Lot’s to See and Experience in the City of Angels

Bonnie Schindler
Special to El Vaquero

Los Angeles County has plenty of free things to keep Glendale Community College students busy and educated during breaks in semesters.

It is that time of year when the holidays are upon us and checkbooks are strapped for cash.
With family and friends visiting and schedules free, the weeks between semesters can open up students to culture and history around Los Angeles. No need to stop the studying in school. It is easy to keep up with a particular major during holidays.

In Glendale, the Forest Lawn Museum is free and open everyday. Many local artists’ work is shown, as well as permanent collections. Walking around the massive grounds of the cemetery is free as well as a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

Casa Adobe de San Rafael is also located in Glendale and offers free tours on the first Sunday of every month. This small adobe shelter was built in 1871 for LA Sheriff, Tomas Sanchez.

The 76 year-old history of the Alex Theatre can be explored via the backstage, dressing rooms and green room. The guided tours are given every other month.

Brand Library in Brand Park holds Los Angeles Opera talks on the second Thursday of each month. The talks led by opera members are shared with the public to focus on the magical and powerful world of Opera.
Griffith Park offers many beautiful aspects to the Glendale area, including the Autry Museum of Western Heritage. Here, you can explore history through the preservation and Traditions of the American west. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.

In Pasadena, you can become a millionaire, or at least stand in one of their houses at the Pasadena Historical Museum which is free of charge every Wednesday of the year and showcases art, photographs and Fenyes mansion, one of the last houses from “millionaires’ row.”

The mansion is fully detailed with dark woods, antiques and turn-of the-century furniture.

For students that want to catch up on history or engineering, San Marino has a free California historical landmark built in 1816. The El Molino Viejo (The Old Mill) was built by Indian labor workers and it is the first water powered mill in Southern California.

Feel like taking a step out of reality for a day? Take advantage of the free daily admission to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the free television tickets offered by the Television Ticket Co. as well as Audiences Unlimited.

KCET Studios also offer free tours of the lot if the tour is booked at least two weeks prior to the visit.
The highly acclaimed Los Angeles Times offers free tours through the business and editorial facilities and the Times Olympic Printing Plant by appointment only.

Relax — it is all free at The Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades. There are ten-acres of gardens, flowers, plants, swans, ducks and a spring-fed lake.

If this isn’t enough outdoors activity, the roses at the Exposition Rose Garden in Los Angeles should relax the senses. The garden’s Web site calls it, “an urban oasis.”

Music lovers may enjoy the free film clips, state-of-the-art audio stations, photographs and memorabilia at the Hollywood Bowl museum from Tuesday through Saturday.

Santa Monica pier offers free outdoor concerts throughout the year, Amoeba music stores offer free in-store concerts every Friday night.

Most Borders Books have poetry readings, concerts, and group discussions, free of charge in their area stores.

Enjoy a few “hot” historical fire department sites all over Los Angeles County. The Fire House Museum in El Pueblo was established in 1884 and after 1896 when it closed down, it became a saloon.

The replication of the original fire house is free everyday between Tuesday and Saturday. The LAFD Museum and Memorial in Hollywood is open most Saturdays, and it is free to the public.

In south central, on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month and every Tuesday and Thursday the African American Firefighter Museum is free to the public and pays tribute to the brave firefighters that have dedicated their lives to the Los Angeles County.

Many of the most popular area museums have either specific days in the month that are free, or are open to the public free of charge any day of the week.

The Getty in Los Angeles is free to the public everyday, but parking is $5.00 per car.

The MOCA at the Geffen Contemporary has free admission on Thursday evenings and the Natural History Museum is free on the first Tuesday of every month.

For those students that cannot travel far, or wish to stay within the confines of their own community, public libraries are always available for educational and cultural indulgence, and they are always free.



Academy of Motion Picture Arts
(310) 247-3000
8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills

African American Firefighter Museum
(213) 744-1730
1401 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles

Ameoba Music
(323) 245-6400
6400 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood

Audiences Unlimited
(818) 753-3470 Ext.. 987
Brand Library
(818) 548-2051
1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale

Casa Adobe San Rafael
(818) 956-2000
1330 Dorothy Drive., Glendale

El Molino Viejo
(626) 449-5458
1120 Old Mill Road., San Marino

Exposition Rose Garden
(213) 765-5397
701 State Dr., Los Angeles

Fire House Museum
(213) 628-1274
Olvera Street, Los Angeles

(310) 440-7300
1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles

Hollywood Bowl Museum
(323) 850-2058
KCET Studios
(323) 953-5289
4401 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood

LAFD Museum and Memorial
(323) 464-2727
1355 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood

(213) 626-6222
152 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles

Natural History Museum
(213) 763-3466
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles

Pasadena Historical Museum
(626) 577-1660
470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena

Santa Monica Pier
(310) 458-8900
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica

Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine (310) 454-4114
17190 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades