Yes, it might nearly be time to pay your income taxes, but that doesn’t mean you must sit home with nothing to do. Here’s our list of fun things to do in March that are really free! (And really fun.)


The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach has free admission on Sundays. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31: Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA), Long Beach. Free every Sunday. Always has interesting exhibits and offers free docent-led tours at 2 p.m. Sundays. Exhibits are always open on Sundays, but free tickets are recommended and can be booked online. Parking is free. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach.

The Autry Museum of the American West has free admission the second Tuesday of each month. (Photo by Richard Vogel, The Associated Press)

March  12: Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles. This museum is free every second Tuesday of the month, and you can plan to spend a few hours here. Parking is free, too. Learn about Native American and cowboy ways of life, using historical artifacts such as stagecoaches, serapes, beaded clothing, firearms, photos and more. 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is free for all on the second Tuesday of the month and free to L.A. County residents every day after 3 p.m.. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

March 12: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Los Angeles. Free to all on the second Tuesday of the month, free to LA County residents every day after 3 p.m. The largest art museum complex on the West Coast, this collection includes everything from David Hockney paintings to ancient artifacts to free arts workshops.  Children 17 and under can sign up for the NexGen program, where they can get in free any day and bring one person with them. Paid parking is nearby, beware of street parking in the afternoon — you could be towed. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles

March 23: Museums free all day. Enjoy lots of Southern California museums for free on Saturday, March 23 — an annual event. Sometimes you must order tickets in advance.  Find a list of all eligible museums at

The Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo will have a free event featuring classic and custom cars on March 23. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

March 23: Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum, El Segundo. 9 a.m. to noon, Classic car meet dubbed the “Net Cruze Cars and Coffee.” Free. It features original and custom cars from the 1930s to the 1950s. Coffee, pastries, food truck and raffle. Open to all. 610 Lairport St. El Segundo.


Abhi Arora, CEO of Healing Gardens, visits Arlington Garden in Pasadena on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Arlington Garden. Pasadena. Always free. This is the only free public garden in Pasadena, located on three acres originally slated to become part of a freeway extension that was never built. It’s open every day during daylight hours and features Mediterranean, desert and scrub oak landscaping. It started as a patch of dirt in 2005, and now is a haven for birds, bees, butterflies and people who enjoy nature. Wooden benches are scattered around the site for relaxation. Location: 275 Arlington Drive, Pasadena. 626-578-5434 or

A pedestrian walking past the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

The Broad. Los Angeles. Open Tuesdays-Sundays. Always free, but get advance tickets. This art museum in downtown L.A. features contemporary art from the collection of developer Eli Broad. It’s a piece of art in itself, although it doesn’t look like much from the outside. The general collection is always free to view, though you need reservations in advance. Some same-day tickets are released daily, so check online early. There’s a parking garage that charges a few bucks. Closed Mondays. Location: 221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. 213-232-6250 or

A visitor walks through the orange groves at the California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

California Citrus State Historical Park, Riverside. Learn about the era when citrus was king in Southern California, visit the 200 acres of groves that produce navel and Valencia oranges, grapefruits, and lemons and stop by the museum visitor center. Hiking and biking trails are available. Citrus tastings are sometimes available. Free guided tours. Learn more by calling 951-780-6222. The visitor center and museum is open Fridays through Sundays. Parking is $7. 9400 Dufferin Ave., Riverside.

California Science Center, Los Angeles. Open daily. This fascinating museum in L.A.’s Exposition Park is free to visit and chock full of things to see. Kids love this place but so do adults. All permanent exhibits are free, but there’s an extra charge for the IMAX theater shows and some attractions. Note that the space shuttle Endeavor is temporarily off exhibit. Parking at Exposition Park is $15, or you can ride the Metro. 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles.

Cave of Munits. West Hills. Always open. Ready to get outdoors? Why not hike to an interesting cave, just a short drive from town? This trail in the Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve begins as a nice stroll but results in some real rock scrambling into the cave, so watch the youngsters. This chimney cave was reportedly the home of a powerful Chumash Indian shaman. Wear sneakers or hiking boots. Head to El Escorpion Park and park there. There’s a short, steep hike or a longer more leisurely one, depending on your druthers. 24501 West Vanowen Street, West Hills.

