I hope everything is going well. This week has been relatively calm for me – just an essay due tomorrow for one of my General Education courses called Cultures of Latin America, and preparation for a major presentation next week. Oh, and preparation for the football game against Stanford this weekend! I can’t wait – hopefully it’s a good game.
Since there’s not much new in my life to report this week, I’m going to take the opportunity to tell you one of my favorite things about going to USC: living in Los Angeles! Now I’m going to be completely honest: when I was touring colleges, I was a little apprehensive about moving to LA. I grew up in a suburb of Portland with a population of about 26,000 so while my hometown isn’t exactly tiny, I was still a bit concerned about moving to a city of almost 12 million people. However, living in Los Angeles has been an absolutely wonderful experience, and there’s definitely nowhere I’d rather go to school.
Here’s the thing about LA: it’s big, but that’s what makes it so cool. A big city means big opportunities. I can’t begin to count the number of opportunities I wouldn’t have had if I’d gone to college in Oregon or another small state. Just on campus at USC alone in the last couple of months, we’ve had speakers and performers including Will Ferrell, Ann Coulter, Hillary Clinton, Bill Maher, Elton John, and former President George W. Bush (he’s actually coming next week). I honestly can’t imagine even one of those people speaking at a university in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Those are just the people that have come to USC specifically – that doesn’t even begin to cover the people who have come to speak in LA!
While the people who visit are neat, the places you can go anytime in LA are just as cool. Whenever my friends and I have a free day, we pick somewhere new to go see. Listed below are a few general areas and places I’d always recommend if you’re not familiar with LA (I had no idea what anything was when I got here) and you’re looking for something to do!
Santa Monica Pier: This is a pretty basic one, but if you’re new to LA, it’s definitely worth seeing. Santa Monica is fun because it’s right on the beach, and it has great shopping, great food, and great people watching. I’d recommend giving the Ferris wheel a try, or checking out the shops on the 3rd Street Promenade. If you’re planning to grab a meal, check out Barney’s Beanery. It’s a sports bar so it can be pretty crowded and noisy, but the atmosphere is so fun and unique, and the food is really good too. A great place to go with a bunch of friends!
Hollywood: Another really general one, but if you haven’t been, you have to see the Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theater, and just get an idea of the atmosphere. I’d grab lunch or dinner at ShopHouse Southeast Asian Grill (kind of like Chipotle, but Asian-themed) and make sure to stop by Amoeba Records if you’re interested in music.
Griffith Park: Another classic LA attraction, Griffith Park more than lives up to the hype. The observatory has some of the most stunning views of the city, and it has some really neat space-related information inside for you astronautical engineers (or just people like me who think planets are kind of cool). Griffith Park is also the place to go for the Hollywood Hike which is definitely worth checking out at least once.
LA Live: LA Live is awesome because it’s so close to campus. You can take the Metro Expo line up two stops and you’re practically there. LA Live is the place to catch a movie, grab a nicer dinner (maybe when your parents are in town), or go to concerts at the Staples Center or the Nokia. It’s also fun during the holidays because they set up an ice rink and a giant Christmas tree.
There are plenty more amazing places to go in Los Angeles, but those four are good places to begin if you’re an out-of-state-er like me and you have no idea where to start. As always, let me know if you have any questions or need more ideas!
Beat the Farm!