5 (almost) Free Things To Do This Summer in LA

“cus a little bit of summer is what the whole year’s all about”

… probably the most relatable lyrics (for me, anyways)– courtesy of John Mayer. 

Seriously though, isn’t summer the greatest? Who doesn’t look forward to it all year long?  Riding bikes to the beach, sipping on cold beers in the back yard, traveling to warm places, bikini tan lines, that weirdly nostalgic smell of sunscreen… I mean, we’re spoiled living in Southern California, but come on - it’s the best time of the year. 

Summer can get expensive though, so I’m here to let you in on my best-kept (free) LA secrets. Here are five of the best (almost) free things to do this Summer in Los Angeles…

Go to The Twilight Concert Series  

For the last few years now the city of Santa Monica has put on The Twilight Concert Series – a month long free concert series every Thursday night. Every Thursday is different - you can catch all genres of music from Indie- Rock to Reggae to Jazz all while sitting with your feet in the sand right below the Santa Monica Pier. Bring a blanket, some friends, a bottle of wine, and some snacks and you’ll have the best night. Pro tip – parking is awful if you don’t live in SM – get there early or uber in. 

Visit the Getty Villa

Did you know pretty much all of the museums in LA are free? I can’t easily say I am not the biggest museum fan, but the Getty Villa is truly one-of –a-kind. It’s perched on a cliff just off of PCH in Malibu with panoramic views of the entire Santa Monica Bay. Inside the museum you can see all sorts of stunning Greek and Roman art. Even if art isn’t your thing – the grounds of this museum are worth a trip in themselves! Spend a few hours strolling around and then if you’re feeling a bit spendy check out one of the many cute restaurants nestled along PCH – some favorites: Cholada Thai, The Reel Inn, and Casa Escobar. 

Have a beach day at Big Dume 

Love the beach, but hate the crowds during the summer? Same. If you’ve never been to Point Dume before than you need to check it out this summer! There are actually three different beach spots at Point Dume – Point Dume State Beach, Big Dume, and Little Dume. Point Dume State Beach can be accessed through the Zuma Parking lot, so you have to pay to get in. The beach against the rock all the way at the end of the lot is the state beach. It’s the most accessible of the 3, so if you don’t like to walk than this is your spot. Big Dume is my personal favorite. It’s kind of a hidden gem – even though people have found out about it, unfortunately. You have to walk about a mile from where you park your car to the sand, but it’s completely worth it! Bring some beer and a sandwich and stay there til the sunset – it’s my favorite way to spend a summer day! Little Dume is technically private, but it can be accessed during low tide if you walk all the way around the smaller (southern) point once you’re at Big Dume – worth checking out too! But make sure it’s low tide! 

Have a picnic on the Santa Monica Bluffs

Okay, so this option isn’t 100% free, but it is such a reasonable way to have the cutest little dinner with friends! The Bluffs is a park that runs along Ocean Avenue from the Santa Monica Pier all the way up to San Vicente Blvd – my favorite section is between Alta Ave. and Marguerita Ave because there are the least amount of people and the view of the coast is unobstructed. Hit up Trader Joes to get all of the necessities for the cutest summer picnic. I would suggest some cheese, sliced charcutterie meats, crackers, maybe a good salad, and some wine! You can get out of there for under $10 a person for sure! Bring a blanket and you’re set! Trust me, it will also be the perfect insta opportunity! #aesthetic 

Hike Runyon Canyon

Need a good summer workout, but don’t wanna get cooped up inside the gym? – Then the Runyon Canyon hike is perfect for you! I love this hike because there are so many different routes you can take. There’s a short route if you don’t have much time, but there’s also a few route’s that are around 5 miles (for when you’re feelin’ sporty af). AND there are SO many dogs on this hike! Everyone brings their dog on this trail, so that’s a major bonus! From all the vista points you get an amazing view of the whole LA basin. Pro-tip: either go early on the weekends or during the week because it gets very crowded! Free Parking near any of the trailheads. 

Written by: @rachel_brand