March 4, 2024

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11 Vacation Spots In Los Angeles That Won’t Break The Bank

11 Vacation Spots In Los Angeles That Won’t Break The Bank

With plenty of iconic attractions, Los Angeles is a one-of-a-kind city with no shortage of visitors every year. From exploring famous film industry sites and celebrity viewings to checking out the surf scene and dining at LA restaurants with stunning views, there is always something interesting to do, and visiting does not have to be expensive.


Here are 11 Vacation spots in Los Angeles that won’t break the bank.

11 Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory
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Griffith Observatory at sunset

The iconic Griffith Observatory has incredible views of the Los Angeles area and has been featured in several films. Visitors find that the park alone can easily be enjoyed all day.

Although the hours may sometimes change due to special events, a visit to the observatory is always free. Look through telescopes and observe the sky and land, check out some exhibits, and see incredible views of the city. Don’t forget to check out the famous Hollywood sign!

The DASH observatory bus, operated by the LADOT, costs 50 cents each way and will take visitors straight to the observatory.

Be prepared to do some walking if using rideshare such as Uber or Lyft, as they are required to drop riders at the bottom of the hill and not in front.

Make sure to pick a clear day to be able to see the ocean! Fog is common in the mornings in Los Angeles.

  • Where to stay nearby:
    Samesun Hollywod Hostel

  • Address:
    6820 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Reasons to love it:
    Inexpensive, comfortable rooms with shared amenities right on Hollywood Boulevard.

Related: Should You Visit Griffith Observatory During The Day Or Night? Let’s Compare

10 Pay-What-You-Want Walking Tours Of Downtown LA

Aerial view of Downtown Los Angeles
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Aerial view of Downtown Los Angeles

With a free walking tour of down Los Angeles, you’ll visit notable sites like the Walt Disney Music Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bradbury Building, and the Last Bookstore.

Many tours are pay-what-you-want and for some, visitors with a metro card have the option of purchasing an Angel’s Flight ride for $0.50 (Rides are $1 without one.) Walking tours are a fun way to spend the day, where knowledgeable tour guides make sure you don’t miss the local culture, as there are plenty of sights to see along the way. Some tours are self-guided.

  • Where to stay nearby:
    E Central Los Angeles

  • Address:
    1020 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015
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  • Reasons to love it:
    Centralized location where you can mix work and play free toiletries and wi-fi, and a popping bar and lounge area.

9 Explore Hollywood

los-angeles-hollywood-boulevard-palm-trees
Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Nothing conjures up images of Los Angeles for non-locals like Hollywood. While some prefer to celebrity-watch in Beverly Hills, budget-conscious tourists can enjoy the historic Hollywood district to catch a glimpse of real L.A. life and film industry history. Aside from the studios, visitors should not miss the Walk of Fame stars and Dolby Theater, the home of the Academy Awards. The famous intersection at Hollywood and Highland attracts tourists all year long with street actors and fun for all ages. Why not see Marilyn Monroe’s million-dollar dress at Hollywood Museum? The Museum of Death also holds interesting exhibits like letters written by serial killers for more macabre-minded visitors and is open daily. The MOD does have an entry fee, but for the budget-conscious, one often encounters interesting characters outside, which can be just as compelling.

  • Where to stay nearby:
    Hollywood Hotel

  • Address:
    1160 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Reasons to love it:
    Outdoor pool, business center, bar and lounge, and restaurant.

8 La Brea Tar Pits

La Brea Tar Pits LA
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La Brea Tar Pits LA

The La Brea Tar Pits are an exciting addition to all trips to Los Angeles, and visitors won’t need to spend a fortune. The museum has free admission every first Tuesday of the month except in July and August, although free ticket reservation ensures a smooth visit.

Guests should plan on spending 3 hours or more watching the Ice Age come to life as they follow along in scientists’ footsteps, where they can visit a fossil lab, check out fossils themselves, and learn more about the process of paleontology. Highlights include a wooly mammoth family, a saber-tooth cat, and live shows, along with a powerful 3D movie. Other fun activities include the tar pull, where guests can learn what it feels like to be stuck in tar, and the Dire Wolf Wall, which displays over 400 skulls.

