Ah, family time in LA –– smiles and laughter, sibling bonding, new memories, and of course, the slow drip of fear that builds into a mounting frustration with every dollar you spend. While we love the perma-sunshine and have no complaints about beach days all year, the reality of living in LA is that quality time often comes with a price tag. Not naming any names, but those D*&sney tickets ain’t cheap. We’re not saying that it’s not worth it to shell out every once in a while, but we ARE saying that every once in a while doesn’t have to mean every weekend.
More stuff doesn’t necessarily mean more fun. LA actually offers so many free activities, places, and events. Don’t believe us (Wow. you really are jaded, friend)? Here’s a few of our favorite free activities.
LA Brea Tar Pits
Perfect for the slime-video lover in the family, the La Brea Tar Pits provide an afternoon of gooey and free fun. Take a spin around the park and learn about how the prehistoric sludge has preserved fossils and ancient creatures –– just try not to fall in 👀
The Griffith Observatory is the Hollywood sign's less famous neighbor, but it’s not any less fun. Peer through telescopes, ooh and ah in the planetarium, and get some of the best views of the city. The best part? It’s always free.
Take A Hike
Museums aren’t for everyone. And by everyone, we mean extremely unpredictable toddlers who want to touch everything with sticky hands. If your kids are under four year old, you should probably just skip the lines and get outside. We've got hiking gear for the fam. LA offers so many ways to spend time in nature with great parks and hikes. Feeling beachy? Head over to Redondo Beach to play in the waves and grab a bite on the main drag. People watching more your thing? Run around Runyon Canyon and see how many celebrities you can find. Dont’ sweat the supplies though, we got you.
Plan A Picnic
Ok, so unless you want to a snackless picnic, you might need to actually buy a few things. We’ll cover the essentials if you cruise through the farmers market and grab a few treats. Our fave picnic spots? Echo Park Lake, Venice Beach, and the Getty grounds (free admission after paying for parking).
Experiences shouldn’t be expensive. We’re all for the occasional indulgence or a weekend away with the kids, but a budget should never stop you from carving out quality time with family. We get it. It can feel hard to hack a cheaper weekend in LA when it feels like there are expenses around every corner. We really feel you on that, but this city offers so much without asking for anything in return, if you just know where to look.