- City Hall Observation Deck
Chances are you probably haven't heard much about visiting LA's City Hall...unless you've done jury duty there or know someone who works there. But, did you know you can visit the observation deck on the 27th floor for FREE and see great views of the city? From a spectacular view of the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the entire DTLA skyline, this is one of my favorite views in the city of Los Angeles.
If you are planning a visit to the Observation Deck at LA's City Hall, you will need to bring a government ID (you check in at the front desk and will get a visitor sticker. You will also have to go through a metal detector.) and go on a weekday during business hours - it's only open Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm. You can walk 360 degrees around the outside deck on the 27th floor and enjoy stunning views of the city. LA's City Hall is located at 200 N. Main St. in downtown Los Angeles.
- Visit Olvera Street & Free Walking Tour
Olvera Street, in the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, is known as the “birthplace of Los Angeles.” According to the City of Los Angeles, “El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is near the site of the early Los Angeles pueblo or town where forty-four settlers of Native American, African and European heritage journeyed more than one-thousand miles across the desert from present-day northern Mexico and established a farming community in September 1781.” Today it is home to monumental and historic buildings mostly built in the 1800’s that are open to the public as either businesses or museums and a beautiful outdoor marketplace on Olvera Street, all of which is waiting to be seen and explored.
According to the Olvera Street website, “Olvera Street was created in 1930 ‘to preserve and present the customs and trades of early California.’ Many of the merchants on Olvera Street today are descended from the original vendors.” If you are interested in purchasing anything while strolling through the merchants on Olvera Street, you will see a variety of beautiful handcrafted items such as clothing, purses, leather items, art, pottery, jewelry, and more.
Las Angelitas del Pueblo gives free hour-long tours of Olvera Street, Tuesday-Saturday at 10am, 11am, and 12pm (subject to the availability of docents). Click here for more information on the free walking tour, or visit Olvera Street on your own at: 845 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
- Hang Out at The Last Bookstore
A book lover’s paradise, The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used and new book and record store. This two-story bookstore covers 22,000 square feet and is located in the heart of DTLA. This eclectic and enchanting place to explore has over 250,000 new and used books, thousands of vinyl records, and lofts full of local artists’ studios and galleries.
You will need to purchase any books that spark your interest, of course, but it’s an adventure in itself (and a free one!) just walking through this mecca of a bookstore. If you decide you want to pay it a visit, don’t forget to look for the Labyrinth (awesome-looking tunnel of books that you can walk through), rainbow color-coded bookshelves, book frame wall, and many other unique and special design touches throughout the bookstore. Check out this one-of-a-kind bookstore, open at 10:00am daily, at 453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Visit The Last Bookstore’s website for more information.
- Game & Trivia Night at Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market – a historic Downtown L.A. landmark since 1917 – hosts a variety of mouth-watering food options from their 90+ vendors. Although you’ll have to pay if you want to order anything to eat or drink, Grand Central Market hosts FREE game nights every Thursday evening until 9:00pm. You can choose from both the classics and newer games, including cornhole, jenga, board games, card games, ping pong, and more! Game night is located at the Hill St. Platform. Grand Central Market also hosts FREE trivia nights on Tuesdays at 8:00pm.
A true culinary gem in DTLA, you can check out all of the vendors here before you plan your free Game Night or Trivia Night at Grand Central Market. Go and get you’re your game on - Grand Central Market is located at 317 S Broadway; Los Angeles, CA 90013, and you can visit their website for more information.
- Check Out The Murals in DTLA’s Arts District
When I first moved to L.A, I had never before seen so much beautiful, colorful street art. The Arts District in Downtown LA, in my opinion, is the best place in the city to see some unique and colorful murals. In this neighborhood, you'll have plenty of public art and expression to marvel at all around you as you explore – all for free of course. In a city full of grey walls and buildings, prepare to be inspired by the amount of color and self-expression at every turn here. Click here for a map of the Arts District; feel free to start your adventure anywhere around this area (central starting points could be Angel City Brewery, Wurstkuche, or Umami Burger), walk around and explore at your leisure.
You can also tour the Arts District Murals and Murals around Los Angeles with Cart Wheel Art Tours. They've established a solid reputation and have access to places and spaces that you may not.
Here are some examples of murals located in the Arts District to get you inspired to visit:
5 fun free things to do in Downtown LA