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50 Free Things to Do

There are countless free things to do in Santa Clarita, from outdoor recreation to kid’s activities and more! Take a museum tour, explore a park, see wild animals or window shop. Wherever your interests lie, you’ll find something to entertain you. So explore our list of 50 free things to do in Santa Clarita and our Southern California event calendar, and make the most of your vacation budget.

  1. Explore 70 miles of picturesque Santa Clarita trails and 20 miles of paseos designed for commuting and recreational use, including walking, riding, jogging and skating. The regional river trail serves as the backbone of the trail system. Together with connecting trails, visitors can access parks, entertainment and shopping. It’s Southern California outdoor recreation at its best!
  2. Take a tour of William S. Hart’s Museum, a member of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The William S. Hart Park and Museum is the former retirement home of the famed silent film actor and director who produced a series of hit Western movies in the early 1900’s. His beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival Style Mansion – now the Museum – exhibits an impressive collection of Western artwork by noted artists Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, and Joe de Yong, as well as mementos from early Hollywood, personal furnishings and effects, and artifacts representing multiple Native American cultures.
  3. Hike Hart Park and encounter the bison that were donated by Walt Disney. You may enjoy visiting a live collection of farm animals, the herd of American bison, a vast picnic area, a series of Santa Clarita trails for hiking, and a charming Western-themed Gift Store at scenic William S. Hart Park.
  4. Explore Placerita Nature Center, an east-west running canyon featuring cool, shaded oak groves, a willow and sycamore-lined seasonal stream and numerous other interesting plant and animal communities and Santa Clarita recreation opportunities. A network of self-guiding nature, history and hiking trails radiates out into the park from Placerita Nature Center, with longer Santa Clarita trails leading to a seasonal waterfall and to the top of the Santa Clarita Divide. Picnicking is available near the Nature Center. Plus, the historic Oak of the Golden Dream is the site of California’s original gold discovery in 1842. It’s a true Southern California gem.
  5. Drive along Historic Route 6, the transcontinental highway from California to Massachusetts. The City of Santa Clarita piece of this history I s a scenic drive presently known as Sierra Highway. Once
    the main Southern California artery from Santa Clarita to Los Angeles, Route 6 spans 14 states and more than 3,562 miles. Also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, Route 6 is the sole national arterial honoring veterans of the Civil War.
  6. Spend the evening strolling along the Walk of Western Stars on Main Street in Old Town Newhall, where more than 70 actors, directors, writers and entertainers are memorialized for their contributions to the preservation of the West.  As far as free things to do in Santa Clarita, it’s a great way to learn about days gone by. The Old West comes alive again each year when Western stars are immortalized in bronze and terrazzo tile on the streets of Old Town Newhall during the Cowboy Festival.
  7. Imagine the sound of your favorite rock band, or some strings with a little folk flavor, or how about some R&B classics filling the warm Southern California air one evening? Each Saturday in July and August, friends gather on the grass at Central Park with blankets and lawn chairs to experience Concerts in the Park, a unique Santa Clarita event.  Recent bands have played the music of Van Halen, Bon Jovi and Johnny Cash (to name a few). It’s the perfect way to spend a rockin’ evening in the park so, bring a blanket, chairs, and a picnic dinner and enjoy the night under the stars with your family and friends at this free Santa Clarita event!
  8. Search for a Geocache, a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.  Santa Clarita has hundreds of geochache locations, and it’s an excellent way to spend a sunny afternoon on your Southern California vacation. Think of it as a combination of Santa Clarita recreation plus the excitement of a scavenger hunt.
  9. Visit the Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning at College of the Canyons. The weekly Farmers Market is the perfect place to grab fresh, seasonal fruits, local Southern California produce, and specialty food items; a healthy, enriching Santa Clarita shopping experience.
  10. Every third Thursday of the month (March-October), SENSES transforms Main Street into a themed block party from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  This is one of many free things to do in Santa Clarita and always includes live music, food trucks, street performers, and themed activities. Guaranteed to deliver one of the best sensory experiences in the Santa Clarita Valley, SENSES is the party that should not be missed.
