Los Angeles might have a lot of glitz and glam, but it is possible to explore the city on a budget. In fact, after doing some research and exploring the city for a weekend, I was surprised by how many low-cost options there are!

But first things first: If you鈥檙e going to spend an extended amount of time in LA, definitely rent a car. Thankfully, there are a lot of budget car rental options for you to check out. The last time I was in LA, I booked a car through Kayak and got a rental for just $40 (with gas pre-paid).

Now, what are some things you can do in sunny Los Angeles without that movie star salary? Check out our recs below.

Coastal Towns

With a rental car at your disposal, one thing you have to put on your schedule is driving out to all the coastal towns around LA. On my list: Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Some highlights here include:

  • The Venice Canals:聽Grab a coffee from a shop on聽Abbot Kinney Boulevard, then take a leisurely stroll around the beautiful canals.
  • The Venice聽Beach Sign:聽This is another highlight of the little coastal town. It鈥檚 a quick 10-minute walk from the canals.
  • The聽Santa Monica Ocean Front Walk:聽Once you鈥檝e explored everything Venice has to offer, head over to the beautiful neighboring city of Santa Monica. Park somewhere along Ocean Avenue and enjoy the views along the path, with the beach and sprawling ocean below. You could rent a bike as well!
  • The Santa Monica Pier:聽This iconic locale is great spot to explore. Take it easy and stop at聽a restaurant for food and all kinds of great people watching, or get a ticket to jump on some of your favorite rides. Individual ticket prices are between $5-10.

Museums and Parks

One of the great things about Los Angeles is that the city has quite a few museums to explore. At the top of my list were the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Griffith Observatory.

  • The J. Paul Getty Museum:聽Go here to exploresculpture gardens, beautiful architecture, photography, and a wide variety of artwork. One of my personal highlights: seeing a Van聽Gogh painting in real life. Parking聽is $15,聽but admission聽to the museum is free!
  • The Griffith Observatory:聽It鈥檚 a bit of a drive outside of the city to get here,聽but it鈥檚 definitely worth it. Start by exploring the exhibits, then head over to enjoy the views at聽Griffith Park. You鈥檒l even get a great view of the Hollywood sign. Plus, parking and admission to the building and grounds are always聽free.

Touristy Stuff

If you鈥檙e making your first trip to LA, you have to go see the sites. And the best part about most of these places is that you can walk right up to them, free of charge.

  • Hollywood Walk of Fame:聽Before you make your walk, check out the official website and map out where to find your faves.
  • The Chinese Theatre:聽While you鈥檙e on the Walk of Fame,聽be sure to snap a photo of the聽infamous venue that has hosted many red carpet events and movie premieres. And hey, if you have time, pop in for a matinee.
  • Dolby Theatre:聽Checking out the Dolby (once known as the Kodak Theater) is fun, especially if you want to see where all the magic happens during the聽Academy Awards.
  • Rodeo Drive:聽Don鈥檛 worry 鈥 this is聽just for window shopping!
  • Studio Tours:聽To get your true Hollywood fix,聽check out Warner聽Bros. Studio聽($65 for a tour) or Paramount Pictures聽($58 for a tour) for a behind-the-scenes look at the ins and outs of the silver screen. Or if you鈥檙e looking for something more action-packed,聽get a day pass聽at Universal Studios for聽around $109.

Where to Stay

My go-to lodging choice is always Airbnb. They have so many great options that are much cheaper than what you鈥檒l find at hotels in the city. However, if you鈥檙e looking to splurge, I鈥檇 recommend checking out the boutique hotel Petit Ermitage in West Hollywood, or the hip LINE Hotel near downtown. You can read more about my stay at Petit Ermitage here.

Where are your favorite LA spots? Send us your tips on Twitter @BritandCo.

All photos belong to Sarah Vogt. To see more photos and read about my trip to Los Angeles, check out my blog Let鈥檚 Go Places.