Glamorous Los Angeles does not seem to be synonymous with budget travel, but that’s a misnomer. In fact, the City of Angels is packed with free opportunities that make for great memories at a number of venues. Consider the following five.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
This legendary landmark just happens to be a cemetery where it’s fine to roam around on any given day. With outdoor events, and top bands playing concerts here, this famous resting place features luminaries like Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Jayne Mansfield, Johnny Ramone, Rudolph Valentino and Cecil B. DeMille and is well worth a trip just to pay tribute to these and many other famous Angelenos. But if grave watching isn’t enough of an inspiration for visiting this special place, realize evening movie showings are available at certain times on the premises for a fair price less than or equivalent to what you’d pay in one of Tinseltown’s traditional movie houses.
TLC Chinese Theatre
6925 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Ever since the 1920s, the forecourt of this iconic movie theater located smack in the middle of Hollywood has been a free attraction that brings millions of visitors a year. The handprints and footprints of famous actors, living and dead, to be discovered at this famous place range from the first to be remembered this way with Norma Talmadge to one of the last to be remembered this way with Sandra Bullock. Marilyn Monroe, 3-CPO, Tom Cruise, Gene Kelly, Donald Duck and Elizabeth Taylor are also included in the mix of literally hundreds of cement-proof souvenirs to be found and examined at this time-honored Hollywood Boulevard hot spot.
845 N. Alameda St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mariachi bands and folkloric dancers are typically on tap at this ode to Mexico in the form of a traditional marketplace where only foot traffic is allowed. On this cultural scene at this popular downtown outpost that is free to visit at your leisure, you’ll discover the treasured edifice called the Avila Adobe, Los Angeles’ oldest house that is still standing. In addition are a number of other historical edifices like the Old Plaza Church and the Old Plaza Firehouse. Hungry? Try the inexpensively priced and very sweet churros, made fresh by experts in a variety of flavors. Try the strawberry. It is a favorite.
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1727 E. 107th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90002
For 33 years, an Italian immigrant called Sam Rodia who labored as a construction worker also labored as an environmental artist. This free attraction located in Watts is his legacy, a lifelong project that offers 17 different structures all connecting together to make one massive statement. The frames of the structures were made from rebar and the rest from everyday items, including tires and tiles, string and sea shells, and everything in between. While visiting, realize that the Watts Towers are among the most prominent American/Italian Native or Outsider art installations to be found in the United States.
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
100 S. The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
If you’re looking for a cultural experience that won’t break the bank, head to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust to learn as much as possible about the atrocities of the Holocaust than you already know and honor those who were lost during this terrible time in history. Although this is one place that might not make you smile, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust teaches all who walk through the doors about a time that you and everyone you know should never forget and will provide an excellent resource to make you think and learn about history.
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Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.