Have Fun in L.A. Without Breaking the Bank

Our ten favorite frugal finds

l.a. on a budget!

Having a social life can really put a dent in the ol’ bank account. Instead of cutting back on plans with pals, try wallet-friendly activities that don’t make you feel like a penny-pincher.

1. When escaping the hustle and bustle of city life, take the road less traveled across Echo Park Lake. Ten big ones get you a pedal boat rental or guided laps around the lake in a canoe; watching the resident ducks and aimless wandering are free

2. Steal a kiss on the rooftop deck (open until 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday) or shell out $7 for a star-studded show at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Either way, a visit to the Griffith Observatory costs you next to nada.

3. The huevo-centric food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar is the answer to all your morning-after prayers any day of the week. At $6 a pop, you don’t have to put out to snack on Eggslut’s bacon, egg, and cheese.

4. Cure your worst case of the Mondays with a healthy helping of $6 margaritas at Petty Cash. We suggest putting the extra bills toward a cab ride home.

5. Cruise over to Electric Dusk Drive-In, L.A.’s only vehicle-friendly movie theater (extra cool points for placing a order at Snack Shack). Pulling up screenside is worth going a buck over budget (just $11 with advance tickets), but you’re welcome to take a blanket and grab a patch of Astroturf ($9 with advance tickets) instead. Rolling dateless? Feel free to take your pooch.

l.a. on a budget!

6. For those with prime rib taste on a McRib budget, Ink.Sack’s gourmet sandwiches (house-made corned beef, cold fried chicken, barbecue pork) go for less than a Hamilton. Herbivores get in on the action with $4 veggie banh mi.

7. Break free of lame lunch routines with Yatai Asian Tapas Bar’s $3 Asian-style tapas (we’re loyal to the crispy vegetable gyoza and the nasu-miso Japanese eggplant with miso sauce), hearty rice bowls ($7), and roll combos ($5 and up).

8. You love a good time, but you’d rather not make a scene of it. Rent private rooms ($4 per person for one hour) during Max Karaoke Studio’s happy hour Monday through Thursday. Embrace the BYOB policy (for $1 extra per person) and fill up on some preperformance liquid courage.

9. Part retail store, part service center, Liberate Emporium is your one-stop shop for all things holistic. Splurge on transformative sessions (hypnotherapy, tarot readings, Reiki) or donate what you can to attend Tuesday evening’s meditation class. Namaste, indeed.

10. Treasure hunters and nostalgia seekers, rejoice! Peruse Amoeba Music’s ample vinyl, CD, and Blu-ray assortment for hard-to-find albums and rare films, all less than $10 a pop.

Photos: Zak Kendal / Getty Images; Courtesy of Ink.Sack 

1765 Hillhurst Ave
@ Melbourne Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
2130 Sawtelle Blvd
bt Mississippi Ave & W Olympic Blvd, ste 101
Los Angeles, CA 90025
317 S Broadway
bt W 3rd & W 4th Sts
Los Angeles, CA 90013
8535 W Sunset Blvd
@ Miller Dr
West Hollywood, CA 90069
7360 Beverly Blvd
bt N Fuller & N Martel Aves
Los Angeles, CA 90036
8360 Melrose Ave
bt N Orlando Ave & N Kings Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
751 Echo Park Ave
bt Park & Bellevue Aves
Los Angeles, CA 90026
1000 San Julian St
enter @ 11th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Griffith Observatory
2800 E Observatory Rd
Griffith Park
Los Angeles, CA 90027
6400 W Sunset Blvd
bt Cahuenga Blvd & Ivar Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028