Family Fun in LA on a Budget

Summer camp, free museums and much more

Now that school is out and summer has arrived, it's time to keep the kids entertained and make the most of their free time. Luckily, Los Angeles and its surrounding areas offer an abundance of fun and affordable activities for the whole family to enjoy.

L.A. County Parks & Recreation Summer 2023
Photo: L.A. County Parks & Recreation

L.A. County Summer

It’s time for your kids to have an unforgettable summer adventure with Los Angeles County Parks & Recreation! They offer an incredible lineup of summer day camps and endless summer programs at recreation centers and outdoor parks throughout Los Angeles. While some camps have a fee, they are a steal compared to pricey commercial camps.

Amazing programs like Everybody Plays, Everybody Swims and Parks After Dark are packed with thrilling activities that will ignite your child's imagination, encourage social interaction, and foster new friendships. L.A. County Parks provide plenty of wallet-friendly options, ensuring that families can create an electrifying and enriching summer experience for their kids.

West African Dance Night at Dance DTLA
West African Dance Night at Dance DTLA | Photo: The Music Center
West African Dance Night at Dance DTLA
West African Dance Night at Dance DTLA | Photo: The Music Center

Dance DTLA (through Aug. 18, 2023)

If your kids have caught the dance bug, it's time for the whole family to boogie together! The Music Center's Dance DTLA summer series is back for nine enchanting nights of fun. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, there's something for everyone with free lessons that will have you moving and grooving. Get ready to learn awesome and easy-to-follow steps that will make you a dance star on the floor. The best part? No dance experience is needed to join in on the excitement. Discover different dance styles, make new friends, while being taught free lessons from LA's finest dance instructors. Enjoy vibrant music, art-making workshops, delicious food, refreshing drinks, and surprises galore.

Angels Flight Top Station
Angels Flight Top Station at California Plaza | Photo: @finalgravityus, Instagram

Angels Flight

Step aboard the historic Angels Flight, "the world's shortest railway" that takes passengers on a ride between Hill Street and Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill. Dating to 1901, this iconic landmark has delighted more than 100 million riders with its unique hillside track. After undergoing extensive renovations, Angels Flight reopened in 2017, reclaiming its place in Downtown LA. Experience the charm and history of this beloved LA attraction, an affordable adventure for the whole family with a fare of just $1 each way.

After the ride, satisfy your cravings at nearby eateries like Grand Central Market - the acclaimed food hall is known for its delectable global options and is located across Hill Street from Angel Flight's Lower Station.

Get Dirty Zone at the Natural History Museum
Get Dirty Zone | Photo: Natural History Museum
Saber-toothed cat from Ice Age Encounters at the La Brea Tar Pits
Ice Age Encounters | Photo: La Brea Tar Pits


Calling all young adventurers! Get ready for an epic museum exploration in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, where the fun never stops and admission is on the house. That's right, many of LA's captivating museums offer free entry for an exciting and affordable experience for kids and their families. So grab your explorer hats and let's dive into this incredible museum-hopping journey.

  • Prepare to be amazed at the California Science Center, where young minds can explore and learn about the wonders of science without spending a dime. Let your family's curiosity run wild as you delve into mind-boggling discoveries and permanent exhibits like the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
  • Travel through 4.5 billion years of time at the Natural History Museum, from the world's only T-rex growth series to Becoming Los Angeles and the 3.5-acre Nature Gardens. Mark your calendars kids, because admission is free Monday through Friday from 3-5 pm!
  • Attention all future paleontologists: the world-famous La Brea Tar Pits await your discovery! Dig into the world of prehistoric animals and fascinating fossils at the Tar Pits, all without spending a penny. Plan your dig and explore the museum for free on weekdays from 3pm to 5pm.
  • After you've unearthed the ancient wonders of the Tar Pits, head to the adjacent Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which shares the same admission price and hours. To make the most of your visit, plan to arrive early and enjoy a delightful picnic on museum grounds before immersing yourself in the inspiring works of art and fossils.
Hollywood Bowl daytime
Photo: L.A. County Department of Parks & Recreation

LA Phil Rehearsals - Hollywood Bowl

Experience the magic of one of LA's best-kept secrets: free LA Phil rehearsals at the iconic Hollywood Bowl! It's the perfect summer outing for music fans of all ages, offering an authentic orchestra experience at no cost. Enjoy open seating, easy parking, and a relaxed atmosphere with minimal crowds at one of the city's most renowned venues.

Vineland Drive-In & Swap Meet in the City of Industry
Photo: Vineland Drive-In

Vineland Drive-In

While there are numerous pop-up movie events held in parks and various locations throughout the city, none quite capture the nostalgia like drive-in theaters do. Experience the magic at the Pacific Theatres Summer Series, screening on Saturdays at the Vineland Drive-In in the City of Industry. If you're searching for an affordable way to enjoy the latest summer blockbuster, gather the kids, pack your snacks, and enjoy an old-school outdoor movie night. Even if you're running late and forgot to bring treats, don't worry - the Vineland offers a fully stocked concession stand with pocket-friendly prices for popcorn and sweets. General Admission is $10 for ages 9 and up; $5 for Children (ages 5-8); and FREE for kids under 5.

Cardboard Yacht Regatta at the Annenberg Community Beach House
Cardboard Yacht Regatta | Photo: Annenberg Community Beach House

Annenberg Community Beach House

The Annenberg Community Beach House is a one-of-a-kind gathering spot that blends past and present with historical charm and modern amenities. Take in the breathtaking views, cool off on the refreshing splash pad, and let your kid’s imagination run wild on the playground. If you're looking for a cozy spot to relax while your kids have an exciting place to play, the Annenberg has you covered. There's free Wi-Fi if you’re a working parent; courts and fields; and a busy calendar filled with cultural programs and community events like Seaside Storytime and the annual Cardboard Yacht Regatta. Don't miss the chance to take a dip in the historic pool! Daily price for pool admission is $4 for ages 1-17 and only $10 for adults.

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