14 Free Things You Can Do in DTLA Right Now
Did we get you with the word “free”? We promise, there’s no bait and switch here. There are tons of intriguing things to do in DTLA that won’t cost you a penny. When you’re in the heart of DTLA, as our lovely WREN Apartments are, you get to benefit from a vibrant area bursting with culture. Consequently, we have a whopping 14 suggestions for a day or more of highly affordable fun.
1. Exposition Park Museums
*image from Natural History Museum’s Facebook
This is definitely the most bang for your (unneeded) buck. Exposition Park features several awesome museums that are either free all the time or for a certain day of the month:
- The Natural History Museum is free every first Tuesday
- The California African American Museum is free Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The California Science Center allows free admission to permanent exhibits every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2. Grand Performances
*image from Grand Performance’s FB
Grand Performances is a pretty well-known event so it may not surprise you that it’s on our “things to do in DTLA” list. Throughout the summer, Grand Park features a cool concert series that showcases dance, theater, and music performances.
3. Eagle Rock Brewery
*From Eagle Rock Brewery’s FB
Before you drop everything and speed toward Eagle Rock, we have to be clear that this is not a free beer type situation. But, what you do get is a no-cost tour of the brewery, which is still pretty nice! Tours are usually on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m.
4. The Broad
When we talk about the top things to do in DTLA, The Broad often comes up. Here, you’ll find an impressive 120,000 square feet of contemporary art. If you don’t go for the free admission into the permanent collections, then just go to admire the architecture of the $140 million building.
5. Los Angeles Times
*image from LA TImes
The Los Angeles Times Building has been a staple of DTLA for over 80 years. Whether you read the paper or not, you have to admire the history and style of the structure. Plus, touring a printing facility is actually really fascinating. Keep in mind that you’ll need to make an appointment.
6. Wells Fargo History Museum
*image from Wells Fargo Museum-History
Aside from what Wells Fargo may be doing in the here and now, we can all probably recognize that it’s an integral piece of American banking and finance history. The Wells Fargo History Museum displays interesting bank equipment and art that’s over 100 years old. As such, we’ve made it one of our free things to do in DTLA. Tours are available by appointment.
7. Japanese American National Museum
*image from the Japanese American National Museum FB
The Japanese American National Museum not only provides insight into the disgraceful period of the World War II internment camps, but it also exhibits modern pieces from Japanese American artists. It’s free every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (with every third Thursday being totally free).
8. Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum
*image from FIDM museum’s FB
Los Angeles is on a plethora of “fashion capitals of the world” lists so it’s only appropriate that there’s a museum to honor it. Here, you can learn about various high-end fashion trends throughout time.
9. Bradbury Building
*image from the LA Conservancy
The Bradbury Building has been in so many movies, TV shows, and music videos, there’s no way we could provide a list in this post! If you’re into pop culture, this is one of the free things to do in DTLA that you must do. We also suggest examining its stunning 19th-century architecture.
10. Elysian Park
*image from Elysian Park’s Website
So, we could tell you about the biking and hiking path at Elysian Park, but what really matters is the “secret” rope swing at the top of the hill. It’s a fun way to take in breathtaking views of Los Angeles.
11. Avila Adobe
*image from Wikipedia
Certified as a California Historical Landmark, Avila Adobe is the oldest surviving residence in Los Angeles. “How old?”, you might ask. It was constructed in 1818 — well before California became a state. OLD!
12. The City Hall Secret
*image from Time Out LA
Shhhh…don’t tell anyone, but there are things to do in DTLA that are “under the radar”. The 27th floor of City Hall has an observation deck where you can take in stunning DTLA views. The trick is to get off on the 26th floor and go to the observation deck staircase.
It might not be fair to include these two in the list since they’re not in DTLA proper, but Griffith Park and the Canals are among the coolest free things to do in all of the town, which is why we thought they deserved an honorable mention.
13. Griffith Park
Griffith Park is another place where you can hit up more than one neat experience. On a Tuesday, the horses and cowboys of Autry Museum of the American West are available to you at no cost. And then, if you want to feel the hair stand up on the back of your neck, you can check out the notoriously haunted abandoned zoo.
14. Venice Canals
Okay, so we know this is over 10 miles from downtown but it’s just so cute! You don’t have to own a boat to relish the three blocks of Italian-inspired canals. There’s plenty of moseying that you can do on foot in this utterly delightful area.
And with that, we’ll wish you a wonderful and inexpensive outing!
If you’re wondering why we put this list together, we at WREN tend to immerse ourselves in all things Downtown LA. Our goal is to provide people with the tools necessary to be able to make the most out of living in Los Angeles. As a case in point, when we’re not cataloging all the things to do in DTLA, we’re operating an award-winning apartment community in LA’s South Park neighborhood. We offer our residents purposefully elegant amenities that complement spaciously beautiful apartment homes. We might even venture to say that we’re a perfect fit for you! So, why not get to know us better?