Los Angeles On the Cheap (2022)

A few years back, our girl Whitney wrote an amazing article highlighting cheap things to do in Los Angeles. It’s been several years and I thought it was time for a volume 2. We’re fortunate enough to live in a city that offers perfect weather and plenty of things to do – on the cheap. So sit back, grab your calendars and start planning your week because we’ve got a guide of fun things to do by yourself, with a friend, or on a date that won’t break the bank.

Beach Day

Santa Monica Pier

As Tony! Toni! Toné sang, “It never rains in Southern California,” so we have the luxury of heading to the beach all year round. And why not make your way to the iconic tourist destination and a favorite spot of locals, the Santa Monica Pier. Stroll around the Pacific Park amusement park or aquarium. Grab a drink at one of the restaurants and relax while taking in the stunning views of the Pacific coastline, hit the beach for a volleyball game, or get some bait and head to one of the many fishing spots. Pier access is free, and the aquarium and amusement park rides require a cost. Tip: to save money, head to one of the pier restaurants during Happy Hour for the best drink specials. Monday – Sunday, 6:00 am – 10:00 pm; 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

The Santa Monica Pier is the perfect cheap outing. Grab a drink at one of the restaurants and relax while taking in the stunning views of the Pacific coastline, hit the beach for a volleyball game, or get some bait and head to one of the many fishing spots.

Venice Beach Boardwalk

There’s a ton to see and do in Venice. Over two miles long, the Venice boardwalk is a generously peppered with a vibrant arts and culture scene consisting of hundreds of street vendors, eateries, shops, and performers. There’s a graffiti wall, skateboarding ramps, iconic Muscle Beach, basketball and tennis courts, and adjacent paths for rollerblading, skateboarding, biking, or walking. As an avid rollerblader, I love coming here for sunshine and eye candy while I exercise. The beach here is pretty chill too, so it’s perfect for picnics and laying out. Free entry; 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291

Venice Canals

Inspired by the famous Italian canals, the Venice Canals by the Venice Beach Boardwalk provide an ideal location for romantic and scenic walks across the many footbridges and serve as the perfect backdrop for your Instagram feed. This cheap date is an alternative to strolling along the beach for those who don’t like sand or want a more intimate setting. Free; Parking is available at the end of Venice Blvd., off 25th Street, Venice, CA 90292

Are the Venice Canals not the perfect backdrop for your Instagram feed!?
Wellness

BollyPop Dance Fitness Class

Live your best dance fantasy at BollyPop’s “Bollywood dance-inspired fusion cardio workout” dance classes in partnership with Ivy Station plaza. These silent-style adult classes use wireless headphones to pump in the Bollywood, Latin, Hip Hop, and Egyptian hits while teaching easy-to-follow choreography. Free wireless headphone rental available with ID. Free with RSVP; Wednesdays, 6:30 pm; Ivy Station – 8809 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

Yoga at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The famous cemetery offers a steady schedule of outdoor yoga and guided meditation classes on its pristine lawns, weather permitting. All levels are welcome; participants should bring a mat, towel, sunscreen, and water. Classes are donation based, practice social distancing, and require masks when not on your yoga mat. Free parking next to the lawn. Times vary. See the online calendar for schedule. Namaste. 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038

Hiking/Walking

Culver City Stairs (a.k.a. Jefferson Stairs)

Keep it right and tight with a hefty hike to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Climb a massive set of stairs leading you to the top of Culver City. From here, admire panoramic views of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Century City, and more. The Culver City Stairs are ideal for anyone looking for a moderate hike and postcard-worthy views. Parking is available on Jefferson Boulevard. To reach the stairs, take the trail behind the cement Overlook sign. Free; Monday – Sunday, 8:00 am – sunset; 6105 Hetzler Rd., Culver City, CA 90232

Fryman Canyon

Calling all Valley people! Located in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains, Fryman Canyon Park is conveniently located right off Ventura Blvd. and features a fitness course and access to the Betty B. Dearing Cross Mountain Trail. Although not too long in distance, don’t let this trail fool you. It may not be as long as some of the other ones, but trust me, the first 15 minutes is not a steady incline; you are literally going straight uphill! This hike is for you if you’re looking for the ultimate butt and thigh workout! The hiking trail is open to hikers, dogs on leash, and equestrians. Here’s a tip: After your hike, head to the nearby Trader Joe’s shopping center at Laurel Canyon and Ventura, and grab a delicious pinkberry. Parking is available at the trailhead. Free; Monday – Sunday, 6:00 am – 7:30 pm; 8401 Mulholland Dr., Studio City, CA 91604

Runyon Canyon

At around three miles long, this hiking trail is for those interested in hiking, being seen, and spotting the occasional celebrity. There are a few ways you can enter. The main route is where most of the hikers will be. The back entrance has a parking lot and intersects the main trail. And then there are the stairs. This route is for the hardcore hikers who want to literally step up their workout. The steps go up the side of the mountain and require a good pair of sneakers or hiking shoes. I personally don’t like to go down that way, but whatever floats your boat. The highlights of Runyon are the stunning views of the Hollywood sign, Sunset Strip, and incredible real estate. Make sure to have your phone handy because you will definitely want to photograph yourself at the lookout. If you park on the street, make sure to read the signs carefully because they love to ticket over there. Free; Monday – Sunday, 6:00 am – 6:00 pm; 2000 N. Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

The lookout at Runyon is a must for photos!

