10 Great Things You Can Do in L.A. Any Time For Exactly $5

Robert Cron (left) and Terry Chiu are the masterminds behind GameHäus Café in Glendale.
Robert Cron (left) and Terry Chiu are the masterminds behind GameHäus Café in Glendale.
Courtesy of Terry Chiu

A five dollar bill can go a long way. Sure, these activities aren't free — we already have a list of 30 things to do that are free — but if your wallet is feeling (ever-so-slightly) bigger one day, we give you permission to splurge. Our list has everything from movies to mountains to milkshakes:

Play board games all day
Playing Scrabble or Jenga at your local coffee shop is nothing new, but Game Häus Café is a real game changer. For a $5 cover charge (good for all day), grab a spot at one of the cozy leather couches or sit at one of the extra-long, extra-wide tables built with gamers in mind. Then choose from a huge collection of board games — 834 and growing — from Agricola to Zombicide and everything in between, all neatly arranged on Game Haüs’ custom shelving. Knowledgeable, friendly staff will help you pick out a game and even teach you how to play. A selection of themed sandwiches (like the Turkey to Ride), coffee drinks and pastries will keep you satiated. The cozy atmosphere and huge selection make this spacious, brick-walled cafe the perfect place to slaughter zombies. Or, you know, just work on your farm. 1800 S. Brand Ave. #107, Glendale, 91204. (818) 937-9061, gamehauscafe.com—Sascha Bos

10 Great Things You Can Do in L.A. Any Time For Exactly $5
Photo by Susan Slade Sanchez

Go to L.A's best Indie movie theater
There’s always something good playing at the Sundance Sunset Cinema, at least if you’re a grown-up. Bucking the PG-13 trend that’s dominating most multiplexes, the theater has a strict 21-and-older policy, with movies to match. Why the age limit? So you can bring a glass of beer or wine into the theater, rest it on the side table next to your reclining seat and enjoy your choice of flick from among five well-curated screens like a goddamned adult. Show up after 4 p.m. when the kitchen opens, and add on a made-to-order lobster roll or gourmet pizza. Like the festival that shares its name, the Sundance specializes in indie and foreign fare, so odds are you’ll leave feeling smarter than when you entered (if you limit yourself to one bottle of wine per person, that is). And if you’ve got highbrow tastes but a low balance in your checking account, on Tuesdays tickets are just $5. 8000 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hlywd., 90046. (323) 654-2217, sundancecinemas.com—Amy Nicholson

Drink amazing cocktails
All of 1933 Group’s concept-driven cocktail bars — including Thirsty Crow, Oldfield’s and Bigfoot East and West — offer outstanding happy-hour specials. Mexican-inspired Highland Park tequila bar La Cuevita is no exception. This cave-themed tavern (La Cuevita means “little cave,” after all) is adorned with Mexican paper flags and drawings of bats and skeletons, which look like something out of Francisco Goya’s notebook. Its $5 menu, offered daily from 5 to 9 p.m., features smoky mezcal margaritas, fruity Palomas and old-fashioneds made with Irish tequila. But the best deal of all is on Tuesday nights, when the bar offers free tacos after 10 p.m. Catered by the Silver Lake street vendor Last Call Tacos, its version of Taco Tuesdays is an eight-year tradition celebrated with ’80s punk tunes by DJ Sweet Caroline and margarita specials, to wash down all that gratis al pastor. 5922 N. Figueroa Blvd., Highland Park, 90042. (323) 255-6871, lacuevitabar.com. —Jennifer Swann


Cameron Esposito
Cameron Esposito
Photo by Erin Nekervis

Go to L.A.'s best live standup podcast taping
Named one of our 12 L.A. Comedy Acts to Watch in 2013, Chicago transplant Cameron Esposito was already making waves as the new girl in town. Now that she's combined forces with both Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and distributor ASpecialThing Records, she's become damn near unstoppable. Her weekly Tuesday-night stand-up show, Put Your Hands Together, has featured the likes of Eddie Pepitone, Reggie Watts, Paul F. Tompkins, Rory Scovel, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Andy Kindler, Bobcat Goldthwait, James Adomian, Brent Weinbach and Kyle Kinane. Thanks to the miracle of iTunes, the show also delivers the experience of live Los Angeles comedy to earbuds around the world. 5919 Franklin Ave., Hlywd. (323) 908-8702, losangeles.ucbtheatre.com. —Julie Seabaugh

Get groceries delivered
Grocery delivery has been gaining popularity in L.A., but no service is as good as Good Eggs, a San Francisco–based company that recently laid down roots in L.A. with a new “food hub” in the old Hostess factory in Elysian Valley near Glendale. The well-designed website lets you choose from a variety of local produce, meat and dairy, as well as goodies such as Sqirl jam and drinks from Almond Milk L.A. and Moon Juice. Directly under each item is the name of the farm or food maker — click on it for a detailed bio. Delivery to most of L.A. is free (for orders over $30), unless you need it at a specific time, in which case it’s just $5. Otherwise you can pick it up at one of their hubs. And service is fantastic: Think handwritten notes and friendly text messages letting you know the status of your delivery. (213) 455-5340, goodeggs.com/la. —Sascha Bos

