Top 20 places to visit in Los Angeles on a budget: ideas for an enchanting trip

By Valentina BaturinetsApr 22, 2024 09:40 AMLos-Angeles
Top 20 places to visit in Los Angeles on a budget: ideas for an enchanting trip
Cool places to visit in Los Angeles surprise with their grandeur and magical appeal

Many people may think that Los Angeles is a city with cosmopolitan prices for accommodation and food, where travelers with a small budget should not come. However, if you dig a little deeper, you'll find that there are many free things to do that are available to the most budget travelers.

When coming to Los Angeles, you can book hotel suites and the best tables in restaurants, but you should not miss the chance to get the pleasant emotions of the "city of lights" without excessive investments.

Our article is dedicated to free entertainment in Los Angeles, from steep promenades along the picturesque coastline to free museum visits. The information presented in our it is useful for travelers and LA natives alike. A little intrigued already? Let's start our walk then.

Top 20 places to visit in Los Angeles on a budget: ideas for an enchanting trip
Free entertainment in Los Angeles is plentiful. Source: Pixebay

Runyon Canyon Park

One of our favorite free places to visit in Los Angeles is the stunning Runyon Canyon Park, which sprawls two blocks off Hollywood Boulevard. It's lined with many scenic hiking trails where you can feel at one with nature. Many of them lead to the top of the canyon, when climbing to which travelers get an amazing view of the San Fernando Valley as a bonus.

With many gorgeous palm trees, it's easy to spot celebrities who frequent the park. It's a great place to vacation in Los Angeles and is free to visit.

Our tip: If you're not planning on a long hike, start your walk from the north entrance of Mulholland Drive, which is a "short walk" to the top.

Getty Center

Another free place to stay in Los Angeles is the Getty Center, with gorgeous works of art from different nations and times. It is a circular concrete and metal structure that was designed by Richard Meyer.

There are famous paintings from the Renaissance, original photos from the 20th century, sculptures and ancient manuscripts. All of this is in a picturesque location framed by the Santa Monica Mountains. At the Getty Center, travelers enjoy not only rare exhibits of creativity, but also beautiful views of the surrounding area.

There are convenient picnic tables near the streetcar stop, where you can enjoy the great outdoors near the Central Garden. If you come to the Getty Center by private car, you should take into account that parking services here cost from $20 per hour.

Our tip: If you wish, you can order a guided tour of the architecture and gardens of the museum or a guided tour that will familiarize you with the works of talented masters. If you prefer self-guided tours, download the GettyGuide app.

Venice Canals

Between the picturesque Venice Boardwalk and the Abbot Kinney neighborhood, there's another luxurious place for a free vacation in Los Angeles. These are the Venice Canals, with their mirrored smoothness and arched pedestrian bridges. A walk along the water "arteries", filled with an atmosphere of serene romance, brings travelers a lot of joy and happiness.

Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

On the southern slope of Mount Hollywood is the Griffith Observatory, which is famous for hosting creative exhibitions and having an impressive planetarium. This beautiful Los Angeles vacation spot with free admission is enthusiastically visited by travelers from all over the world.

The doors of the Observatory are cordially open to guests from Tuesday to Friday from 12 to 22 hours, and on weekends it is open from 10.00 to 22.00. Entrance to the institution is free, and a visit to the planetarium's magic show will cost you inexpensively, only 6-10 dollars.

Top 20 places to visit in Los Angeles on a budget: ideas for an enchanting trip
Griffith Observatory is free to visit. Source: Pixebay

Our tip: Stay here until 10 p.m. to enjoy the night constellations with the 12-inch refractor telescope on the roof. When coming here, be prepared that parking here is paid. The cost of its services is from 10 dollars per hour. The best option for traveling is the DASH bus, the fare for which costs only 35 cents.

Walk or picnic at Hollywood Bowl

And now we want to invite you to a famous vacation spot in Los Angeles, visiting which does not require payment. This is the famous Hollywood Bowl. The unique location, built in 1922, has become a chic entertainment venue with performances by famous musicians, including Madonna and Tina Turner, Igor Stravinsky and Elton John.

When there are no performances, the amphitheater is free for tourists to stroll through. During these times, the famous tourist area is open for tours and parking. Take a stroll through the hilly Hollywood Bowl area while enjoying stunning views of the local scenery.

Here you can see people practicing on the stairs and even witness Phil L.A. rehearsals. Celebrity shows are usually held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and if you'd like to get the details, call 323-850-2000.

Top 20 places to visit in Los Angeles on a budget: ideas for an enchanting trip
Take a family stroll through the Hollywood Bowl. Source: Pixebay

Our tip: When traveling through Hollywood Bowl, be sure to bring a basket of provisions and a bottle of wine. This location is perfect for organizing memorable outdoor picnics.

