We all know going out on a weekly basis is expensive, especially in Los Angeles.
In fact, sometimes our ‘entertainment’ budget may balloon to the point where we simply lie to ourselves about how much we’re actually spending on tickets, concerts, dining-out, and all the rest.
Head, meet sand.
To put this in some context, according to a new study conducted by Eventbrite, angelenos spend an average of $85 ($85!!!) on nightlife events per night out when you factor in the costs of tickets, drinks, parking, and late-night snacks.
Furthermore, the study showed event-goers were going out on average two nights per week. Do the math and figure they’re spending close to $700 per month trying to figure out how to entertain themselves.
My first gut reaction is that this seems… excessive. But surely there has to be something we can do about that, right?
Well, below I’ve proposed some strategies for how to approach things if you’re operating on a shoestring budget (or maybe just need to tighten it up a bit) but still want to have a great time going out in L.A. from week to week.
The list includes tips and resources for finding cheap activities, along with links to previous articles we’ve done where you can find more detail.
Hopefully it helps! List starts after the jump.
[REMINDER: In some cases We Like L.A. does receive revenue when visitors click on ticket links and make purchases, however we maintain complete editorial control over the events we suggest. Basically, it only makes it on to the website if we think it is cool!]
1. Take Advantage of Free Concerts
As you can see in the results graphic above, the plurality of entertainment expenses from those surveyed came down to tickets, but the truth is there’s almost always free ways to entertain yourselves when it comes to music in L.A., most especially during the summer.
Summer is a great time to find free outdoor concerts and musical performances around town, and if you’re not sure where to start, check these sources for FREE musical events:
- Amoeba Music Live Concerts
- Levitt Pavillon in Pasadena OR at MacArthur Park
- KCRW Summer Nights
- Grand Performances
- Orchestral Performances from USC Thorston School of Music
- Polliwog Park Concerts
2. Hit The Free Comedy Show Circuit
Laughs for less?
Power Violence, Upright Citizens Brigade, Sleepaway Camp, Mi’s Westside Comedy Theater… there’s actually a ton of free comedy shows you can catch on a weekly / monthly basis.
Here you can find a list of the best free L.A. comedy shows that we put together a few months back. Hope that’s helpful!
3. Do the Happy Hour Thing
If you really want to eat and drink well but save money at the same time, happy hours are where it’s at, as you’ll routinely save 25-50% off normal prices depending on where you go.
Whether it’s finding discounted cocktails, beer specials or plates full of $1 oysters, there’s infinite possibilities for how and where you want to have your happy hour experience.
To narrow down choices, we recently created a list of the best happy hours in downtown L.A., and you might want to check out these city-wide best happy hour lists created by Discover Los Angeles and LAist.
4. Find the Cheapest Tickets
One of the ways Christina and I find cheap things to do every week is by scouring Goldstar. They’re a great local source for finding events where ticket inventory is being discounted (although, mind the service fees). Some examples of tentpole events with nice discounts coming up this summer include:
Additionally, lots of local businesses and event promoters will use Eventbrite to list their events, so that’s a good resource to check for lower cost events you might not find in typical listings.
Bottom line: Be discerning and make sure you’ve investigated multiple sites with multiple options before you settle in to make your purchases. It’ll save you in the long run!
5. Be the Designated Driver
Ok, maybe this isn’t your idea of a great time, but being the DD certainly has its advantages. According to the Eventbrite survey, 79% of country fans have 3+ drinks when they go out (vs 64% average), so you have to figure that just abstention from drinking alone will save you serious $$$$.
Also, I say leverage your sobriety to guilt your friends into paying for unlimited sodas, gas, money cover-charges to see a band, or maybe a just few free tacos at your local truck on your way home from a fun night out. Make your sacrifice fruitful!
6. Mix and Match Cheap Ideas
Here’s where you get to create your own adventure! Los Angeles offers no end of options, and if you know where/ow to look, you can find significantly less.
Example: A night in Silver Lake
Park north of the reservoir and see if you can locate the Chandelier Tree then once you find it bask in it’s glorious illuminessence for a few minutes. Take a 15 minute stroll over to Glendale Blvd and hit up the Red Lion Tavern. Do two rounds of delicious German beer, make awkward attempts to talk to the opposite sex and then if you strike out take your leave and hit up one of the last night food trucks along the blvd.
Total cost: ~$20-$25 per person and (likely) a full belly.
Ok, so that night might not be for everyone, but seriously, the options are limitless! From art walks to free Shakespeare to free museum nights.
If you need more inspiration for creating a night out such as this, here’s a few lists you might want to reference:
- 40 Totally Fun & Free Things To Do in Los Angeles
- 15 Things to do in L.A. for $15 or Less
- 14 Cheap L.A. Date Ideas
- A List of 14 Delicious Cheap Eats in Los Angeles
7. Sign-Up for Our Email List!
Well, shameless plug, but yeah… we take pride in our weekly email list because we think it’s one of the best ways to stay informed about weekly to-dos in the city of angels (you should see the spreadsheet we put together every week!).
We also have a focus on finding discount tickets and/or free events, so it can actually be a fun money-saving resource.
Should you choose to sign-up you’ll receive…
- Two emails a week, Monday AM and Thursday AM.
- Monday: The best of the week ahead. 20 to 30 ideas.
- Thursday: What to do this weekend. 20 to 30 ideas.
- PLUS: Updated info on giveaways, promos, and events (like hikes and happy hours).
Basically, just think of us as your friend making some fun suggestions for what you might like to check out this week.
Sign-up in the form below to join the list!
Oh, and if you have other cool ideas on how to save money when going out in L.A. please let us know in the comments below!
Enjoy the night 🙂