So you’re visiting L.A. and you want to do something so SoCal, something so very, very “only in L.A.”–but it’s got to be cheap! Here are five options:

 (photo by Scott Beale)

1) Walk the beach in Venice. Buy an ice cream or a lemonade and watch all the people as you stroll along the boardwalk. Parking can be expensive and scarce, but public transit is a cheaper and plentiful alternative. Lots of stores sell tchatchkes to the tourists, but feel free to ignore them…unless you don’t want to. Almost free and highly entertaining.


2) Visit Griffith Park. Hike up to the Hollywood Sign or learn about space at the Griffith Observatory. If you’ve got little kids, try Travel Town and Shane’s Playground. All free!

3) Go to Malibu. Want to visit the gorgeous beaches famous for attracting celebrities and surfers? Follow this lead for info on beaches up in Malibu. Some beaches are free, others not. Even if you stay dry, the drive is worth it…the scenery is breathtaking! For cheap eats (and kosher, too!) you can try the Fish Grill, 1/2 a block from the Malibu Fishing Pier.

4) Walk Downtown L.A.!  While L.A. is known for its car-dependence, Downtown is actually very navigable on foot, with many landmarks within walking distance of each other. The organization Downtown L.A. Walks even has a website to help you navigate: When you visit the site, you can look at what different downtown neighborhoods (including Chinatown and El Pueblo de los Angeles) offer and even print maps!

5) See Surf City, USA! The most-surfed beach in the US belongs to Huntington Beach, in Orange County. You can watch the surfers and take a dip yourself. For info and directions: The local Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach is free.

About beccakinla

Freelance writer and unrepentant homemaker. Writer of many genres and author of "A Dozen Daisies for Raizy," "Sliding Doors and Other Stories," and "Mazal's Luck Runs Out."

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