Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hometown Tourist: Los Angeles

This month while we introduce Gates to her paternal great grandmother and hang with family a couple of my friends are joining me on the blog. My last guest blogger is Mindy from Budget Fairy Tale. Mindy and I met during an Alt Channel class. Alt Summit SLC isn't crazy big, but we almost missed an in-person connection. As luck would have it, we ran into each other at the Friday night parties, Mindy coming to my rescue for ideas for dairy-free food options. Mindy is one of the sweetest people I know, please give her a warm welcome. -Eden!

Hi, my name is Mindy and I blog at Budget Fairy Tale, where I tell the story of my life as an ordinary girl, trying to live the princess lifestyle the best I can! I'm so happy Eden has invited me to guest post on The Road to the Good Life to tell you all about my hometown - Los Angeles. Everyone thinks of Los Angeles as all beaches and movie stars, but it's so much more than that. Here are some of my favorite low-key and budget-friendly things to do in Los Angeles.

Six Low-Key, Budget-Friendly Places to Visit in LA

1. Hiking
There are a lot of hills surrounding Los Angeles, and the most popular hiking spot is Runyon Canyon. But if you go just a little bit west, there's the just as lovely but much less crowded Franklin Canyon. And did you know you can also hike up above the Hollywood sign for a billion dollar view of the city.

2. Larchmont Village
On Larchmont Blvd between Beverly and First is a strip of cute shops and restaurants. There is so much variety you could literally spend your day just on this little street. On Sunday there's a Farmers Market until 2pm. To avoid parking frustrations, park on the side streets surrounding Larchmont, just read the parking signs.
3. Comedy
Los Angeles has its famous comedy clubs, such as The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory, but it also has an extremely rich underground comedy scene, and you can catch some really strong, funny shows on the cheap. Check the schedule for the Upright Citizens Brigade theater for great shows under $10. Or just go to any Saturday night ASSSCAT improv show for guaranteed laughs (but be sure to make reservations online). You never know which celebrity might be the guest monologist - anyone from John Hamm to Zach Galifianakis.
4. Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Locals flock to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Blvd during the summer for Saturday night movies in a spooky setting, but have you been during the day? This very large cemetery, the oldest in Los Angeles, opened in 1899 and has an amazing history. You can easily spend a few hours getting lost among the unique headstones, or take a two hour guided tour for $15. There's plenty of lawn space too, if you want to bring a picnic. I know it sounds creepy but it's quieter than a park and just as scenic (yes, you can see the Hollywood sign from some areas of the cemetery). Just be respectful of the departed and the employees by cleaning up after yourself.

5. Food Trucks
On any given day, dozens of food trucks are circling Los Angeles. You can try to track them down one by one, or you can go to Tiki Truck Thursday in North Hollywood. Four or five food trucks park outside the Tiki No bar from 5pm to 9pm. Order something from one truck (or each truck) and then take your food inside the Tiki No tiki themed bar for a tropical adult beverage to wash it all down. Go early because the bar gets VERY crowded on Thursdays!
6. Venice Canals
Locals know Venice Beach is a major tourist trap (and kind of dumpy). But were you aware that just a short walk away, Venice CA actually has canals? The canals are lined with walkways connected by bridges, surrounded by colorful and unique million dollar homes. The area is quiet and rarely crowded. Take a stroll around the canals and then grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants on Washington Blvd.

Where do you take tourists in your hometown?
Ciao Bella!
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Credits: Layout designed by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. All images taken by Mindy Marzec of Budget Fairy Tale and used with permission on The Road to the Good Life.