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)!
When I studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, the only way for me to get around besides walking was public transportation. If you’re not familiar with St. Petersburg’s geography, the city consists mostly of two main islands and sections of mainland and I lived on one of the islands with my host family. Due to the nearest metro stop to me being closed for remodeling, I had to take mostly buses and trams everywhere which made things a lot more complicated.
The first day of school my host mom actually took me there, and we left while it was still dark out to get on a tram, to go to the next closest metro stop to meet my fellow students where a bus would take us the rest of the way to school. It was so confusing and took so long and then my host mom drops this bomb on me: I won’t actually be taking that route to school, that was just to meet at the correct metro stop the first day. So at the end of the day my host mom takes me out to where I will catch a bus that will take me all the way to school the next morning.
Here is a suggestion for your Labor Day Weekend: try the new Metro Line to go to the Santa Monica Pier or the beach! The Expo Line has a stop at the South Campus gate of USC, the Expo Park/USC station. Just walk past Tommy Trojan, continue on Trousdale Parkway to Exposition Blvd, and there take the Metro towards Santa Monica. You could be watching a beautiful sunset off the pier or from the beach within 40 minutes.
Once there, don’t miss a stroll on 3rd Street Promenade, a fun and store-filled walking street just a few blocks from the pier.