Free/very low cost venues for small conference in the Los Angeles area?
February 10, 2019 8:19 AM   Subscribe

A online discussion / blogger group I'm involved in is looking to hold a 2 day small conference in the Los Angeles area for about 50ish people this June and they're looking a venue that could be free (or very low cost) . This is not a for-profit group but they don't have official nonprofit status. This might be a tall order but I was asked to look into this and thought the MeFi hive mind might know! Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by zresearch to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total)
Libraries are a good first step, especially during the day. In my experience booking for a group of 35, a lot of libraries have children's activities in the afternoon so less openings. Some libraries require someone to be a local resident tho.

Churches are a good next step - although often charge a small fee for space rental.

Don't forget to ask about your ability to bring in food/coffee, if you have to pay more for tables and chairs, how much it costs to rent AV (if you need it), if you can put posters on the wall (if you need it), white boards (if you need them), and wifi and power access (bring power strips). If people are getting their own lunches, Google map for nearby places and guess if they can accommodate 50.
posted by k8t at 8:24 AM on February 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is pretty generic and perhaps not too useful, but:

Unitarian churches are often a good choice. If Pasadena counts as Los Angeles, Throop Church has a pretty nice space. It won't be free, but it will probably be cheap, assuming they don't find your topic actively objectionable.

College campuses are another option. If someone in your group is affiliated with the institution it might be free or nearly so. (Students and student groups can often formally reserve spaces. Faculty can often use them with an informal handshake and a promise to clean up afterward.) If you're coming in as an outsider, I've been to very low-budget, community events at LA City College, LA Valley College, and CSU Los Angeles. More research-oriented schools are probably more expensive if you don't have an inside contact and slightly more likely to be free if you do.
posted by eotvos at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

IIRC County libraries in Norwalk, Willowbrook (Bilbrew), Montebello, San Gabriel, and West Covina have meeting rooms that will comfortably accommodate around 40 and may have a higher capacity rating than that. Several will also have smaller community rooms for breakouts. Bookings must be within 5-120 days of the event. You can typically book space az early as an hour before opening. County libraries are lovely and their meeting rooms underutilized before 6pm.

Same may be the case for City libraries but I can't speak to specific branches.

I'd also call County Parks & Rec, which may have community rooms open in June if school is still in, or may not depending on programming. There will be four distinct booking phone numbers to look for, North Agency, South Agency, East Agency, and Regional.
posted by kensington314 at 6:56 PM on February 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

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