Free Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Celebration in Long Beach

Los Angeles area families looking for free things to do on New Year’s Eve should head to the Long Beach Waterfront. The Downtown Long Beach Waterfront will be bursting with free kid-friendly activities for an early — but big — New Year’s Eve celebration. The free fun begins at 5 p.m. with live bands including Paperplanes and Phat Cat Swinger. Kids keep busy with free face painting, balloon artists and a trackless train. Then at 7:30 p.m. Phat Cat Swinger, a high energy swing band, will lead the attendees into the New Year.

Stay until 9 p.m. when the sky lights up for an East Coast countdown with a 10-minute fireworks show from Rainbow Harbor’s lighthouse peninsula. A final hour of live music follows with the free family-friendly celebration ending at 10 p.m.

The free fun is courtesy of the Downtown Long Beach Associates, who have partnered with Long Beach Transit to provide free New Year’s Eve transportation from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Free boarding through 12:30 a.m. Tuesday; extended evening service will depart from the First Street Transit Gallery, located between Pine Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard, at 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

So go into 2012 with free fun things to do!

Free Thing to Do in Los Angeles: L.A. County Holiday Celebration!

Spend your Christmas Eve L.A. style for free with the 53rd annual Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration! For three free hours you’ll be entertained by top notch performers at the famous Dorothy Chandler Pavilion! The free Dec. 24 performance on Monday runs from 3 – 6pm and is open to all, residents and non-residents alike.

Performances represent L.A.’s diverse cultures and holiday traditions and feature favorites such as Mariachi Sol de Mexico, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and the Colburn School Choir. There are 23 performances in all.

No reservations or tickets required but get there early as the line starts to form hours before for the free chance to see bands, choirs and dance performances on this elegant stage. Doors open at 2:30pm and seating is first-come first-served. Even if you don’t get inside by the first performance, stay in line because people often leave after seeing a favorite performance so you’ll get their seat!

You won’t be bored while waiting to be seated. There will be plenty of pre-show activities starting at noon.

While parking is free in the Music Center garage, allow plenty of time to get there as holiday traffic can be a bit crazy. Consider taking the Metro instead.

Live Free!

*Disclosure: No compensation was received in exchange for this post.

Free Things to Do in Malibu: Santa, Cookies and Live Reindeer!

Free things to do with the family for the Christmas season are easy to find at the Malibu Country Mart in Malibu. This architecturally fun high-end retail center near Los Angeles surprisingly bursts with free things to do.

On Saturday, Dec. 15 meet Santa Claus from noon – 3 p.m. and have your photo taken with the jolly elf himself! Kids can also get their Christmas creativity on at the free holiday cookie decorating station filled with homemade cut-out cookies, sprinkles, frosting and fun! Free things to do: Visit with Santa and Live Reindeer

On Saturday, Dec. 22, give the kids a magical holiday experience with a visit to see live reindeer! The reindeer are stopping at the beach for a little rest between 11 a.m – 3 p.m. before they travel the world. Pet these furry friends for free as they visit from the North Pole. Malibu Country Mart is about the only place in the LA-area where you can see live reindeer!

Santa will also be there with the reindeer from noon – 3 p.m. along with live carolers 1 – 3 p.m.

That’s not all that’s free to do. A visit to the Malibu Country Mart is like taking the kids to an outdoor museum — the center sports world-class gardens, unique sculptures and a mix of architectural styles including Mediterranean, modern and rustic influences. Check out the outdoor dining and picnic areas and be sure to let the kids have fun in the popular children’s playground. While the kids play in the chemical-free sandbox, go ahead and surf your smartphone using the free wi-fi.

Oh, and did we mention that the parking is free?

Live free!

*Disclosure: No compensation was received in exchange for this post or for the giveaway prize.

Free Things to Do in L.A.: Free Winter Festival & Snow Day Sat. Dec. 8!

