Cheap-skate your way around LA

Live the high life on a shoestring. Enjoy the best of Los Angeles without paying blockbuster prices. 

Los Angeles without the high price tag

When it comes to holidays, the costs involved can quickly start to add up. There’s food, accommodation and entertainment to think about – as well as transportation.

When booking your next flight to Los Angeles, packing a little local knowledge can help make your finances take you further.

Sleep LA

While the most famous hotels in Los Angeles might be out of reach, finding a suitable spot that’s a geographical fit with your itinerary shouldn’t be. Airbnb, Couchsurfing and Day Use are all great ways to save money on accommodation but location is key. 

Move LA

With its vast landscape and its ‘cities within the city’ mentality, getting around LA will be a big part of your trip. Because Angelenos prefer to travel by car, highways and freeways are best avoided at rush hour and taking public transport at these times is advised.

LA’s transport system, has come a long way over the years and is now an effective way of getting around. There’s a network of nearly 200 bus lines and six rail lines that serve Los Angeles and its surrounding areas – making getting out and about easier. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) have day passes for $7 or for better value, it’s $25 for a week.

Free LA

Despite all the bells and whistles, LA does have a wide range of activities you can take part in for free. The Getty Museums – both the Getty Villa and Getty Center are free to enter and explore. If it’s views you’re after then look no further than the Runyon Canyon Park and the Griffith Observatory. You can daze at the wonders of the San Fernando Valley, the Hollywood sign and the whole Los Angeles basin all free of charge.

Hear LA

Everyone from Patti Smith (Redondo Beach) to the Doors (LA Woman) have immortalised Los Angeles in song. With an array of free concerts and festivals year-round, you too can take in the sound of the city of angels.

For the perfect soundtrack to your afternoons, head downtown to the Grand Park. Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy some of LA’s best up and coming bands and solo artists every other Thursday.

If you fancy your tunes indoors, School Night! at Bardot is a free club night worth checking out. It features local artists of all genres as well as professional musicians eager to experiment with new material.

Local radio station KCRW also hosts Summer Nights which is a series of live events across the city that’s part-festival, part-block party with an eclectic mix of DJs and live performances.  

Eat LA

The great thing about LA is its mix of cultures. No more is that felt than with the choice of food available – after all chowing down is somewhat of a religion in Los Angeles.

Smorgasburg (in downtown LA) might be a Swedish word but you can find the best munchies from all over the globe. From Asian corndogs and South American churros through to sugar-coated ribs, the food at this open-air Sunday market is cheap, cheerful and the portions are on the generous side too.

Bagels are always a hearty and economic option when you’re on the move and LA has its fill of bagel joints. The Bagel Broker on Beverly Boulevard not only has breakfast options - think bagels with fried eggs and other morning treats - there’re 16 varieties of “bun” to choose from. From marble rye to cheddar jalapeño flavour, you’re unlikely to run out of different combinations to try during your stay.

Discount LA

For more bang for your buck, you should invest in a GO Card. Starting from $85 for the day, it gets you entry on to cruises, city tours and attractions such as Universal Studios, the OUE Skyspace and LEGOLAND. There are discounts for kids, groups and infants under the age of three go for free.

To get a wider range of discounts – restaurants, rounds of golf, cinema tickets etc. then the Entertainment Book is definitely worth the $2 per month subscription. You can download it to your smartphone and enjoy money off from the places and things you love the most.