Los Angeles, home of Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, is not the first city travelers may associate with free and frugal attractions. However for the thrifty traveler, the deals are plentiful.
Hosting one of the best collections of art on the west coast, the Getty has such a huge catalogue of work that they've split the gallery into two separate sites. The Getty Center in Los Angeles contains the collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. The building is a modern masterpiece and the views fantastic.
The Getty Villa in Malibu is my favorite of the two, dedicated to the study of arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. The building is truly a Roman inspired villa surrounded by wonderful gardens.
Admission to both J. Paul Getty Museums are free but there is an $8 charge for parking.
Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier consists of amusement parks, restaurants, vendor carts, and other street entertainment. One of the top attractions is a beautiful carousel with hand painted horses. A great place to people watch, entrance to the Santa Monica Pier is free.
Chicken Dinner At Knott's Berry Farms Imagine a chicken dinner so good that a theme park was built around it and you have the chicken dinner at Knott's Berry Farms. The dinner comes with buttermilk biscuits, mashed potatoes and veggies. End the meal with a mouth watering boysenberry pie. All at very reasonable family style prices.
Los Angeles is definitely a city with a dominant car culture but renting a car is not the only option. The local transit called the Dash is one of the least expensive of all the big cities. Full fare is $0.25 and yes, there is a senior's discount available.
The Walk Of Fame
Walking along The Walk Of Fame between Hollywood Blvd and Vine is a must for the first time visitor. Along the walk is the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre where stars such as Marilyn Monroe left imprints of their hands and feet. It remains a favorite location for movie premieres so the lucky traveler could have a star spotting.
Borrowing a bit of that Hollywood glamour in L.A. doesn't have to be an expensive prospect. There are plenty free or frugal attractions, transportation, and food.