Surviving LA on a Budget: Top 10 Summer Events of 2014

Steven Wong and Golda Criddle
Steven Wong and Golda Criddle have devoted three years of their lives documenting fun things to do in Los Angeles that are either free or inexpensive on their blog, "Surviving LA on a Budget." Being experts on the Los Angeles scene, I asked them to compile a list of their top 10 recommendations of things to do in the summer in Los Angeles, and I was surprised at how many things I have yet to explore! Oh well, there's always next year (or in some instances like Tokyo Status, even after the summer.) Check out their guest post below, and if you like what you read, you can connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Top 10 L.A. Summer Events of 2014 by Steven Wong and Golda Criddle:

Downtown LA Artwalk: Of course the original Art Walk has to be on this list! DTLA Artwalk is a free, self-guided tour of Los Angeles art that takes over Downtown LA every month. Held on the second Thursday of every month, the city comes alive with over 40 art galleries. Many of the events take place between 2nd and 9th Streets. Sometimes galleries have goodies such as free swag, wine, or snacks so it pays to see them all! There is often a food truck area with some of the best eats in town as well as an occasional fashion or jewelry truck. DTLA Artwalk galleries are usually open from around noon until 10pm. Be sure to check out the DTLA Artwalk’s main page for information on September’s upcoming event!

Tokyo Status: Originally located in Long Beach, Tokyo Status is a monthly rock showcase in Little Tokyo and Pasadena that is hosted by Japanese-American band Lolita Dark. For $10 to $15, Tokyo Status offers drinks, live rock music, and karaoke contests with a unique airline theme complete with flight attendants and Tokyo Status passports.

Yamashiro Farmers Market: This is a Hollywood hidden gem and a great place to take a date. This farmers market is held every Thursday in the Hollywood Hills. It’s so hidden that you have to take a shuttle from the Mosaic Church parking lot to get to the market! It’s different from other farmers markets in Los Angeles because it takes place at night and has a full service bar, live entertainment, and beautiful views of the city. The market has over 20 vendors in food, shopping, and more to explore. The Yamashiro Farmer Market lasts from late May to early September from 5pm to 9pm. Grab an Asian-inspired cocktail at the bar, and get ready for a romantic night!

dineLA: dineLA happens twice a year in Los Angeles, and one of the periods usually falls in mid-July. It is a great time to sample many different courses at some of the best restaurants in the city. Restaurants offer fixed price meals including appetizers, entrees, and desserts for both lunch and dinner. Prices usually range from $15 to $45 depending on the restaurant and the time of day you attend. dineLA is typically held for 12 days in Los Angeles and all of its surrounding regions. This year’s dineLA may have passed, but the good news is you don’t have to wait until next summer because the next period has been teased to come in Winter 2015.

Rubber Duck: Of course it's only appropriate that our list includes an event specific to this summer such as a public viewing of a 61-foot rubber duck! This floating sculpture was designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman in 2007 and has traveled around the world to promote peace, including France, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan, Belgium, Australia, Hong Kong, and from August 20 to September 7, in Los Angeles!  The duck spent most of its time in the Port of Los Angeles for the Tall Ships Festival, but it made a last-minute stop at Banning's Landing as well.  Except during the Tall Ships Festival from August 20 to 24, it's completely free to view and take photos of this majestic duck!

Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetary: You know you’ve always wanted to watch great movies in a cemetery. It sounds creepy, but it’s actually a great venue to see some of the classics. Every summer from May to September, Cinespia has a great selection of films to watch on the big screen. Even better, you can bring food and drinks to have a picnic at the cemetery. One time, we went to Cinespia for July 4, and there were even fireworks on-site. Tickets are $14 with parking available at the Paramount Lot for $8 or on-site for $15 although we recommend just street parking nearby to stay within a budget. 

LA County Fair: The LA County Fair is held in late August and early September every summer. There are many options for those who choose to attend the fair: live music, rides, and attractions. Attractions include a petting zoo, horse racing, a shark tank, and more. The LA County Fair is probably most known for its food, particularly in the fried variety. We’ve seen everything from fried Oreos to fried Kool-Aid to fried butter on a stick. The fair is open Wednesdays through Sundays in September with tickets starting at $12 for adults on weekdays and $19 on weekends. There are many discounts available though with the most easily accessible from your local Ralphs or on Goldstar.

First Fridays at the Natural History Museum: Much like its namesake, First Fridays at the Natural History Museum is a $12 event that occurs on the first friday of every month from February to June.  During First Fridays, the Natural History Museum stays open past 5pm with tours, presentations, DJs, $5-$10 cocktails, and $18 concerts.  Where else can you find dinosaurs, live music, and drinks in the same building?

626 Night Market: Want to try some of the latest Asian craze without leaving the US? Originally located in a small park in Pasadena, the 626 Night Market is now a popular monthly summer event that has expanded to Santa Anita, Downtown LA, and Orange County. You can try skewers, Hong Kong egg waffles, tapioca milk tea, dragon beard candies, sticky rice burger, okonomiyaki pancakes, or if you are feeling adventurous, stinky tofu! Tickets are around $7, and food is typically under $10.

KCRW: Our summer highlights have to include the outdoor concerts hosted by KCRW: Chinatown Summer NightsTwilight Concerts at Santa Monica Pier, and Grand Performances in Downtown LA. Each venue has their own unique design. The Chinatown Summer Nights is held in the Central and West Plazas, which are inspired by old Chinese temples and the contemporary bright neon lights of metropolitan cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai. Movies and television shows such as "Rush Hour" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." were filmed here. The Grand Performances is located in the California Plaza, a venue that is surrounded by tall urban buildings with the stage separated by a moat. A castle mockup and fountain display are also situated in the back. If hanging in the beach during a sunset is your fancy, go to the Twilight Concert at Santa Monica Pier.  Regardless of where you head to, these KCRW outdoor concerts feature a wonderful lineup that includes artists like Yuna and OK Go, and did I mention that they're all free to attend?!

So how many events on the list have you tried? Do you have any other recommendations? Let T.Lo know in the comment section below.