Tag Archives: art

5 Great Places to go if You Love Nature but not Hiking

By Stephanie Wicburg

I personally am someone who loves nature. Whether it be pristine rose bushes or a nice area of grass, I love seeing the color green in my environment. However, unlike most people, while I enjoy nature, I don’t typically enjoy hiking. Therefore, if you’re like me, and want to enjoy nature without all the extra effort, check out these 5 places around Los Angeles which give you both the beauty of nature and peace of mind.

1. Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens

Photo by InSapphoWeTrust on Flickr

At this amazing hidden beauty, take the opportunity to visit yourself. You can unwind your mind walking the labyrinth, reflect in the meditation gardens, and tour the historic mansion. Given all the stress we face as students with midterms, papers, and finals, the Tranquility Garden lets you tap into the peace that nature presents and leave recharged! 

2. Kyoto Gardens (Double Tree by Hilton)

Photo by Maggie Mbroh on Flickr

The idyllic Kyoto Gardens are located in Little Tokyo, and features a lush sanctuary on its rooftop. Spanning a half-acre of manicured greenery, cascading waterfalls and tranquil ponds, the garden is a meticulous recreation of an ancient Japanese Garden in Tokyo that was originally established for the 16th century samurai lord Kiyomasa Kato. One of L.A.’s most popular event and wedding venues, Kyoto Gardens also features the outdoor Upper and Lower Terraces, as well as the Thousand Cranes room, which boasts stunning views of the garden and skyline. A beautiful place to go and enjoy both the city and nature.

3. Huntington Gardens

Photo by SmartDestinations on Flickr

The Huntington Library and Gardens is one of my personal favorites. The Botanical Gardens at the Huntington Library feature thirteen stunning themed gardens just outside Pasadena. The gardens include rare and exotic plants from around the world as well as California natives. You can easily spend all day in any one of the themed areas, such as the Japanese Garden or the Rose Garden. 

4. The Japanese Garden – Suiho En

Photo by timwinter79 on Flickr

Suiho En (“Garden of Water and Fragrance”) is a 6.5-acre authentic Japanese garden fashioned after “stroll gardens” constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries for Japanese Feudal lords. This San Fernando Valley hidden gem was created by Dr. Koichi Kawana to provide beauty, relaxation, inspiration and a better understanding of Japanese culture using reclaimed water. A stunning place to go for tranquility and to enjoy the beauties of nature.

 5. The Getty Villa and the Getty Center

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The manicured gardens at the Getty Center campus feature zigzagging walkways, a stone waterfall, and a floating maze of azaleas are surrounded by a variety of seasonal plants. However, I personally prefer the Getty Villa, which has gardens that are both beautiful and functional modeled after what existed in ancient Roman villas. The villa has four gardens that serve to blend Roman architecture with the open space planted with 300 varieties of Mediterranean plants. Stroll the gardens at either location at your leisure or take a guided tour.

Featured image by SmartDestinations on Flickr

Stephanie is a junior studying International Relations Global Business, and is a member of Thematic Options. She is from San Diego, California, and enjoys music of a large variety, reading, and watching various TV shows. Stephanie has always had an interest in languages and cultures, and is slowly learning Korean and Japanese.  Stephanie thoroughly enjoys traveling, and looks forward to opportunities to travel abroad later in her educational career.  She loves talking to people and learning about other people’s backgrounds as well as discussing a wide variety of topics.

Explore LA Through Art

By Erika Gomi

I’ve come to realize that going to school in Los Angeles is not so bad (despite the heat). LA is a huge city just begging to be explored. There will always be a new restaurant to try or a screening to go see. One of the many things to do in this city is to visit some of the many museums. I, sadly, have not visited many of them, but the ones I’ve been to have all been fun experiences.

One of the most famous museums is probably the Getty Museum. There are two campuses: the Getty Center and the Getty Villa. The Getty Center is a huge museum at the top of a hill and has rooms dedicated to art like old renaissance paintings and ancient sculptures. What I remember most from my visit was the garden. While the museum is famous for its art pieces, it also has a beautiful garden full of flowers and some meandering dirt paths. There is also another part of the museum called the Getty Villa out by Malibu. It’s much smaller than the Getty Center, but if you go on a sunny day, LA does not get more beautiful than this. The Getty Villa is off the Pacific Coast Highway, up a long winding road in the hills off the highway. Once there, your view will open up to an expansive villa that overlooks the ocean; it will feel like you’ve been transported to a summer vacation home in Italy. The museum is filled with Greek and Roman art and even houses an actual mummy. The Villa also has a garden in back with big columns and a beautiful view of the ocean. I highly recommend going on a sunny day.

In addition to the Getty, there are museums like LACMA, MOCA, and the Broad. These museums exhibit more contemporary art unlike the Getty’s classical pieces. I’ve only been to LACMA, but I’ve heard amazing things about all three. LACMA is probably the most famous out of the three with its iconic streetlight sculpture out front. When I first went, I didn’t realize how huge the museum was. LACMA is made up of several buildings and it takes hours to get through even one. It was fun when I went though because they had a special exhibit on the famous movie director Guillermo del Toro. The exhibit was full of his inspirations – all very creepy. There were even life size models and costumes of characters from his films like Crimson Peak and Pan’s Labyrinth. I want to go to LACMA again so I can explore the rest of the museum. You definitely need more than one day.

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Uncover LA: Echo Park

By Tracy Castillo

When foreigners, or even non Southern Californianers, hear someone mouth the word “Los Angeles”, their immediate thoughts are probably overtaken with images of palm trees and the Hollywood Hills, but there is actually much more to Los Angeles than the  popular tourist attractions. Over the last decade, Los Angeles has created a large cultural hub that spans from countries and cities all over the world. There’s Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, Little Bangladesh, and the list keeps going on and on. All of these hubs are filled with great cultural vibrancies consisting of great restaurants with native dishes, and stores stocked with the country’s native products. I am lucky enough to live in one of these cultural hubs just five miles north of campus, Echo Park.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Being in a situation in which I had to a find a home that did not require a one year lease, I ended having to look for housing outside the USC area and in the Echo Park area. Though I miss the convenience of living just a couple blocks from school, I enjoy living in this colorful neighborhood more. Echo Park is filled with taco trucks, coffee shops, and health food restaurants (seemingly on almost every corner). You may wonder what cultural category Echo Park falls into, but it doesn’t quite fir into any one box. I would say that it has a culture of its own, a Los Angeles culture where all walks of life have come together to respect and coexist within each other’s customs. For example, is it not uncommon to see a young artistic crowd patiently waiting to order authentic Mexican food from the taco truck camped out in front of the Ralphs’s, or a native Latino family walking into a vegan donut shop. These are instances that show how two very different sets of people are embracing each other’s customs.

So if you ever find yourself stumbling into Echo Park, here are some suggestions. If you want great inexpensive Mexican food, you must try the taco stand off of Alvarado St and Scott St. This stand is set up every evening in a vacant parking lot next to the Autozone. Here you will find a simple yet refined menu that can whip out anything from tacos to mulitas. If you’re curious to try an ever-popular vegan restaurant, Sage is the  perfect one. Sage is an all vegan restaurant that serves everything from Biscuits & Gravy to a Cauliflower Steak Dinner and a Brownie Sundae, but don’t let the word, “vegan” scare you, trust me, it is all very tasty!

And after dining at Sage, you can walk down to Echo Park Lake and rent a peddling boat and float around the lake or you can hang out by the grassy patches and read a book, listen to music, or simply gaze at the lake.

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