Wednesday, June 1, 2016

These Might Be the 22 Most L.A. Things Ever Said

It’s well known around the country — even the world — that people in Los Angeles have their own special way. The stereotypes are grounded in some realities: To make a sweeping generalization, Angelenos really are all about kale, hiking, and freeway driving — with firm opinions on their routes. And that can make for some pretty amusing conversation to overhear on Hollywood’s famous Runyon Canyon trail, where full makeup is de rigueur.

All in the name of good fun, Jet Set took a (totally unscientific) poll among our L.A.-based friends: We asked, “What’s the most L.A. thing you’ve ever heard — or said?" And without commentary, we present those gems to you here.....

1 I want to work with you, but I’m not comfortable signing the contract right now because Mercury is in retrograde.

2 I’m so over this 75 and sunny weather. Can't we have seasons other than award season!?

3 I saw (insert celebrity) at Soul Cycle this morning.

4 It will take me 20 minutes to get there without traffic, or 90 minutes with traffic. And there’s always traffic.

5 Do you have hemp milk?

6 Do you wanna go on a quick hike?

7 I would have loved to pursue this relationship, but I don't date east of La Brea.

8 I legit like kale chips better than potato chips.

9 Is that organic, vegan, and gluten free?

10 Sorry, I can't meet at that time. That’s when I’m meeting with my life coach.

11 Super bummed that my pilates studio ran out of the green juice, so I had to get this acai bowl.

12 I shouldn’t be in this hot tub. My spray tan is too fresh.

13 It’s not even supposed to get to 70 today. I’m going to freeze.

14 I’m about three miles away, but it’s rush hour, so I'll see you in like an hour.

15 I’m going to a toddler birthday at Nobu.

16 Mom, hurry up or I’ll miss my audition.

17 Help wanted: Dog chiropractor/acupuncturist.

18 I need a nanny for my nanny.

19 I'm a real estate agent and a life coach. Here's my head shot.

20 I’m driving over the hill — no reception. Call you back.

21 I'm just driving this Uber until my movie comes out.

22 I'll meet you at the gym as soon as I finish my makeup.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

35 Things Only Real Angelenos Know About L.A

There are observations any outsider can make about Los Angeles, such as: every waiter or waitress you meet is secretly an actor or actress waiting for their big break. True. And there are the things New Yorkers like to say to spit in the eye of Los Angeles. They tease us for our conversations about what route we took to avoid traffic. Well, you won’t hear us say anything about how New Yorkers love to talk, text and tweet about their crappy weather. We just feel bad for them. When and if we ever think about New York. And honestly, we can’t help it that our weather is always awesome. Unlike New Yorkers, all we really have to complain about is our traffic.

You could say Los Angeles is a lot like our aging celebrities with their Botoxed faces and bad plastic surgery smiles. You know who I mean: those stars best known for things they did back in the ‘80s or ‘90s. Just like those stars of a bygone era, Los Angeles earned its reputation in the past. That’s what most folks know — the reputation.

When you’re here, you see how the city is always changing, always chasing the Next Big Thing. No matter what, the tourists keep coming. They usually miss the cool stuff the city offers because they’re too busy paying to chase ghosts of Old Hollywood. Of course, we don’t care if the tourists miss out. Take Boston, those folks want you to know how great Boston is. (Which tells you something right away about Boston. Apparently, like a laxative or a floor polish, Boston needs a little advertising.)

We don’t care if you like Los Angeles. We don’t care if you hate L.A. We don’t care that strongly about anything. Like I said, the weather’s too nice. We have stuff to do.

Here are 35 things you learn when you call Los Angeles your home:

1. Anyone with an USC sticker on the back of their car is a shitty driver. Anyone with an UCLA sticker on the back of their car is probably driving a Honda.

2. The best way to get to LAX never involves the 405. If someone tells you a route that does, don’t listen to them. That person is an idiot and not to be trusted.

image - Flickr / monkeytime | brachiator

3. Sometimes it feels like Los Angeles, and specifically Venice Beach, is the lowest point of the United States. That’s why all the loose freaks eventually roll downhill and end up here. Los Angeles is a city comprised of people who were too freaky for their hometowns or too ambitious for their home country. That’s why we wave our freak flag so high.

4. For most people, a dog is a pet. We treat our dogs like little furry children, our loving life partners and the world’s perfect accessory.

5. We measure our romantic partners by traffic: “Yeah, she’s super cool. She’s smart, funny and she’s great in bed, but I’ll never see her again. She lives on the Westside.”

Everything else, we measure by parking:

Our friendships are measured by parking: “I would come to your screening, bro, but I got a really good parking space … and tomorrow is the street cleaner so … y’know.”

Nightlife is measured by parking: “Ohmygod! I love the food there more than I love my husband. Oh, but we can’t go there. We’ll never find parking.”

Even sex is measured by parking: “He’s not the best in bed, his bedroom smells like an aquarium but he’s the perfect midnight shag because he lives two blocks away, so I never have to look for parking.”

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

6. Oh! And we also measure distances by time not by miles like most other Americans. You see, none of us knows how many miles it is to anywhere. But we can tell you the time it’ll take you get there within three minutes.

