Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Burbank, CA

  • Published 2023/01/08

Burbank is one of the most famous cities in California, dubbed the “Media Capital of the World.”

Located in Los Angeles County, Burbank is home to some of the largest media companies in the world, most prominently Warner Bros., The Walt Disney Company, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon.

Because of this, Burbank is bustling with various attractions, including free activities you can include in your itinerary.

Burbank is nestled in the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains, making it an attractive city for free outdoor fun as well.

To jumpstart your adventure, here’s a list of the free things to do in Burbank, California:

Explore Downtown Burbank

A street at Downtown Burbank

Ameer Mussard-Afcari /

One of the first areas you should visit is Downtown Burbank, located in the heart of the city along the Golden State Freeway.

Downtown Burbank is bustling with activities, but simply driving or walking through its many streets is one of the best ways to experience the urban culture of this unique city.

If you want an authentic experience, explore downtown on foot to immerse yourself in the environment.

An elevator at Downtown Burbank

Logan Bush /

In fact, this is highly encouraged by the local government, as they even provide an online walking tour map of Downtown Burbank.

One of the best free things you may stumble upon here is live performances and a photo opportunity with a life-sized statue of Batman.

An ice rink at Downtown Burbank

Kilmer Media /

Go on a Self-Guided Street Art Tour

Because of its rich urban districts, it’s no surprise that Burbank is home to sprawling murals and street art.

The tourism sector of Burbank encourages visitors to do a self-guided street art tour at no cost.

Most of the prominent murals and other artworks are in Magnolia Park, which is another district that’s just a few walks from Downtown Burbank.

There are also a few located in the Airport District of the city, which is also walkable from Magnolia Park.

See the Wildlife at Stough Canyon Nature Center

As mentioned earlier, Burbank isn’t only known for being the Media Capital of the World, but it’s also blessed with beautiful topography and surrounding nature.

Stough Canyon Nature Park is one of the best places to visit in the city for a free outdoor adventure.

It’s where you can explore the Verdugo Mountains surrounding Burbank.

Before you go on a free and guided hike, Stough Canyon Nature Center’s staff can walk you through the varied flora and fauna of the mountains.

Various educational activities are also available for the whole family.

A must for any hiking enthusiast or wildlife lover, Stough Canyon Nature Center can be found along East Walnut Avenue.

Watch Hollywood Tapings at Burbank’s Media District

Warner Bros headquarters at Media District

Oscity /

Media District is a haven for film lovers.

Because Burbank is the headquarters of the world’s biggest media companies, it’s not surprising that many scenes and shots are taken in the city as it’s both convenient and cost-effective.

The good news is that it’s free to watch the many tapings happening at the district at any given month.

Tour vehicle along Media District

Oscity /

Besides looking on as an audience for free, you can also explore Media District for its beautiful neighborhood.

Taking a photo in front of the many office headquarters of companies like Walt Disney and Warner Bros. is a must when you visit this area.

You can start your tour of the Media District along Riverside Drive and West Olive Avenue.

Enjoy Recreational Activities at Brace Canyon Park

Brace Canyon Park is a quaint but popular neighborhood park filled with all sorts of fun.

Located along Haven Way just a few minutes away from Stough Canyon, this free park is one of the best outdoor areas if you want some peace with the whole family.

It’s dog-friendly, and lots of amenities like playgrounds and ball courts are available, making this a great destination for one afternoon.

It’s also regarded as one of the prettiest public parks in Burbank, sprawling with greenery and trees that accentuate its serene atmosphere.

If you’re looking to visit a popular and scenic spot in the city while having a bit of downtime, Brace Canyon Park is the easy choice.

Cycle along Chandler Bike Path

Night scene at Chandler Bike Path

Junkyardsparkle, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Burbank is one of the most bike-friendly places in Los Angeles County, and a big reason for it is the Chandler Bike Path.

This long bike path is a former railroad track, which you can explore whether on a bike, skateboard, or on foot.

Since it’s a rail-to-trail project, you get two miles’ worth of trails that run through the city, offering great views.

If you’re planning on doing the Street Art Tour, you can also combine the two, as many of the artworks are found along Chandler Bike Path as well.

You can begin your adventure at Mariposa Street.

Check the Art Installations at Abraham Lincoln Park

Abraham Lincoln Park is a small park that deserves a spot in your itinerary if you’re into the late U.S. president’s life.

Although it’s small, it’s home to two art installations about President Lincoln.

These two artworks are titled “Lincoln in Meditation” and “The Hats,” which are a couple of large hat statues attributed to the late president.

Beyond these, Abraham Lincoln Park also has a playground and several benches ideal for a quick break in the heart of the city.

You can access Abraham Lincoln Park along North Buena Vista Street.

Visit the Burbank Aviation Museum

The dome of Burbank Aviation Museum's building

StacieStauffSmith Photos /

Burbank Aviation Museum is one of the most interesting and underrated free things to do in the city.

It’s located in the large vicinity of the Valhalla Memorial Park and Mortuary, paying homage to the aviation history of the United States.