Sally, the cow, seems to enjoy the music and spending time in a grassy outdoor pen for Cow Chip Bingo during the 30th birthday bash for the Centennial Farm at OC Fair & Event Center on Saturday, October 5, 2019, in Costa Mesa. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Centennial Farm. Costa Mesa. Open daily (but check the calendar). This place is fun. Located on the south side of the Orange County Fair & Event Center, this 3-acre working farm features favorite animals and fruit and vegetable gardens to teach kids about where our food comes from. Free parking. 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

A 1937 Nativity stained glass window that was displayed at Forest Lawn-Glendale. (File photo by Tina Burch/Los Angeles Daily News)

Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Glendale. Open daily. This cemetery built in 1906 — the first to call itself a “memorial park” — changed the way people have been buried ever since. Millions of people have visited its fountains, architecture and replicas of great world art such as Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” There’s even a museum open Tuesdays through Sundays. Celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Walt Disney have been laid to rest here. British author Evelyn Waugh found it so fascinating he even set a novel here. Stop at the information kiosk at the entrance. (Note that other Forest Lawn locations also have artworks on display) Museum website is 1712 S. Glendale Ave. 888-204-3131 or

Fort MacArthur Museum San Pedro. Open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundaysn. This interesting bit of military history allows visitors to take a look at underground bunkers and weaponry that were built to protect Los Angeles Harbor from enemy attacks. It was part of the Army coastal defense system from 1914 to 1974. Movies such as “Pearl Harbor,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Private Benjamin,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!” and more have been filmed here.  Note that the Angels Gate Park with its Korean Friendship Bell is nearby. 3601 S. Gaffey St. San Pedro. 310-548-2631 or

A view across the Getty Center’s central garden. ( Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Getty Center  Brentwood. Open Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays). Free but order tickets online. Especially good on clear days when you can see all the way to Catalina. The world’s richest museum offers priceless art treasures, including Van Gogh’s “Irises,” which was the most expensive painting ever sold when the Getty bought it. Specializing in medieval to modern art and decorative arts, it’s also a center for scholarship. The billion-dollar white complex sits atop a hill in West Los Angeles. Kids enjoy riding the free tram to the top from the parking bring your lunch and nonalcoholic drinks. Admission to the Getty is free, but timed admission tickets must (temporarily) be ordered online. Parking costs $20, or $15 after 3 p.m. Active and veteran U.S. military with ID park free. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. or call  310-440-7300.

The Getty Villa Museum in Pacific Palisades reopened on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Getty Villa Museum. Pacific Palisades. Open Wednesdays through Mondays (closed Tuesdays). Order free tickets online. On a spectacular site, this replica of a Roman country house contains the Getty’s collection of old and rare Greek and Roman antiquities. The villa itself is an attraction, with its mosaics, art, gardens and architecture. It’s modeled after the Villa dei Papiri that was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which destroyed Pompeii. Picnics are allowed, so bring your lunch and nonalcoholic drinks. Admission is free, but timed admission tickets must be ordered online. Parking costs $20, or $15 after 3 p.m. 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades

Artist Judy Baca at The Great Wall of Los Angeles, the longest mural in the world, during its 2011 restoration in Valley Glen. (File photo by Michael Owen Baker, LA Daily News/SCNG)

The Great Wall of Los Angeles, Valley Glen. Every day. If you like murals, check out this half-mile-long mural near Los Angeles Valley College that tells the history of California — warts and all. Artist and educator Judy Baca designed and spearheaded the project, using volunteer students to complete it. The mural runs along the Tujunga Wash flood control channel near Coldwater Canyon Avenue between Oxnard Street and Burbank Boulevard. The mural began in 1974 when Baca was contacted by the Army Corps. of Engineers who wanted to beautify the flood channel, and it launched what has been described as the longest mural in the world. There’s a walkway to view the mural. Start at Burbank Boulevard to view the mural in chronological order. Open daily. 12920 W. Oxnard St., Valley Glen.

The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. The observatory makes for a good day trip from Laguna Woods.(Photo by Penny E. Schwartz)

Griffith Observatory. Los Angeles. Open Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays). Located in scenic Griffith Park (also free) on top of Mt. Hollywood in the Hollywood Hills, this observatory built in 1935 is always free and well worth seeing. Inside the building are several interesting displays, including an Egyptian sundial and a Foucault pendulum. The planetarium on site offers shows that cost a few bucks. Renovations in 2006 added several new attractions. There’s a memorial monument to actor James Dean. He starred in the movie “Rebel Without a Cause,” which has a climactic scene at the observatory. If you’re lucky enough to be there on a clear day, you can see all the way to Santa Catalina Island. Look for the Hollywood Sign behind the building. Parking is expensive; park down at the Greek Theatre and walk up, or ride the bus for 50 cents. 2800 East Observatory Road Los Angeles. 213-473-0800 or

Stevan Dohanos, “First Day of School,” Saturday Evening Post illustration, 1944, oil on board. (Courtesy of the Hilbert Museum of California Art)

Hilbert Museum of California Art., Orange. Open Tuesdays-Saturdays (closed Sundays-Mondays). Check out the new expansion of this always-free museum in Old Town Orange, near Chapman University.  216 E. Chapman Ave. Orange.  Street parking. or in the city lot in back. 714-516-5880 or

Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center. Jurupa Valley. Open Saturdays and Sundays only. Museum of Discoveries is free. Wander the botanical garden, turtle pond and see the dinosaur statues. Parking $10. 7621 Granite Hill Drive, Jurupa Valley.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles. It’s always free to view the outdoor tar pits in Hancock Park where so many ice age animals became trapped and fossilized for our fascination. But if you live in Los Angeles County, you also get free admission to the museum Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. Just go to the ticket booth and show your ID. Also, K-12 teachers, military, EBT card holders and USC students and employees also get free admission any day. There’s a paid parking lot that charges $18 (ouch). If you street park, read all the signage carefully. 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.

The Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in Los Angeles in 1979.

MOCA, Los Angeles. Open Tuesdays-Sundays (closed Mondays). The Museum of Contemporary Art is free to visit, with advance tickets available online. There are two facilities: A striking sandstone building across from Walt Disney Concert Hall that was designed by a famed architect Arata Isozaki. It’s at 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles.

A couple walk their dog on the wide, paved path at Mount Rubidoux Park in Riverside. (Photo by Kurt Miller, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Mount Rubidoux Park. Riverside. Take a walk along the wide paved trail in this landmark city park, which offers fabulous views and even a historic bridge and tower toward the top. It encompasses 161 acres and includes a giant cross dedicated to Father Serra for those who make it to the summit. On average, it takes around 60-90 minutes to hike the hilly 3.2 mile loop trail. Park at Boniminio Park nearby and use the restroom there. Bring water. 4706 Mount Rubidoux Drive, Riverside, 951-351-6250 or

People look at displays in the Museum of the San Fernando Valley. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker)

Museum of the San Fernando Valley, Northridge. Open Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays only. Founded in 2005, this museum is now located at the historic Rancho Cordillera del Norte in Northridge. Exhibits have included the history of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the Tarzan series, who founded the city of Tarzana, sculptor Henry Van Wolf, the history of “The Hollywood Shorties,” who were actors and stuntmen little people ranging in height from 3-foot-5 to 4-foot-9 who played baseball and basketball games for charity. 18904 Nordhoff St., Northridge. 818-347-9665 or

The Orange County Museum of Art at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, on Thursday, October 6, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange County Museum of Art, Costa Mesa. Open Tuesdays-Sundays (closed Mondays). This museum’s newly built permanent home opened to the public in October. It’s located at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and was designed by award-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Studios. The collection includes some 4,500 pieces on rotating exhibit. No tickets or reservations required. 3333 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa. Adjacent paid parking. 714-780-2130 or

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Exposition Park. Do you live in Los Angeles County? If so, you get free admission Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. Just go to the ticket booth and show your ID. K-12 teachers, military, EBT card holders and USC students and employees also get free admission any day. Pay to park. 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles.

Point Vicente Interpretive Center, Rancho Palos Verdes. Open every day, this small museum is not only interesting but also located on a gorgeous public point perfect for whale watching. Fine vistas reward the drive out there. It explores the human and natural history of the area. Also, this time of year volunteers with telescopes are counting whales as they go past on their way to Baja California to breed and give birth. 31501 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes.


A flower blooms in the garden at the historic Rancho Los Cerritos adobe in Long Beach on Thursday, Jun 14, 2018. (File photo by Scott Varley)

Rancho Los Cerritos, Long Beach. Open Wednesdays-Sundays. This remaining 4.74 acres of one of the ranchos that once covered California includes a historic adobe and allows visitors to imagine themselves as early Californios. The “Ranch of the Little Hills” once was part of a 300,000-acre Spanish land grant settled by Spanish soldier Juan Nieto. It eventually became a 27,000-acre working ranch that included two adobes and facilities for his descendants’ family and 12 children. In 1843, the property was sold to cattleman John Temple, who built the existing two-story adobe structure to use as his summer home. Later, the property would become a sheep ranch occupied by the Bixby family, who were important founders of the city of Long Beach. The Virginia Country Club was built next door and eventually the Bixby family sold the house and adjacent land to the city of Long Beach. It opened as a museum in 1955. Online reservations are requested but not mandatory. 4600 Virginia Road, Long Beach. 562-206-2040 or

San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum, San Bernardino. Open Saturdays only 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free admission and parking. Interesting compendium of local history. It’s located inside the historic Santa Fe Depot and Metrolink Rail Station 1170 W. Third St., San Bernardino.

A visitor walks through the Serra Chapel during the reopening of Mission San Juan Capistrano in 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)
The San Pedro Red Trolley is always free. (Photo by Chuck Bennett, Contributing Photographer)

San Pedro Red Trolley, San Pedro. Saturdays and Sundays only. This old-fashioned trolley line takes visitors on a loop route including the  the Battleshop Iowa and downtown San Pedro. It runs every half hour from noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in the winter.

Serra Chapel, Mission San Juan Capistrano. Open for mass on Sundays. For those who would like to attend a worship service in this 200-year-old national shrine, there is no charge to attend mass here (though there is a charge to tour the mission). 31520 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano. 949-234-1360 or

Turtle Rock Nature Center,  Irvine. Open Mon-Sat, closed Sundays.This five-acre nature preserve offers a paved trail, garden, a walking labyrinth and interpretive center.  Location: 1 Sunnyhill Drive, Irvine. 949-724-6738 or

Got more suggestions? Email me at

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