Lake Shrine

Visit Lake Shrine, which cover an area of 10 acres and help travelers find harmony and peace of mind. The meditation gardens can be visited daily with advance reservations and are completely free to visit on Sundays.

The Broad Museum of Contemporary Art

Los Angeles is a real "treasure trove of entertainment" for travelers with many museums and galleries. One of the popular museums in the "city of lights" is called The Broad. A famous place for a free vacation in LA is famous for Yayoi Kusama's impressive mirror rooms.

It is worth coming here to explore the collection of Eli and Edith Broad, which includes 2 thousand creative masterpieces by Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger.

Zuma Beach

If you're looking for a nice free beach in Los Angeles, visit Zuma in Malibu. The 2.8-mile-long "paradise" spot offers swimming and sunbathing. It has tons of advantages:

  • high waves that are great for surfing;
  • plenty of eateries and cafes along the landscaped coastline;
  • lifeguard stations, convenient parking and sanitary facilities.

If needed, beachgoers can use wheelchairs and beach mats during the spring and fall season.

Sunset Boulevard

The famous Sunset Boulevard is also on the list of the best places to vacation in Los Angeles. It successfully embodies the Hollywood lifestyle and popular movies have been filmed here, including the famous Sunset Boulevard.

These days, the Sunset Strip is not only a pretty location with palm trees, but also a cozy "haven" for nightclubs. If you're a fan of classical music, visit The Roxy Theater and Rainbow Bar & Grill. In the evening, travelers find another bonus to admire magical sunsets with many luscious hues flowing seamlessly into each other.

The Original Farmer's Market & Grove

The next place in Los Angeles we want to tell you about is called the Original Farmer's Market. This ancient ivory-colored structure was erected in 1934. For many years it has been delighting travelers with fresh produce, tempting baked goods and aromatic drinks.

It is free to enter the market, but you should have some money in your wallet to purchase mouth-watering treats, fresh fruits and vegetables. The market has two parking lots where you can leave your own car for free on one condition that you have validated your ticket at the market. If you want to thoroughly explore the Original Farmers Market, we recommend taking a tour of California.

Our tip: For travelers with children, we recommend riding the free double-decker trolley bus that runs through the picturesque Grove toward the Original Farmers Market. It runs every day from 1 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Santa Monica Pier and Beach

Santa Monica has plenty of places for a great free LA vacation, including a 3-mile pier and beach. There are plenty of restaurants and nightclubs scattered around the picturesque white sand area. Visit State Beach, where sunny weather prevails. The legendary TV series Baywatch was filmed here.

Top 20 places to visit in Los Angeles on a budget: ideas for an enchanting trip
Santa Monica offers travelers royal entertainment. Source: Pixebay

Our tip: Be sure to try Santa Monica Beach's signature waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, chocolate or caramel syrup, the signature funnel cake and, of course, ice cream. A nice bonus for beach cafe diners is the huge portions that can freely fill two people.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

The central part of Los Angeles with the usual stores and office buildings is enriched with juicy colors of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This iconic structure with a graceful facade is made of stainless steel. It was designed by the talented architect Frank Gehry.

Today, this LA neighborhood has a thriving cultural scene with nightly entertainment. Enjoy a performance by the Philharmonic, whose detailed repertoire can be found on the official website.

Our tip: Take a self-guided audio tour of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. There are familiarization tours available from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. A detailed tour schedule is available on the Music Center's website.

La Brea Tar Pits

Another cool place to vacation in Los Angeles with kids is La Brea Tar Pits. The tar pits are located near Museum Row on the Miracle Mile. The Museum has tons of interesting exhibits, including artifacts found in the tar formations. Many fossils from the Ice Age are stored here.

You don't need money to see the tar pits, and museum tickets are $7 for children ages 3-12 and $15 for adults. Seniors and students in higher education can buy tickets cheaper.

Los Angeles residents also enjoy favorable discounts at the Museum on weekdays from 3 to 5 p.m. The tour includes a walk through the fossil lab, viewing and lake pits. Unique exhibits can be viewed for an additional fee if desired.

Greystone Mansion and Park

Among the famous places for a free vacation in Los Angeles, Greystone Mansion takes the place of honor. This swanky Beverly Hills mansion, which spans 13 acres, was inherited by the son of oil magnate Edward L. Doheny in 1927.

The location carefully preserves many secrets of the American cinematography. Famous movies "Ghostbusters" and "The Big Lebowski" were filmed here, as well as popular shows "Gilmore Girls" and "General Hospital."

