Friday, July 31, 2009

Cheap Movies

Movie prices are in the $10 to $13 range if you're interested in going on a weekend evening. But if you have dinner at one of the McCormick & Schmick's outlets in L.A., Beverly Hills, Burbank, El Segundo or Pasadena, you can get a movie ticket for $5 for each entree you buy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cheap Stays at the Beach

With summer being hot and disagreeable, you don't have to settle for 100-degree temps just because you're cheap. There are some good deals on cheap beach or near-beach hotels/motels left this year. We took a look at reservations on and Priceline for a family of four who want to stay Friday, August 28 to Sunday, August 30:

Redondo Inn & Suites--$99/night. Hard to beat that price for proximity to the ocean, just three blocks away. Nothing fancy, just the basics, plus free Internet. (Not even the Ritz-Carlton gives you that.)

Pacific Inn--$160/night. Located next to Seal Beach, which is a little north and a little more laid back than its southern neighbor, Huntington.

Pacific Edge Hotel--$189/night. When they say it's the Pacific Edge hotel, they mean it. Some rooms are within 30 feet of the water line on the beach in Laguna. It's the priciest hotel here, but to pay less on right on the sand you'll have to be camping.

Holiday Inn Express Dana Point--$161/night. A quick walk to family-safe Doheny Beach, the water there tends to be warmer since it's farther south than the L.A./Northern O.C. beaches.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fiddler on the Cheap

Well, not exactly cheap. But the Pantages in Hollywood is running a promotion where if you buy a full-price ticket ($55-$75) for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday performance of Fiddler on the Roof between July 23 and August 6, you get a free ticket to the August 9th performance at the Ford Amphitheater by the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, which will be presenting "L'Chayim!: A Musical Celebration of Eastern European Culture." Add in a stop at Canter's Deli on Fairfax and you'll be ready for your bar mitzvah.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cheap Pasadena

Visitors to L.A. usually look at staying in Hollywood, the Westside, downtown or in OC when they arrive, but they're often missing out. Hollywood is crowded, the Westside is expensive, downtown can be sketchy and the OC is great for Disneyland but you're far from everything in L.A. A good solution: Pasadena. There are some good hotel deals and lots of interesting attractions, especially if you love art and architecture.

Known mainly for the Rose Parade, Pasadena has a great Old Town with lots of restaurants and shops, the incredible Gamble House, a monument to craftsman-style; the Norton Simon Museum; and a little-known personal favorite: a tour of JPL's Space Flight Operations Facility where you can see what's happening in the universe (this one's free, but you have to jump through hoops to get tickets).

The town has lots of expensive hotels, but a cheap place to try is the Pasadena Inn, which is located near Old Town and gave us a price of $86/night for August 21-23, double occupancy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Cheap" Disneyland

The Disneyland Resort has periodical "specials" on their Website promoting their vacation packages. We've reported on their value before but I was alerted to what appeared to be a pretty good deal. Book a 3-night package through them and you get an extra two nights and five-day passes.

Using a typical family: two adults and two kids, 7 and 10, we checked out the rate for the Ramada Maingate, a cheap but convenient motel to Dizzyland from August 26 to checkout on August 30. The rate for our family was $1,340, not bad and it included the Ramada's deluxe room, which is a little bigger. But looking into it further, we could book the same hotel through for $550 and get the four passes for $666, a $124 difference. Now, the Disney package does include a "Magic Morning" admission on one day to get into the parks a couple hours early, but is it really worth the $124?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shakespeare in the Park

Scenic Barnsdall Park in Hollywood is in the midst the annual outdoor Shakespeare performances. On the park's south lawn, you can see The Tempest or Henry V on Thursday through Sunday evenings through August 30th by the renowned Independent Shakespeare Company. While you're there, make sure you check out Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House.