Los Angeles-area parents looking for free things to do with kids should head to Downtown on Ice Saturday, Dec. 8. It’s a free winter wonderland of snow, sledding, concerts and crafts at Pershing Square. Free Winter Festival Los Angeles

A truckload of tons of snow is expected to drop on downtown from 11am to 7pm. At the free Winter Festival kids can build a snowman, slide down snowy hills with saucers and snowboards, all for free! Visit with Santa Claus, make & take holiday crafts and listen to community youth performances.

And don’t forget Downton on Ice, L.A.’s largest holiday ice rink with the lowest admission price of just $6 and $2 for skate rental. You won’t find that family-friendly frugal price anywhere!

It’s all made possible by the City of LA Department of Recreation and Parks.

Live Free!

*Disclosure: No compensation was received in exchange for this post.

Free L.A. Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade Sat. Dec. 1!

For a holiday free thing to do this weekend, watch dozens of ships, decked out with dazzling holiday lights, parade through the waters of the Wilmington and San Pedro marinas in Los Angeles, Saturday, Dec. 1.

The 50th annual L.A. Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade ships out from the Wilmington Marina at 6pm and ends in the Cabrillo Marina between 8-8:30pm. The lighted ocean promenade includes tall ships, yachts, power boats, sailboats and working harbor crafts. You can view the festively festooned boat parade all along the L.A. waterfront. Key free viewing spots include Wilmington, the San Pedro waterfront, Ports of Call, Warehouse #1, Cabrillo Marina and more (click here for a map of the parade route).

If you want to make a full day of free festive fun for the family, be sure to take in the free Victorian Christmas Open House at the Banning Museum in Wilmington from 11am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine.

Free Winter Wonderland in Old Pasadena Nov. 23!

Twenty tons of cold wet snow is predicted to hit Old Pasadena Friday Nov. 23 and the whole family is invited to play in it for free!  The free winter fun day is 4pm to 8pm and includes live reindeer, a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa Claus.

At 4pm Old Pasadena opens its free winter wonderland located on Holly Street between Raymond and Fair Oaks. Kids can play in 20 tons of real snow, see live reindeer on a break from the North Pole, and create in a kid’s craft area presented by the Armory Center for the Arts. Adults can try their own creative hand with free painting classes offered by Wine and Canvas. All the while there will be festive live musical performances.

Old Town Pasadena free Christmas tree lighting

Before 6pm head over to One Colorado when Santa arrives to light the 30-foot Christmas tree and the 2013 Rose Parade Queen makes one of her first public appearances. Please bring a new unwrapped toy or book for the Charles Cherniss Tournament of Toys toy drive, which benefits children throughout the San Gabriel Valley. Children and adults who donate an unwrapped toy or book will receive a FREE photo with Santa at One Colorado that night only.

Throughout the free snow day look for numerous in-store events and promotions at more than 50 of Old Pasadena’s merchants.

Live Free!

*Disclosure: No compensation was received in exchange for this post.

Free Veterans Appreciation Festival at Port of Los Angeles Saturday!

Veterans can board the USS Iowa for FREE this weekend, as part of the first Veterans Appreciation Festival at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, 1 – 4pm on Saturday, Nov. 10.

The Battleship of Presidents opened as a museum at Berth 87 in July and like most big museums, tickets are pricey at $18 a piece, but Vets can tour the vessel for free all weekend. Plus a few Veterans family tickets will be available at the festival on a first come first served basis.

The festival itself provides a lot of free fun for the family, with the historic ship as a backdrop. There will be free food, free rides on the waterfront Red Car, a kids fun zone and the TransPORTer, an  interactive exhibit.

Parking at 22nd & Miner Sts. is free with a free shuttle to downtown San Pedro.

Live Free!

*Disclosure: No compensation was received in exchange for this post.

CicLAvia Means Car Free L.A. Streets Sunday Oct. 7

The biggest free kid-friendly street party in Los Angeles is this Sunday, Oct. 7 when CicLAvia holds its 5th car-free day in L.A. From about 9:30 am to 3pm (earlier for some as streets start closing at 8am), Angelenos can enjoy traversing the streets free from car traffic. That means the public can bicycle, tricycle, skateboard, skate, rollerblade, walk, run, stroller push or dog walk. You can transport yourself or others along the roads as long as your transportation doesn’t involve a motor. Unicycle? Check. Stilts? Go for it. Motorized toy scooter? Uh, no.

