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
Indulge your inner foodie and shopaholic at this weekly food-focused market. The Brooklyn export has landed in the Arts District and become a hotbed of fantastic food and retail vendors, with some that are testing out their dishes before launching a full-blown brick-and-mortar in the city. Bonus: there is plentiful (and free, for two hours!) parking in the nearby parking garage.
If there’s one cathartic release we could use right now, it’s a bit of levity from L.A.’s top-notch stand-ups. Thankfully, some of L.A.’s best comedians are coming together for a live show over Instagram. Each night, you’ll see five or so comedians deliver stand-up sets from the homes. Just head over to @comedyquarantine on weeknights at 7pm to watch the show, and consider tipping each comedian as well via Venmo (@ComedyQuarantine). The series started as a one-off show in mid March with sets from Maria Bamford, Adam Conover, Chris Garcia, Nick Turner, Jena Friedman, Naomi Ekperigin and James Adomian, as well as some of our recent comedians-to-watch picks, including Zach Noe Towers, Jared Goldstein, Atsuko Okatsuka, Paul Danke and Christina Catherine Martinez.
You’ve been meaning to go to the opera for ages, but, well, it’s just too expensive and your Italian is a little rusty. Right now, though, you have no excuse: The LA Opera is livestreaming living room performances on its Facebook account. Tune in each day and you’ll see a couple of different performers tackling their favorite classical songs from the comfort and safety of their living rooms—or, on some days, you might catch an archived stream of a previous production.
Disney Hall may be down for the moment, but LA Phil director Gustavo Dudamel is still sharing his favorite classical musical selections alongside some personal reflections with this radio series. You can tune in to KUSC (91.5 FM) and KDFC from Tuesday to Friday at 6pm, and a Spanish-language broadcast on Sunday at 7pm.
The Grammy Museum routinely hosts some stellar talks and performances—but there’s a good chance you’ve never been able to scoop up tickets before these intimate events sell out. But now we can all partake thanks to the institution’s Museum at Home site. Every couple of days, you can look forward to conversations with and performances from the likes of Billie Eilish, Greta Van Fleet, Andrea Bocelli, Common, Los Tigres del Norte, Courtney Barnett, Ben Platt and more. Plus, each week the museum is reviving some of its former exhibitions online, including retrospectives on Jenni Rivera, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
See colorful, abstract and pattern-driven works of painting, sculpture, collage, ceramics, installation art and performance documentation in this survey of the Pattern and Decoration movement, which defiantly embraced forms typically held to be inferior to “fine art.”
In the name of keeping Angelenos sane—and who couldn’t use some sanity right now?—the Hammer Museum holds free weekly drop-in sessions on mindful awareness, which is defined as “the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences.” The 30-minute sessions were previously held on-site at the Hammer, but they’ve moved online for the forseeable future. If you can’t make it to each Zoom meeting on Thursdays at 12:30pm, you can listen to the archives. Sessions are led by instructors from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Think of them as your experts in stress reduction and overall health improvement.
Hawthorne’s Common Space Brewery is using its sprawling space for a social-distancing–friendly blood drive. On both April 7 and 14, you can swing by (register beforehand if you can) to donate blood, and you’ll even nab a $5 Amazon gift card.
Sure, it doesn’t look so glamorous now, but give it a few years, a billion or so dollars and some much-needed rain, and the L.A. River will be a point of civic pride for Angelenos. Do you part in the process during the Friend’s of the Los Angeles River’s annual cleanup. Rather than focusing on one spot, the cleanup tackles a different branch each Saturday, with multiple meet-up locations at each. The annual “work party” will include live music performances, gift giveaways, family activities and refreshments.
the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation and the Junior Arts Center will be offering free family art workshops every Sunday (10am–noon) via Zoom though the end of May. Keep up with the park’s Instagram account (@barnsdallpark) for info to join each event.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the museum has pledged to practice social distancing and close through March. You can keep up with more local event cancelations here. Just in time for Oscar weekend, the Annenberg is looking back at four decades of Vanity Fair’s celebrity portraits, including shots from every edition of the Hollywood issue as well as the annual Oscar night party.
