Free Things to Do in South LA

Watts Towers in South Los Angeles
Watts Towers  |  Photo:  Yuri Hasegawa

One of LA's most culturally rich and diverse regions, South LA includes Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Inglewood, Leimert Park, West Adams and more. Free activities include a guided tour outside the iconic Watts Towers, the Museum of African American Art at Macy's Baldwin Hills Crenshaw, and a visit to Leimert Park, dubbed "the Black Greenwich Village" by the late John Singleton.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have limited hours. Check individual websites for the latest updates.

Part 1

Founded as a ranching community in the late 19th century, Watts is best known for the iconic Watts Towers, handmade sculptures that were created by Sabato ("Simon") Rodia over a 33-year period from 1921 to 1954. Other cultural landmarks include the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), a seven-acre nonprofit arts facility dedicated to improving the quality of life for South LA residents; and the Watts Coffee House, a community hub known for its delicious soul food.

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Watts Towers

Free guided tours outside the fence during restoration.

Part 2
Leimert Park

Dubbed the “Black Greenwich Village” by the late filmmaker John Singleton, the historic neighborhood of Leimert Park is widely regarded as the cultural hub for African Americans in L.A. Leimert Park's cultural must-sees include Eso Won Books, the landmark Vision Theatre, Art + Practice, The World Stage, Project Blowed at KAOS Network, and the legendary drum circle.

The famous drum circle at Leimert Plaza Park
Leimert Plaza Park

The famed drum circle is always a highlight during a visit.

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Art + Practice

Exhibition space dedicated to celebrating artists of color.

Taji Wraps at Leimert Plaza Park
Leimert Park Art Walk

Family friendly event on the last Sunday of every month.

Part 3
West Adams

West Adams is one of LA's oldest neighborhoods - many of its notable buildings were built between 1880 and 1925. With its Victorian mansions and Craftsman bungalows, it was once known as the wealthiest district in the city, home to Downtown LA businessmen and USC professors. West Adams later became a favorite of African American stars like Ray Charles, Little Richard, Joe Louis, and Hattie McDaniel. West Adams is also home to two key buildings designed by renowned architect Paul Revere Williams: the First AME Church, LA's oldest African American congregation; and the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building, now part of the South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC).

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First AME Church

Established in 1872 under the sponsorship of Biddy Mason.

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South Central Los Angeles Regional Center

Restored Paul Williams building with two landmark murals.

Part 4
Baldwin Hills

Situated west of Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills is renowned for Village Green (originally named Baldwin Hills Village), a National Historic Landmark built in 1942; Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Kenneth Hahn State Regional Park, and one of LA's most unique museums, the Museum of African American Art - a hidden gem discreetly located on the 3rd floor of Macy's Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

"African Forms" exhibit at the Museum of African American Art
Museum of African American Art

Hidden gem located on the 3rd floor of Macy's.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Miles of trails, an MLK memorial, and beautiful sunsets.

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Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Enjoy 360-degree views of LA on a clear day.