71 Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids

Train-obsessed kids will love this Griffith Park gem. Photo courtesy of Travel Town
Train-obsessed kids will love this Griffith Park gem. Photo courtesy of Travel Town
6/2/23 - By Roberta B

Free things to do in Los Angeles are sprawling across Southern California, providing complimentary settings for summer fun. The water parks are open, camps are starting, and your wallet is draining faster than a contaminated kiddie pool— but never fear because there are so many free things to do in Los Angeles with kids in the summer. There are plenty of amusement parks and attractions that allow kids in for free. You can also take advantage of all the city's free museum days. Then, look at the list below and create your bucket list of free fun for kids in LA. 

Want some ideas for free summer fun at home? Check out our Ultimate Summer Bucket List Ideas: 100 (Mostly) Free Outdoor Games and Activities for Kids.


To get more free fun at home and in your town delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletters—and discover all the free events and activities near you in our Los Angeles Free Things To Do with Kids Guide.

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Best Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids

1. Chug over to Travel Town

Take your train-obsessed tot over to Travel Town in Griffith Park. While a ride on the train isn't free, entrance to the grounds where you can see all the trains (and even see some ongoing preservation work taking place) is always free, seven days a week.

2. Go on a grunion run

These slippery little fish light up the beaches on summer evenings.

3. Attend a free summer concert

From The Getty on the westside to the Levitt Pavilion in MacArthur Park, there are plenty of chances to catch free live music this summer. 

4. Attend a free summer movie

Nothing is better on a warm summer night than an outdoor movie—especially when it's free. There are free movie screenings all over the city this summer. Some are big affairs with food trucks and attractions, while others are cozy and bring-your-own-chair events. All are sure to create fond summer memories. 

5. Cool off at a splash pad

There are splash pads all across the city, the perfect way to beat the heat for free!

RELATED: Beach Playgrounds in LA & OC

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Hit the beach

Zuma Beach is a great beach for kids. Photo by Ben and Rachel Apps/Flickr

6. Hang 10 at one of these kid-friendly beaches

The coast is packed with excellent beaches that are free to visit, though sometimes parking for free can be a challenge. Mother's Beach provides a gentle seaside spot for toddlers, while Zuma Beach in Malibu will give bigger kids the perfect body-surfing rip curls. 

7. Visit Wattles Garden Park

Discover this hidden park in the Hollywood Hills.

8. Admire unique art at the Broad Museum

Learn about modern art at this DTLA museum on Bunker Hill. Free museum tickets go fast, so be sure to register online well in advance of the date you'd like to visit, especially if you're hoping to take a peek in Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room. 

9. See a movie on the beach

Catch a family-friendly film on the sand this summer at Newport Dunes Resort, for free. Just bring blankets and snacks.

10. Sled the giant sand hill at Point Mugu

The giant sand hill is a Malibu icon and a right of passage for any Southern California kid. This one isn't built just for sledding in the winter—kids can sled here in the summer, too. 

11. Join a guided family birding walk with the Los Angeles Audubon Society

The organization leads guided walks in parks all over the city. Space is limited so sign up in advance!

12. Visit the California Science Center

While tickets to the IMAX are not free, entrance to the museum is. You never have to pay a cent to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the sharks that live in the Kelp Forest, the touch tanks, and more.

13. Go to Grand Central Market

The food isn't free, but the sights, sounds, and smells sure are. And while some of the trendier lunch places are a little pricier, there are still spots where you can get cheap candy or fruits to snack on. Grand Central Market is also steps away from Angel's Flight, an iconic LA attraction that isn't free, but it is only $2 per ticket. 

14. Visit one of our favorite parks

These great green spaces in the middle of our city are perfect for picnics, playing ball, and just relaxing under a shady tree.

RELATED: Best Botanical Gardens for Los Angeles Kids, Plus Cool Hidden Oases

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Hollywood Forever Cemetery 
Stroll the grounds and take in Hollywood history. Photo courtesy of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

15. Walk among the graves of the famous at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

See the last resting places of film and music stars, and visit more than 50 peacocks, and 70+ cats that call the cemetery home. 

