10 things you can get in Los Angeles for $5 that will blow your mind


If you have a fiver burning a hole in your pocket, here are 10 unforgettable ways to spend it in Los Angeles. In some cases, you'll even get some change back.

1. See a space shuttle and ride a high-wire bicycle
Admission to the California Science Center is always free, and for only $2 you can view the Space Shuttle Endeavour. If, like the astronauts who once traveled in that spacecraft, you have absolutely no fear of heights (and are taller than 4-feet-4, weigh less than 200 pounds and are wearing closed-toe shoes), for another two bucks you can learn a very exciting physics lesson by riding a bicycle along a cable that's 43 feet above the ground.



2. Enjoy a really good hot dog at Pink's
Three things in life are certain: death, taxes and a long line at the Pink's Hot Dogs stand on La Brea (even before it closes at 2 or 3 a.m.). It's well worth the wait, and you may be rubbing elbows with a familiar face (like Martha Stewart or Emeril Lagasse, who have hot dogs named after them). One of the most beloved and inexpensive menu items is the Chili Cheese Dog for only around $4.95. A veggie version is available, of course.

3. Buy something worn by somebody famous
It's a Wrap in Burbank isn't your typical, run-of-the-mill resale store. All of its discounted merchandise is obtained from the wardrobe and prop departments of movie studios. So, who knows—maybe that $5 hankie was once stuffed into Robert DeNiro's coat pocket, or perhaps that wine glass was touched by Meryl Streep's lips.

4. Play in the snow (then go surfing)
A one-hour drive up Angeles Crest Highway leads you to Dawson Saddle in the San Gabriel Mountains, almost 8,000 feet above the city. For a $5 parking fee, in the winter, weather permitting, you can toss snowballs and build a snowman – and then drive down to the beach and go surfing on the very same day! Mind = blown.

5. Watch a new movie in a historic theater
On Family Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the admission price to the 93-year-old Highland Theater just north of downtown L.A. in Highland Park is $5. What a mind-blowing bargain—most movie theaters in L.A. charge more than that for a small popcorn.

6. Buy two tasty tacos from a famous food truck
One of the first food trucks that started the national craze, Kogi BBQ serves ridiculously delicious Korean tacos at amazingly low prices. Eight years after Roy Choi started the business in 2008, he made the TIME list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Check the Kogi BBQ website or social media accounts to find a truck. If your dining preferences are bricks-and-mortar rather than mobile, Kogi tacos are served nightly in the Alibi Room west of Culver City.

7. Take a round-trip ride from downtown to the beach
Did you know you don't necessarily have to sit for hours on an L.A. freeway to get from point A to point B? For example, two $1.75 tickets and a $1 card fee will get you the freeway-free convenience of a ride on the Expo Line train from Union Station in downtown L.A. to Santa Monica. It's a short walk from the station to the Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park and the beach.

8. Take a spin on a famous carousel
Okay, this may only qualify as mind-blowing if you're 5 or younger, but for only $3, adults can take a spin on the 1920s-era carousel inside the Hippodrome at the Santa Monica Pier. Or, for free, sit and watch the 44 hand-carved horses go 'round and 'round, just like Marilyn Monroe used to do. When you're done, you can stroll over to Pacific Park and spend the other two bucks on arcade games.



9. Imbibe in a classic cocktail
During happy hour, five bucks will buy you a drink like a Moscow Mule or Manhattan (the mind-blowing part is that there is no famous drink called a Los Angeles) at the popular Thirsty Crow bar in uber-hip Silver Lake.

10. See a potential "SNL" cast member in a live show
The Upright Citizen's Brigade (UCB) Theatre helped launch the careers of "Saturday Night Live" stars Kate McKinnon and Bobby Moynihan, along with many other comedy stars. Shows are presented at the L.A. venue seven nights a week, and the admission price for many of them is only five bucks. On a late Saturday night in a couple of years, you'll probably be saying, "Hey, I saw him/her live from Los Angeles!"



Laura Goldman is a freelance writer and native Angeleno. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.