Many people who visit Los Angeles discover first-hand the high price tag that comes with some of LA’s more popular tourist attractions. But for those not interested in amusement parks or shopping on Rodeo Drive, there are plenty of things to do and see that won’t break the bank.
Here is a rundown of some local favorites:
You can’t go to LA without a visit to the famous Getty Center. Not only is it free, but it also boasts the best views of Hollywood, as well as an amazing collection of European and American art from the Middle Ages to the present. An added plus, the grounds are simply gorgeous.
Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach
These three beach cities, located in the South Bay of Los Angeles, epitomize California beach living and there is so much more to do than just sunbathe. Take a stroll down the Redondo Pier and check out the arcade and midway underneath. Or work up a sweat in the California sunshine through volleyball, paddle boarding, kayaking or surfing. If you want to see everything on offer, I can highly recommend renting a beach bike (for approximately $8 per hour) so that you can cruise up and down The Strand, which connects the cities. There is also the SEA Lab aquarium, which is free – although a donation is requested.
Griffith Park and Observatory
Griffith Park has so many attractions it is hard to list them all. Some personal favorites include the $3 pony rides, where kids can go around the track on their own, as well as the model steam train rides next door, which cost as much or as little as you are willing to donate. There is also the Travel Town Museum, which operates on donations for admission, and of course the iconic (and free) Griffith Observatory. If you are willing to spend $16 per adult and $11 per child, the LA Zoo in the northeast corner of Griffith Park is well worth a visit.
The Huntington Botanical Gardens
If you would like to be at one with nature, then a trip to the Huntington Gardens should be top of your list. Spanning more than 200 acres, you will be able to enjoy the 14,000 different varieties of plants within the 14 different themed gardens. Even better, admission is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of every month with advance tickets.
Hollywood Razzle and Dazzle
Most people think of Hollywood when they think of Los Angeles so, if celebrities are your thing; consider hiking Bronson or Runyon Canyon for some celebrity spotting. Or pre-book tickets to see a live TV show – being a member of the studio audience is normally free.
Looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city? How about taking a short mountain drive up to Newcomb’s Ranch in the Angeles National Forest? An entrée will set you back about $12 per person but, for nature lovers, the location is worth it. Not only is the restaurant rich in history but it also serves as a great starting point for the nearby hiking trails and waterfalls.
Point Fermin Lighthouse
The Point Fermin Stick Style lighthouse was built in 1874 and is one of just three remaining lighthouses in the country using this style of early Victorian architecture. Guided tours are offered at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. (Tuesday through Sunday) and admission is free.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to visit this museum is the new 14,000 square foot Dinosaur Hall, which houses one of the world’s leading dinosaur and fossil collections, including the world’s only Tyrannosauraus Rex growth series (which features a baby, juvenile and sub-adult T. Rex). If you are thinking of visiting LA between now and early September you should definitely wander through the museum’s seasonal Butterfly Pavilion, which is a living outdoor exhibit of more than 53 different butterfly and moth species. Tickets are $12 for adults and child tickets are $5 – $8 (dependent on age) and free for visitors under 4.
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