16. Discover hidden staircases

Painted stairs are hiding in plain sight in the hills of Silver Lake and Echo Park.

17. Walk along the Venice Canals

These man-made wetland canals by Venice Beach, built in 1905 by the developer Abbot Kinney, make for a fun walk with kids where they can look for boats and birds before swinging by the popular Abbot Kinney Boulevard for a snack.

18. Ride in the Venice Electric Light Parade

Every Sunday, Venice locals hop on their bikes in neon outfits to promote bike safety and ride through the streets. Kids (and parents) can join the ride with their own brighly decorated bikes, or watch from the sidewalks. 

19. Wave to a sea lion at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Seeing the sea lions at the Laguna Beach rescue center is free (though donations are appreciated). The center is open daily from 10am to 4pm, and reservations are required for groups of 10 or more. 

20. Or catch a ocean friend at the Marine Mammal Care Center

This is another free place to see rescued marine life. Reserve your spot online to visit Friday to Monday from 10am to 4pm. A donation of $5 per person is suggested, but not required.

RELATED: Best Dance Classes for Kids in Los Angeles: Ballet, Hip Hop, Toddler 

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Dance under the stars in DTLA 
Dance under the stars in DTLA. Photo courtesy of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles

21. Dance Downtown

Swing, samba, or dance as the sun sets on Friday evenings in DTLA this summer.

22. Marvel at the peacocks at the LA Arboretum

The third Tuesday of every month is a free day. Just remember that tickets for free days must be booked in advance.

23. Wander The Hammer Museum

The Hammer Museum in Westwood is home to eclectic artwork, from the classics to groundbreaking modern works. Best of all, it's always free. 

24. Drive to Van Nuys Blvd's Mural Mile

Check out the city's vibrant street art scene. This giant mural is over 300 feet wide. Looking for more street art? We know just where to find it

25. See a live recording of a TV show at one of the local studios.

Catch a taping of Kimmel, The Voice, and more, all for free. There are several ticket distributors so be sure to check all of the sites to find your favorite show. Pay attention to age requirements, as some shows are 16 or 18 and up. 

26. Enjoy the facilities at the Annenberg Beach House

The splash pad, playground, and beach area are all free and open to the public year-round. The pool area has more limited hours and charges an entry fee. 

RELATED: The Best Playgrounds with Shade in Los Angeles

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Universal CityWalk 
Entertainment awaits at Universal CityWalk. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios

27. Explore Universal CityWalk after dark

The lights, the sounds, and the music provide hours of entertainment. While you may have to put up a penny or two for parking, there are plenty of free photo ops, shops to browse, and live performers to admire without having to pony up too much cash. 

28. Go tidepooling at Leo Carrillo State Park

From crabs to tiny octopuses, you never know what you'll find lurking in these pools. 

29. MOCA Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo and MOCA Grand on Bunker Hill are always free

Explore modern art for free at two different locations; free tickets are available online.

30. Take a bike ride

We've got river, beach, and park paths all over the city where no cars are allowed. 

31. Visit the Avila Adobe, LA's oldest house

Yes, Los Angeles is actually a historic city! Learn more about the early days of the Pueblo at the Avila Adobe on a free tour.

32. Meander through Ferndell 

This perfect grotto in Griffith Park has easy walking trails for little legs. Nestled in the trees is a whimsical playground, with a cafe across the road. 

RELATED: Insider's Guide to Griffith Park: More Things to do Than Most Angelenos Know

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Visit Greystone Mansion

Welcome to my mansion! Greystone Mansion is a great place for outdoor hide-and-seek. Photo by Meghan Rose

33. Pretend to be royalty at Greystone Mansion

Greystone is open to the public and you can tour the grounds seven days a week, though check the website for daily closures as it's a frequent filming location. The whole family can relax at this gorgeous public park in Beverly Hills with rolling green hills, turtle ponds, and just a great atmosphere for pretending that you're a knight defending a castle. 

