Get us in your inbox

Search
Free events in LA: Beverly Hills Art Show
Free events in LA: Beverly Hills Art Show

Free events in LA: The best free things to do in the city

Free events in LA are not hard to come by, if you know where to look. Use this guide to find the best free things to do.

Advertising

Find free events in LA to help you rediscover the city. Explore cultural institutions like the Getty and take advantage of some of the best live music LA has to offer without opening your wallet. Cheap eats are great, but nothing beats a free day out. Get inspired for your next date night or family outing with our list of free upcoming events.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of free things to do in LA

  • Music
  • price 0 of 4
  • Westwood

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 July through September at the Hammer Museum, One Colorado, CAAM, Descanso Gardens, Bowers Museum, the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, JANM and—our favorite—the party-till-midnight bashes at Chinatown Central Plaza. This year’s lineup features Ambar Lucid, Hana Vu and Mark de Clive-Lowe, among others, and KCRW DJs including Anthony Valadez, Jason Bentley, Novena Carmel and more. 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.

  • Theater
  • Shakespeare
  • price 0 of 4
  • Griffith Park

Each summer, Bard fanatics watch their favorite works come to life at the historic Old Zoo in Griffith Park. Independent Shakespeare Co. puts on a series of lively productions each week, inviting audiences to take a seat on the grass (read: bring a picnic blanket) and enjoy performances like this season’s headliners: Knight of the Burning Pestle (July 2–31) and Macbeth (Aug 6–Sept 4). You’ll find a few changes to the 2022 season that’ve carried over from last year: Since work is still underway on a permanent performance stage, the Independent Shakespeare Co. is instead setting up slightly farther up the hill at the Old Zoo. That means each performance will only be able to accommodate about 450 people, so reservations will be required. Registration opens on June 24.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • price 0 of 4
  • Santa Monica

Summer’s just heating up, but thanks to a returning nightlife partnership it’s set to be scorching: Santa Monica mainstay the Bungalow teamed up with beloved radio station KCRW to throw a night market every Thursday just a block from the beach.  KCRW’s no stranger to killer programming and putting on a great party (see also: Summer Nights), and now, every week at the Bungalow you can expect KCRW DJ sets, plus to-be-announced bartender takeovers that take over the Fairmont Miramar scene. Once all that dancing’s worked up an appetite, you can hit the food trucks and take a seat at one of the picnic tables spread throughout the space (or, you know, just camp out at a picnic table all night long—we wouldn’t blame you if you’re just here for the food). Food vendors include Tacos 1986, River Street BBQ, ManEatingPlant, Steamin’ Burger, Gone Bananas Bread Co. and Bubba Ice. What’s more, this event is family-friendly and free to enter for all ages. The fun runs every Thursday into fall, from 5 to 11pm. 

  • Music
  • Jazz
  • price 0 of 4
  • 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. The beloved program is back again for the season, and so too is its open seating and picnicking format (whereas last year you needed a reservation). You’ll find the series on Friday evenings in LACMA’s welcome plaza (just behind Urban Light) starting in April.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Performances
  • price 0 of 4
  • El Monte

The beloved Getty Center turns 25 years young in 2022, and to celebrate the hilltop museum is hosting a series of free festivals across L.A. On most weekends this summer, the Getty will collaborate with a different local community partner on a two-day arts fair filled with music, workshops and food. The lineup includes events in Inglewood (May 14, 15), Lincoln Heights (May 21, 22), Long Beach (June 4, 5), Koreatown (June 11, 12), Pacoima (June 25, 26), Reseda (July 9, 10), El Monte (July 16, 17), Wilmington (July 30, 31), Crenshaw (Aug 13, 14) and Watts (Aug 27, 28).

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown Arts District

Every Sunday you can find dozens of food vendors at this market at ROW DTLA, with a mix of much-loved pop-ups and future foodie stars. Look out for this year’s new vendors, including B’ivrit, Cali Dumpling, Chimmelier by Hanchic, Happy Ice and Say it Ain’t So. And during the summer, make sure to take advantage of Ice Cream Alley, a seasonal assembly of 10 sweets vendors.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4
  • Los Feliz

Famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s first California design has been closed since the start of the pandemic, but the Hollyhock House is finally reopening for tours—and with a free lawn party to celebrate. Self-guided tours resume on August 18 (Thu–Sat 11am–4pm; $7), but Barnsdall Art Park is throwing a proper party on August 20 (4–8pm) with free performances from the Bob Baker Marionette Theater (5, 6:30pm), music, crafts and—thanks to FORT:LA—100 free hot dogs on a first-come, first-served basis. In case you’re curious, the Hollyhock House hasn’t just been left alone these past two-plus years (its second prolonged closure over the past decade): Conservation work was done on the East Hollywood-meets-Los Feliz house’s cast stone, art glass windows, woodwork and landscape elements, and Residence A, the adjacent Wright-designed guest house, also received some exterior and structural care, with interior and landscape work now underway.

  • Music
  • price 0 of 4
  • 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.

