City of adventure: A week spent in Los Angeles

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Erika Lee/Staff

Known as the “City of Angels” to some and “La La Land” to others, Los Angeles has always been a second home to me, not simply because it happens to be where I was born, but because it truly registers as a city of a thousand adventures. When you’re there, you’ll find yourself immersed in the endless possibilities of things to see and do.

This Thanksgiving break, I decided to ditch the poor air quality and daunting pile of homework assignments waiting for me in the Bay Area to venture down south to the glitzier, more glamorous cousin of Berkeley. Traveling to Southern California provides the much-needed getaway without ever having to leave the state, making it an essential trip for UC Berkeley students in dire need of a brand-new environment. While it’s hard to compile a comprehensive list of places to enjoy, here’s a mix of sights for different types of people to visit to get a feel for the SoCal vibe and culture.

If you’re into museums…

Visit the Getty Villa located near Malibu in the Pacific Palisades to submerge yourself in the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome and Etruria. Although learning may be the last thing you want to do during your breaks from Berkeley, the Getty Villa hardly feels like the typical museum with its beautiful peristyle architecture drawing inspiration from the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. Both the interior and exterior of the breathtaking villa are adorned with plentiful statues and artworks for you to behold, an experience you won’t find in the classrooms of Dwinelle and Wheeler.

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If you’re into nature…

Take a detour to the Huntington Library, situated in San Marino. The library is home to several botanical gardens that’ll transport you with their beauty as well as a considerable art collection worth seeing. Journeying through the Huntington Library’s landscape will have you wowed by its sheer number of themed gardens, including but not limited to the Japanese, Chinese, Rose, Children’s and Desert gardens. More than $400 billion has gone into the management of the institution, something that becomes easily apparent with its dedication to preserving the charm of everything from the koi-filled ponds to the several varieties of roses.

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If you’re into amusement parks…

While this may be a violation of what constitutes Los Angeles County, how could I not include the original Disneyland in my list of places to visit? Although Disneyland and its neighboring Disney California Adventure Park aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, Disneyland is the place to visit for those seeking to unleash their inner kid. Skip Universal Studios Hollywood and make the trip to Anaheim to encounter the real way of bringing your favorite characters to life through a myriad of rides, restaurants, stores and entertainment. Long lines and sweltering-hot weather may reduce the effects of Walt Disney’s magic, but it’s surely a worthwhile experience to have at least once in your life because there’s no place compared to the “happiest place on earth.”

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If you’re into the beach…

One of my personal favorite beaches is Santa Monica because of its close proximity to the pier, the promenade and the canyon, which makes it an ideal spot to hit up for any type of mood and day. Check out Third Street Promenade if you enjoy shopping, eating and simply being entertained. After a day well spent in the azure waters of the beach, the Santa Monica Pier — with its beachfront location — is great to visit for a little old-fashioned, carnivalesque fun. And the canyon makes for the perfect hiking spot for those looking to get an outdoor workout at the Santa Monica stairs hike.

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If you’re into shopping…

Check out Fairfax Avenue, which has transformed into a mecca for hypebeasts with stores such as Supreme and Golf Wang opening their doors on the street. If you’re not a ride-or-die fan of the subculture for graphic tees and sneakers, The Grove, which I can best describe as a chic and classy outdoor mall, is conveniently located off Fairfax and Third Street. Adjacent to The Grove is the farmers market with more than a 100 vendors, which makes it a must for foodies in the area to visit.

There’s a little bit of everything for everyone in the streets of LA, making the brief Thanksgiving break an inadequate amount of time to spend there. But I can’t complain, and I implore you to take the flight, train or drive — whatever your preferred mode of transportation may be — down south to understand what has given LA its well-deserved hype and earned the city its place on the map.

Contact Erika Lee at [email protected] .