34. Keep learning over the summer at the Wende Museum

Beat the heat indoors while learning about the Cold War at this little-known Culver City museum. Admission is always free and the museum is open Friday to Sunday. Play a round of chess at a monthly chess tournament, too. 

35. Participate in a beach clean-up

Heal the Bay hosts Nothin' But Sand beach cleanups at a different LA County beach each month. We all use these gorgeous beaches, so we all should help keep them clean.

36. Discover the prehistoric history of Los Angeles at the La Brea Tar Pits

The grounds are always free and LA County residents receive free admission to the museum Monday to Friday from 3-5pm, or you can get in for free through the Discover & Go Los Angeles Public Library program. 

37. Explore Balboa Island

Stroll about, window shop, look at all the boats, and don't forget to stop by the free Balboa Island Museum. Ask about the Kids Scavenger Hunt!

RELATED: Kid-Friendly Always-Free Museums in Los Angeles

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: The Getty 
Let the little ones interpret their version of art. Photo courtesy of Mommy Poppins

38. Immerse yourself in art at The Getty Center

Ok, we said art, but you're a parent. What we meant was, ride up and down the tram about 100 times with your kids. They just adore it. Take a break in the middle to chase them around the garden. And maybe see a little art.

39. Watch for whales from the shore

No need to pay for a boat ride, when you can search from shore with the experts at Point Vicente Interpretive Center.

40. Get caught up in the drama at Shakespeare by the Sea

Performances of Hamlet and Twelfth Night are performed Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for most of the summer. 

41. Experience the rich history of Olvera Street

Step back into history, as this is the oldest part of downtown LA. And while you're here, don't forget to grab a snack at Mr. Churro.

RELATED: Hiking in Los Angeles: The Best Hiking Trails for Families 

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Hike to the hollywood sign
Hike up Mt. Lee to see the Hollywood sign up close. Photo by David Fulmer/CC BY 2.0 

42. Hike up to the Hollywood sign

You can't get quite all the way to the letters anymore, but you can come pretty darn close! And every kid growing up in LA needs to do this once.

43. Attend a Star Party at the Griffith Observatory

Once a month, the Griffith Observatory hosts a free Star Party. Amateur astronomers are on hand to answer any questions you have about the cosmos.

44. Window shop at Westfield Century City 

Who says you have to buy anything at the mall? Stroll around the gorgeous outdoor Westfield Century City, and take the kids to the first floor play space after you peruse the shops.  

45. See where your favorite TV show (or movie) was filmed

See the Brady Bunch house, the Bat Cave, and some other famous filming locations that don't begin with "B." 

46. Explore the Museum of the San Fernando Valley

Can you tell we just love these little-known free museums? Not only is admission free, but parking is free, too. 

47. Hike to a waterfall

After the rainstorms this winter, waterfalls are gushing all over LA. See them in all their glory this summer. 

RELATED: Wonderful Wildlife Hikes for Kids in Los Angeles 

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Roundhouse Aquarium in Manhattan Beach
Dive into ocean exploration. Photo courtesy of the Roundhouse Aquarium

48. Visit The Roundhouse Aquarium

The Roundhouse Aquarium welcomes families to the end of the Manhattan Beach Pier to meet the animals and learn about the ocean. Admission is free, though donations are always appreciated.

49. Take advantage of free admission days

Loads of museums and other venues have free days in LA and OC.

50. Read and browse at your local library (or check out a new one)

Not only is it free to borrow books (and take part in storytime and other activities), you can earn free treats by reading! We can't recommend the Cerritos Library enough. 

51. Stomp the divots at Will Rogers State Park

Free guided tours are offered of the house and grounds, and all summer long you can catch a free polo match on Saturday or Sunday.

52. Pay a visit to the historic Point Fermin Lighthouse

Historic Point Fermin Lighthouse near San Pedro is free, though a donation is suggested. There are also free guided tours in the afternoon!

