Exploring Los Angeles on a Budget

By Caroline Donat

As a Trojan who is not an LA native, I have a desire to make Los Angeles “my city,” one that I love, inhabit, and know like the back of my hand. I find that I need to travel outside of the University Park area in order to really understand the dynamics of the city. It is challenging to get the feel of LA without your own car, and a longboard can only take you so far. Often, it is hard to justify exploring as it can seem like the only thing you can do is buy food or go shopping, required money that you don’t have. However, with planning, it is actually viable to get out and about while having a cheap or free adventure, no car required.

Santa Monica

Photo from Pixabay

One of the most popular Trojan weekend getaways, Santa Monica beach, pier, and Third Street Promenade can be reached in 45 minutes by the Expo Metro Line, which conveniently has a station right outside of campus. Swim and chill on the beach, take a walk down the pier to watch the sea and ride ferris wheel, and go window shopping or coffee-drinking around the Promenade. You might even get to catch a show from street performers. Better yet, if you venture out on Sundays between 4pm to 9pm., you can salsa dance in the middle of 3rd Street (between Wilshire Bl. and Arizona to dance)!

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Travel (both ways): Metro, 1.5h

Total Cost: $3.50

Arts District

Photo by Amatullah Guyot on Flickr

Go on the Downtown LA Art Walk for free! Every second Thursday of the month, the self-led Art Walk is like an organized scavenger hunt for pop-up galleries, showcasing the work of local artists. If you want a good reason to stroll around a beautiful part of the city or have artsy photoshoots with friends, the Art Walk provides an opportunity that you cannot miss out on!

Travel (both ways): Uber, 30 minutes

Cost: ~$12 depending on Uber fare

Little Tokyo

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Near the Arts District is Little Tokyo, a small city center with amazing ramen, sushi, mochi and shops. Stop by Sushi Gen then Mikawaya for dinner and desert, then Weller Court to hang out and take pictures in the trippy fluorescent light tunnel.

Travel (both ways): Uber, 30 minutes

Cost: ~$10 depending on Uber fare

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons

Caroline is a sophomore music industry student. She grew up near New York City, where she lived with her family and dog (a Norfolk Terrier named Marty). Caroline loves teaching and has been a pre-school teacher, math and English tutor for NYC middle school students, and a remote conversational English tutor for a Syrian refugee woman. Caroline loves learning new languages and is currently studying Spanish and Arabic. She spends her free time dancing with USC’s Break Through hip hop team, trying vegan foods, and playing instruments.