If you’re planning a trip to the sunny City of Angels, here are eight excellent experiences that won’t cost you a cent.
Santa Monica Beach And Pier
Join a throng of cyclists, walkers and roller bladers at Santa Monica’s glorious 3.5 mile stretch of golden sand fringed by the Pacific. You’ll find amusements, restaurants and an aquarium on the century old pier, which marks the western end of the legendary highway Route 66. Ride the rollercoaster, or for bird’s eye ocean views, climb aboard the pier’s 130 foot high, solar powered Ferris wheel.
The Getty Center
An architectural treat, this iconic modernist structure sits within 86 acres of beautifully landscaped terraces and gardens in the hills above western Los Angeles. From its elevated location you can enjoy superb panoramic views of the sprawling metropolis below. Visitors get free entry to the center, where you can browse a vast, fascinating collection of international art. Diverse exhibits range from ancient Neolithic artefacts to cutting edge, contemporary installations. You’ll find several eateries and a gift shop onsite.
Griffith Park And Observatory
Set in the hills above the city, Griffith Park is a popular retreat for L.A. residents and visitors seeking fresh air, nature, and outdoor pursuits. This expansive 4,300 acres of scenic parkland has 53 miles of walking, biking and horse riding trails. Keep an eye out for the celebrated Hollywood sign on your travels, and don’t miss Griffith Observatory. This prestigious 80 year old art deco building houses a renowned planetarium and astronomy exhibits, along with public telescopes, which you can try out free of charge.
Synonymous with Hollywood movies, Sunset Boulevard is an iconic 22 mile stretch of highway fringed by swaying palm trees and eye-wateringly expensive real estate. Head to the lively entertainment district of Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, in its heyday the hangout for Hollywood A-listers from Ella Fitzgerald to Frank Sinatra. Today beneath the neon billboards you’ll find upscale restaurants and chic boutiques alongside legendary bars and venues such as the infamous Viper Rooms and the Rainbow Bar and Grill, a former stomping ground of rock icons including John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.
This world famous mile long boardwalk and bike path is lined with souvenir stalls, bars, street vendors, and an array of juggling and dancing street performers. The soft white sandy beach enjoys beautiful views of the surrounding hills and offers volleyball nets, a skate park and a kid’s playground. Check out the taut bodies pumping iron at Muscle Beach outdoor gym. Once you’re done people watching, escape to Dell Avenue and Venice Boulevard where you’ll find the network of waterways that that give Venice Beach its name. Explore this tranquil neighbourhood of canals, foot bridges and exclusive waterfront houses.
California Science Center
This free to enter, interactive science museum is a must for anyone interested in outer space and technology. Located in the heart of Exposition Park, permanent exhibits at this fun, educational establishment include the original Endeavour Space Shuttle. Younger visitors will enjoy an array of hands-on activities in the Discovery Room, where they can record a show in a TV studio or get up close to snakes, spiders and lizards. Afterwards, burn off steam in 160 acre Exposition Park next door.
La Brea Tar Pits And Museum
Dinosaur enthusiasts should make haste to Hancock Park in the heart of L.A., an unlikely location for the largest excavation of prehistoric fossils on the planet. Relics of creatures up to 50,000 years old were first discovered by scientists in 1875, and palaeontologists have since unearthed over three million artefacts from the bubbling pools of asphalt. Whilst there is a charge to enter the onsite museum, you can wander the tar pits free of charge, and observe experts at work cleaning newly found exhibits, which range in size from tiny micro fossils to enormous mammoths.
Founded in 2015, this downtown modern art museum is housed in a spectacular contemporary building. Featuring artwork from the 1950s to present day, the gallery boasts over 2,000 works of art by luminaries including Cindy Sherman, Jean Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Make time to visit Yayoi Kusama’s stunning infinity room installations. You can book free timed entry tickets via the museum website.
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