shows every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Expect a genre-spanning mix of local acts that range from cumbia to ska to EDM. Check out the full season lineup below. Courtesy Levitt Pavilion

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  • Chinatown

Everyone’s favorite NPR member station has a hand in a slew of summer concert slates at public plazas and beloved museums, and this summer’s schedule is particularly packed. Familiar KCRW DJs and local buzz bands will be providing free, open-air tunes on select nights from June through September at the Hammer Museum, CAAM, Descanso Gardens, Bowers Museum, the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, JANM, OCMA, KCRW’s Santa Monica headquarters and—our favorite—the party-till-midnight bashes at Chinatown Central Plaza. There’s also an evening at the Huntington, though that one’s for KCRW members only. The details slightly differ at each spot, but you can typically expect a bunch of food trucks, beer gardens and after-hours museum admission. Regardless of the location, you really can’t go wrong with any evening spent at Summer Nights.

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  • Music
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  • Westside

The Skirball puts on its annual series of free summer concerts, highlighting indie, folk and world music from L.A. and beyond. Guests can arrive early and visit the museum’s galleries for free, dine under the stars and grab a seat for the show in the beautiful central courtyard. The concert is free (and reservations are recommended), but parking is $15 in advance or $20 at the venue. This summer’s lineup includes Billy Valentine (July 20), Telmary (July 27), AvevA (Aug 3), Sona Jobarteh (Aug 10), Ian Sweet (Aug 17) and Antibalas (Aug 24).

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