I had figured, even before getting to campus, that I would have more trouble avoiding fun things to do than actually finding ways to relax and or places to enjoy. Halfway through my first semester in Los Angeles, I can say that I was satisfyingly correct in this prediction. Being right in the middle of one of the world’s biggest and populated cities brings with it the promise that when you want to take a break, long or short, there is an answer right at your fingertips. I’ve had the opportunity already to try some very different activities, and for organizational and decision purposes broken them down into levels of effort needed.
The area around the Coliseum, right off of campus and only a walk away, is packed with a weekend’s worth of things to do, and I would not get tired repeating a visit or exploring further. One of my favorite stops in the vicinity is the Rose Garden, a beautiful collection of plants and flowers exploding with color and serene smells. It costs nothing to walk through, and you can take a small study break or spend a chunk of the afternoon picnicking with friends. After the garden, only a few more steps away is the California Science Center. Admission is also free, and the building has something for everyone. There are always new, interactive exhibits that bring out the child in every college student even though we are just a few years removed from the age of many visitors.
A little further away is The Grove, about 20 minutes towards Hollywood on a good day. The outdoor shopping center has great food options, tons of stores, a movie theatre and even a farmer’s market. You can ride a historic trolley through the beautiful alleys, or walk through and stop at any of the options. If you’re lucky, you may spot a celebrity making their way through the mall but even without an encounter you are bound to enjoy the cheap, and incredible food within the farmer’s market or the Instagram friendly courtyards and live musicians.
Coming from the east coast, I am used to having winter sports options close to where I live, and I did not expect the same to be true in Southern California. Nonetheless, about two hours away is Big Bear, where students frequently travel to for beautiful views and, yes, skiing, snowboarding and tubing. All year round Big Bear is ready for visitors: while it is still relatively warm, there is a lake for kayaking and paddle boats, and when it cools down a bit the acres of mountains frost over for adrenaline filled vacations. It comforting for me at least to know that if I need a chance to cool down, figuratively or literally, a tool to do so is just a drive away.
I couldn’t possibly fit all of the enjoyable options in a small blog, let alone the things that I have been able to cross off in just a few weeks. As fall break has just begun, I’m looking to discover the best of the best spots which I’m sure are hiding in plain sight.