  11. Get outdoors and enjoy a picnic at one of the City’s 30 Parks! And once you’re done eating, our parks offer all kinds of Santa Clarita recreation options.
  12. Visit Castaic Lake, a 9,000 acre park featuring many of your favorite water and outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, jet skiing, swimming and mountain biking. Events at Castaic Lake include Movies at the Lake, Night Float Tube Fishing, Moonlight Fishing, Moonlight Kayak, Paddle boarding and much more.
  13. Attend the Art Slam. This monthly Southern California event exposes visitors to new forms of art from local and regional artists every first Thursday of the month from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  The event celebrates music, fashion, food, and beauty and always includes live music and food trucks.
  14. Visit a Santa Clarita Public Library and attend a free workshop or let the afternoon slip away as you dive into a good book. Libraries offer free wireless internet access as well as computers that can be used with a library card. Extensive DVD, audio book, and CD collections, and assorted free adult and children’s programming, and more can be found in the library. There’s no better time than during your Southern California vacation to get in a good read.
  15. Tour Old Pico Number Four, the oldest and longest producing oil well in California in Pico Canyon at Mentryville. This 1880’s pioneer oil town that was home to over 100 families until the early 1930’s. Pico Number Four went on to become the longest continually operating oil well in the world, closing in 1990. Historic buildings still stand including Charles Mentry’s grand thirteen-room mansion which was was erected in 1898, a one-room school house, and a period barn. Mentryville and Pico Number Four are registered as California State Historical Landmarks, and they’re an amazing way to immerse yourself in Southern California history.
  16. Explore Pico Canyon which is located in the north end of Santa Clarita Woodlands Park, Pico Canyon was the site of the first commercially successful oil well in the western United States — Pico No Four. Today the canyon offers hikers, bikers, equestrians and Santa Clarita recreation enthusiasts not only a glimpse of California history, but shaded trails into the rugged and lushly vegetated headwaters of Pico Canyon and the Santa Susana Mountains. Trails into the backcountry are accessed from a paved road leading out of Mentryville.
  17. Create your own self-guided tour of Santa Clarita’s public art Select one of four different public art tours in Santa Clarita. You’ll see some remarkable pieces and enjoy an aesthetically appealing afternoon of free art!
  18. Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park north of Santa Clarita off the Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14) is a 750-acre reserve that once served as a hideout for outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez, and was a shelter for the Tatavian Indians. The unique Vasquez Rocks formations are a familiar sight having been the background for many films and commercials. Rock climbing is the primary sport, but for a less perilous workout, saddle up for a riveting ride or go it on foot along the many Santa Clarita hiking trails in this rocky terrain.
  19. Heritage Junction, home to 19th century Saugus Railroad Station and many historical buildings from old Newhall is located in Hart Park. Tours of the train station including a 1900 Mogul Engine #1629, a class M4 train, weighing 75 tons are given by the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Hours: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays. Six other historic building also reside at Heritage Junction. From the six pew 1927 Ramona Chapel to the 1860 Mitchell House Adobe. All in various stages of restoration.
  20. Hit the courts-outdoor basketball courts are available at many of the city’s best locations; Central Park, Santa Clarita Park, Almendra Park, Bouquet Canyon Park and more! It’s one of the many free things to do in Santa Clarita that’ll do your body good.
  21. Join the festivities at Santa Clarita’s Fourth of July celebration.  Our popular Independence Day Celebration on July 4 features a parade followed by a spectacular fireworks show that can be seen all over town! It’s a don’t-miss summertime Southern California event.
  22. Get fit with Fido!  Take your dog to one of our dog parks. Santa Clarita’s very popular Central Bark is located at Central Park and Canine Country is situated adjacent to the Sports Complex.  There are two parks open (one for large doggies and one side for our smaller K9 friends) and they make for an excellent way to spend a day in Southern California. We love dogs!
  23. Go for a hike and learn about various Santa Clarita trails and Southern California nature walks on HikeSantaClarita.com
