Things to do in LA on a budget

By. Dylan Moskowitz

A trip to Los Angeles ensures sunshine and sky-high palm trees throughout your travels. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Although LA is home to celebrity homes and Rodeo Drive, getting around and enjoying all that the city has to offer can be affordable for those with tight budgets. Los Angeles offers boundless amounts of things to do, with new and exciting ventures launching at rapid speeds. With this in mind, businesses both big and small are offering competitive prices to captivate LA’s ever-growing audience.

Where to Stay

Heading to the City of Angels for the weekend? Looking to save money on affordable lodging options? Give hostels a try! Hostels are a classic low-budget options for travelers near and far. When hostelling, individuals generally share rooms with strangers although booking your own space in a hostel is quite common as well. At hostels you will find a global crowd of likeminded people searching for thrills and excitement in new cities. Booking an “economy room” translates to rooming with eight to ten guests with ensuite bathrooms. Opting for a private room normally consists of a room housing two, three, or up to four guests and also includes its own bathroom. For roughly $40 a night per person, one can see why hostels would be an attractive options for money conscious travelers. Another option worth exploring would be the LA-based communal-living company, PopShare. Book a pod for roughly $40 a night for $250 a week. PodShare’s downtown location holds 18 pods including a kitchen, bathroom, and a common room with a gaming system. Your booking fee even includes Netflix.

Getting Around

Once you hit the ground, look into securing your spot on a FlyAway bus from LAX. Located roughly 15 miles away from the city and 20 miles away from the San Fernando Valley, a cab drive can take up to an hour depending on traffic and an uber ride can cost a pretty penny. By securing a ticket on a FlyAway bus to downtown LA, you will not have to worry about fare hikes with a constant price of just under $10 from the airport to Union Station. When you hop off the bus, make your way over the subway. A one way trip will cost you just under two dollars and a seven day pass will cost you $25. Self-serve machines are available at each station to get you on your way in a jif. As an Uber or Lyft alternative, opt for taking a public bus to meet your needs when getting to and fro places quickly and the bus fares mirror metro prices. City bikes are also available for rent if you are looking to travel short distances or would prefer to get your blood pumping.

Cheap Thrills

When in Hollywood, take a hike. Enjoy stunning views from the top of the Hollywood Sign overlooking the rolling Santa Monica Mountains. The path trail is easy an easy climb, often trekked by locals, tourists, and paws. On a clear day, the view from the sign peers over downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. Cruise down Mulholland Drive for scenic views of the Santa Monica Mountains heading west toward the ocean. Although parts of Mulholland are unpaved or inaccessible, there are several lookout points perfect for picturesque views of the city. Head over to Venice Beach just under 30 minutes outside of the city. The world famous boardwalk is lined with hundreds of street vendors and performers, including but not limited to fortune tellers, jugglers, musicians, and mimes. Explore the arts area to the west of the boardwalk and beach front shopping to the east. Visit one of the city’s best kept secrets, the Exposition Park Rose Garden. Featuring 7 acres of gardens free and open to the public, the garden offers a beautiful and serene location to stop and smell the roses from sunrise to sunset. Los Angeles is also home to world renowned cultural and arts institutions. Take a trip back in time to the prehistoric age at LA’s own Natural History Museum or book a free trip to the California Science Center. Visit the California African American Museum, housing three exhibition galleries, workshops, lectures, and events aimed at engaging history buffs, art lovers, and everyone in between.

Budget Dining

A legend in itself, a trip to LA warrants a trip to Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood, family owned and celebrity celebrated since 1939. With over 30 different types of hotdogs on the menu, Pink’s is sure to satisfy your cravings on the cheap. Take advantage of LA’s thriving food truck scene for exceptional eats and prices your wallet will thank you for. Stop by Free Range LA at one of its various stops around the city. This food truck features delicious menu options with all items listed under $11. Track down Guerilla Tacos serving fresh food sourced locally all on a warm tortilla. Book a table at Night + Market for seriously delicious, authentic Thai food rooted down in West Hollywood. If your lodging accommodation offers a kitchen space, pop over to the farmers market located on Third & Fairfax in Downtown LA. With a vast variety of options to choose from, pick up your own ingredients on the cheap and create your own meal before hitting the LA bar scene. With all your money-conscious travel planning, celebrate your frugal success with a drink at Hotel Juniper. The hotel’s swanky three level bar offers killer cocktails amid the vintage ambiance of the bygone days of Hollywood glamour.

About the Author

Dylan is in the middle!

Dylan loves sports and traveling across the country.  He is always striving to learn, whether it be through travel experiences or in a classroom setting.  He can speak Spanish and is currently learning French in his free time.

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