15 Free Things to Do in Lakewood, CA

Free Things to Do in Lakewood, CA
MattGush / shutterstock.com

Since Lakewood is a bedroom community in Los Angeles County, California, tourism isn't its most vital feature.

However, you can still have a great time visiting this quaint city, especially if you're on a budget.

In 1930, the developer Clark Joaquin Bonner, who had inherited the Montana Land Company from William and Ross Clark, thought up the Lakewood Country Club, where the city got its name.

Bonner came up with the name for the country club by combining an image of Bouton Lake, created by good artesian drilling in 1895, with the trees in the area.

Lakewood offers the best of California's beaches and sunlight without the typical tourist crowds.

It has a small-town atmosphere, despite its proximity to the City of Angels, because of its many parks and tree-lined streets.

Even though Lakewood is a tiny city, there are many fun things to do there, many of which are free.

Here's a handy guide to all the free things to do in Lakewood, California:

Follow the West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail

Established in 2015, the West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail is a 2.5-mile round trip from Candlewood Street to Carson Street.

The West San Gabriel River Parkway Nature Trail spans the picturesque San Gabriel River.

You can observe native plant species, animals, and breathtaking natural views over the 2.5 miles of paths.

The Nature Trail offers native vegetation and animals, allowing visitors to see what the Lakewood area used to look like.

Have a Picnic at Rynerson Park

Take a trip to Rynerson Park, pack a picnic with food, drink, a blanket, and chairs, and bask in the sunshine.

In addition to a bike trailhead, walking paths, a picnic pavilion, and baseball diamonds, Rynerson Park, established in 1990, has 40 acres of open space.

Located south of Del Amo Boulevard on Studebaker Road, the park is on the east bank of the San Gabriel River.

Rynerson Park, formerly known as River Park, was given its current name in honor of Jacqueline Rynerson, a construction and acquisition pioneer who served as Lakewood's first mayor.

Let Your Kids Run Free at Mayfair Park

Mayfair Park is at the intersection of Clark Avenue and South Street in downtown Lakewood.

Since 1951, it has become Lakewood's primary recreational area.

The housing development nearby, known at the time as the Mayfair District, gave the park its name.

The park's 14,000-square-foot John Sanford Todd Community Center, established in 1991, honors the former attorney John Sanford Todd, a key figure in the city's establishment in 1954.

This 18-acre park in Lakewood features a separate playground for small and bigger kids to ensure that both groups can blast.

Mayfair Park also hosts the yearly Pan American Fiesta, which you may attend in May.

Take Photos with the Carriage at San Martin Park

Another pleasant park in Lakewood is San Martin Park, which is called "Pumpkin Park."

The park incorporates play structures shaped like the pumpkin carriages from Cinderella.

However, the structures had grown old enough to pose risks to children.

So, in 2014, the Lakewood City Council built a massive pumpkin carriage featuring two horses and a sizable castle area to replace the old structures.

It has a lot of grassy space for running about and playing football, soccer, etc.

The section for children aged five to 12 features a few slides, furniture, Cinderella sitting, and a five- to ten-foot zip line.

Kids can also play in the sand nearby.

If your children are fans of Cinderella, bring them to San Martin Park!

Let Your Kids Cool Down at Palms Park

Throughout the summer, the City of Lakewood runs six wading pools.

Wading pools are typically available every day, for free, from mid-June to early September, for children aged three to seven.

One of them is Palms Park in east Lakewood.

Established in 1978, the park has a community center, baseball diamonds, and picnic areas.

Currently, the Weingart Room in the park serves as the home of the city's gymnastics program.

Palms Elementary School is just next to Palms Park.

Let Your Dog Meet Other Pets at Home Run Dog Park

The people of Lakewood, California, are not only massive baseball fans; they also adore their dogs.

The Home Run Dog Park is the city's primary "pawtastic" off-leash area in Rynerson Park.

Home Run Dog Park offers free, on-street parking.

Additionally, there is no fee to visit the park.

The only requirements are keeping your dog on a leash, getting them spayed, neutered, and licensed before your trip, and leaving all their toys in your vehicle.

Two acres of open space make up the Home Run Dog Park, with separate areas for big and little dogs.

Both have paved entrances and naturally occurring grass coverings inside the complexes.

Trees in the off-leash areas are few and widely spaced, so there isn't much shade for the dogs when it's warm.

However, they are maintained quite nicely and tidily as well.

There are dog-friendly water fountains where they may rehydrate if they become thirsty.

There is only one bench, so pet owners must stand.

It is beneficial because your dog still needs your companionship, even if they are off-leash and mixing with other dogs.

If you are nearby, you can intervene quickly if any canine mischief begins.

Go Window Shopping at Lakewood Center

While staying outside is excellent, especially in the summer, sometimes you need to stroll through the mall while sipping lemonade.

So, you may as well do it in the convenience of the Lakewood Center if you're going to whine about that anniversary deal.

After shopping at more than 50 boutiques, spend the morning at the Lakewood Center Farmer's Market or have lunch with friends.

After walking around, pick out one of the complimentary strollers available as a courtesy and keep going!

You may also use free Wi-Fi to tell your friends where to locate you if you get lost in the mall.

Join the Fest-Of-All

The Lakewood Center's vast parking lot south of El Torito and west of Target hosts the multiracial food and music festival known as Fest-Of-All every fall.