7.  There is never a good reason to go the Valley. …Unless you live in the Valley, or you need to go to Fry’s or the Burbank airport.

8. We popularized eating gourmet food off of a truck. If you come to L.A. we will prove it to you by talking about food trucks incessantly. Some of us follow our favorites on Twitter. Like, a first date might take you to a food truck festival. True story.

9. You don’t go to Runyon Canyon for the hiking. You go for the flirting. Same for just about every dog park in the city.

10. Don’t date an actor or an actress. They spend their lives working out, getting rejected and pretending to be other people. No one has time for that nonsense. If you like that Hollywood life, date a make-up artist or a stuntman. They’re cool and they have way better stories.

Hollywood Boulevard from the top of the Kodak Theatre looking in the direction of downtown in the background.

11. We call it “unrequited hate.” We all love San Francisco. And we find it hilarious that everyone in San Francisco hates L.A. We get to enjoy both cities, while they’re stuck in the fog.

12. Your favorite taco spot probably has a blue “B” in the window. If you really love it, the restaurant may have a “C.” But you don’t care about grades from L.A. County Dept. of Public Health because every time you have the carnitas an angel gets its wings.

13. We don’t read. We work-out. We see movies. We hike. We bike. We surf. We binge-watch tv. We spin. We do yoga. We paint. We brunch. We rap. We act. We get tan. But we don’t read. If you ask an Angeleno for a book recommendation you will likely hear something along the lines of, “Um, hmm … Have you seen the Hunger Games? I didn’t read the books but the movies were good.”  

14. Depending on how you count them, some say we have three seasons: Winter/Spring, Summer/Fall and Awards season. Others say we have: Fire season, Mudslide season and Summer.

15. Secretly, a lot of us dream about getting married, having kids and moving to San Diego. But we would rather sell our future children on the black market than move to Orange County.

16. New York City considers itself the center of the world. And they like to make fun of L.A. as a shallow sprawling horizontal wasteland of tans and bad plastic surgery. Well, we don’t give a fuck what New York thinks about us, about culture, politics, plastic surgery, pretty much anything. To us, New York, specifically Manhattan and Brooklyn are just backdrops for Scorsese movies and tv shows like Girls. They’re not real places.

17. Our freeways are more important than yours. You take Interstate 80. You give directions to I-95. Our freeways require the definite article. We take The 5 to The 10 to The 405 to The 101.

18. Some people will tell you Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has the best coffee drinks. Other people will tell you Peet’s makes the best drinks. But everyone agrees: Starbucks is the best place to meet an unemployed screenwriter.

The Starbucks Coffee at Universal CityWalk Hollywood.

19. Someone you know has a Westside Rentals password you can use. Just ask around.

20. You don’t move to L.A. for the pizza. We all kid ourselves and like to think we know at least one good place but every real Angeleno knows there’s no great pizza in L.A. But we have Korean food, Thai, Mexican, Ethiopian, even Kosher places that’ll bring a tear to your eye. It’s just that our pizza sucks.

21. We steal all of our sports teams from other cities. So we only root for them when they’re winning. The rest of the time we’re working on our screenplays.

22. A cemetery named Hollywood Forever is a really romantic place to watch a movie under the stars on a summer night. If you get extra lucky, you might snap a picture that’s perfect for Instagram of a wine-drunk bro pissing on a gravestone (#drunkpisscemetery).

23. Our roads are plagued with two great dangers: potholes and Prius drivers. No! Three great dangers! A minivan, a pothole, or a Prius, are three great way to ruin an afternoon commute. If you drive enough, Prius becomes a new cussword. You might say things like, ‘Oh, what the Prius are you doing now?” Same goes for minivans.

24. Although some drivers are frustrating, no one really yells or says anything, because in L.A. there’s no such thing as a bad driver. It’s understood that everyone is a bad driver. And thus, no one is. The whole city is just a cluster-fuck of people from different driving cultures, sprinkled liberally with young assholes in BMWs. Despite this recipe for fistfights at every red light, surprisingly, road rage is rare.

25. When cars are lined-up, waiting to turn left at a stoplight, as it changes from yellow to red, if two cars don’t make the left turn this is one of the few times drivers will honk. We follow two-to-a-red like it’s the law.

26. We all have celebrity-sighting stories. Ones we‘ll never tell you. (I ran into one at the bank this morning. No bullshit). Unless, we totally love that particular celebrity we don’t bother them. We don’t care if Jay Leno is at the same gas station. We just assume Jay needs gas, too.

27. However, most of us have a fondness for the Voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully. Like a golden-throated god among men, he’s more popular than our star athletes. We would get excited if we saw Vin Scully at the gas station.

28. Being an Angeleno is like a religion.

a) Real Angelenos move here and convert.

b) True Angelenos were born here and don’t accept the converts.

c) Most Angelenos would never be caught dead calling themselves an Angeleno.

29. The city doesn’t stay open late. Good luck finding a restaurant that’s open after eleven o’clock that sells something other than burgers, burritos or pizza.

