Beverly Hills & Rodeo Drive
For the polar opposite of Venice, head to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive.
As you might already know, Beverly Hills , has been a historically upper-class city in Los Angeles for years. Thats right, Beverly Hills is actually its own incorporated city.
Rodeo Drive is where youll find expensive designer stores, such as Armani, Tiffany & Co, Versace, Gucci, Fendi, and pretty much anyone who is anyone in the upscale designer industry.
If youre wondering what to see in Beverly Hills besides designer stores, other things to see in Beverly Hills include the Beverly Gardens Park and the Beverly Hills Signs.
My favorite place in Beverly Hills that meets my budget? Sprinkles!
This is where you can try the best cupcakes of your life. Im not even joking, theyre SO good.
Alternatively, if youre trying to figure what to do in Beverly Hills to get a good overview of the city with a local guide, this segway tour is a good option to start with.
Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Madame Tussauds is one of the most popular Hollywood tourist attractions to experience.
The one in LA is actually the only Madame Tussauds Ive been to and Id say its worth a visit at least once if you havent been to a wax museum before.
If youve been to other Madame Tussauds locations, it might not be as novel, but this is one of those places to visit in Hollywood if you have a couple of hours to spare and want to pose with wax replicas of your favorite stars.
Walk Around And Shop Around At The Melrose Trading Post On A Sunday
Go to the Melrose Trading Post to pick up a non-tacky Los Angeles trinket for yourself if you happen to be visiting. They have everything from clothing, jewelry, art, furniture, shoes, plants, food vendors, and live music. I guarantee you’ll find something you love there. FYI: this only happens on Sundays, and there is a $3 entry fee that benefits the local high school.
Stroll Venice Beachs Ocean Front Walk
A motley crew awaits people-watchers at Venice Beachs Ocean Front Walk. The east side of the boardwalk is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants while the west side features street performers of every type: tarot card readers, chainsaw jugglers, roller skaters and more all hoping for a tip, of course.
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Eat Like The Locals Do
When in Rome, right? Locals tell us you’ll find plenty of cheap eats throughout this glitzy town. They suggest enjoying the incredible LA food truck scene and checking out the cheap eats in Chinatown, like the delicious Lao Tao.
Local tip: If you don’t have In-N-Out at home, you’ve got to give it a try in LA. A cheeseburger is less than $3, so it’s also a good budget stop.
Visit The Dead At The Hollywood Forever Cemetery
This might sound like an odd choice, but many famous people in the entertainment industry were buried here. Notable celebrities include Chris Cornell, Judy Garland, Anton Yelchin, Johnny Ramone, Griffith J. Griffith, Cecil B. DeMille, Rudolph Valentino, and more! The grounds are beautiful and its open to the public.
Good food nearby: I would honestly make my way to the Original Farmers Market. Its about 3 miles from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery but its worth it! By bus, its a 25 min trip and by car its only 10 minutes. Here youll find a mix of every food under the sun. My personal favorite is Nonnas Empanadas. While youre here, be sure to try a free sample of English toffee and grab a donut for dessert from Bobs Doughnuts. So many delicious choices!
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Wander Around The Downtown Art Walk
This free year-round activity is a must-visit for anyone wondering what to do in Los Angeles. Located along Spring and Main, between 3rd and 9th streets, Downtown Art Walk is a self-guided public art event that takes place on the second Thursday of every month. Thousands of art lovers come together to explore the galleries, artist studios, and cultural institutions that form the basis of the art walk. Go during the day for a leisurely cultural stroll or visit at night when the event erupts into a party complete with music, food and entertainment.
Walk The Road To Hollywood
The âRoad to Hollywoodâ is located within the Hollywood and Highland Center. The paved walkway can be found on entry to the first level.Each tiled section of the walk way provides a story of how the rich and famous got into Hollywood Showbiz. Take some time out to read them as they lead you to the best part of the Hollywood and Highland Center.The sories from the quoted actors/musicians and producers are all anonymous and each story allows you to imagine how tough it really is to break into the industry.The Road to Hollywood path leads to the back of the Hollywood and Highland Center where the funniest part awaits, a statue of a luxurious bed and tatâs how some people got into Hollywood!From the end of the pathway, you can also enjoy one of the best views of the Hollywood Sign within Los Angeles.
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Free Museums And Attractions
In addition to all of the great free attractions we list in our top 10 section, there are loads of museums and other attractions you can visit for free at least once a month.
For a full list of great LA museums and attractions, check out our master things to do in LA post.
