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The Getty Center.
The Getty Center.
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Los Angeles heatwave hangouts: 24 free and air conditioned places to beat the heat

A few great places to cool off on the cheap

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The Getty Center.
| Photo by Shutterstock.com

Temperatures are rising to sweltering high levels across Los Angeles. For those without air conditioning, a heatwave can mean anything from a sweaty inconvenience to a truly dangerous situation.

Fortunately, there are many free (or nearly free) places to visit around town that are both cool temperature-wise and cool in the sense that you might enjoy holing up there for a long afternoon. We’ve mapped out 25 of those places right here.

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1. Central Library

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630 W 5th St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 228-7000
Visit Website

All LA public libraries are pretty much guaranteed to have air conditioning, but the Central Library offers free tours and has regular historical exhibits to check out. It all makes for a great place to while away a super-hot day.

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2. IKEA Burbank

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600 South Ikea Way
Burbank, CA 91502
(888) 888-4532
Visit Website

It’s easy to kill a whole day at the new Burbank Ikea—the largest in the nation. In fact, if they didn’t kick you out at 9 p.m., you could probably spend years here, surviving on Swedish meatballs and frozen yogurt.

3. Hammer Museum

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10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 443-7000
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You’ll quickly forget about the unbearable heat outside in this lovely, chilled museum. The museum itself is free of charge, but parking in the structure is $6 with validation for the first three hours.

My love lost in art

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4. Brand Library & Art Center

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1601 W Mountain St
Glendale, CA 91201
(818) 548-2051
Visit Website

Glendale’s beautiful Brand Library is home to an impressive collection of art books and media, with a gallery space attached as well. More importantly, extensive renovations completed in 2014 blessed the historic structure with a brand new HVAC system.

5. Westfield Culver City

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6000 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 390-5073
Visit Website

Entrance to this mall is free, but there are a lot of temptations to spend on a soft pretzel and/or shoes. The mall offers endless people-watching opportunities and lots of seating. You could also make like an active senior and do some mall walking (maybe burn off that pretzel).

6. Griffith Observatory

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2800 E Observatory Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800
Visit Website

When it’s hot out, the observatory is the place to be. Cool and dark, it’s the polar opposite of what’s outside. The observatory has two levels of exhibits about everything space-related and it’s all free (though adult admission to the famous planetarium costs $7).

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7. The lobby at the Downtown Standard Hotel

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550 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 892-8080
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There’s lots of comfy seating here and restrooms nearby. Plus, this place has the added benefit of a pool table and coffee shop.

8. Paley Center for Media

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465 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 786-1000
Visit Website

What an educational escape from the heat! At the Paley Center, visitors can take a guided tour or get familiar with Olympics history via the US Olympic Archive (since the games are coming back to LA, it seems like a good time to bone up). There's a $10 “suggested donation,” but admission is technically free.

9. The Price Is Right

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7800 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 575-2345
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This is going to keep you inside for a long time. The downside is you have to look excited and will probably be made to stand and clap. The upside is free air conditioning and the opportunity to maybe win something.

10. The Hollywood Roosevelt lobby

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7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 856-1970
Visit Website

The building is beautiful and its lobby is too. Located near Hollywood and Highland, it’s a nice escape from heat, costumed humans, and throngs of slow-moving people just outside.

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#hollywoodroosevelthotel

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11. Los Angeles City Hall

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200 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 485-2121
Visit Website

Beat the heat while holding your civic leaders accountable. LA City Council meetings are held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday and begin at 10 a.m., but there are plenty of other public meetings held throughout the week. And if you're hoping to get out of the sun for a long while, you're in luck; they are almost always interminable.

12. California Science Center

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700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(323) 724-3623
Visit Website

Exposition Park has a lot of shaded spots, but if the heat is truly unbearable, just get inside the California Science Center. There’s a tunnel through an aquarium and other water exhibits to help promote cool thoughts. Admission to the CSC is free, but special exhibits like the Space Shuttle Endeavour are extra.)

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13. Del Amo Fashion Center

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3525 Carson St
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 542-8525
Visit Website

Another version of this list could just be shopping malls, but we'll throw in this last one because at well over 2 million square feet, it's the largest in the LA area. As an added bonus, you can kill some time reenacting the intricate heist scene from Jackie Brown.

Wikimedia Commons

14. Annenberg Space for Photography

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2000 Avenue of the Stars Ste 10
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(213) 403-3000
Visit Website

This museum is a great place to spend a few hours appreciating the photographic arts away from the baking sun outside. The photography space sits atop one of the world's largest underground parking garages, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a space.

