The Streets of L.A. is the free roam mode in L.A. Noire.
- "You can take it if you want, or not, we aren't the only cops in this town."
- ―Roy Earle
- "Left and left and left, and left again, and right up your ass."
- ―Cole Phelps
During this mode, the player can replay Street Crimes, find Collectibles, discover Landmarks, collect Hidden Vehicles, find Badges (available on Completed Edition), or just cruise around and listen to the radio.
This mode is unlocked after you have completed all of the cases on a desk. There is one for all desks excluding Patrol. It can be found by selecting cases in the main menu, then selecting a desk and then selecting The Streets of L.A. (Free Roam).
- You can do almost anything in this mode, the only ways to fail this "Case" is failing a Street Crime, killing your partner by continuously hitting him with your car or getting yourself killed. No penalties are assessed for vehicular damage or running over people (partner notwithstanding). This is worth noting when conducting street crime cases involving car chases.
- Street Crimes can be played without receiving the dispatch call; simply drive towards one of the red "running men" indicated on the map and a street crime mission will trigger. (This may also occur while driving to a dispatch call if one passes too close to a "running man"). Avoid these locations (or use the partner-drive option to get past them) if you're only interested in driving around without interruption.
- You can also point out the street crime on your map and have your partner drive to the street or parking lot near that location, selected street crime will be yellow "running man", otherwise it will be a gray or red "running man".
- There is no regular save in this mode. If you fail a Street Crime, you will respawn on the road near the Street Crime location. The "Case" will automatically save whenever you locate a vehicle, film reel, badge, or landmark. Otherwise this "Case" will restart.
- While it's possible to enter and explore some locations during any Free Roam, other locations are only available after completing certain parts of the game. For example, you cannot enter Rawling's Bowling Alley during the Traffic version of Free Roam, but it becomes available for visiting with the Homicide version (although one has to complete the Bowling Lane Robbery street crime mission first). In some cases it is possible to enter locations that have not yet been featured in the game. For example, while in the Vice Free Roam, it's possible to enter the Elysian Fields and California Fire and Life offices and explore them, even though they aren't introduced until the Arson desk (and the Elysian Fields building remains locked during the Arson Free Roam).
- The free roam mode appears to be set, chronologically, at the start of the desk's cases. For example, in the Arson Desk Free Roam, all the buildings depicted as destroyed by fire or explosion (i.e. Rancho Escondido or the Nicholson Electroplating Plant) are shown as being intact and, for obvious reasons, the events of the final case have not yet occurred. However, random pedestrian comments will reflect current game events (i.e. after Cole's fall from grace, pedestrians will remark about the affair even when in Traffic Desk Free Roam).
- Some unmarked locations, such as Elsa's apartment, can be visited in Free Roam.