Tag Archives: tourist

Local Los Angeles Hotspots Outside of Downtown

By Melissa Kitagawa

As a person who has lived in Los Angeles her entire life, I have gotten the chance to explore Los Angeles for years. Here are some places that stand out to me and I still continue to visit every year.

The Grove

Photo by Steve Rosset

Everyone in Los Angeles has been to The Grove at least once. Most of the stores are more high-end, but many people just go because of the bright lights and warm atmosphere. However, if you go, the best time to go is at night when the view is best. My personal favorite part is the farmer’s market. They have cheap, tasty food and the best crepes.

Top of the World

This is a very local secret. It is hidden in the hills of Pacific Palisades. Not many people know of this place and I just found out about it recently. It does take a bit of a drive to get here, but it’s worth it. It gives you the best Los Angeles view possible. From here you can see the whole Los Angeles coastline and at night, the view is even more stunning.

Griffith Observatory

Photo by Tom Benson

The Griffith Observatory is a very common and popular site to visit. They have popular shows where they project the night sky on a screen on the ceiling indoors. However, many people enjoy coming here to see the night view of Los Angeles, especially the night lights of downtown.

Sawtelle Blvd.

Sawtelle is a street but from Sawtelle and Pico to Sawtelle and La Grange, there are tons of popular Asian stores. Many locals visit this area often. It has the city’s best ramen, lots of boba choices, and yummy sweets. It is open very late, so if you want some midnight ramen, this is the perfect place to go. One particularly popular place here is Bsweet. They have warm doughnuts filled with ice cream and all different kinds of warm fudge topped with ice cream.

Culver City Stairs

Photo from Wikipedia

The official name is the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, but locals call it the Culver City Stairs. This is another popular scenic view; however, most people come here to exercise. Visitors range from children to adults to whole teams who come here to exercise. The individual stairs are tall and the climb is long, but once you’re at the top, you can take a rewarding picture to document your achievement.

Featured Image by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Melissa is a freshman majoring in Business Administration and minoring in East Asian Studies. She graduated as valedictorian and spent her summer before college volunteering at the 2017 Summer Taipei Universade. She is half Japanese and half Taiwanese but has lived in Los Angeles her whole life. Every year she visits friends and family in Taiwan and speaks Mandarin fluently. Her interests include playing basketball, traveling, and socializing. She is eager to share her experiences while learning about your experiences.

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.

A Grand Visit to the Grand Canyon

By Kamille Robertson

The last time I went to the Grand Canyon, I was six years old.  The visit came about because my family was moving from Nevada to Texas and we wanted to check out this wonder on the way.  I remember walking to the edge of the canyon after sitting in the car for hours, staring down into the infinite abyss, and then looking back at my dad and thinking, “This is it?”

Photo is author’s own

Fast forward 17 years later and I am standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon for a second time. It is breathtaking. There is snow on the ground, couples walking their dogs, and very few kids running around (must be something about the edge of a canyon that scares parents). The canyon is quiet in sound but loud with color and depth. It is a bright rustic red and orange but, in the crevasses, it is a dark purple. The South Rim shows melted snow running down the side of the canyon and patches of solid ice where the sun has not yet touched. I found a flat rock where not many people were. My boyfriend and I had just begun to meditate when a woman interrupted us to ask if we could take a picture of her. She was from South Africa; so is my boyfriend. They began to speak in Afrikaans and he learned that she has a safari in South Africa and teaches at the same elementary school at which his mom teaches.  He misses his home in South Africa, so to meet someone who tells him how beautiful it still is makes him happy, which in turn, makes me happy.

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