Any avid travelers that are used to working within budget constraints already know the secret that any destination can be a budget destination with a little creativity and careful planning. The Economist Intelligence Unit, recently ranked Los Angeles the second most expensive city in the United States, but don’t let that spoil your dreams of a vacation to the City of Angels. Aside from the usual tips for cheaper travel like cooking your own food, using public transportation (yes, it exists in L.A.), and traveling during the low season, there are plenty of ways to save money while visiting Los Angeles. Here are the top seven Los Angeles attractions that you can experience completely free of charge.

First, find a great place to stay in Los Angeles.

Check Out These Fun Free Things To Do In Los Angeles

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1. Mulholland Drive

For some of the most breathtaking views of Los Angeles, a journey along Mulholland Drive is perfect at any time of day. During daylight hours, you can stop at one of the fifteen scenic overlooks. The Hollywood Bowl Overlook is one of Hollywood’s best observation points for watching the sun set. To take in the city lights, a late night cruise around this famous, winding corridor won’t cost you anything more than gas money.

Location: Mulholland Drive


2. The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore is California’s largest independent new and used bookstore, but there is a whole lot more to entertain you there than just its volume. You have probably never walked through a tunnel made entirely out of used books before, or wandered through a book labyrinth, but this 22,000 sq. ft. downtown loft turns a bookstore in to an adventure. The store’s second level, features a variety of local art galleries with paintings or kitschy bric-a-brac for sale. Also, evening events with authors or presentations on local history are held frequently, so you may want to check the schedule in advance.

Location: 453 S. Spring Street – Ground Floor

3. Santa Monica State Beach

One of the best things about visiting Southern California is going to the beach, and the best thing about the beach is that it’s free to visit! For a day relaxing by the sea, head to Santa Monica Beach, just west of the City of Los Angeles. To make the excursion even more affordable, you can pack a lunch, or purchase a cheap snack of fruit with chili powder and limejuice, a Mexican favorite, from one of the local vendors. Additionally, it’s hard to believe, but, if you’re willing to walk a bit more than the average Californian, you can even find cheap or free parking in Santa Monica.

Location: Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica


4. La Brea Tar Pits

Although there is an entry fee for the La Brea Tar Pits Museum (recently renamed from The Page Museum), a visit to the tar pits themselves is completely free. The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the most famous excavation sites in the world, as more than one million bones have been pulled from the site in the last 100 years, and the site continues to be active for paleontologists. The most familiar fossils from this site are of saber-toothed cats, giant sloths, and mammoths, like the ones depicted in the highly recognizable (albeit a bit depressing) fiberglass sculptures stuck in the pits’ bubbling tar. Visitors can enjoy a stroll through the Pleistocene Garden, which is a recreation of the vegetation that was local to the area between 10,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Pro-Tip: Entry to the La Brea Tar Pits Museum is free every Tuesday in September and the first Tuesday of every other month except July and August.

Location: 5801 Wilshire Boulevard

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5. Hollywood Forever Cemetery

While it may seem a bit morbid to go on a graveyard visit, you definitely will not be the only tourist in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, a place that locals actually use as an outdoor movie venue. When it is not hosting evening events, though, this final resting place for many old Hollywood stars and other well-known figures is open daily to the public for free. Come and pay your respects to famous icons such as Cecil B. DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, and Johnny Ramone. This beautiful site is guaranteed to feel more peaceful than creepy, and don’t be surprised when you encounter one of the resident peacocks.

Location: 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard

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6. Venice Beach Boardwalk

Every trip to the Venice Beach Boardwalk guarantees that you will see something that you’ve never seen before. The mile and a half ocean walk is lined with local street artists and performers, and to say they are an eclectic group is an understatement. On any given day, you may see someone busking while playing electric guitar and rollerblading, a bulldog skateboarding, or a man doing pushups on broken glass. Additionally, you will also find talented street artists and musicians performing or selling their artwork. And, of course, the famous muscle beach is also here, where bodybuilders workout with the general public as their audience. On most days, you can easily find free street parking on the nearby residential streets.

Pro-Tip: All of the entertainment is free, but if you stick around to watch a performance or want to photograph any of the artwork, tips will be expected.

Location: Ocean Front Walk, Venice

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7. Runyon Canyon

There are a lot of reasons that people go to Runyon Canyon: some for the exercise, some for the scenic views, and others for the celebrity and beautiful people watching. Luckily, you can have all three things at once here, and even bring your canine companion along for the fun. Runyon is one of the most popular hikes in Los Angeles, partially due to its unique location right in the middle of Hollywood. Once you make it to the top of one of the lookout points, you will probably recognize the vantage point from your friends’ selfies and tabloid celebrity spottings. This certainly is not the place to come to feel alone with nature, but it’s definitely the place to try out your cutest workout clothes.

Location: 2000 N. Fuller Avenue

This article was written by Paula Ashlee Berg.