30. Pink’s hot dogs are wildly overrated and rarely eaten by Angelenos. But, Astroburger is another story. I’d fight a radioactive bear for one of their buffalo burgers.

31. Everyone says they love Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. But the real reason to go there is not the food but the Sunday fashion show that takes place as everyone arrives after church.

32. You would rather drink a glass of hot sand than be caught on the PCH during a holiday weekend.

33. For most of us, earthquakes aren’t scary. Some of us even look forward to them. Of course, like anywhere, some of us are idiots.

34. In-N-Out Burger.
In-N-Out Burgers

35. You know, without hesitation, there is no other city in the world that’s a better place to call your home. Despite its flaws, our city of Los Angeles is a smog-covered, traffic-obstructed, pay-to-play, sun-baked, sprawling little piece of heaven on Earth. TC mark

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


John Lennon once said of Los Angeles, "That's just a big parking lot where you buy a hamburger for the trip to San Francisco." Pretty rough stuff from a supposedly nice guy. Clearly, the Eggman (or was he the Walrus?) missed the endless taco stands, the pupusas, the pho, the donuts, the bulgogi burritos or whatever other ethnic comfort food we're deliciously mashing together right now. He was right about one thing: We do have amazing parking (see number 8 below).
I believe we can speak for ourselves.
More than a city of gustatory delights and fantastic parking, we're the one place on the planet where people come exclusively to dream and create - and that's a great start to a killer burgh. Proud Angeleno Werner Herzog said of his adopted city, "Los Angeles is the city with the most substance in the United States -- cultural substance. Things get done in Los Angeles." (And this is coming from a guy who dragged a steamboat through the jungle and finished an interview with a freshly fired bullet in his arm.)
What else is there to say about Los Angeles' awesomeness? Lucky for us, we've recently and painstakingly assembled our annual Best of L.A. issue. Clearly, we know the Best of L.A. is just about the best of anywhere. Here are 50 reasons why Los Angeles is the best effing city in America.
50. We've got the best architectural profile of any city in America. We're America's living sketchpad. We're like a post-post-post-modern poster child. The Ennis HouseThe Bradbury BuildingThe Hollyhock HouseNeutra Houses. Or just watch Blade Runner.
49. Yup. We make movies here. I'm sure you've heard. We've got the best places to watch them, too: the Arclight, Gold Class Cinema, the Egyptian, the New Bev and Cinefamily.
48. What about outside? Vineland Drive-In.
47. How about in a cemetery? We've got Cinespia, where you can watch movies right next to their stars' graves.
46. Not to mention variety shows, including unintentional ones, like Taiwanese Hooters steeped in good-natured pseudo racism.
45. Moms and dads with Black Flag t-shirts and neck tattoos, pushing shopping carts and strollers, and getting into mini-vans.
44. Thrift Stores where you won't break the bank. Some where you will.
43. The Rose Bowl Flea Market. Where else can you elbow Beck out of the way for vintage blazers from someone's dead grandma's basement?
42. Motorized transportation is king in L.A. Fine, complain about the lack of public transportation, we're with you. As Metro steps up its game, our car culture will still be a better relic than yours will. We've still got rides to pimp here and here, as well as museum-quality motorcycles here and here.
41. Views. For views of N.Y., you have to be on a bridge, in a building, or defying death in a helicopter above it. In L.A. we've got mountains, hills, hillocks, vistas, canyons, you name it.
40. You can actually raise your kids here without them turning into a Larry Clark / Harmony Korine nightmare. Sure, they may ride out a Less Than Zero phase, but at least they'll make a good movie or two about it.
39. Farmers markets with citrus and some fruits you've never heard of. Bostonians, Washingtonians and Chicagoans can ponder that while they're sifting through another boring version of the same old apple.
38. Porn star karaoke and porn star skydiving. Yeah. You read that correctly.
37. We invented the T-shirt (arguably).
36. Hip street culture happened here: Skateboarding, surf gangs, real gangs, car clubs, drag racing and graffiti (arguably the first of which was sprayed by Mexican American cliques long before New York picked up a spraycan) all got their start in the City of Angels.
35. And since you probably don't do much walking, you rare kicks will last forever. And you can expand your collection.
34. Tranquil woodsy escapes without ever having to leave the county. In addition to Griffith Park, there are hundreds of others in the city and county of L.A. and the Angeles National Forest is literally minutes away.
33. Stair climbing, outside, in (mostly) fresh air.
32. Nerds and geeks live like kings here.