Advertising
  • Music
  • price 0 of 4
  • 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 required), but parking is $10 in advance or $20 at the venue. This summer’s lineup includes Mamak Khadem (July 21), Rocky Dawuni (July 28), Nefesh Mountain (Aug 4), Booker T. Jones (Aug 11), Ak Dan Gwang Chil (Aug 18) and Son Rompe Pera (Aug 25).

  • Things to do
  • Classes and workshops
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown

The Music Center offers a free, joyous mash-up of music and dancing all summer long, with different themes (K-pop, Bollywood and voguing, among them) and free dance lessons plus live DJ sets. Head to the Music Center plaza and join in the fun—no dance experience required.

Advertising
  • Theater
  • Shakespeare
  • price 0 of 4
  • Palms

Just when you thought Shakespeare was sounding a little, well, dated, enter the Actors’ Gang. Each summer, the Culver City theater spins a different play from the Bard into a high-energy, family-friendly and free-to-attend production, often wrapped in an irreverent theme (think everything from Toy Story to Power Rangers). This time around, As You Like It gets a Halloween-inspired adaptation dubbed As BOO Like It, filled with dragons, witches, vampires and ghosts. You’ll find the play every weekend in August at Culver City’s Media Park.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • price 0 of 4
  • Little Tokyo

This two-weekend event celebrates Japanese culture with displays of martial arts, tea ceremonies, flower arranging and more. Crowds of nisei—the word refers to the first generation of Japanese to be born in America—gather for festivities and a parade that culminates with the coronation of the Nisei Week Queen.

  • Things to do
  • Sport events
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown Santa Monica

Skate around a rink right on the ocean when this pop-up roller disco hits the Santa Monica Pier. The event comes from Benefit Cosmetics so you’ll find a brow bar by the rink—but its promotional tie-in most importantly means that skate rentals and one-hour sessions are free. Find the rink on the parking deck behind the roller coaster. Psst: If you happen to have Klarna installed on your phone, show the app at the cocktail bar for a free drink.

Advertising
  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4

The term CicLAvia stems from a similar Spanish word for “bike way,” and in L.A. it’s become a shorthand for the temporary, festival-like closing of L.A.’s streets. The event (inspired by the first Ciclovías in Bogotá, Colombia) welcomes bikes, tricycles, skateboards, strollers and basically anything else without an engine to ride a rotating cast of car-free routes. You’ll inevitably always find a route each year around Downtown, but past events have taken it anywhere from the harbor to the San Gabriel Valley. For 2022, CicLAvia makes its return with four events: through South L.A. along Western Avenue on July 10, the Hollywoods (the West, East and plain varieties) on August 21, Downtown L.A. on October 9 and another South L.A. route on December 4. Expect music, street performances and food trucks, as well as general whimsy and shenanigans along the way. Shop owners and restaurants along the CicLAvia route also tend to host specials. It goes without saying that you should bike or take the Metro to your desired spot along the route.

Advertising
  • Movies
  • Family and kids
  • price 0 of 4
  • Long Beach

The best things in life really are free—love, happiness and an evening spent watching movies on a giant inflatable screen at the beach. On select dates from June until August, pack up your folding chairs, grab your kids and head to Long Beach for this unique outdoor screening. Thanks to Alfredo’s Beach Club, you can give your babysitter the night off while you and the fam enjoy a host of kid-friendly flicks. Bring your own picnic, or munch on eats from the nearby snack stand. You’ll find the event hitting Granada Beach, as well as inland at Long Beach City College’s PCC and LAC campuses.

  • Music
  • price 0 of 4
  • Fairfax District

The Original Farmers Market is host to a plethora of fun, family-friendly outdoor events, and its summer music series are some of its best. Take a load off near the end of the work week and stop by the West Patio on Thursday nights from 6 to 8pm to hear a genre-spanning mix of live music, or Friday nights from 7 to 9pm for a lineup of tribute bands courtesy of E.B.’s Beer & Wine.

Advertising
  • Music
  • price 0 of 4
  • 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

  • Music
  • price 0 of 4
  • Westside

Hilltop sunset views and rising bands combine to make this Getty tradition a worthy destination for Angelenos on both sides of the 405. Back for the first time since 2019, this year’s lineup of free Saturday night shows includes Zsela (May 21), Bartees Strange (June 18), Los Retros (July 9), Hand Habits (July 23) and Standing on the Corner (Aug 27). Tip: Avoid the traffic and the crowds and arrive early. You’ll get to visit the exhibits (which stay open until 8pm starting in June) and beat the dinner rush.

Advertising
  • Music
  • Latin and world
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown

See a free salsa concert every second Friday of the summer during this series at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. This year’s lineup includes Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loka, TROMBOR, Echo Park Project, La Obsesión and La Verdad.

Advertising
Advertising
  • Art
  • Performance art
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown

Sink deep into the sounds of these immersive audio installations at the Broad. “Resonant Tones” will turn the museum’s Oculus Hall (that’s second-floor multi-purpose room behind the building’s belly-button–like window) into a stage for a number of performances: a sound bath by Kelli Anna Gendalå and Karen Marie (Aug 18); Ü & EYE, a spatial sound performance by Lykke Li (Sept 1–4); and I See You, a vocal piece composed and performed by Odeya Nini (Sept 8). Admission is free with a museum reservation.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising