©Richard Meier & Partners Architects and Scott Frances ESTO

The Getty Center ©Richard Meier & Partners Architects and Scott Frances ESTO

I do believe it’s officially summer now! While you can find free things to do year round, it seems that summer really opens it wide open. Festivals, concerts, movie showings, and museums are just a few of the things you can attend for free. All it takes is a little bit of searching on your part. Either on the internet or browsing through a newspaper. Every city has some local newspaper that lists upcoming events; same for local websites. In the summer especially, weekends are packed with free events. With a little bit of preparation and planning ahead, you can save a lot of money and have fun at the same time.

Museums

There are some museums that are free entirely. Here in Los Angeles, two of the more popular ones are the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. Both are free to visit, but if you drive a car, it’ll cost $15 for parking. If you get to know the bus routes though, the Getty Center is easy enough to get to. The Villa is a bit more inaccessible. Even if a museum charges admission, usually there are days when certain members are able to get in for free. Check to see if your bank has any deals like this. If you happen to be with Bank of America, they definitely have a few museums on their list that are free to attend on certain days. Your workplace might have a deal set up with museums also. Check to see what your benefits are! In New York, a lot of the bigger businesses seem to have set up a deal with the MoMA for free admission anytime for their employees and friends.

Festivals

The most common festivals that you can attend for free are usually the arts and crafts kind. The ones for food usually charge an admission, plus you’ll most likely end up spending money to buy food. It’s just too tempting! Summer is a great time to find arts and crafts festivals. It’s not just arts and crafts, there’s usually food, music, and many other types of vendors too. It’s great to walk around and enjoy a few hours seeing what vendors are selling.

Markets

Mostly I’m thinking of farmers markets, but there are also designer markets too. Trendy crafts and jewelry and clothes all combined together. Both kinds of markets are usually free to attend. Whether or not you purchase something is up to you. Farmers markets, though, are mostly produce and other groceries, so at least you’re having a good time and taking care of chores. Flea markets are also quite common. Most charge a few dollars for entry, but sometimes it’s worth it to see what’s in there.

Zoos

The LA zoo doesn’t seem to have any special free admission days that I know of. I’ve definitely heard of some zoos that have free admission on certain days for locals. The Cleveland Metroparks zoo, for example, has Mondays entirely free for people who live in the county. Check your local zoo to see if they have any deals for you.

Movie Showings

Summer is definitely prime time for outdoor movie showings! Many different places offer a movie night where you can just pull up a chair, or sit on the grass, and enjoy an older movie. These usually are city to city and can be anywhere from a park, a courtyard, an empty lot, or even a cemetery!

Concerts

You can find free concerts every now and then. They will most likely not be any band that is popular, but I’m sure it would still be fun to go to as long as the bands are decent. Often, free concerts can be found at night festivals.

Make the most of your city by seeing what free events it has to offer! You can explore and save some money at the same time. You can try packing a picnic lunch for places that allow you to bring it to save even more money! Sometimes, I just take the bus to the Getty Center and bring a picnic lunch along. It’s a perfect few hours spent lounging around the grass area, the gardens, or checking out the new exhibits.

What kind of free events/places have you gone to before?


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