There are countless free things to do in Santa Clarita, from outdoor recreation to kid’s activities and more! You can take a museum tour, explore a park, meet wild animals or window shop. Wherever your interests lie, you’ll find something to entertain you. 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.
Take a tour of William S. Hart’s Museum, the former home of the famed silent film actor and director who produced a series of hit Western movies in the early 1900’s. A member of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the museum exhibits an impressive collection of Western artwork as well as mementos from early Hollywood, personal furnishings, and artifacts representing multiple Native American cultures.
Visit Placerita Canyon, a canyon that features cool, shaded oak groves, a willow and sycamore-lined seasonal stream and interesting plant and animal communities. A network of self-guiding nature 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. Plus, the canyon is home to the historic “Oak of the Golden Dream,” the site of California’s original gold discovery in 1842.
Visit Castaic Lake, a 9,000-acre water reservoir that’s perfect for every water and outdoor activity, from fishing, boating, jet skiing and swimming to mountain biking and horseback riding. The lake also plays host to special events, including Night Float Tube Fishing, Moonlight Fishing, Paddle boarding and much more.
Spend the afternoon strolling along Main Street’s Walk of Western Stars in Old Town Newhall. Here you’ll find more than 90 actors, directors, writers and entertainers 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! You can also download the Newhall Walking Tour app for a self-guided adventure full of history and film tidbits!
Listen to the music of your favorite rock, blues or country band while enjoying southern California’s cool evenings at Concerts in the Park. Bring your beach chairs and let the music take you away as you rock and roll with friends and family! Enjoy the free series of eight consecutive Saturday concerts held at Central Park, beginning in July and running through August.
Explore Hart Park and encounter the descendants of the bison that were originally donated by Walt Disney. You may enjoy visiting a live collection of farm animals at the barnyard or packing a picnic to enjoy at the park’s vast picnic area. The scenic park also boasts a series of Santa Clarita trails for hiking and a charming Western-themed Gift Store.
Get your engines running at Thursdays@Newhall’s Revved Up, a free car show that features a new niche car genre every month. Check out beautiful restorations, sweet modifications, and exceptional craftsmanship while enjoying gourmet food trucks, adult beverages and a live band. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite car as part of the People’s Choice and Peer Choice Award.
Every vacationer needs a good book, so pick one up during your Southern California getaway at a Santa Clarita Public Library. Attend a free workshop or simply let the afternoon slip away as you dive into a good book. Our libraries offer free wireless internet access as well as computers that can be used with a library card.
Visit another world at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, a 750-acre reserve that’s north of Santa Clarita off the Antelope Valley Freeway (SR-14). Once a hideout for outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez and a shelter for the Tatavian Indians, the unique rock formations have starred in countless films, commercials and television shows.
Experience history at Heritage Junction, home to 19th century Saugus Train Station and many historical buildings from old Newhall. If visiting on the weekend, join a tour provided by the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Along with the station, six other historic buildings reside at Heritage Junction, including a six pew 1927 Ramona Chapel and an 1860 Mitchell House Adobe.
Join the festivities at Santa Clarita’s Fourth of July Kick things off by taking part in the annual Independence Day Classic 5K, 10K run/walk. Then refuel with the Rotary Club at their annual Pancake Breakfast before finding a spot along the parade route. Capping off the fun that evening is a spectacular fireworks show that can be seen all over town!
Break out the cowbells and cheer for the Amgen Tour of California riders as they come through Santa Clarita! One of the nation’s largest and most recognized annual sporting events, the race attracts elite professional teams and athletes from around the world. Santa Clarita is pleased to have played host to this exciting event year after year.
Step back in time and visit Tesoro Adobe Park. The Tesoro Adobe was built and owned by noted western film actor, Harry Carey, in the 1920’s and 1930’s. During Carey’s prolific film career, he is credited with at least 233 movies; the western movie elite including John Wayne, William S. Hart, and Gary Cooper visited Tesoro Adobe.
Tour Hollywood’s Backlot. Southern California is all about film and TV, after all and Santa Clarita is one of the most active filming spots in Los Angeles County! Head out on a self-guided tour of locations featured in top shows like “Ballers” and “NCIS.” You’re bound to see something in production.
Learn about your local flora at the Castaic Lake Water Agency Conservatory Garden and Learning Center. 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.
Snap a selfie while taking a photo tour of Santa Clarita. We have amazing views from every turn, from our open space areas to our shopping centers. Remember, a favorite snapshot to capture for those enjoying a Southern California vacation is the sun as it sets behind the Riddler roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Cheer on the participants in the annual Santa Clarita Marathon. An official qualifying race for the Boston Marathon, the race tests the physical boundaries of the human body every November. Visitors can also stop by the Marathon’s free Health and Fitness Expo the day before the race.
Tour Old Pico Number Four, the oldest and longest producing oil well in California in Pico Canyon at Mentryville. Today, historic buildings still stand including Charles Mentry’s grand thirteen-room mansion which 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.
Ride the Destination Six Flags Trolley! The City of Santa Clarita provides complimentary transportation to Six Flags Magic Mountain & Six Flags Hurricane Harbor during the summer months for visitors staying at participating Santa Clarita hotels. This service aboard the Hometown Trolley typically runs from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
Learn more about Beale’s Cut. Located southeast of Newhall Avenue, between Sierra Highway and the Antelope Valley (14) Freeway, Beale’s Cut was once the passage that connected the main roadway between Newhall and the pueblo of Los Angeles. It has since become a popular film location and a favorite of such pioneer filmmakers as D.W. Griffith, John Ford and Buster Keaton.
Pick the perfect pumpkin at Gilchrist Farm Harvest Festival. Throughout the month of October, you’ll enjoy the pumpkin patch, straw bale maze, petting zoo and farm store. Plus, they have a variety of activities and vendors, including horse drawn wagon rides, pony rides, face painting, pumpkin decorating, fall farm crafts and live entertainment. The rest of the year come out and learn how to milk the goats, gather the eggs, or take a horseback riding lesson.
Drive along Historic Route 6, the transcontinental highway from California to Massachusetts. Once the main Southern California artery from Santa Clarita to Los Angeles, Route 6 spans 14 states and more than 3,562 miles. The City of Santa Clarita’s piece of this history is a scenic drive presently known as Sierra Highway, which took a starring role in Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 film, “Modern Times.”