• akirahouston

Top 5 Picks on How to "Do" Los Angeles Tourist Attractions on a Budget!

Want to enjoy Los Angeles without breaking the bank? As a Los Angeles resident for the past 9 years I have gotten pretty good at finding cheap or even free things to do in LA.

Here is my quick go to guide to live your best life while visiting the city of angels without going broke! On a side note: It’s always best to prepare for the weather as it can change from morning to evening time. I suggest always keeping a pair of comfortable shoes on you as well as a light jacket and bottled water in case the walk is longer than expected or the weather changes. So here goes..

#1 Griffith Park/Observatory

Hey, did you happen to notice that big white silhouette building that sits by the Hollywood sign? Well, that’s the ever famous Griffith Observatory. The building opened its door in 1935 with the objective to make astronomy accessible to the public. You can choose to hike up to the observatory if you want to save on parking. Otherwise, there is a small fee to park in the top lot. You can see some amazing views from atop this hill including a clear shot of the Hollywood sign. I suggest going there earlier in the day to avoid the rush of people that typically come here for the sunset views. Admission into the observatory is free. If you are interested in catching the planetarium show there will be a small fee.

#2 Walt Disney Concert Hall

This was definitely a pleasant surprise for our group of 3 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Walt Disney Concert Hall at 111 south Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, California, is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center and was designed by Frank Gehry. Prepare about $15 to park in the garage if you do not find metered parking nearby. We opted for the garage parking so that we didn’t have to stress on checking the meter during the tour.

Just the pure sight of the architecture of this building and the photo ops are enough in themselves, however, they do offer 2 different free self guided tours. We opted for the self guided tour with the story commentary offered on an iPad. In exchange for a photo ID they will give you a headset and iPad and it takes you on a walking tour throughout the hall. It is about a 40-minute walking tour and there are stairs involved so be prepared for that. Once the tour is complete you simply turn the iPad back in to the front desk and enjoy the photo opportunities for the rest of the day. I suggest going to a few of the nearby museums i.e. The Broad Museum or MOCA museum as these are typically free entry and your car is already parked for the day.

#3 The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa is one of the two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Built as a second location to his extensive art collection it’s ancient Rome and Greece themed villa provides beautiful scenery with historic artifacts located throughout. Situated in the hills of the Pacific Palisades this is on my top list of free things to do while in LA. Although the general admission to this museum is free expect to pay $20 to park in the on site garage. If you happen to visit after 3 pm there is a $5 discount or you can Uber or Lyft there. Another tip is if you plan on visiting the Getty Center (located approximately 5 miles from the villa) on that same day they will give you a free parking voucher and you can get a two for one. Once inside, the Villa is amazing! You can also sign up for a free guided tour that typically lasts about 35 minutes or you can just explore on your own. It is highly suggested to bring snacks and water with you. There is a cafeteria and snack cart available and prices typically run anywhere from $12 on up.

#4 Universal City Walk

Universal City Walk is the prelude to Universal Studios. Since we are doing LA tourist attractions on a budget this is a specific reference to the city walk on the way to the studios. If interested in going to Universal Studios you can visit their website and score day passes for about $99-$124 for California residents. You can typically find a deal on admission so do some research before buying tickets. I typically park at an off site parking lot then take the shuttle bus up the hill. Otherwise you will be looking at about $15 or so to park in the Universal parking lot. Once at city walk there are plenty of photo ops including the spinning universal globe at the entrance of the park. There all kinds of eateries and little novelty shops that you can window shop at. They feature attraction shops such as Popcornopolis, It’s Sugar, and Pink’s Hot Dogs.

#5 Hollywood Walk of Fame/Melrose Avenue

These two streets are by far the most sought after tourist attractions. The ever popular Melrose Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard attract people from all over the world. Here you get a real sense of what Hollywood life is all about. It is highly recommended that you wear your walking shoes and schedule an Uber or Lyft to drop you off so that you avoid the pressures of checking your meter while out exploring. Melrose Avenue is filled with quaint vintage shops as well as your high end boutiques. This is a great place to window shop and take a few photos of the surrounding area. On Hollywood Boulevard is where you can find the Hollywood Stars of all the entertainment legends. Feel free to stop by TCL Chinese Theater formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theater and get in a few photo ops as well!

These attractions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seeing everything that L.A. has to offer but this sure is a great starting point. Cheers and happy exploration in the City of Angels!

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