Like many students, I often become wrapped up in my life on campus. Between academics, clubs, research, and other extracurriculars, I find it hard to pull myself away from all the exciting events going on at USC. However, these past two semesters online have made me realize how much I miss everything there is to do and explore within this incredible city. There are so many things to do within Los Angeles, so here are some of my favorite reasons to leave campus.

One of the primary reasons to leave campus is the all the diverse food LA has to offer! From burgers to sushi to tacos, Los Angeles truly has it all! Although the area around USC has some incredible food (I highly recommend Ebaes on the first of the month as they serve $7 ramen or TacoZone for some late night snacks!), there are amazing places all throughout LA. Adventuring out to different restaurants and districts like Koreatown and Little Tokyo also allows you to explore more of the city!

Are you even a Californian if you haven’t been to the beach? If nothing else, leave campus to soak up some rays within your four years at USC. There are so many beaches near campus, each with their own vibe and set of activities. Whether that be beach town shopping, exploring the boardwalk, or having a bonfire, it’s a definite must. Even as a Southern California native, it’s still by far one of my favorite places to visit when I leave campus. If you don’t have a car, don’t fret! You can take the Metro from campus directly to Santa Monica anytime between 5:00am and midnight for $1.75, and the total trip lasts only about 30 minutes!

Although LA is known for its beaches, we also have mountains and snow approximately two hours away! If you are missing the snow or the true cold of winter, it can be incredibly fun and relaxing to head up to the mountains to ski for a day. However, if you don’t want to go as far or just want a quick winter-y feel, head down to LA Live (less than 10 minutes away) in November through January for ice skating around a giant Christmas Tree!

Prior to COVID, my absolute favorite reason to leave campus was to visit one of Southern California’s multiple amusement parks. I’m a roller coaster addict and adrenaline junkie at heart, but also love the ambiance and atmosphere of a theme park. Los Angeles is close to so many theme park options: Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Six Flags (just to name a few). Obviously, with COVID, this hasn’t been possible, but I’m looking forward to visiting soon as all these theme parks have begun to reopen once more!

My final favorite reason to leave campus is to hike! Prior to COVID, I had actually never hiked before but the natural beauty of Los Angeles and the views are incredible. Although some may think this activity is essentially glorified walking, but going with a group of friends, getting fresh air and bonding over just how far you need to walk is not only fun but invigorating. If it’s your first time hiking, be prepared – you will definitely need water and sunscreen, and be sure to research how far/long your hike will be. On my first hike to the Hollywood sign, we originally planned for a short hike but quickly realized the distance we were planning to walk was just to the photo spot, not the actual length of the hike! (We didn’t make it all the way there, but it was still fun nonetheless!)

Obviously, there is so much more to do in Los Angeles than the few things I mentioned above. From the beach, to the desert, to the mountains, to the incredible food and fun experiences, Los Angeles really does have something for everyone. If you have the opportunity to explore and get off campus, definitely jump at it! Time flies while you are at college, so definitely make the most of it and explore this amazing city while you have the opportunity!

Jordan Jennison

Jordan Jennison

MAJOR: Biomedical (Mechanical) Engineering YEAR: Class of 2023 HOMETOWN: Huntington Beach, CA PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @jordan.jennison On campus, I'm part of officer council for the Society of Women Engineers as well as part of the Engineering Honors Program. Outside of Viterbi, I'm a part of USC Chamber Ballet, a freshman mentor through Trojan Scholar's Society and a USC Song Girl!