Eastside, Westside, Beach or Valley – there are a couple of events this weekend taking place all over town that won’t hurt your wallet and will expand your mind (and palate!).  Explore the best cuisine and culture LA has to offer for free or on the cheap at Dine LA and the Museums Free-for-All. Tree hugger? Whale lover? Got you covered too. Music is front and center with a mini-rock stars in training jam or a silly show with the LA Phil from the author of Lemony Snicket. Maybe your tot prefers hip Japanese animation, or your princess needs a Diva night – that’s on tap too…

Everywhere

Museums Free-for-All
This weekend, a host of the coolest museums in the world (which happen to be right here in our backyard) open their doors wide and invite visitors free of charge – museums run the gamut of art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science. Sat. & Sun. Check the list of participating museums for hours and details.

dineLA Restaurant Week
Foodie families rejoice: some of LA’s best restaurants participate in offering specially priced three-course meals. It’s a wonderful opportunity to take kids along to try some new (fabulous) foods without a huge price-tag. Starts Friday for lunch or dinner. Check list of participating restaurants for details.

Los Angeles

The Composer is Dead
Toyota Symphonies for Youth is performing Lemony Snicket’s The Composer Is Dead – a silly whodunit designed to help introduce orchestral instruments to kids. Sat., 11:00 am. Downtown. $27.50. Ages 5-11. Event details.

Zimmerpalooza
It’s time for the Zimmer Children’s Museum’s annual benefit that helps make it possible for all families come and play and explore together. This year the party is all about designing, building and creating, plus there’s live music, great food, and the chance to support a great cause. Sun., 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Miracle Mile. $75. All ages. Event details.

Hollywood & West Hollywood

RockSTAR Winter Rock Fest
Get ready to rock, kid-style, at this event which celebrates the importance of music education and is overflowing with awesome music (by kids who can really rock), great food, and cool prizes. Sat., 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Sunset Strip. $12. All ages. Event details.

Spirited Away and Pom Poko
See a Studio Ghibli’s classic at the gorgeous Egyptian Theatre: the evening starts with Spirited Away, followed by Pom Poko (in new 35 mm prints). For Westsiders, there is also a showing of Kiki’s Delivery Service at the Aero on Sunday. Fri., 7:30 pm. Hollywood.  $11. Ages 6+. Event details.

Westside

Tu B’Shevat, Trees and Me
Celebrate and honor our leafy friends by feasting on fruit, making leaf rubbings, learning all about trees, and planting a sapling with the Tree People for Tu B’Shevat (the Jewish holiday honoring trees). Sun., 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Westwood. Free. All ages. Event details.

Whale Fiesta
Kick off whale watching season with a morning at the beach filled with activities and exhibits for all – games, arts and crafts, puppet shows, food, music and the building of a life-sized sand sculpture of a Pacific gray whale. Sun., 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. San Pedro. Free. All ages. Event details.

Valley

Diva Night! at Lollipop Dream
Somewhere, in the hearts of most little (and big) girls, there lurks a diva. Tonight, let her out to have some fun with dress up, face painting, make-up and a fabulous fashion show. Fri., 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm. Sherman Oaks. $25. Ages 3-10. Event details.

What are you doing this weekend?  Let us know in the comments below!

— Meghan Rose