Just because Los Angeles is virtually synonymous with filthy rich celebrities, doesn’t mean you need to cash out to enjoy some of the cities fabulous attractions.
Like most metropolitan cities, Los Angeles is brimming with attractions that seem to cost more than the price of your hotel room. While it’s nice to splurge every now and then, there are plenty of budget-friendly activities to enjoy in Los Angeles that are just as exciting as the big-money attractions. In fact, some of L.A.’s most precious gems cost no more than the bus fare to get to them.
If you want to see the best of the City of Angels without burning a hole in your wallet, here are five free Los Angeles activities and destinations that won’t disappoint.
If you’re a movie buff (or even if you’re not), be sure to check out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor Galleries. The Academy’s headquarters is located in the heart of Beverly Hills and its galleries feature impressive exhibitions that highlight the best of Hollywood’s movie magic and history. 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. Tel. 310-247-3000. www.oscars.org
The J. Paul Getty Trust is one of the largest supporters of visual arts in the world, and its two Los Angeles locations, the Getty Center Los Angeles and the Getty Villa Malibu, feature an incredible collection of European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illustrated manuscripts and photography, all housed in breathtaking indoor and outdoor settings. Although reservations aren’t needed at the Getty Center, visitors to the Getty Villa Malibu must have advance, timed tickets to gain entry, and only a limited number of tickets are offered daily. Getty Center. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles. Getty Villa Malibu, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades. Tel. 310-440-7300. www.getty.edu
Taking a ride or stroll down the South Bay Bicycle Path is probably the best way to sample Los Angeles’ beaches. Despite its name, this 22-mile bike path is frequented by movers of all types and passes through must-see beach community highlights such as the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach’s ever-present alternative culture and Redondo Beach’s Pier Avenue. Expect to be captivated by more than the views—this stretch of boardwalk is known for its myriad shops, street performers and street vendors.
To get the most out of your coastal stroll start at the bike path’s northernmost point, Will Rogers State Beach, where Temescal Canyon Road meets Pacific Coast Highway. www.santamonicapier.org, www.venicechamber.net, www.redondo.org
Located within Los Angeles’ famous Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory has been a highlight of Los Angeles for nearly 75 years. After recently undergoing an extensive six-year renovation and expansion, the observatory offers visitors a state-of-the-art planetarium, presentation theatre, public telescopes and multiple indoor and outdoor exhibits. Griffith Park is packed with attractions aside from the observatory, so consider spending a day on the park’s grounds. Picnic amenities are available, and the observatory is accessible via hiking and biking trails, as well as by car. Griffith Park. 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles. Tel. 323-913-4688. www.lacity.org/rap/dos/parks/griffithpk. Griffith Observatory. 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles. Tel. 213-473-0800. www.griffithobs.org
Looking for a true L.A. shopping experience without the fuss of Rodeo Drive? Then head to The Grove and Farmers Market located in Los Angeles’ Fairfax District. This outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex is riddled with SoCal ambiance, which means you’ll love it whether you splurge on souvenirs or just window shop. For an “organic” experience spend your time at the historic Farmers Market, where you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, as well as restaurants and a wide variety of clothing, gadgets and other service vendors. 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. Tel. 323-900-8080, www.thegrovela.com. Farmers Market. 6333 West 3rd St. Tel. 323-933-9211, www.farmersmarketla.com.
Destinations: Los Angeles