  24. Grind the rails! Our state-of-the-art 40,000 sq. ft skatepark, is already touted as one of the best skatepark destinations and features large bowls, a Street Plaza, Half-Pipe Tunnel, Snake Runs, Skate-able Planters and much more! Pain is temporary, Glory is forever, and chicks dig scars! What better place to practice your skating than Southern California?
  25. Take a scenic drive. Santa Clarita is the place to start as Bouquet Canyon offers hidden natural treasures along Bouquet Canyon Falls.  Santa Clarita is also home to the Interstate 5 and Highway 126 interchange that leads straight to the ocean!
  26. Visit the Placerita Nature Center where guests explore and learn about the wonders of nature and the natural area offering Santa Clarita trails for hiking, picnicking, bird-watching, animal shows, a nature center with a small museum and special programs for children and adults.  Placerita Canyon Park also offers over miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails. If you love the great outdoors and exploring the beauty of Southern California – you’ll get a kick out of Placerita Nature Center for sure.
  27. Step back in time and visit Tesoro Adobe Park where the spirit of Western movies lives on in Santa Clarita. Tesoro Adobe Park is the former home of early Western film actor Harry Carey.  The home, one of seven buildings at the park, is made out of tightly compacted earth, clay and straw and is strewn with Western paintings on the walls and artifacts throughout.
  28. Tour Hollywood’s Backlot Santa Clarita is one of the most active filming spots in Los Angeles County. Head out on a self-guided tour of the locations of top shows like “CSI” and “NCIS.”  You’re bound to see something in production! Southern California is all about film and TV, after all.
  29. Located on the hill above Central Park, visit the Castaic Lake Water Agency Conservatory Garden and Learning Center.   It is open to the public 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday and 8:00am to 3:00pm Saturday and Sunday. Located on a high plateau against the spectacular backdrop of the Santa Clarita Valley, you’ll find a unique garden thriving with more than 350 varieties of drought tolerant plants, flowers, and grasses.
  30. Head to the historic Hart Park for the annual Hart of the West POW WOW in September.  This Santa Clarita event draws tribal members from all over the United States to Southern California for contest dancing, drummers Native American arts and crafts, games and food.
  31. Take yourself on a picture tour of Santa Clarita. We have amazing views from our open space areas.  A favorite snapshot to capture for those enjoying a Southern California vacation is the sun as it sets behind the Viper roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
  32. Cheer on the participants in the annual Santa Clarita Marathon.   The Santa Clarita Marathon, which is an official qualifying race for the Boston Marathon, will test the physical boundaries of the human body each November and is run on our Santa Clarita trails system.  The Santa Clarita Marathon begins on McBean Parkway, runs through various popular locations around the city and ends at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.  Visitors can also stop by the Marathon’s free Health and Fitness Expo.
  33. Fly a kite at a city park.  Many of our parks offer ample space for you to run right along next to your child as they cheerfully chase after their kite and also makes for a great family photo. Getting outside is one of the best ways to enjoy Southern California.
  34. Attend the annual Shakespeare in the Park at Towsley Canyon dedicated to creating a summer festival and that shares the arts.  Bring blankets, chairs and a picnic to enjoy the outdoor play under the stars. Past productions have included Tempest, As You Like It and MacBeth.
  35. Play Disc Golf at the numerous stations around Central Park. Disc golf is a flying disc game in which individual players throw a flying disc at a target. It’s a terrific way to get some exercise and enjoy Southern California’s fantastic weather!
  36. Step onto the Cal Arts campus and enjoy an outdoor performance during the Wild Beast music series. Afternoon & evening concerts take place on the lawn, spotlighting several genres within the Herb Alpert School of Music. Open lawn seating in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Courtyard: Bench-seating is limited and available on a first-come, first- served basis. Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets and a picnic.
  37. Visit a local fire station.  Stations are always open and welcome visitors that want a quick tour.  Please note though, it may get cut short depending on if they get an emergency call.
  38. Listen to Music! There are numerous Santa Clarita restaurants and wine lounges that offer free live entertainment on weekends at locations such as Salt Creek GrilleWine 661 and Valencia Wine Company. Local tunes are a great way to get a taste of Santa Clarita during your Southern California vacation.
