This weekend, run, don’t walk to Los Angeles’ Museums Free-For-All, a once a year event where an exhaustive list of area museums are, you guessed it, free to enter. Some require advance reservations so check out the list before it’s too late. Rather check out stars than art? Another one of our favorite (and free!) events, Public Star Parties, is taking place this weekend at the Griffith Observatory. And if those aren’t your jam, there’s a whale of an art contest, vintage finds at a flea market and a historical play that will leave you feeling humbled by the brave men and women who brought hundreds of slaves to freedom. Scroll through the events and let us know which ones you are going to check out.

photo: via Danielle Klebanow

Los Angeles

Museums Free-For-All
It’s the annual ‘Museums Free-For-All’ weekend, when a host of the coolest museums in the world (right here in our backyard) open their doors wide and invite visitors free of charge. The museums run the gamut of art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science.Here’s a list of just some of the participating museums: The Annenberg Space for Photography, The Broad Museum, CAFAM, JANM, The Hammer Museum, The Getty Center, The Getty Villa, LACMA, The Museum of Contemporary Art,  Museum of Latin American Art, Petersen Automotive Museum, The Autry, Paley Center, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Skirball Cultural Center, and more! Sun. Event details.

Public Star Parties
Free public star parties are held monthly at Griffith Observatory with the assistance of volunteers from the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers, and The Planetary Society. They are a chance for the whole family to look at the Sun, Moon, visible planets and other objects, to try out a variety of telescopes, and to talk to knowledgeable amateur astronomers about the sky and their equipment. Please be aware that the astronomers and telescope demonstrators must cut off the line for each telescope to enable all viewing to be completed by 9:45 p.m. Sat. Event details.


Topanga Vintage Market
With 170 vintage vendors, dozens of local artisans, great food trucks and live music, it’s a wonderful place to spend treasure hunting on a beautiful fall day in LA. Find gorgeous antiques, vintage clothing, tableware, collectibles, antiques, jewelry and the most unique, personal artisan goods plus thousands of things you’ve never even heard of, just for fun. Sun. Event details.


Life: Challenges of Life
Part of the exciting series: Science Saturdays Series—Matinees for All Ages, Cal Tech presents the extraordinary things animals and plants must do in order to survive and reproduce. Key animals: Brown-tufted capuchins, dolphins, cheetahs, chameleons and killer whales. For tickets and information, email, or call (626) 395-4652. Sat. Event details.


Carter Higgins Storytime & Book Signing
Join in a fun early Valentine’s celebration with local author Carter Higgins! Her delightful debut book, This Is Not a Valentine, is a celebration of affection and friendship. It doesn’t have lacey edges or sugary hearts. But it is full of lucky rocks, secret hiding spots, and gumball machine treasures. About recognizing that if you care so much about someone not thinking you care, maybe you really do. But wait—isn’t that exactly what love is about? This Is Not A Valentine is a charming story sure to win over the hearts of all! Sat. Event details.

Topsy Turvy — A Mini Musical
The New Family Brunch Theater Presents  The Descendants. When the descendants of the villains and royalty in Fairy Tale Land end up on the opposite sides of their parents, the whole world turns upside down and it’s up to you to help set it straight. While the parents are trying to put things back the way they were, their children help them learn that compromise, compassion and learning about others can help make their world a better place. Join your favorite characters in a silly, fun adventure that proves your family tree is not always your destiny and that it’s never too late to change for the better. This one-hour original Creating Arts Company Mini-Musical will have you singing along, stomping your feet, booing for the villains and cheering for the heroes as you help turn the world right side up! Join us for this limited showing at Vitellos, come early and order special Fairy Tale Land drinks, snacks or brunch! Stay after to meet your favorite characters for autographs and pictures. Sat.-Sun. Event details.


Worth the Drive

The Story of the Underground Railroad
Based on historical events, Oh Freedom! tells the story of the greatest collaboration against slavery in American history. Combining historical accounts with songs of the period, this thought-provoking play reminds us that it took the cooperation, conviction, and bravery of many people, both black and white, to help hundreds of enslaved people make their way to freedom. *Specially priced $10.00 tickets available for Rancho Cucamonga Community & Arts Foundation Family Saturday performance on Jan. 27th only! Sat.-Sun. Event details.

Art Lessons in the Wild Contest
The 2018 Whale and Dolphin Adventure “Art Lessons in the Wild” program, begins Jan. 27 and continues Saturdays through April 28, for children ages 3-12. This exclusive package includes an art lesson via video feed by renowned environmental artist Wyland and a 2-hour whale watching adventure. Each child participating will be entered into a contest to win prizes as well as receive a gift from Wyland just for entering. Children ages 3-12, who take the art lesson aboard the Dana Pride (with a $5 donation), will attend a free whale watching trip at the end of the session departing at 10 am. All art submissions will be judged by Wyland himself (in three age categories, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12), with multiple winners and a grand prize winner. The grand prize is a limited edition Wyland giclee on canvas valued at $2,000. Sat. Event details.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Arcadia Performing Arts Foundation’s first-ever Arcadia Lunar New Year Festival presents Golden Dragon Acrobats direct from China. The world-famous Cirque spectacular opens the evening with their amazing athleticism and the grace of a centuries-old art form. Ticket stubs are drawn for special prizes, community leaders showcase a traditional fashion show with the AHS Chinese Parents Booster Club Choir, and the Cultural Leadership Award is presented. Golden Dragon Acrobats end festivities with fusion flair. VIP includes Aftershow Meet-and-Greet with desserts. Fri. Event details.

Which events are you checking out this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

—Andie Huber