Nathalie’s Guide to Los Angeles!

One of my favorite activities to do on the weekends (and weekdays too if my workload is light) is go into Los Angeles! As someone who has always loved cities, but didn’t grow up near one, having Los Angeles so accessible has been a real treat. Below I will share with you some of my favorite spots.

But first, transportation! I have never had a car on campus, but that hasn’t stopped me from exploring and leaving the Claremont area. There is a train station that is about a 20 minute walk (15 minute speed walk if you are late to everything like me) from the Scripps campus. This train is $14 round trip on weekdays and Saturdays, and a $10 round trip on Sunday. It takes you right into Union Station and from there you can take the Metro towards Santa Monica, Hollywood, and North Hollywood. Sometimes if I am trying to get somewhere not on the Metro route, I will get as close as I can with the train and then either bus, Uber, or walk the rest of the way.

There are always fun events happening in Los Angeles, so I would suggest checking out weekend guides before you head in to the city. However, below are some of my staple activities…

1) Museums

The Getty Museum

Both the Getty Museum and the Broad Museum are free! The Getty Museum is located near UCLA and is filled with both contemporary and modern art. It also has a beautiful outdoor garden and lots of lawn space. Sometimes I bring my homework or a good book and hang out there for the day. You can either walk up a hill to the Getty Center or take the tram up and see some really great views on your ride up.

While The Broad is free, there is usually quite a long line to get in. If you want to maximize your time in Los Angeles, I would suggest reserving a spot (still free!) in advance. Make sure to check their website a few weeks in advance to make a reservation. The Broad is located about a 25 minute walk from Union Station or a 15 minute ride on the Metro/short walk. It is a contemporary art museum with pieces from Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Christopher Wool, and of course, lots more. There is also an infinity room exhibit from Yayoi Kusama—this requires an advanced reservation, though.

The LACMA is also a popular museum, but either $16 or $21 (depending if you are from LA County or not). However, near the LACMA are the La Brea Tar Pits which are kind of cool. At least cool to see once:) However, there is always a weekend during February when a lot of the museums in LA do a “free museum day” and this is great time to check out the LACMA if you don’t want to pay a lot of money.

These are just a few museums and definitely some of the most well known ones in Los Angeles. There are smaller museums and art exhibits scattered everywhere, so if you are excited to see some art, definitely take some time to do some research before heading into the city!

2) Beaches

Steps to Thousand Steps beach in Laguna

One of the perks of living in Southern California is that you can comfortably go to the beach up until October-ish and starting in February-ish. There are so many great spots to check out, but I will say that your access to transportation can be a big factor in terms of where you end up going.

If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to the beach is to take the Metro from Union Station to Santa Monica Station. From there, you can easily walk to Santa Monica Pier and hang out on the beach. Venice Beach is about an hour walk, but it is a a really nice stroll along the sand.

If you do have a car, I love going to A Thousand Steps beach in Laguna. Also, if you want to drive up the PCH a ways, there are some really nice beaches in Malibu. (Sunlife Organics in Malibu has a delicious smoothie called “The Wolverine,” that’s almost worth the drive up itself.) Plus, the Starbucks and shops along Malibu are known to be hot spots for celebrity sightings, if you are into that kinda stuff (which let’s be real, we all kind of are). While these locations do require a car, Scripps actually owns four cars that they rent out to students at no charge—you just pay gas. I have booked these cars a lot for day trips to the beach and it is super easy and accessible. There are also Zipcar sites around campus.

3) Concerts

Camp Flog Gnaw at Dodger Stadium, 2018

One of the main reasons I was excited to live near Los Angeles was all of the concert opportunities! While at Scripps I have seen, Aminé, Alina Baraz and Lolo Zouaï, Louis The Child, CupcaKke, Crumb, Chance The Rapper, and I went to Tyler The Creator’s music festival, Camp Flog Gnaw.

I won’t lie, both Camp Flog Gnaw and Chance The Rapper were a bit spendy and I definitely saved up to get tickets. But, there are a lot of smaller concert venues in Los Angeles that have very reasonable ticket prices. The Novo and Shrine Auditorium are two of my favorite smaller venues. The Fox Theater and The Glass House are also two great venues located in the city of Pomona, which is about a 15 minute drive away (without traffic…).

4) Food!

Smoothie bowl at LA Smorgasburg

This could be a whole blog post in itself, so I will try to keep it brief, but there are so many fun restaurants, food trucks, and other eateries to check out in Los Angeles.

If you want to be able to explore and have a lot of options all at once, definitely check out the Grand Central Market. Located about a 20 minute walk from Union Station is an open-air market with about 40 different vendors. You will probably have to go there a few times because there is so much to try, but Eggslut, PBJ.LA, Ramen Hood, Sarita’s Pupuseria, and Knead & Co. Pasta Bar are some of my favorite places to eat.

In terms of other food truck/vendor gatherings, LA’s Smorgasburg and the Abbot Kinney First Friday Food Truck festival are both great places to hit up. If you end up at Abbot Kinney, the “Prince Of Venice” has homemade pasta that is the best pasta I have ever had…

Lastly, if you love bubble tea as much as I do, here are some of the best spots in LA (in my opinion): Twinkle Brown Sugar Tea, MLK+T, Bubble U and Boba Guys. It is very common for Claremont students to take the train into LA on a Saturday or Sunday and spend the day at a coffee or tea shop doing their work. However, if you want to stay closer to campus, Augie’s Coffeehouse, Tocaja, and CK Cafe are great little study spots in the Claremont Village.

These are some of my favorite things to do in LA, but there is SO much to explore. Luckily getting into LA is super easy from Claremont, so you will have lots of chances to hang out in the city:) Thanks for reading!