It’s no secret that Los Angeles is one of the most talked about cities in the world. It is known for its amazing beaches, year-round sunny weather and for being the city where all the biggest movies are brought to life. This city is truly remarkable.
With over 40 million visitors each year, Los Angeles is definitely a major hot spot for travellers around the world. Although visiting such an immense city can become quite expensive, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be.
After living in Los Angeles for two years, I guess you can say I learned a thing or two about the City of Angels. And with that information, I have put together for you, the perfect guide to Los Angeles on a budget.
Most people don’t know this but if done the right way, traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of free things to do in Los Angeles that won’t break your wallet. In this guide, I’ve listed a variety of awesome and free activities you will find in the LA area.
Los Angeles on a Budget
Beach Day for Days
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It’s a known fact that you can never go wrong with a beach day. Los Angeles is home to many amazing beaches which are all free to access. Although parking in the beach parking lots isn’t free, a little secret I am going to let you in on (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.), all the street parking, by the beaches, is completely free.
Make sure to get there early and grab a parking spot before they are all taken, that way you can save even more money on your Los Angeles trip.
Los Angeles Beaches
Here are some of LA’s most popular, free beaches for your trip to Los Angeles on a budget.
- Venice Beach
The colorful murals, performers, street artists, shopping boutiques and live shows are some of the few reasons that Venice is one of LA’s most famous and enjoyable beaches. There is never a dull moment in Venice beach. Spend a day enjoying all it’s fantastic festivities as you relax by the majestic Pacific ocean.
2. Santa Monica Pier and Beach
Come to take a walk on the Santa Monica Pier. Located only 3 miles away from Venice, Santa Monica is another one of LA’s most famous beaches but this one, on the other hand, has a whole amusement park standing over the ocean.
Pacific Park has everything from rides, games, a rollercoaster and a gigantic Ferris wheel, which over time became a city icon for Los Angeles. Entrance to the park is completely free and it’s so much fun to walk around.
After a fun day at the pier, end your day by laying out on the Beach or drop by one of these sweet rooftops bar in Santa Monica.
3. Malibu Beach
Malibu Beach is by far one of the fanciest LA beaches and it is also one of the many free things to do in Los Angeles. If you’re looking to get away from the craziness of the city, come relax in Malibu.
Malibu is known for its celebrity homes and sightings. And hey, you might even run into your favorite celeb at the beach.
4. Carbon Beach
Inside Malibu, you will find Carbon Beach, also known as Billionaire’s Beach. Why do they call it Billionaire’s Beach you ask? It gained it’s famous nickname since only the homes of the mega-rich are located around. And when I say mega-rich, I mean some of the richest humans on the planet.
The water is perfect to swim and go snorkeling in as the waves are mostly calm. The sand is as soft as silk, which makes it perfect to layout all afternoon and catches the warm California sun.
5. El Matador State Beach
Also located inside Malibu, El Matador State Beach is a must! With gorgeous, natural rock formations, sea caves and the vast ocean complimenting the sights, this beach is truly a natural wonder.
Spend your day at this one of a kind beach. It has free public access and also some amazing photo ops! Some of these beaches are also a good base for the best whale watching spots in California.
Take a Stroll Through Hollywood Boulevard
This one is a no-brainer that visiting Los Angeles without checking out Hollywood Boulevard should be criminal! Especially after this whole city is built on its famous show business industry.
Along the floor, you will find over 2600 stars with the biggest names in the business engraved in each. Come to take a photo with the star of your favorite celebrity!
Hollywood Boulevard also has a variety of different things to do – including a shopping mall, amazing food, and characters along the boulevard that livens up the atmosphere. While on Hollywood, you can also catch a movie at the TLC Chinese Theater.
Hike to the Hollywood Sign
Amongst other things to do in Los Angeles for free, one of the most popular outdoor activities is hiking to the Hollywood Sign. The Hollywood sign is LA’s most famous landmark and rightfully so considering that for the most part, everything in LA somehow relates to showbusiness.
Seeing the Hollywood sign from far away is pretty rad but, seeing it up close… That’s a whole different level of cool. Great photo op too! To hike to the sign, it doesn’t cost a penny but be aware that there are no signs to direct you throughout the trail.
With over 4000 acres of land, Griffith Park is considered one of North America’s biggest park. Even bigger than the ever so famous Central Park in New York City. All located inside Griffith Park you will find the Los Angeles Zoo, the Griffith Observatory, the Greek Theater, Travel Town Train Museum and much more!
