Los Angeles can be a pretty hectic and crazy place, and it can also be pretty expensive. The activities that are listed below are all pretty cheap (if not free) and will give you a new perspective on L.A. than you may have had previously. Some of them represent dozens of hidden areas and the history of L.A., while others represent some of the more commonly seen by tourists and locals.
Museum of Death:
Dun dun dun! While probably not the best place to visit if you have kids in tow, this museum will show you one of the scarier realities of life – death. The Museum of Death features exhibitions on serial killers, execution methods, cannibalism, and funeral homes. There will obviously be explicit and graphic things you will see here in photos and videos, but it wouldn’t be a very good museum of death if it didn’t have that, now would it?
In an effort by L.A. to model the ever famous canals in Venice, it’s a good spot to go and read a book or have a picnic in the bustling city. The canals were created in 1905 and ironically are simply a remodeled river. Also, if you want to stay longer to explore or just go for a walk, the areas surrounding the canals have a much more downtown small-city feel to them since the residential homes often go all out on their gardens.
Lost Sunken City:
A modern ruin in San Pedro that resulted from a landslide that started from the top of a cliff and carried down houses into the ocean below, the area now has a “post-apocalyptic” vibe to it and is covered in graffiti. If you want to explore the ruins up close and personal, it is illegal, but there is only a fence that surrounds the area.
While L.A. may not be the best place to star-gaze due to the smog, the Griffith Observatory is still a good spot to visit while you’re there. You’ll be able to look through the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope and their Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater displays a neat little film on the history of the observatory that was opened in 1935. You can also catch multiple displays such as a Foucault pendulum there. (The image at the top of the page is the observatory.)
Drawing crowds of people every day, from celebrities to workout addicts who are hitting their morning routines; this is a center of L.A. life for many locals and will give you a rare view of the city. The entirety of Runyon Canyon is 160 acres, and it rests at the end of the Santa Monica Mountains. It features enough hiking trails to keep you busy for weeks. If you’re traveling with your dog and don’t want to keep it to a leash, this is probably one of the few places you can do that in L.A.
Want to read more on Los Angeles before you go on your trip? You can check out more guides on L.A. by scrolling to the bottom of the Hipmunk page that’s linked.