Going on vacation isn’t fun if you’re worried about your budget the entire time. And how can you be calm if you’re spending dollar after dollar on a hotel room, souvenirs, attractions, and activities in Los Angeles? I get it. I’m the type of traveler who will go out of my way to find free and cheap activities to do while on vacation.
In Southern California, being a budget traveler is easier than it seems. With so many cheap things to do in Los Angeles, you’ll return home with your budget (and sanity) intact. If you’re not interested in shelling out hundreds of dollars for theme park tickets and tours, I’ve got 11 affordable things to do in Los Angeles you’ll love.
1. Don’t Spend a Cent
Believe it or not, Los Angeles is home to hundreds of free things to do. From getting lost in quaint local bookstores to visiting iconic landmarks, you can plan an entire Los Angeles getaway around free activities and attractions. Instead of worrying about your budget, choose a handful of free things to do and start exploring. You’re in for one memorable, and affordable, trip.
2. Los Angeles Beaches
If you’re like me, you’d rather be lounging on a beach than shopping for souvenirs. Plus, going to the beach costs far less than a souvenir from the Grove anyway!
Los Angeles is home to several picturesque beaches, including:
- Malibu Surfrider Beach
- Huntington Dog Beach
- Cabrillo Beach
- Venice Beach
- Santa Monica Beach and Pier
- Topanga State Beach
Be advised, you will need to spend money to park at select beaches. To keep costs down, bring beach towels and sunscreen from home. You’ll only need to purchase food, drinks, and perhaps a beach chair if you’d like.
3. Buy a Go Los Angeles Multi-Attraction Card
Seeking out free and affordable activities does come at a price (pun intended.) You often have to miss out on the big attractions such as theme parks, renowned museums, or landmarks…or do you?
The Go Los Angeles Multi-Attraction Card is a budget traveler’s dream come true. One pass grants you access to 30 of Los Angeles’ top attractions including:
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- LEGOLAND California
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
- LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
You can choose from 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7-day passes, allowing you to customize your trip. Instead of paying full price for each theme park, museum, or attraction ticket, you’ll save big with the Go Los Angeles Multi-Attraction Card.
4. Go Sightseeing
What would a list of cheap things to do in Los Angeles be without mentioning all the sightseeing opportunities? You don’t have to pay for a double-decker bus tour to see Los Angeles’ top landmarks, destinations, and views. Make a list of places you’d like to visit and go there yourself! You’ll only need to pay for transportation.
Don’t miss your chance to see:
- Hollywood Boulevard
- The Hollywood Walk of Fame
- The Hollywood Sign
- TCL Chinese Theatre
- Griffith Park
- Rodeo Drive
- Santa Monica Pier
- Sunset Strip
5. Get Outside
Getting a little fresh air and exercise doesn’t cost a thing! Some of the cheap things to do in Los Angeles outdoors include:
- Mountain Biking
- Going to a park
If you’re adventurous and don’t mind spending a little bit for an adrenaline rush, you can also go:
- Jet Skiing
- Rock Climbing
While you’re at it, take some time to roam through Los Angeles’ state parks. You’ll escape the busy city and spend some time becoming one with nature (without spending a dime.) A few of the most popular parks include:
- Topanga State Park
- Leo Carrillo State Park
- Los Angeles State Historic Park
- Will Rogers State Park
Choose an activity that suits your interests and head outside for free fun in LA!
6. Discover Los Angeles’ Neighborhoods
There’s far more to Los Angeles than meets the eye. While the glitz and glamor of Hollywood are attractive, the city’s true culture and personality are found in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Rent a car or take a ride-sharing service and explore nearby Los Angeles neighborhoods such as:
- Long Beach
- Culver City
You never know what hidden gem or local hot spot you’ll come across.
7. See the Stars at Griffith Observatory
For unbelievable views of Los Angeles, day or night, a trip to Griffith Observatory is a must. Best of all, admission to the grounds and building is 100% free!
Throughout the year, the observatory also offers free public star parties, which allow guests to use telescopes and view the night sky. Of the cheap things to do in Los Angeles, this activity is out of this world—literally.
8. Visit a Los Angeles Museum
Los Angeles is home to an abundance of captivating museums, art galleries, and other educational attractions; many of which also boast affordable ticket prices. If you’re searching for things to do in Los Angeles that won’t break your budget, I highly recommend a trip to any of these museums:
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- Guinness World Records Museum
- California Science Center
- Battleship Iowa Museum
- LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
- The Getty
- The Broad
- La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
If you plan your trip just right, you may be able to take advantage of a free admission day, too!
9. Watch a Movie with Dead Celebrities
It’s not as creepy as it sounds! The Hollywood Forever Cemetery houses the tombstones of notable celebrities and icons of Hollywood. In combination with Cinespia, the cemetery hosts screenings of classic and popular films throughout the year. Visitors bring blankets, a picnic, and a jacket and settle in for a movie night under the stars.
Due to the popularity of the event, tickets are required but are also affordable—just like going to your local movie theater.
The legendary cemetery also hosts concerts throughout the year, which require pre-purchased tickets as well.
10. Tour the Warner Bros. Studio
Have you ever wanted to sit on the Central Perk couch from the hit TV show “Friends?” Or, are you a fan of all things Harry Potter? If you’re still nodding your head, reserve a spot on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour!
This behind-the-scenes, interactive tour is fantastic for TV and movie fans looking to get a glimpse beyond the screen. Throughout the tour, you won’t be able to stop yourself from pointing out props, sound stages, and notable icons. If you’re lucky, you may run into a celebrity or two.
Best of all, the tour is one of the cheap things to do in Los Angeles. While tour tickets are $65 per person, it’s still more affordable than some of the sightseeing cruises, double-decker tours, and bus tours around the city.
11. Chow Down at the Original Farmers Market
Combine Los Angeles history with delectable food and vendors at the Original Farmers Market. The market itself is free to enter and stroll through. However, once you start smelling the tantalizing aromas of coffee, baked goods, international cuisine, and more, you won’t be able to stop yourself from grabbing a bite (or two) to eat!
Take Advantage of the Cheap Things to Do in Los Angeles
Say goodbye to a vacation revolving around a travel budget and hello to affordable and free activities in Los Angeles. Whether you spend a day at the beach or take advantage of an attraction pass, your Los Angeles getaway doesn’t have to be expensive.
To keep the savings going, combine your attraction tickets with a Los Angeles hotel room for extra discounts!