50 Reasons Los Angeles Is the Best Effing City in America
Shannon Cottrell
31. Throwback recreation: Roller discoBowlingEverything else.
30. Richard. Fucking. Simmons. And he'll still kick your ass...for twelve bucks.
29. Watts Towers. We'll omit description -- there's nothing like it in any other city anywhere.
28. Gangsta rap, obviously. Mssrs. Dre, Dogg, Cube, and E require no further thanks, but one more can't hurt. Be sure to catch them on L.A.'s all old-school hip hop station: K-DAY.
27. Tiki Ti, one of the country's oldest, original tiki bars. It's owner operated, which means you can smoke just about anything you want inside while you pound Ooga Boogas and Mai Tais. You may even spot Bill Murray in there, if you're lucky.
26. The Getty(s). We've got two amazing museums in a city with supposedly no high-brow culture. The larger of the two might as well have been built in the future and is worth visiting for the architecture alone. We've also got LACMA, MOCA, and...
24. The Hollywood Bowl. The Beatles, Monty Python and just about everyone else cool and legendary has played here. Bring dinner. Bring your own wine. Just don't bring bad vibes. Or the Spanish Inquisition.
23. Lunatics. Our lunatics can mop the floor with the lunatics from any other city. Crazy people with failed dreams trump mid-range winos any day of the week. Our lunatics scoff at the tinfoil hats in other towns. Here they dress like your favorite characters and prowl Venice Beach and Hollywood Boulevard.
22. Superman punching Batman....punching Spiderman. In front of the Wicked Witch of the West. See number 23.
21. Taco trucks. Taco stands. Tacos.
20. Echo Park. Someday we'll get our lotuses back. Until then, the fountains, boats and drooping palms are enough.
19. Smog. How is this a good thing, one might ask? Well, it seems to show up only during tourist season, and like an effective asshole-repellent it keeps away people who don't want to know anything about the real L.A. 
18. The Coliseum. It has held the Olympic Games twice. 'Nuff said.
17. Weather? Fine, how about 329 days of sunshine? Every. Year. 
16. Dodger Stadium. By sheer force of will, this is now the third oldest ballpark in the majors. Come for the sunset views, stay for the Doyer Dogs. The team? Meh. Maybe next year.
15. Institutes of higher learning: USC, UCLA, CSULA...etc etc. Who says Angelenos don't read? There's more books here than in Washington, D.C. and more students to read them.
14. The beaches. Yes. All of them. (L.A. is also the only city in America where you can start your day skiing and end it surfing.)
13. Movies. TV. Web series. We make them. That chick next to you at the coffee shop? She's writing one. The guy on the other side? He's in one. The dude who served you the coffee? He wants to be in one. Everyone else in the shop? We've lit them, shot them, edited them, gaffed them, lived and breathed them. Every single one of them came here to create stuff to entertain you (and get rich and famous too).
12. Shorts. It's OK to wear them at dinner here, even at Spago.
11. We're swimming in a sea of theme parks and you don't have to navigate trailerparks and swamps to get to them. Just the 5. In traffic.
10. Seriously, we do drive everywhere, which is why we have some of the nicest, flattest and cleanest freeways in the country. Take that, Mass Pike.
9. We have the best one-hour commute in the country. Only lucky Angelenos get to gaze out at oceans, canyons and semi-arid landscapes while stuck in traffic. Everyone else has to jockey with pissing hobos and terrible buskers, or driving through rusted-out has-been suburbs.
8. Amazing parking. What was that, Mr. Lennon? Yeah, we do have some great parking. Good luck finding that in SF, NY, Boston, Chicago or Philly. 
7. Weekend island hopping: Catalina Island and the Channel Islands , to name a few.
6. A myriad of ethnic enclaves: Chinatown, Filipinotown, Koreatown, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Tokyo and Thai Town, and that's just the beginning. Hundreds of languages, hundreds of cultures, hundreds of ways to turn all of those national cuisines into tacos or burritos. 
5. In-N-Out Burger. We invented fast food, then we perfected it. Again, you're welcome.
4. 16 NBA Championships? Done. And if you root for the underdog? We've got that too: The Clippers have only had 6 winning seasons in nearly 30 years. 
50 Reasons Los Angeles Is the Best Effing City in America
Timothy Norris
3. The Sunset Strip. (Rejoice, hair metal fans.)
2. We're the home of the modern surfboard.

1. Weed... er, medication.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

75 Fun and Free things to do in LA

75 Fun &Things to Do in L.A. Every Angeleno Should Try in 2016

Looking at Los Angeles
Looking at Los Angeles from Griffith Observatory. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

1. L.A.’s Free Museum Day(s)

One of the biggest free days of the year is the last Saturday in January, when over two dozen southland museums will offering free admission as part of the SoCal Museum Free-For-All Day.
In addition to the free-for-all day, there are literally dozens of free museums and free museum days for you to explore when you’re in Los Angeles (check the link for the master list). From the Getty Center to LACMA to the Huntington Gardens to MOCA or the Norton Simon. If you can’t find at least one that suits your tastes, you aren’t even trying!

2. Head to DTLA for a Night on Broadway

On a very special evening this January 30 the streets of downtown Los Angeles will come alive as artists, acrobats, musicians, comedians, and other special performers will be on hand to fill the historic Broadway corridor with art, entertainment, and music for Night on Broadwayan event that is 100% free and open to the public!

3. Cruise the Downtown Art Walk

Miss Night on Broadway? No worries. Every second Thursday of the month see downtown Los Angeles come alive in a vibrant blend of art, community, culture and food known as the DTLA Art Walk.

4. Admire The Chandelier Tree

A neighborhood gem in the heart of Silver Lake. Drive by during evening hours to see this incredible tree light up the night.

