Joining Meetup.com is a great way to find people nearby who are interested in the same things as you. Hiking clubs, movie groups, gaming, volunteerism, networking, and more.
Here are a few interesting or unique groups that meet in LA County
South Bay: Palos Verdes Amateur Radio Club
Education & Skills
- Home Depot – Offers free home improvement workshops at some locations.
- Groupon – Online classes at $5 each for skills such as event planning, cake decorating, sign language, and more.
Free ESL & High School Prep
There are some places in LA that offer free ESL courses, as well as free classes to help adult prepare for taking GED tests or improve their reading skills. These courses can help with citizenship and immigration too.
- Los Angeles English (Various locations)
- West Valley Occupational Center (Woodland Hills)
- Los Angeles City College (Hollywood)
- Burbank Public Library – Free tutoring for adults 18 and older, who can already speak English.
- BBC Language Tools – Free audio and video tools for 40 languages.
- Duolingo – Free Web-Based or Smartphone App teaching 20 languages.
Free Online Courses
It may not be for college credit, but these courses are free, and may come in handy in the future. Also, learning a new subject can broaden your interests and connect you with new people who have that in common.
- Khan Academy – Free online courses in history, math, art, computer programming, and more.
- MIT’s OpenCourseWare – More than 2,200 courses available for free.
- Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative – Free courses in math, science, language and more. Learn at your own pace.
- Tuts+ – Free online tutorials.
- FutureLearn – Free online courses in history, health, literature, arts & media, and more. Like a traditional school, there are set start and end dates for each course.
- edX – Computer programming, computer science, digital marketing, and more. Also follows the traditional school model of set start and end dates for classes.
Health & Wellness
You don’t need a gym membership to improve your health. Commit to walking for 30 minutes a day around your neighborhood.
Los Angeles County is lucky to have many famous hiking trails from Runyon Canyon to the hidden Sunken City. Visit LAMountains.com for a listing of parks and hiking trails in your area. Get some exercise and enjoy the pretty landscapes Southern California has to offer!
Eating at home can be a great way to save money, so that you can use that money for future goals. It’s also a great way to track what you eat, and is better for your overall health. Here are some cooking resources that will inspire you to eat at home.
- Sustainable Food Cookbook – sponsored by Santa Monica’s Sustainable Food Commitment
- Good & Cheap Cookbook – written by Leanne Brown. How to eat well on $4/day
- Smoothie Recipes You Can Make in a $10 Blender
Some farmers markets will take CalFresh (food stamps). You can check this Farmers’ Market Finder website to find one near you. Some even offer MarketMatch where CalFresh users get extra tokens or vouchers to use on fresh produce in the market.
If you do find yourself out in the city and need to grab a small meal on a budget, check out this TimeOut listing of several different types of food for $10 or under.
Find a community garden in Los Angeles: LA Garden Council
Coloring is not just for kids anymore. Adults all over are coloring as a way to lower stress and anxiety, and increase creativity. You can download free coloring pages here and print them cheaply at the public library if you don’t have a printer.
Fragrant Heart offers free audio meditations and guides to get started.
UCLA offers Free Drop-in Meditations in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, including one in Spanish on Wednesdays.
TED.com offers hours of inspirational and educational videos with their world famous free TED Talks. About 15-20 minutes each, and a great way to gain a new view of the world and yourself.
Mint is a great free resource for tracking bill payments, creating budgets, and setting savings goals.
In California, if you’re on the SNAP food program you can sign-up for a free cell phone through SafeLink.