RELATED: The Best Playgrounds in Los Angeles: They're Even Worth Crossing the 405

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: Picnic at the park 
Picnic in the park. Clover Park, photo courtesy of santamonica.gov

53. Pack lunch and head for a summery picnic spot

Some of our favorite locations include Lake Balboa, Polliwog Park, Brookside Park, and Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area (though note that you have to pay an entrance fee on weekends and holidays). 

54. Build a campfire at Dockweiler Beach

Visit one of LA County's most underrated beaches where there are 40 fire pits. Make sure to bring your chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows. 

55. Let kids play on the giant whale on the rooftop of Santa Monica Place

While you can't shop for free at the beach-adjacent mall, kids can have a blast playing on the rooftop. Then you can walk down to the Santa Monica Pier afterward. 

56. Sling arrows at one of LA's free archery clubs 

Teach your kids a unique new skill at one of the city's many free archery clubs. 

57. Enjoy an evening of astronomy at the Garvey Ranch Observatory

The Garvey Ranch location of the LA Astronomical Society hosts free public viewings every Wednesday night. 

58. Soak in some jazz at LACMA

LACMA offers free jazz concerts by some of the greatest musicians in the city on Friday nights in June. 

59. Search for posh pooches on Rodeo Drive

Strolling Rodeo is as iconically LA as hiking to the Hollywood Sign. And just as free. There's always a few sweater-clad poodles strolling down boulevards in Beverly Hills

60. Put your hands in the cement at Mann's Chinese Theatre

You can soak in some classic Hollywood, and stand where legends stood in front of Mann's Chinese Theatre. Then, stroll the Walk of Fame and look for your favorite celebrities. 

61. Browse records at Amoeba

While you'll have to pay if you fall in love with a vinyl, you can browse Amoeba for free, and take in a slice of the Hollywood music scene. 

Free Things To Do in Los Angeles This Summer with Kids: LA Sanitation & Environment Open House

It's all about the trucks. Photo courtesy of LA Sanitation & Environment

62. Ride in a real trash truck at an LA Sanitation & Environment Open House 

If you have a toddler who can't wait for trash day, then he or she will love these special open houses at LA Sanitation and Environment Yards in different Los Angeles locations. 

63. Visit the Getty Villa in Malibu 

We mentioned the Getty Center earlier, but this smaller Getty venue in Malibu is a sight to behold, and offers free family workshops throughout the summer. 

64. Attend a Summer Parks After Dark event 

From sports challenges to back to school bashes, these free events at 37 local parks are hosted by the LA County Parks and Rec department and are completely free. 

65. Taste fresh produce at a local farmers market

Whether you check out the Original Farmers Market in Mid-City, or choose a local market near your home, there are plenty of places with fresh fruits and veggies, along with a host of free samples all throughout LA. 

66. All aboard for a free train ride in Wilson Park

The Southern California Live Steamers offers free rides on their miniature train on the first Sunday, and the third Saturday of every month. 

Free things to do in Los Angeles this summer: Pacific Islander Festival 
Enjoy Hawaii without leaving the mainland. Photo courtesy of the Pacific Islander Festival

67. Pretend you are in Hawaii at a Pacific Islander festival 

There are several pacific islander festivals in LA this summer, including the Alondra Park Ho'olau'e'a and the Pacific Islander Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific. 

68. Celebrate Asian heritage at the Lotus Festival

This free festival at Echo Park Lake highlights a different Asian culture every year. 

69. Give babies some culture at OCMA

Orange County's newest art museum hosts special events for babies and toddlers on weekday mornings. 

70. Enjoy fireworks on the 4th of July at several free spots 

We update our fireworks guide annually, and note which shows are free to watch. Grand Park is the most popular event of them all, and both the block party and fireworks show are free every year. 

71. Climb Aboard Noah's Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center

Noah's Ark (and the rest of the Skirball) is free on Thursdays, though we suggest you reserve a visitation time in advance on their website. 

And don't forget there are always more free things to do in Los Angeles in our daily events calendar. Stay cool, and have (free) fun!