Los Angeles is a great city but it can be costly, even for a quick weekend getaway. Los angeles is definitely a place best visited with a group of people. Traveling alone can prove expensive as the average 3 star hotel room can be over $100 a night, along with gas prices averaging $3.00-$3.50 a gallon. Groups traveling to LA can negate traveling expenses like housing, and gas, allowing extra money to spend on food, museums, theme parks and souvenirs.
Another option for those wanting to save money, is to stay at a bed and breakfast, rent a room, apartment or house. Sites like Airbnb were created for individuals and groups wanting to save money and avoid the extra fee’s that hotels procure. An added bonus is just like many chain hotels, many homes on Airbnb are close to popular tourist destinations. Those renting their space often provide valuable information about the area around the home, such as great restaurants, coffee shops and shopping.
The Los Angeles area has so much to see and do, it can become overwhelming. You want to get the full LA experience on a budget without leaving the state or area with overdraft fees. As i recently spent a weekend in Los Angeles with friends, i will say it is possible to stay on budget and have fun in Los Angeles. I made a list of the great places that are worth visiting and the cost of the various activities. Like many of you contemplating visiting Los Angeles, you want a good time without overspending. Hear are some great budget friendly options.
1.Santa Monica/Venice. This is a great Free place to visit if you are in LA. This area really embodies the culture of Los Angeles. People from every walk of life, different vendors, the sand and water…what’s not to like?! And did i mention it’s free?!
2. Warner Bros Studios. This is a great tour if you enjoy prime time television and movies more than the average person. The tour takes you behind the scene of sets of television shows like, Ellen, The Big Bang Theory, Pretty Little liars, Friends and Gilmore girls, to name a few. During the tour, your guide will also give insight into how sets are created for movie scenes like Spider-man, a look into the world of Harry Potter, and the impressive collection of the Batmobiles. This tour is a little pricey, $62.00 per person. However there is an option for coupon codes, i highly recommend searching for one. Despite the price i thought the tour was well worth the money.
3. Getty Villa. Modeled after a first century Roman country house, the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy. This may be one of LA’s best kept secret. The Villa is very much tucked away from the noisy traffic on the outside. Driving pass, the villa looks more like a heavily gated private residence, rather than a Free exhibit. Once on the inside you almost forget where you are. The atmosphere serene, the architecture and landscaping breathtaking, and the sculptures imperial. Donations are suggested when visiting the Getty villa, and there is a fee$10 for parking. This is definitely a must see when visiting LA.
3. El Matador State Beach. It would not be a trip to LA without visiting at least one beach. Rather than go to a beach where many tourist flock, visiting a less crowded beach can make the experience of going to the beach relaxing. This is definitely a beach that seems to be a local hideaway more than a tourist ploy. The beach was a lot less crowded than Laguna or Santa Monica, making it an enjoyable beach visit. One of the stately natural beauty of this beach is its large boulders and its upper cliffs that provide a panoramic view. To get to the water, there is a steep dirt trail and stairs that take you down to the sand and water. With that said, this beach is not wheelchair friendly, making it inaccessible for the handicapped. This is important information to keep in mind if you are traveling in a group and have an individual unable to hike or walk long distances. This is one of the beautiful beaches in Malibu and is definitely worth a trip.
4.Abbot Kinney Blvd. As mentioned before i was lucky enough to get a great deal on Airbnb in the Venice area, specifically Abbot Kinney. However even if you are not staying in the Venice area, Abbot Kinney Blvd is a great area to visit. Abbot Kinney is an eccentric, art deco neighborhood with great restaurants, coffee shops and street art. My one regret is that i didn’t spend enough time walking the streets and looking through the many stores. Many times when visiting a place for the first time, its easy to get so caught up in squeezing in all that on the itinerary and we forget to explore and immerse the area we are in. If you are one who does not want to stay in a generic hotel, or in an area crammed with tourist, check out Abbot Kinney Blvd. There is so much culture in this one little area.
5. Farmers Market at the Grove. My, advice. Skip the chain restaurants and eat at the farmers market. When you first step into the market you immediately become overwhelmed by the enormous selection of food vendors to try. From sweet to savory, there is something for everyone there. It is also an inexpensive option if you do not want to shell out $25+ tip on one plate at a restaurant. After a day of shopping at the Grove (also a must do), grab a bite at the farmers market, you will not regret it.
5. Jazz night at the W Hotel Hollywood. Every trip whether week long or weekend long needs to end on a high note. Jazz night at the W hotel is the place to go to on a Sunday night. Jazz night is headlined by Nikki leonti and the downtown horns, to say the music and venue is phenomenal is an understatement. Artist like Prince, Megan Trainor, Justin Bieber have all made an appearance at Jazz night. Best of all with the amazing roof top views of the hollywood lights, great music and atmosphere the cover charge is $0. That’s right, Jazz night is free, no cover charge (must be 21+ of course). If your on a budget but want to hear great music and be surrounded by lots of gorgeous people, Jazz night at the W is the place to be.
Other places worth visiting while in LA :
- Griffith Observatory (Free)
- Downtown La (The Disney theater, Grand central market, The last bookstore)