15. Walt Disney Concert Hall

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111 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-7211
Visit Website

You don't have to shell out for LA Phil tickets to enjoy the interior of Frank Gehry’s much-adored concert hall. In fact, free audio tours are available most days of the week between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Shutterstock.com

16. UCLA Powell Library

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53442 Charles Young Rsrch Lbry
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 825-4732
Visit Website

UCLA’s Powell library is where Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, so maybe this is where your novel gets done too. And if not, there's WiFi.

17. The LINE Hotel Lobby

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3515 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 381-7411

The lobby at the very cool Line Hotel has cushy seating, restrooms, a bar, and a cafe nearby. There is WiFi in the lobby too.

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18. Forest Lawn Memorial Park

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1712 S Glendale Ave
Glendale, CA 91205
(800) 204-3131

You don’t need to tromp around in the sun looking for Jimmy Stewart’s grave to enjoy the sprawling Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale. Stop by the free museum, where rotating exhibits regularly pass through. Then check out the very temperate Hall of the Crucifixion-Resurrection for a look at the world’s largest painting.

19. The Westin Bonaventure

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404 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 624-1000
Visit Website

The cool concrete interior of this fantastic hotel is reason enough to go, but there are also tons of seating opportunities (those little balcony pods) and a soothing central water feature. Don’t leave without taking a ride on those famous elevators.

20. CSUN Art Gallery

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18111 Nordhoff St
Northridge, CA 91330
(818) 677-1200
Visit Website

The Valley is a tough place to be without air conditioning. Fortunately, the art galleries at Cal State Northridge are free to the public and open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday—offering some relief during the hottest hours of the day.

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21. The Expo Line

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402 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(323) 466-3876
Visit Website

Okay, so this is not technically free, but at $1.75 it's pretty inexpensive—especially considering that it’s not just a ride in a chilled train, it’s also a scenic tour. Oooh past Exposition Park; aaah at that nice big Target near the La Cienega/Jefferson station! Best of all, by the end of the trip you'll be just a couple blocks from the beach.

22. J. Paul Getty Museum

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1200 Getty Center Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 440-7300
Visit Website

Getting here is a pain (and parking is not free if you drive), but once you’re situated within the museum, it’s easy to lose a few hours. The collection is enormous, and there are opportunities to come outside, feel the sun, realize it’s still unbearably hot, and go back in.

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23. Embassy Suites LAX North

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9801 Airport Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 215-1000
Visit Website

For those who have already been to the other points on this map and need something new, this is definitely an off-the-beaten-path location. Get a load of that atrium! There’s a koi pond, for crying out loud. A good place to go to pretend you’re on vacation.

Loving this architectural design.

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24. The Broad Museum

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221 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(310) 399-4004
Visit Website

How great will the climate-controlled environment inside the Broad Museum feel after spending the morning waiting in the hot sun? Maybe you were smart enough to reserve tickets in advance, but if not, get there early and bring plenty of water.

1. Central Library

630 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Shutterstock.com

All LA public libraries are pretty much guaranteed to have air conditioning, but the Central Library offers free tours and has regular historical exhibits to check out. It all makes for a great place to while away a super-hot day.

630 W 5th St
Los Angeles, CA 90071

2. IKEA Burbank

600 South Ikea Way, Burbank, CA 91502

It’s easy to kill a whole day at the new Burbank Ikea—the largest in the nation. In fact, if they didn’t kick you out at 9 p.m., you could probably spend years here, surviving on Swedish meatballs and frozen yogurt.

600 South Ikea Way
Burbank, CA 91502

3. Hammer Museum

10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

You’ll quickly forget about the unbearable heat outside in this lovely, chilled museum. The museum itself is free of charge, but parking in the structure is $6 with validation for the first three hours.

10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024

4. Brand Library & Art Center

1601 W Mountain St, Glendale, CA 91201

Glendale’s beautiful Brand Library is home to an impressive collection of art books and media, with a gallery space attached as well. More importantly, extensive renovations completed in 2014 blessed the historic structure with a brand new HVAC system.

1601 W Mountain St
Glendale, CA 91201

5. Westfield Culver City

6000 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

Entrance to this mall is free, but there are a lot of temptations to spend on a soft pretzel and/or shoes. The mall offers endless people-watching opportunities and lots of seating. You could also make like an active senior and do some mall walking (maybe burn off that pretzel).

6000 Sepulveda Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230

6. Griffith Observatory

2800 E Observatory Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

When it’s hot out, the observatory is the place to be. Cool and dark, it’s the polar opposite of what’s outside. The observatory has two levels of exhibits about everything space-related and it’s all free (though adult admission to the famous planetarium costs $7).

2800 E Observatory Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

7. The lobby at the Downtown Standard Hotel

550 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

There’s lots of comfy seating here and restrooms nearby. Plus, this place has the added benefit of a pool table and coffee shop.

