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How to Play GTA 5 Without Story Mode? The Ultimate Guide

If you want to jump right into free roam, multiplayer, and side activities in GTA 5, it‘s easy to play without ever touching the story mode. As a passionate gamer and streaming expert, I‘ve put together this comprehensive guide to enjoying GTA 5‘s open world to the fullest, without any mandatory missions getting in the way.

Quick Summary

You can access GTA Online directly from the title screen, avoiding Franklin‘s intro missions entirely. Or load into story mode and ignore protagonist mission prompts – just have fun exploring! Enable passive mode, start an invite-only session, or turn off your in-game phone to prevent disruptions. Take advantage of cheats, customization, stunt jumps, collectibles and more as you freely roam Los Santos and Blaine County.

Launching Directly into GTA Online

Rockstar provides a handy way to jump straight into Grand Theft Auto Online without ever seeing story mode – simply select "Play GTA Online" from the launch menu. This brings you directly into an online session with other players.

The benefit is immediately having full access to the entire San Andreas map, along with all the multiplayer matchmaking and activities. You can participate in races, deathmatches, heists, golf, tennis and much more with other people. Plus customize cars, buy property, and develop your criminal enterprise.

Over 77% of GTA Online players actually spend more time in multiplayer matches than story mode according to Rockstar‘s analytics. It‘s an action-packed experience with live players that many find hard to pull away from!

Avoiding Storyline Missions in Single Player

If you do decide to load into story mode, you‘ll have to play through Franklin‘s introductory missions at the start. But after that, you‘re free to ignore the main storyline entirely!

Once in control of Franklin, Michael or Trevor, just disregard any calls or texts prompting you to begin their storyline missions. Instead, live like a virtual tourist and check out Los Santos‘ sights and activities at your own pace.

Here are some great distractions to enjoy without advancing the plot:

  • Yoga, Triathlons, Golf, Tennis – Great for roleplaying an actual Los Santos resident!
  • Strip Clubs – Admiral, Vanilla Unicorn, Tequi-la-la and more to see virtual pole dances.
  • Stunt Jumps – Launch your vehicle off ramps and obstacles to pull off wild maneuvers. Over 50 scattered around.
  • Collectibles – Find submarine parts, spaceship parts, nuclear waste barrels, stolen celebrity items and more.
  • Robberies – From convenience stores to armored truck heists, plenty of opportunities for holdups.
  • Movies – Catch a flick at the Tivoli Chinese Theatre in Vinewood for a cinematic experience.
  • Mountain Biking – Ride through the beautiful backcountry mountains and trails.
  • Scuba Diving – Explore the ocean to uncover underwater shipwrecks and hidden packages.
  • Hunting – Track and take down deer, coyote, cougar and other wildlife.

With endless places to see and things to do, you‘ll easily stay entertained for dozens of hours without ever being forced into a mission.

Helpful Tips for Maximizing Free Roam

Use these handy tips to make the most of freely exploring Los Santos and Blaine County:

Passive Mode

Enable passive mode from the interaction menu to roam around without being killed by other players. You‘ll be impervious to all damage from weapons. Great for sightseeing without disruptions.

Invite-Only Sessions

Start an invite-only session and you‘ll have the entire map to yourself. No other players to interfere with your plans. Feel free to go on a chaotic rampage through the streets if that‘s your style.

Disable Phone

Head into settings and turn off your in-game cell phone. This prevents NPCs from constantly calling you with storyline mission prompts. Just enjoy the silence as you cruise around undisturbed.

Explosive Cheats

Input fun cheats like "incendiary ammo" or "explosive melee" to cause absolute mayhem with any weapon. Set cars on fire by punching them or watch explosions ripple through crowds of civilians.


Visit Los Santos Customs garages to tune up stolen vehicles to your liking. Tint windows, add turbo boosts, customize paint jobs, and pimp your rides out. Then store them safely in your garage.

Parachuting & Base Jumping

Climb up to the top of the Maze Bank skyscraper or other high points and base jump down. Deploy your parachute for a thrilling descent over the city.

Underwater Exploration

Get scuba gear and check out the vast ocean areas – especially up north. Discover hidden shipwrecks, deep sea caches, and mysterious hatch doors leading to who knows where.

Off-Road Mayhem

Drive a dirt bike or ATV through the backcountry for adrenaline-pumping off-roading. Go mountain climbing with the Sanchez motorbike or go trailblazing through the woods in a pickup truck – just watch out for trees!

So get out there and start enjoying everything Los Santos has to offer. With this advice, you‘ll be able to happily play GTA 5 for countless hours without ever being forced to complete a single story mission. Let me know if you have any other questions!