As a Trojan who is not an LA native, I have a desire to make Los Angeles “my city,” one that I love, inhabit, and know like the back of my hand. I find that I need to travel outside of the University Park area in order to really understand the dynamics of the city. It is challenging to get the feel of LA without your own car, and a longboard can only take you so far. Often, it is hard to justify exploring as it can seem like the only thing you can do is buy food or go shopping, required money that you don’t have. However, with planning, it is actually viable to get out and about while having a cheap or free adventure, no car required.
One of the most popular Trojan weekend getaways, Santa Monica beach, pier, and Third Street Promenade can be reached in 45 minutes by the Expo Metro Line, which conveniently has a station right outside of campus. Swim and chill on the beach, take a walk down the pier to watch the sea and ride ferris wheel, and go window shopping or coffee-drinking around the Promenade. You might even get to catch a show from street performers. Better yet, if you venture out on Sundays between 4pm to 9pm., you can salsa dance in the middle of 3rd Street (between Wilshire Bl. and Arizona to dance)!
As most USC students know, there are plenty of places to eat around the school area. Ethnic cuisine, fast food, and even some awesome dessert places are all located within a mile of our beautiful campus. However, USC students also have another great asset on hand – Downtown LA, where several fun restaurant atmospheres exist and are perfect for when you want to try something new. I spent last summer trying to discover new eateries in downtown so that I’d have new food choices during the school year. I found out that downtown has a multitude of cuisines for all different people, whether they are looking for something fast, formal, or even unique!
Wokcano (800 W. 7th Street) is a Japanese sushi and noodle restaurant located about 7-minutes away from the USC Campus (when driving). They provide premium sushi for a low cost, as well as an affordable happy hour. I would describe the environment as casual and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for small portions of Asian cuisine on any given night. I tried the Pad Thai and it was one of the best noodle dishes I’ve had since coming to USC.
Another excellent choice, for those of you looking for a quick meal or drink, is Sixth Street Tavern (630 W. 6th Street). It is a small bar with excellent appetizers and a relatively affordable happy hour menu. This restaurant caters primarily American dishes, with a few ethnic options mixed in as well. I have tried the Grilled Cheese at Sixth Street and I will definitely be going back for more!