5 free things to see and do while in LA

Travel Tips 5 Free Things Los Angeles

FILE --In this March 3, 2011 file photo, tourists shop at Olvera Street stores at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic District in Los Angeles. The area to visit for the cool free stuff, though, is on the north side of the Hollywood Freeway, home to the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles, where the city was founded in 1781. There you'll see many of its oldest and most beautiful buildings restored to their previous grandeur. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes,File)

Travel Tips 5 Free Things Los Angeles

FILE - In this photo taken Feb. 12, 2010, musician Harry Perry, twangs an electric guitar as he rollerblades up and down the Venice Beach boardwalk garbed in a turban and tunic in Los Angeles. Venice Beach, arguably the best free people-watching venue anywhere west of New York's Times Square and with the added bonus that it never gets really cold here. An afternoon stroll down 11�2-mile Ocean Front Walk will take people past one of the most colorful collections of skateboarders, street artists, fortune tellers, jugglers, mimes, acrobats, unicycle riders, actors, dancers, musicians, street preachers and armchair philosophers found anywhere in the United States.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, FILE)

Travel Tips 5 Free Things Los Angeles

This Oct. 20, 2003 file photo shows early morning sun illuminating the new Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Downtown has undergone a revival in recent years, adding upscale condos, chichi bars and the iconic, Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, file)

Travel Tips 5 Free Things Los Angeles

FILE - In this file photo taken Aug. 17, 2012, tourists take photos with a 10-foot statue created and modeled after English soccer star David Beckham displayed in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. The intersection of Hollywood and Highland is the crossroads for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where more than 2,400 terrazzo-and-brass stars containing the biggest names in the entertainment business can be viewed by just walking down the sidewalk. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Travel Tips 5 Free Things Los Angeles

In this July 13, 2011 photo, tourists photograph each other on a hill with a view of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. With more than 50 miles of free hiking trails, many of them winding through chaparral-covered canyons and over hillsides, Griffith Park bills itself as the largest urban wilderness in the United States. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Travel Tips 5 Free Things Los Angeles

FILE - In this Aug. 30 2000, file photo, commuters walk into a tunnel at Los Angeles's Amtrack-Metrolink Union Station under the mural "City of Dreams/River of History" by artist Richard Wyatt, showing the diversity of California's population. Union Station is renowned for both its beauty and distinctive fusion of Spanish Colonial and Art Deco architecture when it opened in 1939. With its huge waiting room and landscaped gardens, the place, still a working train station, offers a perfect venue for reading, resting, people watching or taking a lunch break. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Travel Trip 5 Free Things Los Angeles

This undated image provided by the Nethercutt Collection shows the Nethercutt Collection Grand Salon, a recreation of a 1920s-1930s auto sales salon. The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, Calif., houses a collection of antique and rare automobiles. It's one of a number of free things to see and do in the Los Angeles area. (AP Photo/ The Nethercutt Collection)

It's been called, sometimes derisively, a collection of 72 suburbs in search of a city.
Still, there's a lot of stuff to see and do inside those 72 suburbs that are said to comprise Los Angeles, a place that at 469 square miles (2,214 square kilometers) is big enough to hold all of New York's five boroughs with enough room left over for San Francisco.
Much of what's here is ridiculously expensive, of course. Think the fancy eateries along La Cienega Boulevard or the trendy bottle-service clubs in Hollywood and elsewhere. But at the same time, there is an impressive array of just really cool things to see and do for absolutely nothing, from Hollywood to the beach.
Here is a modest list of just five:
HOLLYWOOD
The intersection of Hollywood and Highland is the crossroads for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where more than 2,400 terrazzo-and-brass stars containing the biggest names in the entertainment business can be viewed by just walking down the sidewalk. You'll find everyone from Clark Gable to Johnny Depp, Marilyn Monroe to Meryl Streep. You can also gaze upon a lot of people in that neighborhood who are dressed up to look just like some of the stars, especially Marilyn. But if you take their pictures they'll want money, so stop by instead at the courtyard to the famous Chinese Theatre. There you'll find the stars' names, and their hand and footprints, immortalized in concrete. There's everyone from Mary Pickford, who left her prints in 1927, to Robert De Niro, who put his there Feb. 4.
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DOWNTOWN
www.elpueblo.lacity.org
GRIFFITH PARK
www.laparks.org/dos/parks/griffithpk
VENICE BEACH
www.venicebeach.com
NETHERCUTT MUSEUM & COLLECTION
www.nethercuttcollection.org