Free Things to Do in Downtown LA

Exterior of Walt Disney Concert Hall at night
Walt Disney Concert Hall | Photo: Candice Montgomery, Flickr
Overview

The historic heart of Los Angeles, Downtown LA features an extraordinary range of free attractions, from the birthplace of LA and world-class museums to culturally diverse neighborhoods and hidden gardens. Discover DTLA with free activities in the Historic Core, Grand Avenue, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and Exposition Park.


Part 1
Downtown LA

From City Hall and the Central Library to two of LA's most unique museums, this sampling of free Downtown LA attractions is just the tip of the iceberg.


Primary image for Los Angeles Central Public Library
Los Angeles Central Public Library

One-hour docent-lead tour of the historic 1926 building.

My Next Trip
Atrium of the Bradbury Building in Downtown LA
Bradbury Building

The stunning atrium stars in "Blade Runner" and Film Noirs.

My Next Trip
Timeline at Biddy Mason Memorial Park in Downtown LA
Biddy Mason Park

View a timeline of the legendary "grandmother of LA."

My Next Trip
Primary image for Los Angeles City Hall
Los Angeles City Hall

Enjoy 360-degree views on the 27th-floor observation deck.

My Next Trip
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels

The Modernist cathedral rises 11 stories above Temple St.

My Next Trip
Primary image for The African American Firefighter Museum
The African American Firefighter Museum

Housed in the historic Fire Station #30 on Central Avenue.

My Next Trip
The Hive Gallery & Studios at Downtown LA Art Walk
Downtown LA Art Walk

Explore 12 blocks of galleries and studios.

My Next Trip
Part 2
Grand Avenue

Several of LA's cultural crown jewels are located within a three-block stretch of Grand Avenue, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, The Broad, MOCA, and Grand Park. And you can visit them all for free!


Primary image for The Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Music Center's Walt Disney Concert Hall

Take a self-guided audio tour of the home of the LA Phil.

My Next Trip
Primary image for The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

Tour the home of LA Opera and site of 20+ Oscars.

My Next Trip
Primary image for The Broad
The Broad

Eli and Edythe Broad's striking contemporary art museum.

My Next Trip
Primary image for Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

LA's only artist-founded museum was founded in 1979.

My Next Trip
Primary image for Gloria Molina Grand Park
Gloria Molina Grand Park

12-acre park hosts free community events and cultural fests.

My Next Trip
Part 3
El Pueblo de Los Angeles

Known as the birthplace of LA, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (aka Los Angeles Plaza Historic District) offers numerous free attractions, including the bustling marketplace, Olvera Street; La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a renowned center of Mexican American culture; David Alfaro Siqueiros's 1932 mural, América Tropical; and Avila Adobe, originally built in 1818 and LA’s oldest house still standing in its original location.


Olvera Street
Olvera Street

The colorful marketplace opened on Easter Sunday in 1930.

My Next Trip
Primary image for LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

Renowned as a premier center of Mexican American culture.

My Next Trip
América Tropical Interpretive Center on Olvera Street in Downtown LA
America Tropical Interpretive Center

The influential mural is located above Olvera Street.

My Next Trip
Interior of Avila Adobe on Olvera Street
Avila Adobe

LA’s oldest house still standing in its original location.

My Next Trip
La Placita Church in Downtown LA
La Placita Church

The neighborhood parish church was founded in 1814.

My Next Trip
Part 4
Chinatown

A must-see for its traditional Chinese cuisine, modern eateries, and a thriving gallery scene, Chinatown also hosts popular events like Lunar New Year and KCRW's annual summer series, Chinatown Summer Nights. Be sure to snap a selfie with the Bruce Lee statue, or plan a picnic at nearby Los Angeles State Historic Park.


Bruce Lee statue in Chinatown's Central Plaza
Bruce Lee statue

The massive statue is located in Chinatown's Central Plaza.

My Next Trip
Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown
Thien Hau Temple

A Chinatown must-see, especially around Lunar New Year.

My Next Trip
Primary image for Los Angeles State Historic Park
Los Angeles State Historic Park

Picnic tables, outdoor art and more at this 32-acre park.

My Next Trip
Part 5
Little Tokyo

The largest of three official Japantowns in the U.S., Little Tokyo was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1995. Besides the great shopping and dining, Little Tokyo offers free attractions like the internationally renowned Japanese American National Museum; the award-winning James Irvine Japanese Garden at JACCC; and the rooftop Kyoto Gardens at DoubleTree by Hilton.


Primary image for Japanese American National Museum
Japanese American National Museum

Free admission to the acclaimed museum every Thursday.

My Next Trip
James Irvine Japanese Garden
James Irvine Japanese Garden

Hidden gem inspired by the famed gardens of Kyoto, Japan.

My Next Trip
Primary image for DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown
Kyoto Gardens

Rooftop oasis with cascading waterfalls and tranquil ponds.

My Next Trip
Part 6
Exposition Park

Located just south of USC, Exposition Park is home to some of LA's greatest sports venues and museums, including Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Banc of CA Stadium, California African American Museum, CA Science Center, Natural History Museum, and the upcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. You can stroll the Rose Garden, view the Space Shuttle Endeavour, learn about African American cultural heritage, or travel through 4.5 billion years of history - all for free.


Entrance to the California African American Museum (CAAM) in Exposition Park
California African American Museum

Discover African American history and cultural heritage.

My Next Trip
Space Shuttle "Endeavour" at the California Science Center
California Science Center

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is a bucket list LA exhibit.

My Next Trip
"Dueling Dinos" in the Grand Foyer of the Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Free on first Tuesdays and free hours for Angelenos Mon-Fri.

My Next Trip
Primary image for Exposition Park
Exposition Park

The Rose Garden is popular for weddings and photos.

My Next Trip