5. Hike to the Hollywood Sign

You can get there via Bronson Canyon like we did, or take one of several other routes. However you arrive, trekking up to above the sign is something every Angeleno should do at least once. If the sign doesn’t interest you, we’ve also documented 9 other great hikes around L.A. with NO trail fees and NO parking costs. Enjoy!

6. Taking a Free Trip to Catalina on Your Birthday

Did you know by registering online you can get a free trip on the Catalina Express on your birthday? And that’s just one of many cool birthday freebies you can enjoy in Los Angeles. :)

7. Spend a Sleepless Night at the Music Center

On Friday, February 5, 2016 come to the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as the after-hours party series Sleepless returns for its third installment promising an extravaganza of sonic wonders that’ll delight guests until the wee hours of the morning (well, 3:00am at least).

8. View DTLA from the Observation Deck at City Hall

Get an incredible free view of downtown Los Angeles by going up to the observation deck  on the 27th floor of City Hall. If you love the view from the observation deck, you should also check out 10 other FREE spots with breathtaking views in Los Angeles.

9. Walk The Streets of L.A. at a CicLAvia

CicLAvia represents an open-streets initiative to connect angelenos with the neighborhoods they work, live and play in. A couple times a year the organizers of CicLAvia work with these neighborhoods to coordinate a day when a stretch of roadway normally dominated by cars is closed off from auto traffic, thereby opening it up cyclists and pedestrians. The result is tens of thousands of local citizens experiencing Los Angeles like never before. The next CicLAvia event is scheduled to come to The Valley on March 6.

10. Hang out for Game Night at Grand Central Market

Even if you don’t partake in the food at Grand Central Market  (and you should!), just wandering around and admiring the vibrancy and variety will be an enjoyable experience. But if you really need an excuse to head over, check out their game night (every Thursday) where you can not only grab great food at the nearby vendors but also partake in ping-pong, cornhole toss, Jenga, Uno, Cards Against Humanity, Scrabble, and more.

11. Experience Free Events at The Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is incredible enough to visit on its own merit, but there are a few monthly events on their calendar I think you could experience specifically (and they’re all free!).
Here are links with descriptions for each:
Griffith Observatory at Night
View from the Observatory at night. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

12. Listen to a Grand Performance in DTLA

A curated collection of seasonal musical performances in downtown Los Angeles. And totally free!

13. Observe Santa Monica through the Camera Obsculra

A dark room inside a senior center in the heart of Santa Monica offers an artistic projection of the world that surrounds. If you’re in the neighborhood, definitely be sure to stop by the Camera Obscura.

14. Barnsdall Park Free Art Workshop

Every Sunday kids and families can enjoy free 2-hour arts and education workshops courtesy the folks over at Barnsdall Park.

15. Enjoy the Grounds at Greystone Mansion

The park and exterior garden of the Greystone Mansion is one of the most gorgeous and peaceful spots in the entire city (and on a side note, a pretty incredible wedding/event location too).

16. Catch a Screening at Channel 101 at the Downtown Independent

Free monthly screenings at the Downtown Independent of short “pilots” that live or die based on audience approval. First screening of the year is scheduled for February 27!

17. Meditate for a Day at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens

When you’re seeking a little peace and serenity in your life, take a walk inside the Peace Awareness Labyrinth, a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of the middle of Los Angeles.

18. Enjoy the Free Levitt Pavilion Concert Series

A family friendly concert series featuring both award (Grammy) winning and emerging artists, mixing a variety of genres from Latin to Jazz to Americana, and more. Both local Levitt Pavilion Concert programs (at McArthur Park and in Old Town Pasadena) will feature 50 separate concert dates starting in June and ending in September.

19. Hike to The Wisdom Tree

One special tree at the summit of Burbank Peak survived a devastating 2007 wildfire up in the hills and today some hikers visit the spot to leave diary-style notes in ammo boxes that reside below the tree while others just meditate for awhile or simply enjoy the amazing view. Just please (please!) don’t climb on the tree or leave any trash behind. Respect the space for others!

20. Watch Whales Along the Palos Verdes Peninsula

The Point Vicente Interpretive Center (located adjacent to the Pt. Vicente Lighthouse) is one of the premier whale watching spots in the entire city, with spectacular views of the cliffs and surrounding coves as well.

 21. Spend an Evening at The Silver Lake Picture Show

The Silver Lake Picture Show series closes off Sunset Triangle Square to screen outdoor movies every other Thursday during the summer. Screenings are preceded by performances by live bands and short films produced by local filmmakers. Here’s a link to the 2015 schedule so you can get an idea of what they screen. Keep an eye on the official website for when the 2016 lineup will be released.

22. Enjoy a Free Ranger-Led Hike at Griffith Park

Want the perfect guide to lead you on hikes throughout varying parts of Griffith Park? What better person to follow than a park ranger for the city of Los Angeles? Ranger Ernie Ybarra has been shepherding free guided hikes of various Griffith Park trails for years.
Ranger Ernie Hike
Taking a break while hiking with Ranger Ernie in Griffith Park. Credit: Brian Champlin

23. Watch the Planes of LAX at Clutter’s Park

The best place to watch plans take off the runway from LAX.