Travelers enjoy strolling the surrounding area of the mansion, and are invited to appreciate the design of its interiors on monthly tours. Take a stroll through its rooms, too, and try to remember which movies Greystone Mansion can be found in.

Rodeo Drive

While in Los Angeles, you should definitely take a stroll down the chic shopping street of Rodeo Drive. It epitomizes the glamorous shopping experience seen in the legendary movie Pretty Woman with the charming Julia Roberts.

It is home to many brand name stores and cozy boutiques with designer goods. Walking along Rodeo Drive, travelers have a chance to meet famous personalities, and therein lies another plus point of the street.

California Science Center

Agreat place to stay in LA is the California Science Center, which features cool exhibits for exploring the local landscape. It houses interactive displays to explore rivers, islands, and woodlands. The museum has a separate area with materials on genes and the origins of life. The space-themed room houses the spacecraft Endeavor and Gemini 11.

Another cool feature of the hotel is the IMAX movie theater, but you should keep in mind that visiting themed shows involves payment. Tickets for spectacular shows can be bought online and offline. The museum is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm. The cost of parking is $15.

Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles

The site of a former 1970s artists' village has been replaced by the Arts District, filled with art galleries, artist training classes, and stores with art supplies. It's a good free place to hang out in Los Angeles.

There's Art Share LA, a 28,000-square-foot creative zone with art classes, creative exhibitions, and chic performances with live music. In addition, the Arts District has become "home" to many restaurants and cafes with specialty cocktails and original cuisine.

Top 20 places to visit in Los Angeles on a budget: ideas for an enchanting trip
A bird's-eye view of Los Angeles is spectacular. Source: Pixebay

Our tip: Visit Angel City Brewery, tables to appreciate the taste of a great foamy beverage and EightyTwo Bar with comfortable pinball areas and arcade games.

Hollywood Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theater

A famous place to stay in Los Angeles is the TCL Chinese Theater, which reflects the best traditions of the Golden Age. The institution, which opened in 1927, invites guests to watch a colorful performance or a new movie. It regularly offers half-hour tours for $16.

Our tip: Tickets for the show better book online, as there are usually a lot of people who want to visit the theater. Be sure to take pictures with people dressed in the style of popular Hollywood artists - Spider-Man and Marilyn Monroe, Shrek and Darth Vader.

Stores on Olvera Street

A true discovery for many visitors to Los Angeles is Olvera Street, which reflects a colorful Mexican tradition with authentic culture and great food.

Scattered along the brick-paved block are many taco stores and gift stores with unique pottery, leather goods and handmade clothing. There are many colorful shows and performances throughout the year, including Cinco de Mayo, Blessing of the Animals, Mexican Independence Day and Las Posadas.

The stores on Olvera Street are located within El Pueblo Historic Park, where the Pico House and Avila Adobe are also located.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard

Crazy shopping enthusiasts are sure to appreciate the appealing "charisma" of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which sprawls nearby Venice Beach. It features cool stores like Birkenstock, Lululemon and Warby Parker and boutiques like Satine, Ananda Venice and The Stronghold. In addition to the high-end boutiques, there is a sumptuous gastronomic "scene" with savory American and international cuisine.

Our tip: Organize your trip on the first Friday of the month, when the streets offer specialties to passersby.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

You may find the idea of visiting Hollywood Forever Cemetery boring and even unpleasant, but don't jump to conclusions. Here you can read the life stories of famous people including Douglas Fairbanks, Cecil B. DeMille, and Rudolph Valentino.

You can choose a self-guided walk or a 2.5-hour guided tour. A map of the cemetery with a detailed plan of grave locations can be purchased at the flower store on the grounds or you can get the information from the official website.

Our tip: Don't miss the opportunity to catch a screening of a good movie under the sky dome, a vibrant concert and a themed evening.

Venice Beach

A chic Los Angeles attraction that you can visit for free is called Venice Beach. This location with picturesque canals is created in the "image" of Italian Venice. Of course, the Californian atmosphere prevails here with luxurious waterfront mansions, trendy stores and restaurants.

Our tip: Take an e-bike ride along the waterfront. Pay attention to the Marvin Braude Trail, which leads to the Santa Monica Pier. Stop by MariaSol Restaurant for some wonderful Mexican delicacies.

We think we have convinced you that you don't need millions to visit Los Angeles, the magical "city of lights". Even with a modest budget you can have a great vacation here and add another cool location with glamorous atmosphere and magical hospitality to your "travel piggy bank".

Plan an unforgettable trip to Los Angeles with your family or loved one for your next vacation. You will have enough impressions for a long time, and you will be warmed by the welcoming warmth of the "City of Lights" for a long time to come.

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