48 Hours in LA on a Budget

There are options to suit every budget and style

Are any of your friends planning a trip to Los Angeles? L.A. is huge and is renowned as a city of entertainment, food, culture, and more. It may seem expensive to explore the city, but you don’t have to break the bank. There are so many free museums, no-cost to low-cost activities and beautiful beaches to explore in the city. These options guide every traveler how to spend 48 hours in L.A. on a budget, which includes where to go and what to eat.

Day 1

OUE Skyspace LA: Skyspace has California’s tallest observation deck, people can
see a great 360-degree view of Los Angeles City. It is located about 1,000 feet above the city at the top of the U.S. bank tower in Downtown LA. If it is a first time trip to LA, this is a good option to explore and gaze at the city. General admission to OUE Skyspace LA is $25 per person, and group admission is also available. This place is perfect for all ages.

Grand Central Market: This is the best place to find a unique lunch in Downtown,
Grand Central Market has nearly 37 vendors. “Eggslut” is one of the most popular shops, serving delicious egg sandwiches and other dishes. Recently, Grand Central Market added a new restaurant, “Knead & Co.,” which serves handmade pasta. Prices depend on how hungry you are. It can be pretty affordable if you are on a budget.

The Broad: The broad is a contemporary art museum that has over 2,000 works of art in DTLA. Currently, they have exhibitions including Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room,” a mirror-lined installment that houses a sparkling and endless LED light display. General admission is free. Online reservations are highly encouraged to avoid wait times during busy periods.

Spitz: In Little Tokyo, stop by Spitz for the best sangria and happy-hour in DTLA.
They serve eclectic street food, such as kebabs, fries and craft beer. A recommendation is a “Street Cart Doner Wrap” with the combo. It comes with a small serving of fries and any drink. The price range is $15 to $25.

BADMAASH: If you are in the mood for something else, across the street from LAPD headquarters in DTLA, there is the smell of Indian curry drifting in the air. BADMAASH serves Indian traditional dishes, such as dried curry, lamb burgers, chicken samosas, and Chicken Tikka Poutine. There are many options on the menu, but if you want to try standard Indian food, perhaps enjoy “Butter Chicken Curry with Naan” for under $15. A reservation is recommended to avoid long waits.

Day 2

The Butcher’s Daughter: Daytime is beautiful in Venice. The Butcher’s Daughter is a good place to have lunch for anyone looking to soak up some sun along with some delicious food. This trendy vegetarian brunch spot is known for its juices and egg-based dishes. Everyone can appreciate the veggie-friendly menu, which includes standbys like avocado toast and breakfast burritos. There is an indoor-outdoor terrace, and plants are lined up for a table in the beautifully turned-out dining room.

Santa Monica Pier: After a late lunch in Venice, you can take an electric scooter or
bike, available through the phone apps, and head for Santa Monica Pier. Exploring the pier as you walk along the beach is a lovely experience. There is Pacific Park, which is known as a family friendly place to come and play. It is the West Coast’s only amusement park located on a pier, and each year millions of visitors enjoy rides, games and occasional free concerts.

Griffith Observatory: A beautiful view of Los Angeles is on every tourist’s wish list. The Griffith Observatory is a popular spot, especially at night. The Griffith Observatory has fascinating exhibitions and features a planetarium. Admission is free and the Observatory is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on weekends.

WOOD: As you drive to the Observatory, you may want to stop for dinner. Take your out-of-town guests to WOOD. This restaurant is located on the corner of Sunset and Silver Lake Boulevard in Silver Lake. If you are a fan of Italian food, this restaurant is a must. From pizza, pasta, to salad bowls and grilled steaks, there are a variety of Italian traditional foods on the menu. Pizzas are divided into “Pizza Rosse” and “Pizza Bianche” (with or without red sauce) and cost $12 to $16 for a smallish pie.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but it spreads out some sights (and places to eat) quite nicely, over two days. Next time your out-of-town guests come by for the weekend, don’t feel like you have to drive too far to impress them.

Eisho Shiroma can be reached at [email protected].