24. Climb the Steepest Street in Los Angeles

With an incredible grade of 33%, Eldred St. in Highland Park is L.A.’s steepest drivable street (so steep it even needs special garbage trucks just to handle picking up the trash). Hike to the top of a unique view of the city!

25. Relax at the Blue Ribbon Garden at The Disney Concert Hall

Did you know there is a hidden rooftop garden at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles? The garden is surrounded by the curves and and exterior of the hall and decked out with lush landscape centered around an intricate mosaic blue rose fountain dedicated to the late Lillian Disney (Walt Disney’s wife).

26. Hang Out at a (Free) First Friday

Whether it’s going to an art walk, sampling delicious food trucks or checking out a free night at a museum, first Friday events (including in Venice Beach and Bixby Knolls in Long Beach) are a great way to connect to your local community and get out to do a little exploring.

27. Explore the Old L.A. Zoo

Check out the ruins of the zoo before the zoo right in the middle of Griffith Park. For more info, Tom Explores Los Angeles does a great piece on this place (we embedded below).

28. Enjoy the Art at the Regen Projects

A massive gallery on Santa Monica Blvd. that features an amazing stable of artists on exhibit. Get more info about Regen via their Yelp page.

29. See an Old Western Set at Paramount Ranch

This national park tucked away in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura Hills offers a variety of scenic hiking trails and an old Western set you may have spotted in various Western flicks and television shows. Plenty of parking, and it’s free!

30. Enjoy Free Shakespeare in the Park (or By The Sea)

If theater is your thing, every summer there are free performances of Shakespeare by the Sea and Shakespeare at the Park that make for a perfect evening of picnicking and culture. Schedules for summer 2016 have not been released yet, but keep an eye on the official websites for announcement dates.

31. Learn Something New at the Jet Propulsion Labratory

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (or JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in La CaƱada Flintridge, just northwest of Pasadena.
JPL does an open house once a year in October with free admission to the public. The open house includes an insider’s view in their machine shop, the microdevices lab, lifesize 3-D models, and more! JPL also hosts a lecture series that takes place twice a month on consecutive days with industry experts discussing relevant topics to the space and technology field. The lecture series is also free!
FYI: 2016’s open house dates are TBD, but expect it to be one of the first weekends of October.

32. Roam with Rover at Rosie’s Dog Beach

There is only one legal, off-leash dog beach in all of L.A. County and this is it! Even if you don’t have a fido of your own, it’s still kind of fun to check out Rosies to see all the pups at play. Parking along Ocean Blvd. is free, but competitive, so make sure to bring some quarters for a metered lot as a backup.
Rosie's Dog Beach
Rosie’s Dog Beach. Credit: Justin Rudd

33. Bathe in the Moonlight While Watching Classic Films

Watch some of the best films of all-time right on the beach while bathing in the sweet summer moonlight at the Moonlight Movies on The Beach film series. Event runs from June-August down in Belmont Shores. Here’s the complete 2015 schedule (so you can see more info on the types of movies they play) and here’s the official Alfredo’s Beach Club website, where they’ll announce the 2016 lineup once it becomes available.

34. Receive a Free Docent-Led Tour of the L.A. Public Library

Explore the architecture of the Bertram Goodhue Building and learn about the history of Los Angeles through the lens of the Central Library in downtown.
Docent tours are free and meet in front of the Library Store in the main lobby. Tours run about 1 hour long. Walk-ins are welcome (no reservation required) for groups of 6 of less.
Tour times are as follows:
Monday – Friday:  12:30 pm
Saturday:  11:00 am & 2:00 pm PLUS a 12:30 pm – Art-in-the-Garden Tour
Sunday: 2:00 pm

35. Appreciate the Works at the Gagosian Gallery

Rubins, Warhol, DuChamp, Twombly… these are just a few of the names whose art has been exhibited at the Gagosian. It’s a top shelf gallery, located in the heart of Beverly Hills. And FYI, somebody on Yelpeven mentioned something about free wine from time to time…

36. Hangout at the Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore is the largest (so they say) independent used bookstore in the state of California, and most definitely one of our 12 best bookstores in Los Angeles. Located in downtown’s historic core, it’s worth the trip just to see the amazing labyrinth of used books!

37. Check Out The Bradbury Building

One of the most unique architectural interiors in the entire city. As a visitor you can only go up to the second floor, but even that is a pretty impressive display.
Bradbury Building Interior
Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

38. Explore Our Transit System through Metro Art Tours

Did you know that Metro offers free, regularly scheduled docent led group tours of the artwork in the Metro Rail system?

39. Receive Free Archery Training

Woodley Park Archers offers free introductory archery instruction to the community, designed specifically for the beginner / novice who has no previous experience handling a bow. Classes are held every Saturday from 9am to 11am and on Wednesdays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. There is absolutely no cost to join, and all equipment is provided.
Oh, and if you’re closer to the Pasadena area I suggest checking out the Pasadena Roving Archers, as they offer a similar program.

40. Tour the Great Wall of L.A.

This incredible mural runs over 2,700 feet long (one of the longest in the world) and illustrates California history from 20,000 B.C. to 1984. It was recently restored and is more vibrant than ever.