It is symbolic of the many different cultures that make up the diverse community that Lakewood is so proud to host.

Highlights include a multiethnic food court, two performance stages, a family fun area with inflatable rides, a craft village, a children's cultural station, and more!

You may catch dance performances from Aztec, African, Chinese, Latin, and Irish-Celtic cultures.

The Fest-Of-All entrance is accessible through a free shuttle service every 15 minutes from the east parking lot of Lakewood City Hall.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

There's no shortage of free fun around Lakewood, California.

If you want a change of pace and perspective, these free things to do nearby are less than a 20-minute drive from Lakewood.

Take Artistic Photos at Cerritos Sculpture Garden

Entryway of Cerritos Sculpture Garden
Kevin Yuan / Shutterstock.com

Cerritos Sculpture Garden is in Cerritos, California, an 11-minute drive from Lakewood.

It is ideal for admiring local artwork and relaxing in a green outdoor space.

The neighborhood received this attraction as a 50th anniversary present.

The first sculptures also commemorate the Cerritos Air Disaster.

Sculpture at Cerritos Sculpture Garden
ninjasun - Hung Tran / Shutterstock.com

Other sculptures, such as the Statue of Freedom, The Elements, and Mirage, are also in the Cerritos Sculpture Garden.

You will experience a tranquil, natural setting as you stroll around the garden bordered by stone walls and trees.

Infinity sculpture at Cerritos Sculpture Garden
ninjasun - Hung Tran / Shutterstock.com

Learn about Colonial Era Life at Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum

Exterior of Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
Vanesser III, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This historic site in Compton, California, 12 minutes from Lakewood, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum, the earliest Spanish land grant in California, is under the care and sponsorship of the Friends of Rancho San Pedro.

It tells the story of the Dominguez family via their adobe homestead and Rancho San Pedro.

In addition, the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum hosts events like Meet Father Serra, a Living History night, and the recreation of the Battle of the Old Woman's Gun.

Donations are accepted but not required for entry.

Donations assist in maintaining this historic monument by funding the ability to provide schoolchildren visits.

Visit the Don Knabe Community Regional Park

Cerritos also has great parks like the Don Knabe Community Regional Park.

The Don Knabe Community Regional Park is ideal for outings with friends or family; if you stay for many days, take advantage of some of the park's daily amenities.

Spend a morning fishing on the lake or work out in the 164-foot outdoor pool.

Play basketball or tennis on the neighborhood courts if it's too hot outside, or check out the gym.

After taking a shower, go to the picnic areas with your lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the sun.

Take a Stroll along Pine Avenue

Entrance arch of Pine Avenue
NoyanYalcin / Shutterstock.com

The renowned entertainment zone is a short stroll from downtown Long Beach, California, home to modern enterprises and historical structures constructed in the 1920s and 1930s.

Discover the best of Long Beach, California, by going to Pine Avenue, 15 minutes from Lakewood.

People walk along the strip to find things to do with friends; likewise, the town is buzzing with activity.

Buildings along Pine Avenue
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience where the past and the future collide thanks to the stunning historic structures juxtaposed against this busy, cosmopolitan setting.

Visit the stunning avenue at night and see the vibrant lights, which add to the feeling of a great metropolis.

The road of Pine Avenue
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Ride a Bike around the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade

Take a 31-minute trip from Lakewood to Long Beach and ride your bike around the 30-foot-wide Rainbow Harbor Esplanade, which opened in 1999.

It crosses many tourist hotspots, including Shoreline Village and the Aquarium of the Pacific.

Likewise, it features historical markers.

Ride a bike down the Rainbow Harbor Esplanade and see the gorgeous flora native to the Pacific.

The waterfront scenery will also make you reach for your camera.

However, Long Beach has imposed a city limit on bikes, so don't go faster than three miles per hour.

Moreover, bring your own bike if you don't want to rent one before exploring the esplanade.

Bring Your Pet to Rosie's Dog Beach

A happy bulldog at Rosie's Dog Beach
Justinrudd Justin Rudd!, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A 20-minute drive from Lakewood takes you to the four-acre Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach, which has opened since 2003.

It is a refuge for animal lovers who want to let their dogs run free for extended periods.

There are several free activities you may enjoy here with your beloved dog.

Play fetch with them on the beach.

After that, you may chase the waves together for a memorable adventure.

Make sure to bring a human companion along if you're traveling with two of your animal friends.

The park administration mandates a one-to-one ratio of animals and owners.

Take a Peek into the Past at Rancho Los Cerritos

One of the most significant adobe homes constructed in Southern California during the Mexican era is the 4.8-acre Rancho Los Cerritos.

It is also Casa de Los Cerritos, or House of the Hills, located in Long Beach, 12 minutes from Lakewood.

Take photographs to remember your journey as you explore the lovely grounds with its adobe architecture and landscaping.

If you're interested in learning more about the fascinating histories of California from the Spanish colonial period to the present, you may take a free public tour.

Give the tour at least an hour.

If you visit the location in the afternoon, come after lunch for a lot of room to take in the displays and information.

Final Thoughts

The quaint city of Lakewood is a welcoming community with various parks and outdoor activities available year-round.

Its surrounding areas also boast free experiences that refresh you during the weekend.

If you want a break from the noise of bigger cities without burning a hole in your pocket, loosen up with the free things to do in Lakewood, California.

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