Santa Monica Stairs

Looking for a workout that burns fat, builds muscle, and is near the beach? The Santa Monica Stairs is the West Side’s answer to a killer workout with a beach vibe. And did I mention the Santa Monica fire departments do their daily training here… (yes, I’m referring to hot firefighters in uniforms working out right along with you). There are two sets of stairs, concrete, and wood. The wooden set is pretty shaded, providing some relief from the intense workout. I highly recommend this set to anyone with knee problems like me, as the wood offers a spring to your step. Both sets are right by each other, and some choose to go up one and down the other, making a loop. Make sure to bring your yoga mats and resistance bands to incorporate strength training with your cardio workout. Free; 699 Adelaide Dr., Santa Monica, CA 90402

Public Art Audio Tours and Walking Tour Maps

Take a self-guided tour of Downtown L.A.’s public art commissioned by the Art Program of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA). Explore the art of Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, Financial Core, and Historic Core at your own pace with free downloadable maps and audio recordings. After, stop into a local DTLA bar and enjoy Happy Hour bites and drinks. Free; DTLA locations

Museums

The Autry Museum in Griffith Park

Showcasing Native American art and cultural memorabilia, the Autry is one of L.A.’s best-kept hidden gems. The museum has innovative exhibits, including Dress Codes, a display of over 150 objects from “six enduring icons of western style: blue jeans, plaid shirt, fringed jackets, aloha shirt, China Poblana dress, and the cowboy boot.” The Autry has free admission for the general public on the second Tuesday of every month. $14; Tuesdays – Fridays, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays – Sundays, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The Broad

Located in the heart of DTLA, this contemporary art museum features thought-provoking works from such artists as Andy Warhol, Robert Therrien, Kara Walker, and Cecily Brown. Free with advance-timed entry; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 11:00 am – 5:00 pm; Thursdays 11:00 – 8:00 pm, and Saturdays – Sundays 10:00 – 6:00 pm; 221 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012.221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012; 213.232.6250

Under the Table by Robert Therrien is one of the many eye-opening exhibitions at The Broad.

California African American Museum (CAAM)

Founded in 1977, “the California African American Museum’s mission is to research, collect, preserve, and interpret for public enrichment the history, art, and culture of African Americans with an emphasis on California and the western United States.” The museum acquires works exclusively created by African, Diasporic, and African American artists and is the largest of its kind in the western United States. Reservations are not required, but masks are encouraged. Free; Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm; 600 State Dr., Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037; 213.744.7432

The Getty

The Getty Center and Getty Villa are world-renowned museums highlighting “visual art and cultural heritage for Los Angeles and the world.” Both are amazing for date night.

Perched above the Westwood hills sits The Getty Center, an L.A. museum known as a hybrid of art and modern architecture design with intricate landscaping.
  • The Getty Center: Every time I go to the Getty Center, I feel like I just stepped into the future. Perched above the Westwood hills sits The Getty Center, a hybrid of art and modern architecture design with intricate landscaping. Start your visit by riding the tram to the museum (this is my Mom’s favorite part). Next, venture around the property and hop in and out of the different buildings. Relax in the courtyard with a glass of wine, or sit in the gardens for a picnic or meditation session. Make sure to visit in the summer for the 405 concert series in the courtyard. Due to Covid restrictions, tickets must be reserved in advance. Free admission; 1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90049; 310.440.7300
  • Getty Villa Museum: First, let me say The Getty Villa Museum is beautiful and ideal for your social media feeds. Travel back in time to the days of togas and sandals as the museum features a replica of a Roman country home featuring Greek and Roman antiquities on display. Stay for a few hours or a whole day. Enjoy the garden, large pool, and views of the ocean. The property eateries include a Mediterranean-inspired café and garden tea area. Bring-your-own-spread picnics are also allowed. Due to Covid restrictions, tickets must be reserved in advance. Free admission; 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272; 310.440.7300

