100 Free Things to Do in Los Angeles: Free Arts and Culture

Watts Towers | Photo courtesy of photogreedy.com, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool 
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Love arts and culture? Lucky for you that Los Angeles is the city for cutting-edge art and diverse cultures. Luckier for you that much of it is free.

17.    Explore L.A.’s architecture: Los Angeles is full of architectural treasures from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as more recent additions. Get more info about L.A.’s cutting-edge architecture.

18.    Enjoy L.A.’s murals: These city treasures tell stories of the cultural past, present and future, of the hopes and dreams of the City of Angels. Visitors can find many of L.A.’s murals in Metro Stations, or visit the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles for complete information.

19.    El Pueblo Historical Monument: Learn about L.A.’s birthplace at the site of its original settlement in 1781.

20.    Olvera Street: Visitors can shop, listen to mariachi music, watch folkloric dances and dine at several authentic Mexican restaurants. Tour the Avila Adobe, the oldest existing house in L.A. Other restored historic buildings include the Old Plaza Church and the Old Plaza Firehouse.

21.    Leimert Park Village: Located in the heart of the Crenshaw district, Leimert Park Village lures tourists with the distinct African American culture of its shops, art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and jazz clubs.

22.    Downtown L.A. Art Walk: Check out the latest and hippest at the Downtown L.A. Art Walk, which occurs the second Thursday of the month.

23.    Abbot Kinney First Fridays: Support locally owned businesses in Venice by stopping by what is becoming one of L.A.’s top art walks. Read more about the art walk.
24.    Chinatown Art Nights: Discover the modern side of Chinatown by checking out the quarterly art walks along Chung King Road. The scene is surprisingly hip and young. See which galleries to visit.

25.    San Pedro Art Walk: San Pedro’s 1st Thursday Art Walk has flown under the radar since its inception in 1996, but in the last few years, both locals and cruise-ship tourists from the nearby Port of Los Angeles have flocked to the area to experience San Pedro’s tight-knit artists’ community, impromptu street performances and conversation-worthy art — all classic ingredients for a great art walk. 
26.    Little Ethiopia: Discover the refreshingly authentic scene in Little Ethiopia, where you can smell turmeric and berebere as colorful African pop blares from store radios.

27.    Little Tokyo: Lovers of all things Japanese will have to make Little Tokyo a stop. Take a self-guided tour of the National Historic Landmark District’s cultural sights. 

28.    Chinatown: For many, the best way to approach Chinatown is as an urban adventure — not into China, but into a distinct culture both Chinese and American. As the first established Chinatown in America, the area quivers with cultural history, woven into a now-modern and bustling community.

29.    NoHo: The NoHo (short for North Hollywood) Arts District is a square-mile area that is quickly turning into one of L.A.’s artsier communities, with galleries, public art, theaters, boutiques, vintage clothing stores, ethnic restaurants and outdoor cafes. Check out the must-sees.

30.    Watts Towers: Watts Towers represent 33 years of work by an Italian immigrant construction worker who made the project his life. Similar in many ways to the style of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, the 17 interconnected structures represent a striking example of the American Naive art movement.