Burbank Aviation Museum is home to a shuttle replica and several plaques of American pioneers in the aviation industry.

Besides these, there’s also a high arch that acts as an ornate monument, along with a small room that serves as a museum housing a few exhibits.

Burbank Aviation Museum is along Valhalla Drive.

Read a Book at Buena Vista Library

One of the best things about Abraham Lincoln Park is it’s right next to another splendid free place in Burbank—Buena Vista Library.

The library is well-loved by the locals because it offers almost everything for free—from parking and entrance to Wi-Fi access.

Some free family-oriented activities are also available at the library, such as free movie shows.

There are also computers and many child-friendly books and games that can keep kids engaged for hours.

Reach the Summit of Wildwood Canyon Park

Mountain views from Wildwood Canyon Park


Wildwood Canyon Park is another beautiful outdoor destination in Burbank that you can visit without paying admission fees.

It offers one of the best panoramic views of Burbank and its surrounding cities and towns, making this a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts and photographers.

There are several areas here that you can reach, offering different elevations and views of the city.

Skyline views from Wildwood Canyon Park


Wildwood Canyon Park is also one of the best climbing trails for seasoned hikers in Los Angeles, as some of its routes can be steep and strenuous.

However, what makes it fun is that there are alternatives to go about them, making the park a popular destination for newbies.

You can start your hike at Wildwood Canyon Park at Wildwood Canyon Drive.

Hiking trail at Wildwood Canyon Park


Visit the Gordon R. Howard Museum

Another museum that doesn’t charge entrance fees is the Gordon R. Howard Museum.

Depicting the history of Burbank, Gordon R. Howard Museum is home to various artifacts from the past two centuries.

This museum has a robust collection of vintage media memorabilia, ranging from iconic Walt Disney characters like Mickey Mouse to a preserved jacket of Johnny Carson from “The Tonight Show.”

You can visit Gordon R. Howard Museum and its namesake Historical Society at North Lomita Street.

Go for a Jog at Johnny Carson Park

Speaking of Johnny Carson, the television legend from the 20th century has a park named after him which is one of the biggest in Burbank.

Johnny Carson Park is one of the best places to jog in the city.

Its sizable area makes it a great place to burn some calories during your trip while enjoying scenic views.

If you’re not planning to jog, Johnny Carson Park is also one of the most popular places to havce picnics with the family.

It’s also close to the Los Angeles River if you want to see it during your trip.

You can access Johnny Carson Park along Bob Hope Drive and Parkside Avenue.

Join the Downtown Burbank Arts Festival

Art vendor during the Downtown Burbank Arts Festival

Michael Gordon /

Downtown Burbank Arts Festival is one of the best free events in the city, typically taking place only one weekend during spring.

While it’s just a two-day annual festival, the city makes up for it with its grandiose activities that you should not miss.

The festival features over 200 local artists with varying specializations, from paintings, sculptures, and animation, to music.

You can enjoy free activities during the festival, such as attending concerts, mingling with the artists, and checking out all their unique artworks displayed during the event.

Held in the stretch of San Fernando Boulevard from Burbank Town Center, the Downtown Burbank Arts Festival is a must for any art lover.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Hike Burbank Peak Tree of Life Trail and See the Hollywood Sign

Daytime view of the Hollywood Sign

logoboom /

Burbank is extremely close to the world-famous Hollywood Sign, which only takes 20 minutes to reach via car.

While you can’t see the Hollywood Sign from the flatlands of Burbank, you can see it up close through the Burbank Peak Tree of Life Trail in Los Angeles.

This trail will lead to the Hollywood Sign and another attraction called the Wisdom Tree, a lone-standing tree atop the mountain.

View from the Hollywood Sign

Sean Pavone /

From there, you can enjoy sweeping city views and a panoramic vista of Burbank.

If you traverse the trail further, you’ll get a chance to see the Hollywood Sign.

Have a Blast at Travel Town Railroad

The tracks of Travel Town Railroad

Walter Cicchetti /

Only 10 minutes from Burbank by car, Travel Town Railroad in Los Angeles will blow you away when you see it.

Sprawling with beautiful vintage trains and freights, this is a must-see if you’re visiting Burbank and Los Angeles.

An outdoor park that doubles as a museum and amusement center, Travel Town Railroad will transport you back in time.

Steam locomotive at Travel Town Railroad

Walter Cicchetti /

There’s a lot to learn and even more to take photos of, given how beautiful its layout is.

If you’re with children and don’t mind spending a bit of cash, there is a train ride here that only costs a few dollars.

Locomotive at Travel Town Railroad

Walter Cicchetti /

Final Thoughts

Burbank is home to various fun activities that won’t hurt your budget.

One of the best free activities here is chancing upon a live taping and being part of its audience, so be on the lookout for what’s happening in the city and its Media District during your stay.

Beyond Hollywood, Burbank is also home to more interesting urban areas and outdoor activities like Stough Canyon and Wildwood Canyon Park that add diversity to your trip.

Try these free things to do in Burbank, California, and discover the city’s amazing attractions!

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