The Broad art museum downtown LA features a vast collection of contemporary and pop art.
See pieces from the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Kara Walker among many others.
Transportation Rental Car Or Public Transportation
In order for me to discuss transportation, I need to show you a map of Los Angeles. It is incredibly widespread. Some of the best things to see are in Downtown, while others are along the coast or the mountains. However, you can manage to use public transportation depending on your itinerary. Lets break it down. The cost of public transportation is on average $1.75 one way, $7 for a day pass, or $25 for a week pass, per person. If you are on a tight budget or traveling solo, I recommend public transportation.
If you can fit a car into your budget, I personally would do so. It gives you freedom to explore areas limited by public transportation like the Malibu beaches. It also prevents you from having to switch between multiple trains and buses. For example, to get to a viewing point for the Hollywood sign using public transportation you need to first take the Metro to a specific stop, then the bus, then you can walk the rest of the way. It can be tedious and time consuming. Whereas with a car, you can drive to the closest viewing point and park on the street, sometimes for free depending on the area.
TL:DR Public transportation works, especially for shorter trips and solo travel, but it can be time consuming and a headache. If possible, I recommend getting a rental car.
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The Huntington Botanical Gardens And Library
There are few places in Los Angeles that I return to regardless of the price, but this is one of them. If you have room in your budget to expand your itinerary, the Huntington in San Marino is worth the $29 admission price . You can make this a whole day event. The Huntington has extensive botanical gardens with beautiful Chinese , Japanese, desert, herb, jungle, rose, Shakespeare, and California gardens! AND, there are art galleries that house The Blue Boy, and library collections that are home to one of the 12 original Gutenberg Bibles and Audubons Birds of America. Thats just a snippet. I seriously cant recommend the Huntington enough if you can fit it in your budget.
Where To Eat In Los Angeles
Los Angeles is the second largest US city after New York and with over 4 million residents you can be sure there are restaurants galore!
Well break LA down into its most popular neighborhoods and give you our top foodie recommendations for first time visitors:
- Musso & Frank Grill Classic American lunch and dinner | Menu
- Salts Cure Healthy comfort food local ingredients | Menu
- Pizzeria Mozza Awesome pizza at great value | Menu
- LONO Tiki bar tropical theme cocktails and food | Menu
- Spago Wolfgang Pucks flagship restaurant | Menu
- Maude High end new American seasonal tasting menu | Menu
- The Grill on the Alley Steakhouse for everyone | Menu
- The Cheesecake Factory Perfect alternative for those on a budget | Menu
- Dialogue Very highly rated seasonal food | Menu
- Tar & Roses Wood, fire, smoke. American small & large plates | Menu
- UOVO Pasta made fresh daily in Italy | Menu
- Nickel Diner Famous tasty comfort food & big desserts | Menu
- Coles French Dip Epic French dip sandwiches, cocktails, top rated bar | Menu
- Sonoratown Popular low key, cheap and tasty Mexican food | Menu
- Wurstkuche German sausages and brewery\ Menu
- Otium Contemporary, New American & cocktails | Menu
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+ Free And Cheap Things To Do In Los Angeles California
Los Angeles, California. A place many people dream of visiting with its picture-perfect waters, an allure of Hollywood Celebrities, and historical buildings. I am lucky enough to live close enough to go into LA as day trips, but if you are not careful things can still add up. There is no way around it, Los Angeles is expensive. Nevertheless, there are many ways to make your visit more budget-friendly. The following is a ton of free and cheap things to do in Los Angeles to help make your visit more affordable.
Budget Transportation In Los Angeles
Unfortunately, public transportation in Los Angeles sucks. There are some buses, but they take forever due to traffic. There is also a metro, but it does not go to all of the areas of Los Angeles. Hopefully, this situation will be remedied by the time the 2028 Olympics come around! If you plan on using the Metro, make sure to buy a TAP card. You are able to reload this card and it is easier to swipe in and out of the Metro. It costs $7 for a day pass or $1.75/ride.
The more flexible way to get around in LA is by car . I always use Autoslash for renting a car. Another option is to Uber/Lyft around, but that can also add up. I recommend choosing one area to explore each day so that way you do not have to move the car around.
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Universal Studios Or Disney World
Neither of these two attractions are particularly budget-friendly. But for us, visiting the Universal Studios was a must. If you choose the Universal Studios over Disney World, I wrote a Universal Studios Hollywood Guide which will help you plan your visit.