  39. Ride the Hometown Trolley! The City of Santa Clarita provides complimentary transportation during the summer months for our out of town visitors from local Santa Clarita hotels to Six Flags Magic Mountain & Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. This service aboard the Hometown Trolley typically runs from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
  40. Play beach volleyball in Santa Clarita.  We have sand courts available at the beautiful Santa Clarita Sports Complex. What says Southern California more than beach volleyball?
  41. Jog the cross country trail at Central Park.  Central Park is a great Santa Clarita trail option with pretty amazing views from atop the mountain.
  42. Visit Veterans Historical Plaza located in Old Town Newhall. The design of the Plaza evokes images of a formal Victorian garden. Fun tidbit!  Two Walk of Western Stars plaques at the Veteran’s Historic Plaza honor not only legendary Western film actors but also true American war heroes.
  43. Take a slice of Southern California history and learn more about Beale’s Cut which is located southeast of Newhall Avenue between Sierra Highway and the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway. Beale’s Cut has been used in numerous films since the silent era. It became a favorite film location by such pioneer filmmakers as D.W. Griffith, John Ford and Buster Keaton. In addition to being an interesting filmmaking site used mainly for two types of shots, either for movement through the Cut or for jumps across the top of it, Beale’s Cut was also of historical significance in the development of Newhall. After all, Beale’s Cut was once the passage that connected the main roadway between Newhall and the pueblo of Los Angeles.
  44. Visit Lombardi Ranch which has been in the Lombardi Family since the early 1940’s. Typical local Southern California crops for every year include sweet corn, both yellow and white, tomatoes ripened on the vine, onions, peppers, both hot and sweet, summer squashes, winter squashes, melons of all different varieties, watermelons and flowers. During the month of October pumpkins, Indian corn, corn stalks and gourds, family fun and entertainment are also a sight to see during the annual Halloween Pumpkin Festival which began in 1989. Eating locally grown goodies is a tasty addition to any Southern California vacation.
  45. Enjoy Saturday morning story time at Barnes and Noble every Saturday for favorite stories ranging from classics like Curious George and Dr. Seuss to new favorites by Mo Willems and more! The kids will love it and so will you.
  46. Explore the 12,000 square foot Country Antique Fair Mall that has been in business here since 1979! It’s a unique way to pick up some souvenirs and explore Santa Clarita shopping.
  47. Celebrate the Earth and the annual Earth Arbor Day at Central Park. Join in the festivities to renew your commitment to reusing, reducing, and recycling.  While at the festival, explore a variety of activities, entertainment, and displays featured in six interactive zones.
  48. Grab your basket and join us in the search for goodies left by Mr. E. Bunny.  The park is divided into different areas by age so everyone has a fun & fair time at Santa Clarita’s annual Eggstravaganza.
  49. Stroll Town Center Drive and window shop at the variety of Santa Clarita restaurants, stores and more.
  50. SOAK UP THE SUN! Santa Clarita has abundant sunshine and mild temperatures year round! This is the Southern California weather you’ve been dreaming about.
  • Event Calendar

    October 2014
    S M T W T F S
    28

    Circus Vargas at Westfield Valencia Town Center

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    Magic Mountain Man Triathlon

    29

    Circus Vargas at Westfield Valencia Town Center

    30 1 2 3

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    4

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    5

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    6 7 8 9 10

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    11

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    Old Town Newhall Oktoberfest

    The Belgians are Coming

    12

    The Belgians are Coming

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    13 14 15 16 17

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    18

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    Santa Clarita Oktoberfest

    19

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    20 21 22 23 24

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    25

    31st annual Love Ride

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    26

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    27 28 29 30 31

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    1

    Fright Fest Presented by SNICKERS®

    Santa Clarita Marathon & Health and Fitness Expo

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