Los Angeles – the metropolis of my dream residence. The southern Californian city has so much to offer. From its beaches to the iconic Hollywood sign, to behind the scenes studio-tours of Universal, Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers. Therefore, it is easy to splurge in Los Angeles, unless, of course, you do not have a loaded wallet. This city with its celebrity havens, ethnic enclaves and revived downtown offers a surfeit of inexpensive activities and cafes that in multiple ways define the real LA. Also, LA’s weather is much more tolerable than San Francisco’s, enabling a fun-filled summer without the sun burns.
Although it really depends on the time of your arrival, but massively cheap options are available in decent to good places across L.A. For example, a clean bed in a dormitory is generally available for $20 to $30 a night, while private rooms in hotels such as Time Zone and LA Room Rental are available in the range of $47 to $57. For an Air bnb option, There are a lot of areas outside LA such as Arcadia, Glendale heights or Long Beach where you can also stay that are not too far from the city.
You are not a Californian if you have never complained about LA’s traffic jams and stretches of cars in the queue. Therefore, if you are planning on a car rental, be mindful of the rush hours to avoid excruciatingly exhausting traffic. Alternatively, Los Angeles offers an acceptable public transport system, which is comprised of buses, metro, and suburban trains. The fare for an MTA bus ranges from $1.50 to $2.45 while a day and weekly passes are available for $5 and $20 respectively. Moreover, LA’s metro system consists of five lines and the ticket is for just $1.50.
Whichever area I explore in Los Angeles, I find all sorts of food varieties ranging from Chinese, Korean food, to tacos, fast food, and food trucks. The city is known for its wide array of international cuisine offered the American way, and of course, you can enjoy eating here on a budget. If Korean food gets your juices flowing, you will find all-you-can-eat for as low as $14 at O Dae San Korean restaurant. Also, if you are from the east coast or a foreign visitor, do not miss out on heading to in and out – an ultra-famous fast food chain. Additionally, you can use Google Maps on the go to discover local eateries on the go.
Where there is Hollywood, there is a vibrant nightlife, and LA is filled with hordes of them. Therefore, you can head to Hollywood or the downtown area, if you want to dance the night away. Create or Exchange in the Hollywood area has some smashing reviews.
If you are like me and are done with your clubbing days, you can check out some fantastic rooftop bars, such as Perch or Rooftop Biergarten at the standard. These two spots offer the most scrumptious food with a scenic view. Also, if you are a beer aficionado, pay a visit to the Library bar. Alternatively, the Universal CityWalk Hollywood has so many bars to offer.
WHAT TO DO IN LA?
It is perhaps the first item on majority of LA visitors’ itinerary. Also, there are many ways to view the sign. For example, you can hike up or go to places with the brightest and closest view. Last time I was there, a pal of mine took me to the intersection of Beachwood and Glen Holly for viewing. From there you can spot a crystal clear view from several angles, such as Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Highland and much more!
10-15 minute drive
The Griffith Park Observatory’s interior is absolutely stellar, and admission is free. It is a popular tourist attraction as the views of downtown Los Angeles are just mesmerizing. The park itself, covers more than 4,300 acres of land and is considered as one of the largest parks in the USA.
HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME
It is arguably the most cinematic tourist spot in Los Angeles. There are hordes of street performers ensuring a vibrant ambiance virtually all the time. Also, there are museums such as the wax museum, guided tours, and several authentic eateries. In my frank opinion, it is not as glamorous as the media projects it to be, but the place is still fun.
STOP BY LACMA (LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART)
It is an incredible place to spend an afternoon embracing fine art. You can always find room in your schedule to stop by, relish, and click some photographs of the city art, like the urban lights, and from the movie “No strings attached.” Alternatively, you can also explore the art inside, but you would probably need a whole day.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS AND UNIVERSAL CITYWALK
It is my favorite theme park in LA, hands down, as it is kid-friendly, and adults also do not get bored. A personal favorite is the Harry Potter, as I am a huge harry potter fan. The primary attraction is the CityWalk, nestled next to the theme park. You can dine, go bars hopping while enjoying the culture all around with your loved ones. Lastly, make sure to allocate a complete day to the park.
Show me a person who does not want to visit the happiest place on earth and I will show you a liar. Here is how to do it on a budget, unless of course, you have a lot to splurge:
1. Travel during the off-season to save money and get more value for your time in the parks.
2. Disneyland has authorized retailers who offer low prices on tickets. Often, you can save nearly $20 per ticket.
3. Eat breakfast outside the parks.
Much like the universal studios, this theme park is also huge. Make sure to bookmark a day to soak in the beauty of the whole place.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN LA IF YOU WANT TO ADD A 4TH DAY
SANTA MONICA BEACH
Consider Santa Monica beach the iconic example of the world-famous Southern California beaches. It is located just west of Downtown LA and is frequented by tourists and visitors because the beach is 3.5 miles in length and offers a variety of attractions and activities. Moreover, it is within walking distance to popular shops, hotels, bars, and restaurants.
VENICE BEACH BOARDWALK
My favorite beach! not because of the color of the sand and water, but because of the bohemian free spirited boardwalk filled with amazing people! With the street performers, food hot spots, funky shops and stylish boutiques, you will never get bored
The good old, affluent, and famous Beverly Hills, where you can visit the mansions of some of the most iconic Hollywood actors. Join guided tours and visualize the history of Hollywood. Moreover, if you feel like doing some luxury shopping, head to Rodeo Drive to visit all the high-end stores.
LA ON A BUDGET
The CityPASS is one of the top package deals in Los Angeles, including four attractions at almost half price. Moreover, several of L.A.’s best cultural attractions have an entrance fee less than $10 such as the Griffith Observatory, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Norton Simon Museum.
Once you are done satiating your cultural craving, quench your thirst and munch at a discount during Los Angeles’s top Happy Hours such as Drago Centro, Bar | Kitchen and the Border Grills in Downtown, or the Chaya restaurants in Downton venice.