Free L.A.! How To Have A Blast Without Spending A Dime

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but we Angelenos know a thing or two about stretching a dollar. With starving artists to the left and budget-conscious students to the right, balancing a checkbook like a pro is always top of mind. Plus, rising gas prices aren't going anywhere (but, thankfully, neither are all those amazing, end-of-summer sales!).
With our minds on our money (and our money on our minds), we searched high and low for happenings around town this fall that require zero coinage. So, whether you're saving up for that It bag or just being responsible about spending, give your Amex a vacay and scope this cheapskate's guide to Los Angeles — totally free of charge!
Annenberg Space For Photography
Why shell out big bucks for concert tickets when you could pay absolutely nada to witness a ton of music legends under one roof? With a grand total of 166 prints, the Who Shot Rock & Roll exhibit isn't for the faint of heart. But, for those searching for an intermission, hit up the grassy knoll post-viewing and snap a few of your own museum-worthy photos.
2000 Avenue of the Stars (at Century Park East); 213-403-3000.
The Hollywood Sign
It's likely in more montages than any other L.A. landmark, and for good reason! The iconic tourist attraction, perched on Mt. Lee, can be seen from all over Lala Land — but we encourage you to head over to the Griffith Park Observatory for the most picturesque view.
Lake Hollywood Drive (near Wonder View Drive); 213-300-0108.
Malibu Pier
Jutting out 300 feet into the ocean with TwitPic-worthy shots of Surfrider beach, the Malibu Pier is where we take pops for fishing trips (Mackerel is on the menu for dinner those days!). Oh, and our trick during those crazy heat waves is to ditch the air-conditioner and take a spot on the pier for a much cooler afternoon.
23000 Pacific Coast Highway (near Serra Road); 310-456-8031.
Photos Courtesy of: Annenberg Space For Photography; The Hollywood Sign; Malibu Pier
West Hollywood Book Fair
Celebrate the one year anniversary of WeHo's brand-spanking-new library at the annual event on September 30th. Make sure to stick around to see Kyle Richards, author of Life Is Not a Reality Show and star of "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." She'll certainly be bringing some drama along!
625 North San Vicente Boulevard (at Melrose Avenue); 323-848-6431.
Hollywood Farmers’ Market
More than just an organic outdoor market, the Hollywood outpost features free cooking demos, cookbook autographing sessions, and kids' workshops. We love going just to enjoy the sunshine and fresh produce, but sometimes we even pick up some groceries for the fridge (that, unfortunately, includes a fee!).
1600 Ivar Avenue (near Hollywood Boulevard); 323-463-3171.
The end of the month marks the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, which means ping-pong tournaments, dancing, and food demos are on deck for the evening. Or, feel free to take in the cultural landmark on your own time and peruse the different shops and restaurants. Authenticity at its best!
949 Hill Street (near 11th Street); 213-680-0243.
Photos Courtesy of: West Hollywood Book Fair; Hollywood Farmers’ Market; Chinatown
Downtown Art Walk
We're in love with everything this event stands for: free art, a bevy of food trucks (sigh, that fare isn't free!), and an excuse to wander around with girlfriends. We can't think of a better way to kick-off the weekend than enjoying an early fall evening while immersing ourselves in the local scene.
411 South Main Street (at West 4th Street); 213-617-4929.
Ellen DeGeneres Show
Not only does DeGeneres get the crème de la crème of celeb guests, she also manages to get them to dance and partake in goofy games. Just submit a request, and someone from her team will reach out to you with details. We've got our fingers crossed that you score seats for Brad Pitt's next appearance!
3400 Riverside Drive (near Warner Boulevard); 818-972-8687.
Runyon Canyon
Strap on your best workout gear and take a trip up this canyon for breathtaking views of L.A. You'll likely run into about five people you know and snag a celeb spotting or two on your way to the top. Plus, feel free to bring your pooch along — the entire park is dog-friendly.
2001 North Fuller Avenue (near Runyon Canyon Road); 323-666-5046.
Photos Courtesy of: Downtown Art Walk; Ellen Degeneres Show; Runyon Canyon
Drive-In Movies At The Santa Monica Pier
We love hitting up this tourist-heavy spot at dusk, especially when the sun is just starting to set. And, starting September 21st and taking place until October 19th, the pier will be screening drive-in movies. Bring a blanket, some chairs, and enough popcorn for you and your pals!
200 Santa Monica Pier (near Ocean Avenue); 310-458-8901.
Wanderlust Yoga
Whether you're a pro or rookie yogi, you'll want to swing by the day-long festival filled with classes and workshops. Taking place on September 9th, it's about time you perfected your tree pose!
200 Santa Monica Pier (near Appian Way); 310-935-3882.
Bleicher Gallery
Hurry on over to this gallery's current exhibition, and see why everyone is raving about "Text Message." The group show ends on September 10th and features text-based art ranging from photography to sculpture.
355 North La Brea Avenue (near Oakwood Avenue); 323-545-6018.
Photos Courtesy of: Santa Monica Pier; Wanderlust Yoga; Bleicher Gallery
14th Annual Wiggle Waggle Walk
Dog-lovers, it looks like you're in for a treat on September 30th! This annual event brings out thousands of four-legged friends to raise money for the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA. Bring Fido along and you'll snag some free samples, witness K-9 demonstrations, and partake in cool contests. Woof!
Venice Boardwalk
In just a half-mile, this beachside boardwalk is crammed with shops, restaurants, performance artists, and everything in between. You'll definitely see a cast of characters, and we're not just talking about the freakshow! Peruse the many storefronts then hit the sand for a little R&R.
Ocean Front Walk (near South Venice Boulevard); 310-396-6764.
FIDM Museum
Stop by before October 20th to catch an up-close and personal peek at the costumes from some of your fave Emmy-nominated shows. RSVP for the museum's Emmy Awards pre-party on September 22nd and enter the ballot — may the most TV-saavy sister win!
919 South Grand Avenue (at West 9th Street); 213-623-5821.
Photos Courtesy of: Wiggle Waggle Walk; Venice Boardwalk; FIDM Museum

More from Los Angeles


R29 Original Series