10 Great Things You Can Do in L.A. Any Time For Exactly $5EXPAND
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Party at L.A.'s best all-ages club
Some all-ages clubs are so loosely organized, it can feel like Lord of the Flies when there’s an open-mic night or a battle of the bands. But Pehrspace creates a distinctively different atmosphere. Established by Adam Hervey and Darren King in 2006 and run by volunteers, the not-for-profit, garage-size space juxtaposes group art exhibitions with all manner of literal noise — hardcore, electronic, avant-garde, punk — as well as more melodious and typically arty strains of indie rock, new wave and lo-fi pop. Entry to most shows is just $5. As for the location, Pehrspace is hidden in a nondescript building behind a nondescript parking lot in a nondescript part of town that’s variously described as Westlake, Filipinotown or southern Echo Park. Rest assured, it is worth tracking down. 325 Glendale Blvd., Westlake, 90026. (213) 483-7347, pehrspace.org—Falling James


10 Great Things You Can Do in L.A. Any Time For Exactly $5
Photo by Orly Olivier

OK, this one is $5.95 but it's awesome beer
Established in 1908, Philippe the Original is one of Los Angeles’ oldest restaurants, made famous by the French-dipped sandwich it claims to have invented. The average tourist knows to order a juicy beef sandwich with a crisp pickle and a scoop of macaroni or potato salad, but the locals know that this cafeteria also serves some of the most inexpensive draft beer in town. At least half of Philippe’s six taps feature local brews from the likes of San Diego’s Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Santa Barbara’s 805 and L.A.’s Angel City Brewery. At $3.90 for a 10-ounce glass and $5.95 for a pint, it’s almost cheaper to drink an Angel City beer here than it is at the actual brewery, just a mile south on Alameda. If you want to order a beer whose brewery predates even Philippe, Bud Light is even easier on the wallet: For less than $4 a pint, you may still have cash left over for a slice of apple pie. 1001 N. Alameda St., Chinatown, 90012. (213) 628-3781, philippes.com—Jennifer Swann

Get high (without you know what)
One of the quickest and most exhilarating highs in L.A. is also one of its most literal. At 7,903 feet, the stretch of Angeles Crest Highway that crests at Dawson Saddle is the highest road in the county. It’s also one of the most enchanting. Within moments of taking Highway 2 north from La Cañada Flintridge and disappearing into the folds of the San Gabriel Mountains, you’re in a rocky-desert lunar landscape, which eventually gives way to towering pine trees. Less than 45 minutes after leaving downtown or Silver Lake, you’re higher than the Mile-High City and, in winter, seeing pockets of snow blooming like fields of vibrant white flowers against shady hillsides. There’s a whole lot of nothing up at Dawson Saddle — nothing man-made, that is. There are wide-open skies, intensely detailed stars, football-size pine cones, little gray foxes, howling winds and steep, rocky cliffs dragging ancient trees down in majestic, slow-motion landslides. Angeles Crest Highway, between Islip Saddle and Vincent Gap, Angeles National Forest, $5 daily parking pass. (818) 899-1900, fs.usda.gov/angeles—Falling James


10 Great Things You Can Do in L.A. Any Time For Exactly $5
Photo by Susan Slade Sanchez

Go to a matinee at the Highland Theatre
Far removed from the glitzy, historic theaters along Hollywood Boulevard, the Highland Theatre is a year older than the El Capitan, but tickets to a big-budget movie on one of its three screens will cost you half as much as just about anywhere else in town. Opened in 1925 with an orchestra pit and a stage for vaudeville acts, the movie house named for its neighborhood, Highland Park, had a brief stint as a seedy porn theater in the 1970s before being named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in the '90s and cleaning up its act to become the family-friendly bargain theater that it is today. Don't expect to catch any art-house films at this triplex, and its theaters are rarely in pristine condition, but it's hard to complain about seeing a first-run feature film on any day of the week for $5 before 6 p.m. or $7 after. 5604 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park, 90043. (323) 256-6383, highlandtheatres.com.—Jennifer Swann

10 Great Things You Can Do in L.A. Any Time For Exactly $5
Photo by Emma Courtland

Drink L.A.'s best $5 milkshake
A five-dollar shake doesn't seem as unreasonable as it did in 1994, when Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace sipped a frosty vanilla at Jack Rabbit Slim's. Almost 10 years later, you'd be hard-pressed to find a cheaper shake anywhere, except maybe a drive-thru window. But it is still just milk and ice cream. So when you order a shake at the beloved Pasadena sandwich shop Connal's, don't expect frills — the ice cream isn't homemade and it isn't organic; they don't put bourbon in it or anything — just milk and ice cream, mixed together in surprisingly perfect proportions and served in a Styrofoam cup. Priced both on size and flavor, the biggest and most expensive of which sets you back a bit less than $5, after tax. Mrs. Wallace can get her Martin & Lewis for around $3. 1505 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena. (626) 794-5018, connals.com. —Emma Courtland

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