Of course we already know there are a ton of cool things to do in LA that are free (including not having to pay those sneaky parking fees) but did you know that this month you can score free ice cream, attend a Getty Center summer art festival and listen to music all month long without paying a dime? If you need additional inspiration for things to do with your kids around LA, check out our summer bucket list before school starts later this month.
Free, Kid-Friendly Events around LA in August
Free Kind Ice Cream Bars
Aug. 5-8: KIND loaded a food truck with plant-based frozen treats and hits the road and is coming to Santa Monica! The tour celebrates the brand’s non-dairy frozen treat selection including a new flavor for this year, Mint Chocolate Almond & Nut. PS: We got our hands on some and they are delicious. Event details.
Sensory Friendly Family Day
Aug. 6: The GRAMMY Museum & Your Ears Rock present Sensory Friendly Saturday. The Museum is committed to increasing access to our interactive, educational space by providing a sensory-friendly environment designed for patrons of all ages and abilities and their families. Programming includes less crowding, quieter sound levels, lower lighting, free admission to the GRAMMY Museum, and more! Event details.
Free Summer Art Festivals
Various weekend dates throughout Aug: Getty is partnering with organizations across L.A. for free weekend festivals, organized on the occasion of the Getty Center’s 25th anniversary—and you’re invited! Each event will feature hands-on art workshops, live music and performances, an immersive digital experience of Getty collections, giveaways, and photo booths, as well as food for purchase. All events are free, no reservations required. Event details.
California Sunset Series Sailing Regatta
Every Wed. throughout Aug.: The California Yacht Club puts on this series of sailing races that take place Wednesday from April 13 to September 7. The prime viewing spots are at Fisherman’s Village and Burton Chace Park. Have your phones ready around 7:30 p.m. to capture photos and videos of the multitude of sailboats returning to the harbor’s main channel. Event details.
Every Body Explores
Tues.-Sat. throughout Aug.: The Everybody Explores program provides participants of all ages an opportunity to check out a Naturalist field backpack they can use to complete self-guided activities, make observations and explore the park. See guide for locations. Event details.
Jazz at LACMA
Every Fri. throughout Aug.: Celebrate L.A.’s finest jazz musicians with Jazz at LACMA, presented Friday evenings. RSVP for a reminder email. Seating is limited and first come, first served. Event details.
Summer Sounds on the Plaza
Every Fri. throughout Aug.: Hit the Original Farmer’s Market Plaza every Fri.evening and enjoy a great mix of musical genres while you shop, dine and relax. Location: Farmers Market Plaza in front of Clock Tower. Event details.
Levitt Pavilion Live Concert Series
Fri.-Sun. throughout Aug.: MacArthur Park transforms into a sonically charged urban oasis with free concerts from established and emerging artists. The electrifying lineup features international greats as well as LA’s own superstar talents who perform a wide variety of genres including cumbia, rock, soul, ska, mariachi, electronic dance music, folkloric music from Mexico & Central America, Tejano, reggae and many more. Event details.
Family Nature Walks
Every Sat. throughout Aug.: Join a guided walk in Eaton Canyon Natural Area. This walk is geared to families, including small children, and everyone is welcome. Walking shoes, sunscreen, water, and a hat are recommended. The walk is free to the public. Meet in front of the building. Event details.
African Marketplace & Drum Circle
Every Sun. throughout Aug.: Join us for live music and performances, yoga, cultural food, handmade clothes and jewelry, fresh produce and much more in Leimert Park. Event details.
Paws & Pages at Annenberg PetSpace
Every Sat. & Sun. throughout Aug.: Visit Annenberg PetSpace for a socially-distanced story time, Pet Encounter, and take-home craft. Help your young reader build communication skills and self-confidence by reading with adoptable pets or listening to a story. This in-space experience includes a book reading, opportunity to meet an adoptable pet or critter ambassador, and craft demonstration with materials to take home and complete. Event details.
Watch Will Rogers Polo Club Matches
Every Sat. & Sun. throughout Aug.: The 2,000-year-old sport is alive and well at Will Rogers State Park, where you can spread out a blanket to watch the hoofs pound past you at the last remaining polo field in Los Angeles. Located on the former estate of actor/cowboy/humorist Will Rogers, who was an avid polo player himself, the Will Rogers Polo Club continues this ancient sport every weekend now through Oct. Event details.