Japanese American National Museum

Visit the largest U.S.-based museum on the Japanese American experience. Currently, there are several ongoing exhibitions and including the Interactive Storyfile of Lawson Lichiro, where he details what his life was like in a Japanese internment camp. The museum grounds are also a sight to see, with a 200-seat theater and a former Buddhist temple building. Due to Covid restrictions, advanced tickets are strongly encouraged. $16; Please check the schedule for times; Enjoy a free ticket courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day on 9/17. 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90012.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Located on Museum Row sits the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The largest art museum in the western United States, LACMA is home to a collection of more than 147,000 unique pieces of art. Please note masks are required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination. Due to Covid restrictions, advanced tickets are strongly encouraged. $20; Please check the schedule for times; 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, welcomes you to “One Museum. Three locations.” MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA are located in L.A., and Michael Heizer’s seminal artwork Double Negative (1969-70) is located in the Nevada desert. Due to Covid restrictions, tickets must be purchased in advance. Those visitors who are 12+ and unvaccinated are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours in advance of the visit. Free (Tickets will be released every two weeks on Tuesdays at 12:00 pm); 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012; 213.626.6222

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)

Focusing on Latin American art and culture, MOLAA leads U.S. museums in “knowledge and appreciation of modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art.” Due to Covid restrictions, advanced tickets are strongly encouraged. $15 and Free on Sundays, Wednesdays – Sundays, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, and enjoy a free ticket courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day on 9/17; 628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802.

“I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli Exhibit at Skirball Cultural Center

Expressed through the iconic deli and inspired by the film, When Harry Met Sally, the Jewish deli exhibit at Skirball Cultural Center “explores how Jewish immigrants, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, imported and adapted traditions to create a uniquely American restaurant.” Due to Covid restrictions, advanced tickets are strongly encouraged. $18 and Free on Thursdays, Tuesdays – Fridays (through 9/18), 12 – 5:00 pm; Saturdays – Sundays 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

Outdoor Film Screenings

Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Both a final resting place for the stars and a cultural events center, Hollywood Forever offers more than your typical cemetery in the form of Cinespia – outdoor screenings of cult classics and critically acclaimed films. This is one of my favorite spots to see movies because the audience brings a fun and vibrant energy to your experience. I’ve seen movies from all genres here (Goonies, Clueless, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure), and every time I have a magical evening. The show typically has fireworks after and a special appearance from the stars of the film. The best part is the event is so cheap, and it’s BYO. So grab your blankets, charcuterie boards, and wine openers because you don’t want to miss out on this movie experience. $22+; Hollywood Forever Cemetery – 6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038; 323.469.1181

An outdoor movie at Cinespia + charcuterie + wine = MAGIC

Outdoor Movies (courtesy of TimeOut)

Ever been to an outdoor movie? It’s kinda like being at a really big sleepover with adults and booze! Not only do you have the chance to screen films from all genres, but you can feed off the crowd’s energy while indulging in yummy food from vendors or your own picnic basket. Whether watching from a rooftop, park or boat, L.A. was made for outdoor movie watching. One of our favorite bloggers, TimeOut, has put together an in-depth article detailing all of L.A.’s outdoor movies in one convenient calendar. Most shows are reasonably priced, and sometimes the stars of the film make special guest appearances. Enjoy the show!

Misc.

$5 Tuesdays at AMC

Love going to the movies, but hate the cost of ticket prices? Well, AMC Theaters listened, and for a limited time, you can watch the latest movies for $5 every Tuesday! Treat yourself to the newest blockbuster or catch a movie that’s about to leave the theater. Tip: Go to an early enough show, where you can hit up a Happy Hour after. Various hours and locations

TopGolf

Have you been to TopGolf? No, you don’t need to be an expert to have fun here. The first time I went. I had never even held a club. It’s more than golf. Think skee-ball meets a driving range. Each bay accommodates up to 6 players and comes with golf clubs and pre-set games. The object is to hit your balls into the circles in the outfield. For those not into golf, sit back and watch one of the 200 HD TVs, chill on the outdoor patio, or grab drinks and a bite from the restaurant. And the best part, you pay per bay, and each bay starts as low as $45 + tax/hour. Throw in food and drinks, and you can spend next to nothing to have a blast living out your inner Tiger Woods fantasy. $45+; 400 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., El Segundo, CA 90245; 424.567.6385

Whiskey N Donuts Comedy Show

Get ready to laugh your behinds off at the Whiskey N Donuts Comedy Show. Hosted by two of our favorite funny ladies, Marina Quintero and Jackie Gold, this comedy show, brings you some of the best comics in town with killer whiskey specials! Unlike other comedy clubs, there is no drink minimum, and entrance ranges from Free – $10. Please check their IG for upcoming dates and times. The Good Nite – 10721 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood, CA; 818.505.3887

Hilarious comedy and whiskey specials, yes please!

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