Getting off campus and getting to know my new city on the weekends was a lot more work than I originally thought it would be. With first semester filled with Saturday game days and Sundays dedicated to homework, I tried to make the days I did leave really worthwhile by packing a bunch of things in. Los Angeles is a huge city with a ton of things to do, but it can be a bit overwhelming and you may not know where to start if you don’t leave campus often. Here are five things to do in the University of Southern California area if you don’t have too much time:

1. Santa Monica 

There are two Expo stops on the USC campus that take you straight to downtown Santa Monica for $1.75 each way. Once there, you can shop, eat at cool places and roam around the beach and the pier. Venice Beach is also a ten-minute bike ride or roughly twenty-minute walk away along the beach.

2. Arts District/Little Tokyo

The Arts District is less than a $10 Uber from campus. There are a ton of murals by various artists that cover the walls, as well as a handful of photogenic spots to take pictures in. The district is also a short walk away from Little Tokyo, which has a number of exceptional Japanese restaurants.

3. Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market is an indoor market with cool fluorescent lights and a bunch of tasty, Instagram-able foods. They have food for any type of day, and it’s a quick Uber ride away to get off campus for a bit. It’s also in the middle of downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) so you can walk around a bit afterwards.

4. Echo Park and Surrounding Area

The Echo Park area is my personal favorite. The park itself isn't very big, but it surrounds a lake where you can go pedal boating. People have picnics, roam around and take pictures of the beautiful trees (especially at sunset). The surrounding area has a number of cute cafes and pizzerias as well as some cool thrift shops as well.

5. Museum of Contemporary Art

MOCA is a small(ish) museum with a variety of different styles of art. Admission is eight dollars and you can spend a lot of time in the museum slowly walking around. It’s also right in DTLA so you can easily grab food somewhere close by afterwards without getting too far from campus.

Now that you have a few simple ideas in mind on where to go once you leave campus, start planning and bring your camera! Los Angeles is full of a ton of things to do, and the hardest part is knowing where to go. Have fun!

Lead Image Credit: Pexels