The park is so nicely kept up that taking a stroll through it or just spending your afternoon in Griffith Park could definitely be considered the perfect day.
The Griffith Observatory
One of the best things to do if you’re visiting Los Angeles on a budget is to check out the Griffith Observatory. Admission is always free and there is an abundant amount of activities to do.
Those activities include views of the Hollywood Sign, some pretty neat exhibits, live shows and some jaw-dropping views of Los Angeles. If you can, make sure to stay until sunset and watch the sunset over the city. That is a sight, my friend, that you will never forget.
Window Shop on Rodeo Drive
Located in one of LA’s most exclusive neighborhoods, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive is an awesome place to check out on your trip to Los Angeles.
Although, Rodeo Drive is home to some of the most luxurious stores in the city where all the A-List celebrities are known to shop at, window shopping and getting to explore the famous street is still worth your time and will not cost a dime. And hey, who knows, you might even run into your favorite celeb.
Watch Some of the Most Famous TV Shows LIVE
As I’ve mentioned before and it’s obviously a known fact that Los Angeles is known for the show business aspect of it. Something a lot of people don’t know though is that there are a ton of show tapings you can attend for free!
Which if you’re visiting Los Angeles on a budget, this is the perfect activity. Tickets usually are sold out extremely quickly so this is one activity that would have to be planned out in advance. Some of those shows include Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and so much more.
Pay Your Respects at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Pay your respects in LA’s most prominent cemetery. The most famous names in Hollywood have been buried here and to this day, their spirits live on forever. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery is one of the most popular things to do in Los Angeles for free.
Check Out the Getty Museum
With millions of visitors a year, the Getty Museum is one of LA’s most famous landmarks. The Getty Museum is an art museum which has two locations in the city – The Getty Center and the Getty Villa.
And with free admission, it makes the list for one of the best free things to do in Los Angeles. It has everything from extravagant art pieces, sculptures, and gardens.
Visit LA’s Fashion District
Don’t you get tired of the same old chain fashion stores? I know I definitely do. It seems that no matter what city you’re in, they all have the same clothes. BORING! LA though has something a bit different to offer you.
They have the fashion district located in downtown Los Angeles. With over 200 independently-owned stores, you will never find the same thing twice. The fashion district doesn’t cost anything and you can get some awesome outfit inspiration wandering around down there.
California Science Center
The California Science Center is one of the coolest activities you can do if you’re visiting Los Angeles on a budget. In this museum, everyone from adults to children can explore the world of science through hands-on exhibits and experiences.
What better way to learn than getting down and dirty and getting the first-hand experience in your education, literally. The best part of this museum is that it is completely free to the public and it is open 7 days a week.
Explore China Town
What better way than to educate yourself on the Chinese culture than to submerge yourself in it? China Town in Los Angeles is a huge tourist destination. It is a jubilant part of Los Angeles that everyone should explore at least once.
It is a great place for some awesome shopping and dining (The Chinese food there is absolutely delicious!)
Cruise Down Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway is LA’s most well-known road. With a stretch of over 600 miles, it is the longest road in California. It overlooks the California coast so as you drive you can get one of the best views of the beautiful pacific ocean right before your very own eyes.
Work out at Muscle Beach
Okay, so this one isn’t free but it is still a great activity if you’re visiting Los Angeles on a budget. Muscle Beach is a world-famous gym located right in Venice. Overlooking the ocean, you can work out right on the beach as you hear the ocean in the near distance and smell that delightful ocean breeze.
The best part you ask? For a day pass it’s only $10. If you are big into fitness like I am, this is the perfect activity.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is another huge sight to see while visiting the one and only City of Angels. You have a choice of a self-guided audio tour and a guided tour – Which are both completely free.
Although the tours do not include the auditorium since it is constantly occupied for productions, you will be led through most of the interior and the gardens as you get to learn about the history of this magnificent establishment.
All in all, even though LA is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, it is fairly easy to visit Los Angeles on a budget if you know where to look. Even though I don’t live in LA anymore, I always have an absolute blast when I come back for a vacation.
It has so much to offer – from the culture, the world-class restaurants in Los Angeles, the star-studded streets and most of all the endless activities and sights that are nestled all over the city for you to experience.
And with that said, I hope you enjoyed my ultimate guide to Los Angeles on a budget. Have a safe trip, bon voyage!