Hollywood might have given Los Angeles a glitzy reputation, but the City of Angels has a variety of things to do that won’t break your bank.
Jazz fans with a sense of history can start their day at the Inglewood Park Cemetery. Legends buried here include Ray Charles, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald and Chet Baker. The cemetery’s caretakers are friendly and will even direct you to the resting places of your jazz heroes.
As the day progresses, Venice Beach is a unique destination that has a rich cultural history that includes Arnold Schwarzenegger pumping iron at Gold’s Gym and Jim Morrison forming The Doors. There are a variety of shops, restaurants, artists and street performers lining the boardwalk, as well as a legendary recreation center with outdoor basketball courts, the Muscle Beach weightlifting area and the $2-million Venice Beach Skatepark.
The Getty Center has an impressive collection that is free to see and only $10 for parking after 5 p.m.. A variety of exhibitions come to the Brentwood museum, ranging from Jackson Pollack’s Mural to artifacts from the Byzantine Empire. If you like your art a little less refined, Subliminal Projects explores the underground side of the Los Angeles art scene. Shepard Fairey’s Echo Park Gallery showcases up-and-coming artists on the corner of Sunset Boulevard, complete with a DJ, free booze and the occasional celebrity.
All that driving around the city is bound to make you hungry. Fast food might not be the first dining choice of the informed traveler, but it is closely tied to LA’s culinary and automobile culture. No visit to this city is complete without a drive through In-N-Out, the ubiquitous Southern California burger chain. Originally from Baldwin Park, In-N-Out has developed a loyal following for their cheap burgers, milkshakes and fries that are made fresh. Locals will advise you to get your order “animal style,” a secret menu offering which includes pickles, animal sauce, grilled onions and a mustard-fried patty. LA’s large Latin population also makes it easy to find great food from south of the border. Every neighborhood has its favorite taco stand, though Tito’s Tacos in Culver City was voted a local favorite.
The entertainment capital of the world unsurprisingly has a great comedy scene. If you’re in the mood for a few chuckles, there are a variety of clubs and improv theaters like the Upright Citizens Brigade. UCB is a renowned sketch comedy group whose alum includes Amy Poehler, Donald Glover and a slew of writers that have worked on The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live and The Office. Tickets are only $5 and celebrities have been known to sneak in for a surprise performance.
Griffith Observatory is a great way to end the day, costing just $7 for stargazing and space shows after sunset. Located high above the city’s smog in Los Feliz’s Griffith Park, visitors will get the classic view of the Los Angeles lights and a clear sight to the heavens above.
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