Skating the L.A. Streets for Free at CicLAvia

Photo by Gary Leonard

Inspired by ciclovía, a weekly street closure in Bogotá, Colombia, CicLAvia temporarily closes L.A.’s street to cars and opens them up to the public for an unusual mix of free fun. Unlike a marathon route, there is no start or finish to CicLAvia. Instead the event encompasses several neighborhoods including Little Tokyo, Downtown, MacArthur Park, Exposition Park, Chinatown, Mariachi Plaza and Soto Station in Boyle Heights. Click here for a map.

Along the way, check out the communities you’re walking, running or biking in. There are shops, restaurants and curiosities you might not have noticed when you drove by in a car.

CicLAvia has six hubs where you can find bathrooms (including an ADA facility at each rest stop) and drinking water:  Soto Station and Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights; Grand Park (Spring, North of 1st); MacArthur Park (North side of 7th, between Alvarado and Lake); Exposition Park (Figueroa and Exposition); and Chinatown (Broadway, North of College). The free water fountains tap water from LADWP hydrants, so bring your own unbreakable water bottles to fill. Or support the event by buying a CicLAvia water bottle courtesy of REI.

If you want an opportunity to bike at the event, but don’t own one, there are places along the route that are renting them. Reservations are a must. Some suggestions courtesy CicLAvia:

  • Downtown L.A. Bicycles – 1626 S. Hill Street (at Venice Blvd), Downtown L.A.
  • DTLA Bikes – 425 S. Broadway (at 4th St), Downtown L.A.
  • Flying Pigeon – 3714 N. Figueroa (at Marmion Way), Highland Park
  • Bike Nation – Reserve online. Bike rental stations at Mariachi Plaza and Grand Park hubs.

How do you get CicLAvia if you don’t live in the hub areas? We highly suggest using public transportation such as the Metro Lines located on this MAP. If you must drive to participate in the car-free fun, there are nearby parking lots for your car. Click here for a parking lot map.

Live Free!




Free Chinese Lantern Festival in Los Angeles Saturday March 3

Light the way to peace and prosperity on Saturday, March 3, during this FREE family-friendly Chinese American re-creation of a traditional village street fair. Held around the 15th day of the 1st lunar month of the Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival marks the closing of Chinese New Year festivities. Look for brilliant lantern displays and watch live dance, musical and acrobatic performances. Sponsored by the Chinese American Museum, the festival takes place at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, across from Union Station. Learn about feng shui, experiment with Chinese-opera style face painting, build a kite and more at the arts & crafts booths. A popular holiday in the Chinese culture, a spirited glow-in-the-dark silver dragon stage performance ends the day’s free fun.

Joy to the Free!

*Disclosure: No compensation was received in exchange for this post.

Free Winter Wonderland in Malibu with Reindeer!

Malibu Christmas Tree Lighting

Only in Malibu can you have a free Winter Wonderland by the beach! With reindeer included! The Malibu Country Mart is creating a merry and magical experience for the Christmas season for the next three Saturdays, including a visit with Santa’s reindeer on Saturday, Dec. 17 and its all for free!

Every Saturday is a new holiday happening. Check out the free fun schedule below:

Saturday, December 3

’Tis the Season! Come to the Cookie Decorating Party: 1 – 4PM
Tree Lighting Ceremony: 5PM

Saturday, December 10

Photos with Santa: Noon – 3PM
Strolling Carolers: 1 – 3PM
Stocking and Dreidel Decorating Party: 1 – 3PM

Saturday, December 17

Photos with Santa: Noon – 3PM
Strolling Carolers: 1 – 3PM
Santa’s Reindeer: Noon – 4PM

*No compensation was received in exchange for this post.