7 The Paul Getty Museum

Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Wikimedia Commons

Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

The museum is closed on Mondays, and though entry is free, a timed-entry reservation is required. The Villa building alone takes about 45 minutes, with every aspect of the traditional Roman country home authentically designed. The outer peristyle is a beautiful display of water, sculptures, and architectural majesty. Those with a reservation can enjoy an afternoon Garden Tea with flavors inspired by herbs from the Villa’s garden.

  • Where to stay:
    Ocean Park Hotel

  • Address:
    2680 32nd Street, Santa Monica, CA
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  • Reasons to love it:
    9 minutes from the Getty and 5 minutes from Santa Monica Place with internet and laundry facilities.

6 Avila Adobe And Olvera Street

Mexican dancers at dia de los muertos
Photo courtesy of Edgar Santos T. at Pexels.

Mexican dancers at dia de los muertos.

Located right next to the Avila Adobe, one of the original adobe homes of the Southern California region and the oldest standing home in L.A., Calle Olvera is a Mexican Marketplace designed to recreate the feel of old Los Angeles. If you are lucky enough to visit during the holidays, expect vendors to go all out with music and dancing. The Avila Adobe is now a museum and has been designed to appear exactly as it would have in 1840. Built in 1818 by one of Los Angeles’ first mayors, Don Francisco Avila of Sinaloa, this historic home has much to offer visitors. The museum is open Monday- Saturday, and tours are available daily.

  • Where to stay:
    Freehand Los Angeles

  • Address:
    416 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Reasons to love it:
    Unique rooms, friendly staff, and a gorgeous pool.

Many of the vendors are direct descendants of the original families who originally settled in the area.

5 Universal City Walk

The archway and gated entrance at Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles
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pablopicasso via Shutterstock

Visitors who don’t want to spend a lot of money probably won’t be checking out Universal Studios theme park, but that doesn’t have to mean skipping it altogether! For a Universal experience, head over to Universal CityWalk, where characters, specialty restaurants, and events keep non-parkgoers occupied.

  • Where to stay:
    Samesun Hollywood

  • Address:
    6820 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Reasons to love it:
    Adults only, flat screen TV, Free WiFi, and laundry facilities.

Related: This Is How Many Days You’ll Need At Universal & What Worth Doing

4 Grand Central Market

The busy food and grocery stalls of Grand Central Market in Los Angeles
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The busy food and grocery stalls of Grand Central Market in Los Angeles

The Market’s 40 stalls are some of the most famous in Los Angeles, bringing the multicultural aspect of L.A. to light. Grand Central Market is the largest and oldest public market and has been around since 1917. Locals love to showcase all the best chefs, food ideas, cultures, and entrepreneurial visionaries. Think of it as a modern immersion in L.A.’s historic immigrant populations.

3 DTLA Art Walk

The skyline of downtown LA at sunrise

Art lovers will want to engage with local artists and the scene at the Art Walk. Visitors can check out local galleries, artist’s studios, workshops, training, exhibits, and art-related cultural events. Food trucks are usually available on-site.

  • Where to stay:
    The Kawada Hotel

  • Address:
    200 South Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Reasons to love it:
    Business Center, on-site restaurant, friendly staff, and Valet parking.

Love art? Take a day trip to the Santa Barbara Art Walk along the beach, and if you’re visiting in May, don’t miss the I Madonari street painting festival at the Santa Barbara Mission.

2 LA Live

The Los Angeles cityscape with palm trees and buildings amid a hazy sunset/sunrise sky
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The Los Angeles cityscape with palm trees and buildings amid a hazy sunset/sunrise sky

LA Live showcases its role as “the most entertaining place on the planet” by providing places to eat, film, theater, events to see, games to watch and play, and places to stay. Visitors can stay onsite in one of several LA live hotels. Think of it as the Times Square of L.A.

Related: This Is What A Perfect 48 Hours In Los Angeles Looks Like

1 Santa Monica Pier And Beach

Santa Monica pier beach, California
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Santa Monica pier beach, California

No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a stop at the Santa Monica Pier and beach, where there are plenty of exciting things to do. Rides, games, food, and shopping will keep visitors busy during most of the year, and though the shops keep their own hours, the pier itself is open 24 hours a day, making it the perfect spot to start- or end a day in L.A.

  • Where to stay:
    Courtyard by Marriott Santa Monica

  • Address:
    425 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401
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  • Reasons to love it:
    This hotel features a bar and lounge, an onsite restaurant, and an outdoor pool.