Free Art Exhibits Happening around LA
Matthew Thomas: Enlightenment
Ends Aug. 7: For over five decades, Matthew Thomas has developed a career as an artist and art professor, first in Los Angeles, and since 2011 in rural Thailand. In the late 1960s, Thomas began researching Eastern religions and philosophies and later studied Buddhist Tantra, a system of spiritual practice and meditation that has profoundly impacted his life and art. Inspired by his practice of the Buddhist religion, his multimedia works are filled with complex patterns that express his progress toward enlightenment and provide a path for others to experience the same. His unique visual language of sacred geometric abstraction, which integrates a variety of symbolic shapes and colors, explores basic life principles and correlates with the five elements of earth, fire, water, wind, and sky. Event details.
Throughout Aug.: For more than 30 years, the Los Angeles–based artist Andrea Bowers (b. 1965, Wilmington, Ohio) has made art that activates. She combines artistic practice with activism and advocacy, speaking to deeply entrenched inequities as well as the generations of activists working to create a more just world. Bowers has built an international reputation as a chronicler of contemporary history, documenting activism as it unfolds and collecting research on the front lines of protest. Her practice contends with issues such as immigration rights, workers’ rights, climate justice, and women’s rights, illustrating the shared pursuit of justice that connects them. Event details.
Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse
Throughout Aug.: The first McQueen exhibition on the West Coast, Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse contextualizes the designer’s imaginative work within a canon of artmakers who drew upon analogous themes and visual references. Exploring imagination, artistic process, and innovation in fashion and art, the exhibition examines the interdisciplinary impulse that defined the designer’s career. Event details.
Fire, Science and Safety
Throughout Aug.: Set in a “typical” Los Angeles home presented as a training site for young “fire danger detectives.” Guests will find themselves at the Casa del Fuego Apartments, #911, where they can explore an immersive environment and engage in hands-on activities to learn about the science of fire, discover fire hazards and practice fire-safe behaviors. Going from one living space to another, visitors will have the opportunity to create a virtual “fire” out of different ingredients in a fire pit, practice fire-fighting skills using a fire extinguisher, and figure out which appliances might blow a circuit when used together. Event details.
Throughout Aug.: The Medium is the Message: Flags and Banners: Originally used to identify soldiers in battle and ships in international waters, flags have represented large geographic territories since the rise of the nation-state beginning in the late eighteenth century. Like monuments and national anthems, they intend to create a sense of identity based on a shared past, present and future. Event details.
Museums in LA That Are Always Free
La Brea Tar Pits
Next door to LACMA are the famous La Brea Tar Pits. While the Page Museum at the center will cost you an entrance fee (unless you visit on the first Tues. of the month when admission is free), there is plenty to explore around the tar pits and gardens that surround the museum.
Check out Ice Age plant life in the Pleistocene Garden, roll down the grassy hills and learn all about being a paleontologist with a peek inside Pit 91 and Project 23, which are still actively being excavated. No visit would be complete without snapping a selfie with those perpetually stuck elephants in the bubbling tar pit. Advance timed tickets are required.
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Every mini engineer and trainspotter will have a blast exploring this outdoor transportation museum dedicated to all things trains. You can climb around on real steam locomotives, check out wagons and other antique vehicles in the barn and even go for a ride on a mini train that circles the park for just $3.
Pack some snacks and grab a seat on the lawn where you can wave at the train as it drives past.
Don't miss their docent-led tours are available by reservation. Check their events calendar for more great activities.
Insider Tip: You can throw birthday parties at Travel Town or hit the gift shop for an awesome gift for a train-themed birthday party or just because.
5200 Zoo Dr.
How to Explore More LA Museums for Free
Outdoor Activities around LA That Are Always Free
Investigate a New Playground
We've got a running list for the most fun playgrounds around LA—some may even be hiding in your own neighborhood. Check out these gems and never hear "I'm bored" again...almost.
Parents Need a Night Out Too—Our Favorite Date Night Spots In LA
No Babysitter? Here are 11 Fun Things You Can Do at Night (with Kids) in LA
Your Complete Guide to Vacationing in Catalina with the Kids