Protected by a fence and security cameras, the famous 45-ft- (14-m-) tall aluminum letters cannot be reached, but you can get pretty close. Three trails wind upwards through native chaparral, home to abundant wildlife – chickadees and hawks, and occasional deer. Trails are graded easy to difficult, and vary in distance from 3–6.5 miles (5–10.5 km).
Walks noon–10pm, second Thu each month • www.downtownartwalk.org
Galleries and art exhibitions on Spring and Main between 2nd and 9th streets host an open house for the community with live music, talks and activities.
Visiting the grounds and iconic Art Deco-style observatory are free to the public. City views are spectacular. Stargaze through the Zeiss telescope on a clear night or wonder at a Foucault pendulum. Free public star parties are held monthly. There is no charge for parking.
Free tickets to your favorite comedy, game, and talk shows are usually distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets to the more popular shows go fast, so it is advised to reserve in advance. If you are wandering around the Farmers Market or Grove shopping center, you may be approached to fill a seat at the nearby CBS Studio.
Free permanent exhibitions feature lots of hands-on activities. Examine an astronaut’s suit; learn how bodily organs work together, and explore an underwater kelp forest and polar research station. This (see California Science Center) is a great place for kids of all ages.
This (see The Getty Center) is one of LA’s great community draws, offering fantastic city-wide views, art exhibitions, gardens, tours, and lectures. Many live musical performances are free too. You only pay for parking, but LA Metro buses stop right at the entrance.
5801 Wilshire Blvd • 323-857-6300 • www.tarpits.org
You can wander around the tar pits and the life-size prehistoric animal models, and contemplate the 40,000 years of hot bubbling asphalt without charge, but paid admission is required for the adjacent Page Museum and its impressive fossil collection.
During the summer on Tuesday, Thursday, and some Friday mornings from 9am to noon, you can sit in the historic bowl (see Hollywood Bowl) and watch rehearsals. The outdoor setting is gorgeous, so bring a picnic lunch. The adjacent Hollywood Bowl Museum is also free.
The final resting places of famous movie stars are located across the LA area. Hollywood Forever hands out a map to help you find your favorite celebrity. All are open to the public.
LACMA sponsors free one-hour concerts every weekend. From April to November, you’ll hear jazz on Friday nights and classical on Sundays. Concerts start at 5 or 6pm. From June to August, on Saturday evenings, it’s Latin music. Venues are either the BP Grand Entrance or the Bing Theatre.
Many museums that are free one day a week or once a month.
Get half-price theater tickets for selected plays through Theatre in LA.
A 1- to 7-day pass to nearly 30 attractions, museums, and tours.
Put together a picnic of reasonably priced fresh, local food from outdoor markets located throughout LA.
On late weekday afternoons, many restaurants offer discounted menu items in the bar area.
Senior citizens qualify for substantial discounts on transportation, museum admissions, movies, and Hollywood Bowl concerts.
If staying multiple days, you don’t need a car. Anaheim hotels run free or low-cost shuttles to Disneyland.
Selected lots at Metro Rail and Metrolink stations have free parking for transit users.
Credit unions, teacher unions, and the Auto Club sometimes offer slightly discounted tickets. Never buy a partly used pass from anybody.
GasBuddy (www.gasbuddy.com) has up-to-date prices for all local gas stations.