Alternate takes, limited represses and colored seven-inches… Yes, the annual celebration of independent brick-and-mortar music shops is upon us! On one special Saturday each year, analog music junkies get their fix of rare vinyl, special re-releases and compilation albums, almost all made exclusively for Record Store Day. This national event, created to support local record shops (and recording artists, of course), has shops across the city—and country—opening their doors early to lines of music geeks eager to get their hands on previously unreleased recordings, picture discs and box sets by artists new and old. Some participating L.A.-based shops include Vacation Vinyl, Touch Vinyl, Mount Analog, Permanent Records and High-Fidelity. In addition to tons of great records, there are also parties and live music to round out the day—head to the website for more info on special releases, extended hours and events around the city. Tip: If there’s a rare record you’ve gotta have, we recommend lining up as early as 5am to make sure it doesn’t get snatched up. The lines get longer, earlier every year.
The Hammer Museum’s excellent, ongoing series of biennial exhibitions ups the ante each year with its spotlight on emerging and under-recognized L.A. artists, and we expect the upcoming fifth edition to be no exception. The list of 30 artists includes practitioners across all sorts of mediums, including paintings, sculptures, room-sized installations, ephemeral creations, dance performances, a one-man show and more. And for those Eastsiders scared of venturing too close to the 405, this year the Hammer is partnering with the Huntington Library to present works from all of the artists at the San Marino institution, as well. We’d suggest swinging by the Hammer first; members and visitors to the Hammer will receive free passes to the Huntington to see the rest of the exhibition.
The beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater is posting puppet-making tutorials every Monday, as well as using its stable of string-controlled characters to release PSAs that ease kids’ fears and teach proper hygiene (look out for a cameo from Maria Bamford in one video). Make sure to check in each Wednesday and Saturday at 11:30am for one of the theater’s classic puppet numbers.
Hollywood’s Jeffrey Deitch gallery has organized an exhibition of artists and works that it’s dubbed as “witchy”—as they put it, using the iconography of the supernatural, occult and witchcraft to channel ideas about power, the body and gender.
New name, same beloved literary event: Bibliophiles flock to the USC campus for this L.A. Times-curated event, which has now added “Stories & Ideas” onto its bookish title. The outdoor book fair features stalls from a variety of booksellers as well as author readings, signings and culinary demos. The sheer variety and quality of talent the festival attracts is impressive and legendary. Originally slated to take place in April, the fest has been postponed to October due to the coronavirus.
Celebrate the diversity of L.A.’s artists during the return of Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices. The free two-day event includes a mix of performance and visual arts, including plays, live music and workshops.
Levitt Pavilion has taken its MacArthur Park bandshell online with livestreaming performances from local bands every Wedneday afternoon. Find the shows streamed live on Instagram at @Levitt.LA and posted afterwards on Facebook @Levitt_LA.
This fun neighborhood stroll highlights the numerous artists, musicians, shops and galleries of Mar Vista, where huge vivid murals brighten exterior walls everywhere you look. Since launching in 2015, the quarterly event has dramatically expanded, now featuring several clusters of activity along Venice Boulevard. Catch local musicians and performers throughout the evening, artists selling their works as well as creating new ones on the spot, grab food from trucks, and browse galleries and shops that stay open late. The walk takes place the first Thursday of March, June, September and November, each time featuring a different theme and the artists are curated by Monique Boileau and Mitchelito Orquiola.
Celebrate Earth Day at Grand Park, the Music Center and DWP with green living demos and activities. Tour Grand Park’s sustainable landscaping, demo electric vehicles, drop off e-waste and learn how to compost.
The Broad kicks off its fifth anniversary with a free collection exhibition of 81 works from L.A.’s most iconic artists: John Baldessari, Mike Kelley, Barbara Kruger and Ed Ruscha.
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.
Class is in session, and L.A. singer-songwriter Ramona Gonzalez is the teacher. Gonzalez is currently teaching an undergraduate songwriting class at Occidental College, and she’s sharing her knowledge outside of enrolled students with a series of free conversations about the creative process with Asa Taccone (Electric Guest), Ariel Pink, Cole M. Greif-Neill and Julia Holter. You’ll find each talk in Booth Hall, Room 204 on the college’s Eagle Rock campus.
See more than 100 works pulled from the archives of Judson Studios, L.A.’s celebrated 123-year-old glass studio, in this examination of its collaborations with contemporary artists pushing the boundaries of art glass. Objects on display at the Forest Lawn Museum include stained glass artworks, preparatory drawings, oil paintings, watercolors and archival photographs.
Years before we started documenting every second of our vacations on social media, European artists were drawing and painting their experiences out on the trail. This exhibition features works from the 16th to 19th centuries that were created on short trips, lengthy journeys and all sorts of arduous treks.