Ah, the city of stars. So many attractions, activities, and tons of cinematic history to explore. And you can only get the most out of LA if you’ve got a thousand-dollar budget… or so you may have thought. As it turns out, Los Angeles has tons of cheap things that everyone will love, from pretty parks near the Hollywood sign to a boardwalk or two to explore to a coffee shop to grab a latte at in Silver Lake. Take it from an LA. native: you don’t need to be as wealthy as a movie star to experience the best parts of the city like they do! Here are ten inexpensive things to do in and around LA.
1. Head To A Hollywood Bowl Rehearsals
Hate crowds and ridiculous ticket prices but love great music? Head to the Hollywood Bowl on a Tuesday or Thursday morning (between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.) to hear the next band practice! You’ll enjoy three hours of fine music, which is very much worth waking up at 7 a.m. for. Just make sure to bring along a few snacks and water, sit back, and relax! Pro tip: if you want to triple check that the Bowl will be open to guests on a day you’re planning to go or just want to see if they’ll have a rehearsal some other time, give them a call.
2. Hike In Griffith Park
Griffith Park is home to the Los Angeles Zoo, the Observatory, and Forrest Lawn Cemetery. But in between tourist attractions, did you know that there are miles of beautiful trails just waiting to be hiked? If you’re just looking for a quiet escape, meander through the Frendell trail, which coincidentally connects to a Griffith observatory path. If you want to check out something a little more outlandish, head to Bronson Cave, which was even featured in the 60s’ Batman series. Bring your camera along for some stunning nature shots!
3. Grab A Donut At The Original Farmer’s Market
Every star and their dog most likely Instagrams 24/7 about a new fad diet they’ve been swearing by, but sometimes, we just need a nice donut and a coffee. In between looking at specialty olive oils and artisanal cheeses at the Original Farmer’s market (right next to The Grove), head to Bob’s Coffee & Donuts for a cappuccino and a powdered jelly-filled. There may be a bit of a line, but the low price points and fluffy, sweet donuts are worth it (promise). You could even get a dozen for your coworkers at your big Hollywood Internship or bring home some cute dinosaur or Hello Kitty donuts to your little siblings or nieces and nephews.
4. Take A Self-Guided Tour Of Hollywood
Sure, people pay big bucks to see the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum or Madame Tussaud’s, but even those who’ve never set foot in LA know that the walk of fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre are the most iconic parts of the town anyway (and they’re free). Go with a couple of friends who don’t fall for the tricks of vendors trying to push their hip hop CDs or jewelry on you and place your hands where Johnny Depp placed his (in the concrete section in front of the Chinese Theatre) or take a picture next to Al Pacino’s star. It may be “basic”, but hey, you have to check it off the bucket list one way or another!
5. Visit The Broad Museum
Despite the misleading name, this museum does not host exhibits of beautiful women, but rather plenty of contemporary art and architecture. You can book tickets in advance (which we highly recommend) or wait an hour for general admission tickets (either way, they’re free). Ever wonder why so many posts make their way into your Instagram feed featuring people surrounded by what looks like a galaxy far, far away? That’s most likely because they’ve taken a selfie in the Infinity Mirror Room there. Check it out for yourself!
6. Take A Day Trip To The J.Paul Getty Museum
As you may have noticed, we’re a little partial to Museums, especially when you can emerge yourself in so much culture and art for such a small price! Admission to the J.Paul Getty Museum (housing mainly Western European art) and the Getty Villa in Malibu (housing mainly Greek and Roman art) are both free, just make sure to call ahead to see when the public is allowed to come in. It’s even a gorgeous place to study, with free wifi and lovely gardens and grasses to sit back in. FYI: Parking is expensive, so it may be worth it to split the cost of an uber and not have to worry about it.
7. Stroll Along The Santa Monica Pier
Don’t mind bigger crowds? Then take a few friends to the Santa Monica Pier and look around! There’s never a dull moment, with the ocean beneath you, the blue sky above you, and lots of vendors and musicians everywhere you look. If you have a couple bucks to spare, indulge in some funnel cake or fish and chips and try to win a stuffed animal from a carnival game. There’s even a Ferris wheel that’s eighty-five feet high!
8. Run By The Silver Lake Reservoir
Despite the drought that LA has faced in recent years, there really is a lake in Silver Lake, California. There’s no access to the lake itself (it’s surrounded by a man-made perimeter), but you can job along the 2.2 miles of fields, and dog parks. Plus, if you’ve burned off enough carbs during your run, you can grab a Montreal-style bagel from Courage Bagels not too far from the reservoir.
9. Go Star-Hunting
This one’s a bit of a stretch because there’s no real way to tell where Hollywood stars go to hang out and at what time. But as long as you’re in the area, it might not hurt to check out a few of the stars’ favorite LA digs just for fun! Even if you don’t meet them in person, it’s cool to check out where your favorite movie stars have been, and maybe even see their autographed picture on the wall as you’re enjoying a burger with friends.
10. Go To A Studio Recording
You know what one of the best things about Tinseltown is? Just how many studios are recorded in front of a live audience! Most of these shows- including game shows like Family Feud or sitcoms like Mom are recorded in Burbank and love to have live people there to laugh at the jokes or cheer for the winning team. Just make sure to do your research and lookup which show is recording when, as well as how to get there.