We could easily post hundreds of things to do in Los Angeles on a budget. But if you’re planning a trip to the City of Angels, you probably don’t have time to do every last thing. To help you with your time management and vacation planning, here are the top 7 things we think you can’t miss in LA. And don’t worry, we’ve hand selected things that are intended to be easy on the wallet.
1. California Science Center
Admission to the Science Center’s permanent exhibitions is free. You can book tickets and admission times for the special exhibits or their IMAX separately.
The exhibits are open daily between 10:00 a.m. at 5:00 p.m. and there are some great permanent showcases in the center. Permanent exhibitions include Air and Space, Creative World, Ecosystems, World of Life, and a discovery room for small children. This can be a great low or no cost treat for the whole family.
2. Japanese American National Museum
Japanese culture in America has had a long and often rocky history. While we should never forget the experience of those in the Internment camps during World War II, we should also remember the many contributions by Japanese Americans throughout politics, science, history, and more.
General admission to the museum is $12 for adults. If you can plan your trip on a Thursday, there is free admission between 5 and 8 p.m. and all day on the third Thursday of the month.
3. The Original Farmers Market
The Original Farmers Market was established in Los Angeles in 1935 and is a great slice of history as well as a place to buy amazing products from local farmers and merchants. From ice cream to meats and from decadent to healthy, you’ll find everything you want.
There is no admission. Parking can be validated onsite. The only cost will be whatever items you buy while you’re exploring the market.
4. Runyon Canyon Park
If what you crave is connection to the outdoors, this 160-acre part in the middle of a bustling city may be perfect for you. There are hiking trails and children’s play areas for your enjoyment. The park is open every day from dawn to dusk.
There is no cost, so feel free to enjoy a quick walk or an all-day hike if you want to be out in nature in the middle of sunny southern California.
5. Pacific Park
If you want something outside but filled with more entertainment, check out Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. There are plenty of rides for the thrill seekers and games for the people who like a game of chance.
The best part? Pacific Park is completely free to visit. You do have to pay by the ride or game, but that will allow you to plan your budget accordingly. If you are willing to splurge a little, an unlimited ride wristband is just under $30 for anyone over the age of 8. For 7 and younger, it’s $16.15.
6. The Grove
If you love shopping, window or otherwise, don’t miss The Grove. There are always a variety of special pop-ups and seasonal events to see while you’re there. And it’s considered a destination when it comes to shops and dining.
This is an outdoor walking mall, which is perfect for the sunny weather all year long in Los Angeles. And there are brand name stores for all your favorites.
7. Travel Town Museum
If you’re looking for a unique destination while you’re in LA, don’t miss the free Travel Town museum. There are unique exhibits and even a miniature train you can ride. Historic vehicles like airplanes and trains are throughout the museum and are great for enthusiast and curious visitors alike.
The museum was established in 1952 by William Frederickson, Jr., the city’s superintendent of recreation. He thought it would be wonderful to provide children with an up close and personal experience with airplane controls and more. He was able to build a collection of decommissioned planes and the museum continues with that tradition today.
Finding ways to enjoy LA on a budget can be rewarding and exciting. Before you visit, make a plan to save money and enjoy the variety of attractions, restaurants, and natural settings in the area.