There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But there is such a thing as a free workout, free concerts and lots of other free things to do in Los Angeles, especially during the summer. From a weekend workout with an A-list trainer to fun outdoor music shows, here are 10 places to get out and have fun without spending any money.
Kit Rich @ W Hotel Westwood
Sip & squat! For an A-list workout without the price tag, I love celeb Pilates trainer Kit Rich’s free weekly class poolside at the W in Westwood every Saturday 9am-10am until Labor Day. Um, you also get a FREE mimosa afterward. Seriously, the workout + the drink = free. Not even a donation is requested!
Palisades Park – Santa Monica
I can’t think of a better way to get a workout than with stunning views of the ocean and the best dog watching EVER!!! This park at the top of the bluffs stretches from the Pier all the way to San Vicente Boulevard and has great walking/running/biking paths and lots of shaded areas. If you really want to get your butt kicked, do the stairs that lead down to the bridge and the beach.
Temescal Canyon – Pacific Palisades
If hiking is your kind of exercise, this park is for you. More scenic than sceney (if you’ve ever been to Runyon Canyon you know what I mean), there’s lots of wild flora and even a mini-waterfall. Just remember the climb can get a little steep and the canyon can get dusty and dry, so make sure to pack plenty of water.
Griffth Park – Los Angeles
Truly one of LA’s greatest freebies, Griffith Park has so many attractions you really could spend days trying to do them all. The Observatory always has cool stuff going on and admission is free. There are tons of picnicking areas, dog-friendly hiking trails with gorgeous views, a Travel Town museum and adorable Southern Railroad, which offers $2 miniature train rides (super cute for the kids).
Getty Museum – Brentwood
I know it’s obvious, but the Getty is without question an awesome freebie. The building itself is a piece of art, the landscaping and Central Garden are simply stunning (I love sitting in the shaded areas) and even the tram up to the museum is fun. Unfortunately, they raised the parking price to $15, so if you want to be really cheap (and eco-friendly), consider taking the bus—there’s a stop right out front.
Levitt Pavilion – Memorial Park, Pasadena
This outdoor pavilion is like a mini Hollywood Bowl. (There’s even an arched stage shell.) The great thing about this annual summer series of 50 free concerts is that they happen Wednesday-Sunday nights, so it’s perfect for those who want something fun and free to do on the weekends. The lineup also happens to be fantastic with a lot of cool multi-genre and world-music acts.
Levitt Pavilion – MacArthur Park, Echo Park
This Eastside counterpart to the Pasadena pavilion is also hosting 50 free summer concerts Thursday-Sunday nights at 7pm as well as children’s concerts on Sundays at 4pm. The great thing about these shows is that you’re exposed to different kinds of music you might not have otherwise heard. Very festive with lots of Latin and world music.
Artwalk – Downtown LA
In case you didn’t know, Downtown LA is the hottest ‘hood of the moment. If you don’t believe me, just head over on the second Thursday of every month and you’ll see what I mean. Beyond the interesting art, free gallery parties and free champagne, it’s just a fun place to hang out with friends, meet new ones and check out all the places you didn’t even know existed. It’s like a glimpse into the future of LA.
Twilight Dance Series – Santa Monica Pier
This is one of the most popular free summer concert series in LA not only because it’s right on the pier with the most fabulous views, but because it also has some of the most legit performers on the stage. (I saw Patti Smith here last year.) Each Thursday night will highlight a different theme like A Night of Surf Guitar, Tango on the Timbers and A Night in Treme. The final concert is September 8.
Culver City Music Festival
Every Thursday night at 7pm through the end of summer, Culver City’s City Hall courtyard turns into an outdoor music venue with different performers and free underground parking. There are dozens of dining options within walking distance—many of which have happy hour—so go have a little something to eat and drink before the show.