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12 budget-friendly things to do in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is often perceived as a city of extravagance and luxury, where the rich and famous flock to indulge in all the glamorous offerings it has to offer. However, if you’re on a tight budget, the cost of visiting can feel discouraging. Fortunately, there are PLENTY of budget-friendly activities you can enjoy in the city, without sacrificing any of the fun and excitement. With a little bit of planning and research, you can experience the best of Los Angeles without breaking the bank.

Here are 12 budget-friendly things to do in LA:

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12 budget-friendly things to do in Los Angeles

1. Walk around Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles

The Santa Monica Pier is a popular tourist destination, but it is also a great place to spend an afternoon without spending much money. There are many things to see and do on the pier, from riding the Ferris wheel to watching the street performers.

2. Stroll through the iconic Venice Beach boardwalk

Venice Beach, Los Angeles

The Venice Beach boardwalk is another great place to spend your morning without spending any money. But if you’re in the mood to spend some, there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and street performers to see, and you can even rent a bike or roller skates (just like Barbie!) and explore the boardwalk on wheels.

3. Visit The Original Farmers Market at The Grove

The Grove

The Original Farmers Market at The Grove is a great place to find fresh produce, flowers, and other locally-made goods. You can also find plenty of restaurants and cafes at The Grove, so you can enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank. Inside the Farmer’s Market side, I highly recommend grabbing lunch at Pampas Grill Churrascaria. They offer delicious meat cuts and you pay by weight.

4. Take a day trip to the beaches of Malibu

Malibu beach

The beaches of Malibu are some of the most beautiful in the world, and they are a great place to spend a day swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. You can also take a hike in the Malibu mountains for stunning views of the coastline.

5. Watch a baseball game at Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium is a historic baseball stadium that is home to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tickets to a Dodgers game start at just $25 per person, so it is a great way to see a professional sporting event without spending a lot of money. Some days they even give visitors free player bubbleheads and themed jerseys, so check their calendar.

6. Eat at the iconic In-N-Out

In N Out in Los Angeles

If you’re in California you cannot leave without trying an In-N-Out burger. Prices vary depending on where you are, but usually start as low as $3.15 USD for a hamburger, and combos start at $7.40 USD for a hamburger, fries, and a drink. Also, you MUST try the no-so-secret menu item Animal Style fries! I promise you will not regret it.

7. Explore The Getty Museum

The Getty Museum

The Getty Center is a world-renowned art museum that offers stunning views of Los Angeles and beautiful art pieces, including pieces by Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Admission to the Getty Center is free, but you will need to pay for parking.

8. Stroll and shop at the Promenade Street outdoor mall

The Promenade Street in Santa Monica

The Promenade Street outdoor mall in Santa Monica is a great place to spend an afternoon shopping and people-watching. There are plenty of stores to browse, and you can also find plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy a meal or a snack.

9. Enjoy the views at Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory is a great place to enjoy stunning views of Los Angeles. It is also a great place to learn about astronomy. Admission to the observatory is free, but to see shows in the planetarium it’s $10 per adult and you will also need to pay for parking.

10. Hike up to the Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles

The Hollywood Sign is one of the most iconic landmarks in Los Angeles, and it is a great place to hike. Although you can’t actually hike to the sign, you can hike to an area behind the sign and see it from above. The hike up to the Hollywood sign is about 3 miles round-trip, and it is moderately challenging. Alternatively, there are shorter hikes where you can see the Hollywood sign behind you for great photo ops. For the best spot, search Google Maps for The Last House on Mulholland. And if you’re not up for a hike, you can see the sign from Hollywood & Highland.

11. Go behind-the-scenes at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Warner Bros. Studios

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood in Burbank gives you a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most iconic film and television studios in the world. The tour begins with a tram ride through the backlot, where you’ll see sets and studios where famous films and TV shows were filmed, including “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Gilmore Girls”, and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”. After the tram ride, you are taken to Stage 48, which is a soundstage that has been transformed into an interactive experience. There you can learn about the filmmaking process and see how different props and costumes are made. The tour ends with a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Store, where you can buy souvenirs from your favorite movies and TV shows!

12. Be a live audience for a talk show

Jimmy Kimmel Live in Hollywood

Being a live audience member in a talk show in Los Angeles is a unique and exciting experience. It’s a chance to see your favorite celebrities up close and personal, and to be a part of the show. Oh, and it’s totally free! While you’re there you are highly encouraged to participate in the show. You get to clap, cheer, and laugh as the host interviews the guests and usually enjoy a live musical performance. You also get to see how a talk show is filmed, what goes behind the scenes, and even interact with the host in between filming. The best website to request a ticket to be a live audience is

I hope this blog post has given you plenty of ideas for budget-friendly things to do in Los Angeles. With a little planning, you can have a great time in LA without spending a lot of money.

But if you need help booking your perfect LA vacation, read my blog about the best websites to book affordable travel. Or check out my services and let me personally help you!

Heads up: As a way to earn passive income, this post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you buy something through one of those links, I might get a commission at NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support! 💕

Los Angeles, California

September 28, 2023

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