Hey everybody!

So today’s blog is going to be about exploring Los Angeles this summer without a car and on a budget I like to describe as “hilariously tight.” In my last blog, I mentioned coming back to USC a month early to do research. A friend in my lab and I challenged ourselves to explore something in Los Angeles every day after work, and we ended up covering a lot of ground. Everything on this list we got to by metro, and most of the things were free. I’ve split them up by general area and accessibility

Coliseum Area 

Accessibility: Five minutes walking

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Just below the south side of campus is home to the famous USC Rose Gardens, the California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum. This area is one of my favorite to walk around, especially near sunset. Students get free admission to the Natural History Museum, and the Science Center, which makes this whole area ideal for taking an hour away from your day to stop and smell the roses, figuratively as well as literally.

Grand Central Market 

Accessibility: 15 minutes away by metro + 5 minutes walking

For the record they have $3 tacos at Grand Central Market.

They have $3 tacos at Grand Central Market, just saying.

Located in downtown Los Angeles, Grand Central Market has been around since 1917 and is a large open space filled with vendors. The food is delicious, and the surrounding area is full of character. It’s also really close to the metro stop for downtown, which makes it a convenient place to get lunch if you’re in the area, and a perfect place to visit for a first trip downtown.

Grand Park 


Also in downtown Los Angeles, Grand Park is a really neat place I’d never heard about until this summer. It’s between the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Los Angeles City Hall. The park itself has a lot of casual little exhibits lying around. At the base, they have a lot of historical United States flags flying, and the landscaping is all based off different ecosystems. It also happens to have a metro stop within the park, which makes it a really convenient place to visit.


Accessibility: Thirty minutes by bus

The one, the only LACMA lights pic

The one, the only LACMA lights pic

I told you this list was on a budget. I didn’t even go inside LACMA, to be completely honest. I was in the area, so I took my free quintessential LACMA lights picture and then walked around the grounds, which are gorgeous. While I was there, I stopped by the adjacent La Brea Tar Pits. I would recommend actually going inside if you happen to visit, but I had a great time regardless.

Hollywood Hike

Accessibility: 40 minutes away by bus


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Definitely the most famous hike in Los Angeles. The main starting point for this hike is Griffith Observatory, which is worth going to in itself for the downstairs space display. The hike is about three miles each way, but is at a light incline. The view is also extremely rewarding every step of the way. The biggest plus for me is that it’s easily accessible by bus.

Culver City Stairs

Accessibility: 20 minutes away by metro

Breathtaking at sunset

Breathtaking at sunset

I really like this hike. It’s about 3 stops down the Expo line, and features stairs carved into a hillside. I definitely broke a sweat going up, but it’s really short and the view on top overlooks everywhere from downtown to the beach. This hike can be done in about an hour and a half including transit, which makes it a perfect option for mornings.

I’d like to leave off saying that Los Angeles has way, way more options than the ones I listed above. Go out and find out for yourself!

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Chemical Engineering, Class of 2018, Learn more on her profile here!