100 Free Things to Do in Los Angeles: Free Activities

Photo courtesy of Mark Luethi, Flickr

Free activities here and free activities there! Wherever you look, L.A.'s got your budget covered. The first installment of 100 free things to do in Los Angeles is to get out there and do stuff. So what are you waiting for? Discover L.A. today.

1.    Cruise Mulholland Drive: One of the world’s most famous scenic drives, Mulholland winds from the Hollywood Hills, across the spine of the Santa Monica Mountains, and west towards the Pacific Ocean. More details.

2.    Check out PCH: Pacific Coast Highway is a sun-drenched road that hugs the coastline and is undoubtedly one of L.A.’s signature drives. More details.

3.    Experience the Sunset Strip: Few other roads have the multiple personalities of this legendary 1.5-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard. See what’s happening on the Sunset Strip.

4.    Step into Hollywood history: The forecourt of TCL Chinese Theatre has been one of the most popular free attractions since the 1920s, when actress Norma Talmadge accidentally stepped in wet cement during the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings. Movie fans from around the world compare their hands and feet to those of stars past and present.

5.    Get photographed with a star: Speaking of movie stars (and other pop culture figures), at Madame Tussauds Hollywood you never know which famous wax figure will be on display near the box office entrance off Hollywood Boulevard, a free photo opp waiting to happen. For example, in the fall of 2011, the attraction featured Robert Pattinson for a limited time, to the delight of Twilight fans everywhere.

6.    Walk the walk in Venice: Chainsaw jugglers, swamis on rollerblades, street dancers...the most amazing street entertainers in the world are at Venice Beach. Get the local’s perspective on Venice.

7.    Window shop Rodeo Drive: Treasure hunt and star gaze along famed Rodeo Drive in tony Beverly Hills, home of the rich and super rich. See other shopping neighborhoods in L.A.

8.    Watch TV live: Be a part of a studio audience for your favorite television shows and game shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Tickets are free, but must be obtained in advance. Get on a game show.

9.    Treepeople: This L.A.-based nonprofit organization has helped spearhead the ecotourism industry by offering numerous opportunities for visitors to volunteer. For more than 30 years, Treepeople has helped plant and care for trees, while educating people about the environment.

10.    Take a walking tour of Downtown: With so many free cultural attractions, Downtown L.A. has become one of the city's best places to see the sights for free.

11.    Follow the paparazzi: Witnessing the paparazzi portion of the star-making cycle is an authentic L.A. experience, and totally free. Check out the top places to celeb watch.

12.    Star gaze at Griffith Observatory: To learn about stars that are truly out of this world, the exhibitions and displays in this painstakingly renovated Griffith Park landmark are all free, as is an introductory video about the building and its contents.

13.    See the reality behind reality TV: Whether it’s watching the American Idol finale live, or dropping into a Top Chef restaurant, reality TV fans have plenty of places to see throughout Los Angeles.

14.    Explore L.A.’s Fashion District: The people-watching alone makes the Fashion District one of L.A.’s premier shopping destinations and an experience all its own. Read more about the L.A. Fashion District.

15.    Dance, dance, dance: You don’t always have to pay a cover charge to get your groove on in the L.A. dance scene. Great clubs without covers can be found in most neighborhoods, you just need to know where to look. Check out the hottest nightlife in L.A.

16.    Explore Exposition Park: Five major cultural attractions are within walking distance of each other in the USC/Exposition Park area, so be sure to take advantage of this walking tour.