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15 free things to do in Los Angeles this January 2020

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Joey Zanotti

If your budget took a hit from splurging on holiday travel, gifts and New Year’s Eve parties, you’ll be happy to hear there are plenty of free things to do in January. From Chinese New Year festivals to a day of free admission to L.A.’s best museums, these are the best ways to make the most of your month without breaking into your wallet.

Through Jan 5
Lights on at LACMA; LACMA

LACMA has rolled out some family-friendly crowd-pleasers for the remainder of the holiday season, with free activities planned in the museum’s welcome plaza.

Jan 4
Second City Hollywood’s Open House; The Second City

Tickle your funny bone with a day full of free improv workshops, shows, food and prizes.

Jan 5
Oshogatsu Family Festival; Japanese American National Museum

Celebrate the Year of the Rat with this free family day at the Japanese American National Museum, complete with crafts, games and cultural activities and performances.

Jan 11
Art for All; MOCA Grand • MOCA Geffen

MOCA is permanently dropping admission fees at both of its Downtown locations, and to kick things off it’s staging a free day of performances, tours, ice cream, screenings and more.

Jan 11, 12
Chinese New Year Festival; Monterey Park

Ring in the Lunar New Year in the real heart of L.A.’s Chinese community at this annual two-day street fair takes with folk art, delectable bites and a carnival zone.

Jan 24
Chinese New Year Midnight Temple Ceremony; Thien Hau Temple

Join lion dancers and monks to make offerings to the deities, awaken the spirits with firecrackers and burn incense for good fortune.

Jan 25–Mar 20
“Beyond Embodiment”; Brand Library & Art Center

See works from 25 female, non-binary and trans artists who explore physicality and identity through sculpture, video, animation, photography, virtual reality and other mediums.

Jan 25
Lunar New Year at Santa Monica Place; Santa Monica Place

Comedian Paul “PK” Kim hosts an afternoon that includes a Chinese lion dance, Korean fan dance, stilt walkers, traditional dough artist, balloon twister, crafts and New Year’s Wishing Trees.

Jan 25
Lunar New Year Festival; Pacific Asia Museum

You’ll find traditional performances in the museum’s courtyard, plus art activities, food trucks and, most importantly, free admission to the galleries.

Jan 25
Museums Free-For-All; Various locations

Check off a few items on your cultural to-do list as over 40 SoCal museums open their doors for free.

Jan 26–Apr 19
Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit; Hammer Museum

Since the mid-1980s, Hsu’s minimalist works of colorful textures and screens have pondered the implications of technology and AI on the human body and mind. The Hammer Museum is bringing together roughly 30 such sculptures, wall reliefs, drawings and paintings.

Jan 31
Night of Ideas; Natural History Museum

Dive into what it truly means to be alive as this U.S.-via-France program of performances and discussions explores the intersection of humans and machines through science, nature and art.

Through Feb 16
“Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again”; The Broad

Scope out this stunning photography exhibition for free every Thursday from 5 to 8pm.

Free concerts; Various locations

Listen to some tunes without breaking the bank with free shows at the Echo, the Satellite and more.

Free museum days; Various locations

Make the most of free days at LACMA, the Natural History Museum and more, plus always-free museums like the Hammer, Getty and Broad.