41. Stroll With Your Sweetie on the Love Lock Bridge

Sure, Paris has the Ponts de Arts Bridge, but did you know L.A. has its own version of a ‘Love Lock Bridge’ right here in Atwater Village. Here’s how to find it.
Love Lock Los Angeles
The Love Lock Bridge up close. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

42. Stargaze at the Glendale Planetarium Shows

When school is in session they offer a free, open to the public astronomy presentation called “Afternoon with the Stars.” You can check out the schedule here.

43. Take a Photo at the Korean Friendship Bell

The Korean Friendship Bell is the perfect place to hang out, enjoy the view, and take some gorgeous photos on a sunny afternoon at a park by the sea. Bring a picnic, fly a kite, or play some hoops at the nearby basketball court.

44. Spend an Afternoon in Grand Park

Grand Park bills itself as “the park for everyone” and with good reason. It’s not just the open green space and gorgeous setting surrounded by the DTLA skyline, but also a commitment by the park to provide Angelenos with a host of awesome free activities, including a massive 4th of July block party.
Lunch time Grand Park
Lunch time in Grand Park. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

45. Catch a Free Live Show at Amoeba Music

Amoeba Music is a Sunset Blvd music store that hosts boatloads for free concerts, DJ performances, and artist signings. It’s a unique space that’s worth checking out at least once. Check here for upcoming shows.

46. Meet-up to Exercise!

Meet people? Get your weekly exercise? Don’t like gyms? Might we suggest joining a running group. Specifically, the DTLA Running Group is one we’d heartily recommend. The Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings to run along different routes in and around Downtown, using different routes to accommodates different runnings levels. To join in, check out their page on
Another favorite is the Runyon Canyon Yoga series, which has a huge slate of weekly, free / donation based classes you can check out via their Facebook page.
And if you want even more ideas, check out this handy rundown of ways to get fit in L.A. without a gym.

47. Explore the Stairways of Los Angeles

You can check out 10 of our favorite secret (and not-so secret) staircases in a roundup we’ve written about, but there are dozens more small stairwells an locations to explore in Los Angeles for the truly intrepid. Here are a few helpful resources:
Secret Stairs in Silver Lake
Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

48. Attend Free Events at the Hammer Museum

Every month the Hammer Museum offers tons of great free events including talks, tours, and discussions lead by artists by and educators from local universities.

49. Listen to USC Thornton School of Music Free Performances

Did you know every month USC puts on free recitals that are open for public attendance (all you need to do is make a reservation online). If classical is your thing, these might be right up your alley. Event listings on their official website.

50. Receive a Dose of Culture at Blum and Poe

Some call it the ‘original’ big name gallery in Culver City. This is the first place to feature Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara (and if you know who those artists are, this will no doubt seriously excite you).

51. Stay in Touch with Current Events at Zocalo Public Square

The Zocalo Public Square is a non-profit ideas exchange foundation that offers a free lecture series where you can go to get informed about the issues of the day and discuss them in an open forum (just mind the parking costs).

52. Experience KCRW Summer Nights

KCRW’s free signature outdoor event series that’s awesome for all-ages. Here’s the complete 2015 schedule of concerts (for reference), and here’s a to the Summer Nights official website.
Chinatown Summer Nights 2013
Chinatown Summer Nights 2013. Credit: Eric Chan via flickr

53. Check Out Free Polliwog Park Concerts in Manhattan Beach

An annual, summer-long free concert series held in Polliwog Park held from the first weekend in July through the first weekend in September.

54. Take an Art Walk at the Brewery

Twice a year, more than 100 artists open up their studios for this free art walk in the former PBR brewery. There’s a beer garden, and though it’s not free, they do serve more than PBR. The next event is scheduled for April 2-3.

55. Get a Pop-Culture Infusion at Gallery 1988

Are you a fan of video games, pop-culture and art? Then you definitely need to attend one of the exhibitions/openings at Gallery 1988. Keep in mind there are two locations, both on Melrose, one east of La Brea and then other west of La Brea.

56. Sit Back and Relax at Sunday’s Live at LACMA

Did you know every Sunday you can sit and back and enjoy a chamber music concert at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Bing Theater? All concerts are free and open to the public.

57. Laugh for Less at at a Free Comedy Show

From UCB’s ASSSCAT to Sleepaway Camp to Power Violence to Mi’s Westside Comedy Theater, there are always tons of free comedy shows going on in Los Angeles. Here’s a list of 10 of the best we put together from 2014.

58. Visit the Original In N Out Replica

On October 22, 1948 at 4:15pm the very first In-N-Out location opened its doors to the public at the intersection of Francisquito and Garvey in Baldwin Park, CA. Although that location is no longer serving customers, you can still visit a replica of the first restaurant complete with the original potato peeler, cash box and even a cigarette vending machine.
The In N Out replica at a glance. Credit: Brian Champlin
The In N Out replica at a glance. Credit: Brian Champlin

59. Enjoy Inglewood Open Studios

Founded in 2006 by a pair of local artists (Renee Fox and Kenneth Ober), Inglewood Open Studios has evolved into a yearly art affair encompassing the second weekend of November that includes dozens of artists exhibiting work at locations over a string of galleries along La Brea Blvd, La Tijera, Hyde Park, and Manchester Blvd. Here’s a look at the 2015 event specifics (will update one they announce 2016 event).