We had a 2-Day pass so we actually went twice during our two weeks in LA and absolutely loved it. I cannot recommend it enough.
I especially loved The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter which, if you know me or have read my Harry Potter Studio Tour guide, should not come as a big surprise to you.
Walking through Hogsmeade and seeing that huge model of Hogwarts might have actually made me shed a tear or two.
Watch A Tv Show Taping
TripSavvy / Kayte Deioma
If you’ve ever dreamed of attending a live taping of your favorite sitcom, game show, talk show, or reality show, a trip to Los Angeles is a chance to make that dream a reality. Many of the most popular television shows are filmed in L.A. and virtually all of the tapings are free, as long as you’re able to acquire a ticket. The ticket process depends on the individual show, with some tickets released online up to 30 days in advance, while others are first-come-first-serve on the day of taping. Even if it’s a show you’ve never heard of, seeing the process of a real live taping and getting up close to celebrities is an Angeleno experience all in itself.
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Venice Beach & Venice Canals
Venice is such a cool area to explore! With its famous Muscle Beach, the canals and the bustling beachfront, Venice is another must when visiting LA.
I especially love the little canals instead of roads. Plus, the houses here are amazing. Some are super quirky with dreamcatchers and chimes in the garden and others very modern. Every one of them is completely different and unique to the next. Id love to live here. Just gotta win the lottery I suppose. And when I do, I want one of those pink swan boats, please!
Conquer Part Of The Marvin Braude Bike Trail
This hands down might be my favorite summer activity. I do it every year! It’s 22 miles round trip, but you don’t have to do the entire thing. I like starting in Hermosa and going up to Dockweiler Beach. It can get tricky navigating around crowds once you get to Venice or Santa Monica, but it’s not impossible. Plus, there are tons of cute shops and restaurants you can stop at along the way if you need a break. You can rent bikes for as little as $15 for half a day, or $25 for a full day.
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Go Hiking On Runyon Canyon Park
Located at the eastern end of the majestic Santa Monica mountains, Runyon Park is one of Californias top hiking destinations with picturesque trails carved out of landscaped mountain valleys. The adventurous dirt roads lined with dense tropical forests offer exhilarating terrain that gradually increases in altitude to an epic point from where you can view almost 2/3rds of Los Angeles city.Location : North Fuller Avenue, Los Angeles, California
Rodeo Drive And Beverly Hills
Visiting Rodeo Drive was a very interesting experience. It felt as though we dipped into a whole new world. A world of money, out-there fashion and maybe a little bit too much botox.
I have never in my life seen such interesting outfits, hairstyles and general appearances as in Rodeo Drive. Put that together with all the shiny boutiques and high-end shops and you got yourself a setting in which, no matter the outfit, us regular looking humans would always feel severely underdressed. Luckily there are obviously quite a lot of tourists running around too. So youll blend in nicely with them.
It is a great place to go for a stroll or people watch as there are plenty of chairs all along Rodeo Drive. So you can find a seat in the shade and enjoy the view. Plus, if you are a car enthusiast, you will spot some fancy cars here too.
Afterwards, you should go for a walk or drive around Beverly Hills. Such a beautiful neighbourhood with palm trees along the roads and the houses here are stunning! What am I sayingnot houses villas! I couldnt help but fantasise of living here. To be fair, we had that feeling in many LA neighbourhoodsit must be nice to be rich, hey?
We drove from Beverly Hills all the way up to the Hollywood Hills and on our way down to the city we caught the most beautiful sunset over LA which was truly something else.
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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 worldliterally.
Explore Las Secret Stairs
During the mid-1900s, Los Angeles had a pretty extensive trolley system, covering over 1,100 miles of track. Though the trolleys are now long gone, youll find remnants of it in the network of steep stairs that run through places like Silver Lake, Echo Park Lake, Pacific Palisades, and Beachwood Canyon.
The latter is a quaint residential community which a range of A-listers and former stars call home. So if youre one of those travelers who likes hunting for gorgeous houses, this ones for you. Plus, you get in a good cardio workout too!
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Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk
One of the most fun things to do in downtown LA at night on a Thursday.
The Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk happens every second Thursday of each month and gives you the chance to explore the art scene in DTLA.
The Art Walk has been running for 10 years along Spring Street and Main Street in Downtown LA.
Just grab a gallery guide at one of the participating art galleries for a self-guided tour of local galleries, artist studios, and cultural events.
This is one of the best free events in Los Angeles that happens every month so dont miss it if youre in town on the first Thursday of the month.