Think of Los Angeles and you might imagine the rich and famous on a shopping spree in Beverly Hills. But did you know that LA is surprisingly welcoming for the budget traveller too?
“Welcoming travellers of all walks of life and varying budgets is incredibly important to LA as a destination,” said Los Angeles Tourism President & CEO Adam Burke. “Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors, spending the afternoon at one of our many free museums such as The Broad, or grabbing a bite from your favourite food truck, there are a wealth of options to experience the city at little to no cost.”
No matter your budget, Los Angeles Tourism invites visitors from around the world to experience the incredible array of free arts & culture experiences, outdoor adventures, and deliciously affordable dining options. Here are some suggestions on how to fill your days with fun without breaking the bank.
Explore LA’s world-class museums and galleries for free:
LA is home to more museums, galleries, and cultural institutions than any other U.S. city, with many of these leading attractions offering free entry that visitors can take advantage of:
- The Broad – World-famous art museum located in Downtown L.A., with works from the biggest names in contemporary art including Yayoi Kusama, Jeff Koons and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Free entry is available daily with online booking.
- Visit the Griffith Observatory, an icon of Los Angeles and Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos, with spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. Free admission daily.
- Take in some of the finest artworks in the world at The Getty Center, which is also known for its architecture, gardens, and sweeping views of the city. Free entry is available daily with online booking.
- The California Space Center offers free fun for the whole family with over 100 permanent exhibitions, including the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour. Free general admission.
- Visit LACMA, the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection of nearly 130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present. Admission is free on the second Tuesday of every month.
Enjoy the great outdoors with over 300 days of sunshine each year:
- This year marks the 100th anniversary of The Hollywood Sign, an American landmark for 100 years. To celebrate, go behind-the-scenes with iconic studio tours or on set for a live TV taping at these not-to-be-missed Los Angeles experiences. You can also take a hike for free views of the iconic Hollywood Sign:
- Griffith Park is one of the best places to see the Hollywood Sign, with multiple hiking trails on Mt. Hollywood, many departing straight from the iconic Griffith Observatory. The Cahuenga Peak Trail is among the most popular, a strenuous trek that rewards you with a unique view from behind the Sign and overlooking Downtown Los Angeles.
- Runyon Canyon is one of the most popular trails in Los Angeles – and a great place to play with dogs, spot celebrities, and get some outstanding views of the city.
- Bronson Canyon, home of the Batcave from the Batman ‘60s TV show, offers a selection of hikes and different vantage points to view the sign.
- For those more interested in strolls or picnics than hikes, the reservoir at Lake Hollywood Park has a direct view of the sign and is accessible by car and a short walk.
- The Venice Beach Boardwalk is the perfect place to swim, suntan or simply sit back and people watch. Eclectic, eccentric and quintessentially LA, be sure to check out the Skate Park and Muscle Beach, and just a short stroll away are the peaceful Venice Canals, a hidden gem of this beachside city.
Dine like a local:
With over 140 nationalities calling LA home, the city serves up an incredible array of multicultural cuisine and cutting-edge fusion fare, with options available at all budgets:
- Dine at an iconic LA market: Head to Grand Central Market in Downtown L.A, Smorgasburg on Sundays in the Arts District, or the Original Farmer’s Market, located adjacent to well-known shopping destination The Grove.
- Head to a food truck or stand: Not only are food trucks helmed by creative and often legendary chefs, but they also embody LA’s casual lifestyle and reflect the city’s diverse and extreme cuisine – often at a more budget-friendly price point. A few local favorites are KogiBBQ, Guerilla Tacos, Pink’s Hotdogs and Empanadas Chimi.
Enjoy affordable experiences you can only have in LA:
- For those wanting to experience the Hollywood magic during their stay, attend free TV tapings at LA’s major studios, with the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and James Cordon filming their talk shows in LA.
- Spend the day at one of the true cathedrals of Major League Baseball, Dodger Stadium, with tickets starting at just $12 for home games, the stadium also hosts regular promotions that feature special discounts and promotional giveaways.
- Find a bargain at world-renowned vintage and thrift stores, such as Crossroads Trading Company, with locations throughout the city, the Melrose Trading Post an open-air market on Sundays featuring a range of vendors selling antiques, vintage goods & collectibles. Visitors can also take home a piece of Hollywood at It’s a Wrap in Burbank, which sells second-hand props & wardrobe from movies & TV shows.
Accommodation is consistently one of the biggest travel expenses. To maximise savings when booking a hotel, keep in mind that the lowest prices for hotel rooms are typically found just 15 days before your stay, and it is wise to avoid holiday weekends and busy travel seasons in the summer or winter holidays. To find a good deal, go beyond the most-popular neighbourhoods and look at options in surrounding areas such as the San Gabriel Valley or near the Los Angeles International Airport.
With 98 direct, non-stop weekly flights from the UK and Ireland to Los Angeles this summer, offering more than 28,000 seats, there are plenty of options to find a flight that fits your budget.