60. Play for Free on Saturdays at Royce’s Arcade Warehouse

The business of Royce’s Arcade Warehouse in Chatsworth is buying, selling, renting out, and repairing classic arcade consoles, but on one special day every week they open their showroom to the public to play games all-day long.

61. Attend a Free Drawing Class at The Getty and Getty Villa

Did you know every month you can work on your sketching skills in a group setting through free classes offered at both the Getty Center and The Getty Villa. All skills levels are welcome, and sign-up usually takes place a short while before the classes start.

62. Join in the Big Parade

A two-day, massive group, totally free community walking event that in 2015 included about 80 public stairways over 35 miles, from downtown to the Griffith Observatory. Usually takes place around start of May.
Big Parade LA 2015
The Start of the Big Parade, 2015. Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

63. Go to a Show at The UCLA Planetarium

UCLA Public planetarium shows are offered by current astronomy and astrophysics graduate students, with featured content that includes presentations about the current night sky, constellations, and other unique astronomical phenomena. Shows are free to the public, and currently take place on Wednesday evenings at 8:00pm. Be sure to check the planetarium website for updated schedules and presentation times.

64. Get Christmasy at the Studio City Winter Festival

One of the biggest free winter events in the entire county is the Studio City Winter Festival, which in 2015 welcomed tens of thousands of Angelenos to the Studio City Recreation for sledding, snowman making, gingerbread house decorating, craft-making, holiday card making for the troops, photos with Santa, live music, dancing and so much more. Some 70 pounds of snow was imported for the event!

65. Explore L.A. History at the Los Angeles Archives Bazaar

Want to dive deep in to the history of our fair city? Check out the annual L.A. Archives bazaar, a free event on the campus of USC that in 2015 featured more than 80 archives from public institutions and private collectors, all presented through an assortment of workshops, installations, screenings, panel discussions, and more, all in one a day-long event.

66. See the Getty Holiday Lights

Each Christmas season, from the end of November to beginning of January, the Getty Center adds some special lights displays all over their campus which you can visit on Saturday evenings for free (just mind the parking costs).

67. Hike Echo Mountain After Dark at the Festival of Lights Hike

The 2015 Festival of Lights Hike was a first-ever event, but after speaking the the organizers at Friends of Echo Mountain, they said they’re fully intending on bringing back the public hike for the holiday season this year. Basically, imagine hundreds of individuals decked out in LEDs carving their way up a mountain trail and lighting up the night.

68. Lunar New Year’s Celebrations

If you’re going to celebrate Lunar New Year’s in Los Angeles, make sure you attend the 117th annual Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown on February 13, with festivities free and open to the public. Keep in mind there is also a Lantern Festival (signifying the closing of the New Year’s celebrations) scheduled for Saturday, March 5 featuring community booths, museum tours, live entertainment, music, arts & crafts, and food trucks.

69. Walk a Few Miles at the Dominguez Gap Wetlands

Originally built as a flood control zone for the LA River, the Dominguez Gap Wetlands offers a easily accessible 2.3 mile loop around a small wildlife habitat that gives visitors a great option for getting a touch of nature in the heart of an otherwise urban landscape.

70.  See the Venice Canals Holiday Lights

Even if you miss the annual Christmas boat parade held in the canals, there’s a good month-long period when the bridges and many of the homes in the surrounding canal walkways are decked out in full holiday spirit. Truly a sight to behold!
Kiss Bridge at Venice Canals
Credit: Brian Champlin / We Like L.A.

71. Check Out the Annual Sherman Oaks Street Fair

What’s the biggest public event in the entire San Fernando Valley? The folks at the Sherman Oaks will tell you it’s their annual street fair, which in October of 2015 stretched over 9 blocks of Ventura Blvd. and attracted some 100,000 attendees to the spectacle.

72. Get Dowm at Echo Park Rising

Every August the EPR music festival brings a madhouse of free music to the east side, with multiple stages and activities all weekend long spread over Sunset Blvd, Glendale Blvd, Alvarado Avenue and Echo Park Avenue. Here’s a link to the 2015 lineup so you can get an idea of what you might expect (will update with 2016 lineup when it becomes available).

73. Boogie in Old Town at Make Music Pasadena

Every summer Make Music Pasadena creates a FREE, all-day, all-ages music celebration in the heart of Old Town Pasadena. 2015 was the 8th annual event, and I’d expect 2016 to be bigger than ever.

74. Take Advantage of the Freebies on the Museum of the Arroyo Day

Each May a selection of museums along the 110 and 134 freeways offer a special free admission day including, in 2015, The Gamble House, Heritage Square, the Los Angeles Police Museum, the Lummis Home and Garden, the Pasadena Museum of History, and The Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus. Visit the MOTA website for additional information on this year’s schedule (when it becomes available). 

75. Ring in the New Year at Grand Park

If you’re going to end 2016 on the right note, why not do it at the biggest free gathering in the entire city?