Free Things to do in SoCal

Free Things to do in SoCal

Staying busy during the summer isn’t hard to do, but saving your money is. You can either cut down on going out or find awesome, free alternatives that will become your summer staples. Here are a few ways you can enjoy yourself this summer while also treating your wallet kindly.

The Burrito Project

Four burritos lay in a line with a Burrito Project banner over them.
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Where: Los Angeles/South Pasadena

When: Every third Thursday of the month

What: Everyone can use a burrito a.k.a. a warm little bundle of happiness. Burrito Project L.A. gets it, so they created a group where like-minded burrito enthusiasts gather in a community kitchen to make burritos for L.A.’s homeless. Along with burritos, Burrito Project delivers blankets, clothing and toiletries. Taking part in the Burrito Project is free to the public, so if you want to get involved, look up your local chapter here.


Sound in Focus Concert Series 

A full band takes the KCRW stage at the Annenberg Space for Photography.
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Where: Annenberg Space for Photography

When: Saturday, July 23

What: KCRW radio is the unofficial authority on L.A.’s music scene. If you go to any outdoor concert, art walk or night event, you can bet that KCRW is hosting it. One such event is the Sound in Focus Concert Series. What makes this event so unique is that big names such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Nas headline. It is hosted at the ultra modern Annenberg Space for Photography, which means you will definitely have the most stylish Snapchat story out of all your friends that night.


Vans U.S. Open of Surfing

More than a thousand surf fans crowd Huntington Beach for the U.S. Open.
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Where: Huntington Beach

When: Saturday, July 23 to Sunday, July 31

What: The U.S. Open of Surfing is a yearly surf competition bringing the best surfers from around the world to Huntington Beach, like my fave Kolohe Andino. For one week, HB is packed with a custom Vans skate bowl, Vans retail store (if you don’t leave with a U.S. Open tank, you weren’t really there), meet and greet stations and pop-up shops from the biggest names in the action sports industry. Bonus: you can pretty much swim in the water next to your favorite athletes— that’s how accessible they are.


Artists and Fleas 

Palm trees and blue balloons line Artists and Fleas.
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Where: Venice Beach

When: Every Saturday

What: Venice Beach has always been a haven for the eccentric artist so it’s fitting that Artist and Fleas would open their permanent location in Venice Beach. This open air market is part vintage market, farmer’s market and art walk featuring goods from local vendors. Go for the traveling bookstore Brown Bag BooksBare Bones vegan beauty products and the occasional Leonardo DiCaprio sighting.



A massive crowd of cyclists gather on Broadway to kick off CicLAvia.
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Where: Downtown L.A.

When: Sunday, Aug. 14

What: CicLAvia—a day where Downtown L.A.’s streets are closed and cyclists take the streets. Hear me out, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. CicLAvia was created as a way to create community awareness about alternative modes of transportation, but it evolved into a massive event for folks to gather on bicycle, skateboard or roller blade and enjoy the city free of cars. As their website says, “CicLAvia is an experience, not a race” so be sure to roll up Aug. 14 for some free cardio and community vibes. Find out all the rules to participate here.


Atwater Village Love Lock Bridge

A close up of the locks left by romantic couples at the Atwater Village love lock bridge.
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Where: L.A. River

When: Always

What: Since we can’t use the Fastrak to get to Paris, I guess we’ll just have to stay local and head out to the Atwater Village Love Lock Bridge. The idea itself is super cute—attach a lock with the initials of you and your s/o to the bridge as a metaphor for your everlasting love. Or you can go just to look at the cutesy locks and gag over the amount of lovey-dovey souvenirs on display.


Public Star Party 

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Where: The Griffith Observatory

When: Saturday, Aug. 6

What: The Griffith Observatory is a well-known spot in L.A., notable for its breathtaking views of the city at night. However, once a month the observatory holds a public star party where they bring in volunteers from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society to help you put a name to all those constellations up there and point out different planets. Educational and pretty? I’m in.


Botanical Building 

A view of the Botanical Garden from the lily pond.
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Where: Balboa Park, San Diego

When: Every Friday through Wednesday

What: Balboa Park has a rich history, dating back to 1910. The Botanical Building itself was built in 1916, which you can see in its intricate architecture. The outside is beautiful, but the inside is just as breathtaking—the botanical building houses over 2,100 plants including seasonal and tropical plants. You don’t have to study botany to appreciate it; that lily pond speaks for itself.



An overhead view of Smorgasburg proves how crowded the event is.
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Where: Alameda Produce Market, Downtown L.A.

When: Every Sunday

What: In the busy, crowded world of open-air food markets, Smorgasburg stands out above the rest. It’s free to enter but you definitely need to save up a little bit of cash for this one because it’s going to be really hard to say no to some of the food options like Amazebowls, Raindrop Cake and Banh Oui. Based off of their Instagram: 10/10, would go.


Orange International Street Fair

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Where: Old Town Orange

When: Friday, Sept. 2 to Sunday, Sept. 4

What: Once the initial summer rush dies down, Orange International Street Fair comes along to give you one more open-air market to enjoy. Held annually, the street fair brings together foods and crafts from all around the world. Like Smorgasburg mentioned above, it is free to enter but you should plan on bringing cash if you’re planning on chowing down. Once you have successfully bloated yourself, be sure to check out Old Town Orange’s iconic antique mall.

Let us know which free summer event you’re most excited for! Share with us using the hashtag, #CampusCropChat. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and Snapchat @asicpp!