5 Tips for a Luxury Trip to Los Angeles on a Budget

Get Into the Culture

Many visitors to Los Angeles are unaware that the city has a vibrant culture scene that’s inexpensive to explore. For example, the many small theater houses that run high-quality shows, which offer discounted tickets through ticketing sites like Plays411.com — in some cases up to half-off.

Museums are a must, too. Mr. Ilves’ top picks include the Wende Museum, in Culver City, which has exhibits dedicated to the Cold War and offers free admission. The J. Paul Getty Museum, home to a fantastic art collection, also has free admission (although parking starts at $10, so maybe take a bus or that rideshare we mentioned above). Music fans should hit the Grammy Museum, devoted to the history and musicians connected with the eponymous awards. Admission is $12.95. Finally, just outside of the city, Carson has the International Printing Museum where visitors can see an impressive collection of antique printing presses; admission is $10.

The Tastiest Food in Town Is Inexpensive

The city’s most delicious restaurants are some of the most affordable, Mr. Ilves said. Howlin’ Rays, for example, serves Nashville style fried chicken and is known for its hourlong lines. Grand Central Market, in the Downtown area, is home to an array of popular food vendors including La Tostaderia, serving Mexican ceviche, and Sticky Rice, serving an array of Thai dishes.

Other options: the Montebello area, situated just outside of the city, has excellent Chinese food including dim sum. Sawtelle Boulevard, in West L.A., is lined with Japanese restaurants including ones serving ramen and sushi, and Mid-Wilshire is full of great Korean joints.

See the (Free) Sights

Many of L.A.’s best and most memorable attractions are free. These include Griffith Observatory, where visitors can get fantastic views of the city and the famous Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive and Runyon Canyon Park. Mr. Ilves recommended searching the web for local blogs and newspapers, checking TripAdvisor or asking your hotel’s concierge to learn about additional free sights.