550 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90071

8. Paley Center for Media

465 N Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

What an educational escape from the heat! At the Paley Center, visitors can take a guided tour or get familiar with Olympics history via the US Olympic Archive (since the games are coming back to LA, it seems like a good time to bone up). There's a $10 “suggested donation,” but admission is technically free.

465 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

9. The Price Is Right

7800 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

This is going to keep you inside for a long time. The downside is you have to look excited and will probably be made to stand and clap. The upside is free air conditioning and the opportunity to maybe win something.

7800 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

10. The Hollywood Roosevelt lobby

7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

The building is beautiful and its lobby is too. Located near Hollywood and Highland, it’s a nice escape from heat, costumed humans, and throngs of slow-moving people just outside.

7000 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

11. Los Angeles City Hall

200 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Beat the heat while holding your civic leaders accountable. LA City Council meetings are held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday and begin at 10 a.m., but there are plenty of other public meetings held throughout the week. And if you're hoping to get out of the sun for a long while, you're in luck; they are almost always interminable.

200 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

12. California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Shutterstock.com

Exposition Park has a lot of shaded spots, but if the heat is truly unbearable, just get inside the California Science Center. There’s a tunnel through an aquarium and other water exhibits to help promote cool thoughts. Admission to the CSC is free, but special exhibits like the Space Shuttle Endeavour are extra.)

700 Exposition Park Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90037

13. Del Amo Fashion Center

3525 Carson St, Torrance, CA 90503
Wikimedia Commons

Another version of this list could just be shopping malls, but we'll throw in this last one because at well over 2 million square feet, it's the largest in the LA area. As an added bonus, you can kill some time reenacting the intricate heist scene from Jackie Brown.

3525 Carson St
Torrance, CA 90503

14. Annenberg Space for Photography

2000 Avenue of the Stars Ste 10, Los Angeles, CA 90067

This museum is a great place to spend a few hours appreciating the photographic arts away from the baking sun outside. The photography space sits atop one of the world's largest underground parking garages, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a space.

2000 Avenue of the Stars Ste 10
Los Angeles, CA 90067

15. Walt Disney Concert Hall

111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Shutterstock.com

You don't have to shell out for LA Phil tickets to enjoy the interior of Frank Gehry’s much-adored concert hall. In fact, free audio tours are available most days of the week between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

111 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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16. UCLA Powell Library

53442 Charles Young Rsrch Lbry, Los Angeles, CA 90095

UCLA’s Powell library is where Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, so maybe this is where your novel gets done too. And if not, there's WiFi.

53442 Charles Young Rsrch Lbry
Los Angeles, CA 90095

17. The LINE Hotel Lobby

3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010

The lobby at the very cool Line Hotel has cushy seating, restrooms, a bar, and a cafe nearby. There is WiFi in the lobby too.

3515 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

18. Forest Lawn Memorial Park

1712 S Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91205

You don’t need to tromp around in the sun looking for Jimmy Stewart’s grave to enjoy the sprawling Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale. Stop by the free museum, where rotating exhibits regularly pass through. Then check out the very temperate Hall of the Crucifixion-Resurrection for a look at the world’s largest painting.

1712 S Glendale Ave
Glendale, CA 91205

19. The Westin Bonaventure

404 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

The cool concrete interior of this fantastic hotel is reason enough to go, but there are also tons of seating opportunities (those little balcony pods) and a soothing central water feature. Don’t leave without taking a ride on those famous elevators.

404 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071

20. CSUN Art Gallery

18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge, CA 91330

The Valley is a tough place to be without air conditioning. Fortunately, the art galleries at Cal State Northridge are free to the public and open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday—offering some relief during the hottest hours of the day.

18111 Nordhoff St
Northridge, CA 91330

21. The Expo Line

402 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Okay, so this is not technically free, but at $1.75 it's pretty inexpensive—especially considering that it’s not just a ride in a chilled train, it’s also a scenic tour. Oooh past Exposition Park; aaah at that nice big Target near the La Cienega/Jefferson station! Best of all, by the end of the trip you'll be just a couple blocks from the beach.

402 Colorado Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401

22. J. Paul Getty Museum

1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Shutterstock.com

Getting here is a pain (and parking is not free if you drive), but once you’re situated within the museum, it’s easy to lose a few hours. The collection is enormous, and there are opportunities to come outside, feel the sun, realize it’s still unbearably hot, and go back in.

1200 Getty Center Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90049

23. Embassy Suites LAX North

9801 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

For those who have already been to the other points on this map and need something new, this is definitely an off-the-beaten-path location. Get a load of that atrium! There’s a koi pond, for crying out loud. A good place to go to pretend you’re on vacation.

9801 Airport Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045

24. The Broad Museum

221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

How great will the climate-controlled environment inside the Broad Museum feel after spending the morning waiting in the hot sun? Maybe you were smart enough to reserve tickets in advance, but if not, get there early and bring plenty of water.

221 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Related Maps