If you aren’t leaving Los Angeles for the long weekend, get out of the USC bubble with these outdoor activities.
$: (Free to $10)
$$: ($15 to $40)
$$$: ($40 and up)
Parker Mesa Overlook via Los Liones Trail ($)
The Los Liones Trail in the Santa Monica mountains is the perfect place to unwind this fall break. The trail leads to the Parker Mesa Overlook, and a beautiful view of the Santa Monica Bay and Pacific Ocean.
“It’s like getting out into the middle of nowhere without ever leaving L.A.,” said Brigitte Rodriguez, a member of Peaks and Professors, a hiking and camping club on campus.
The trailhead can be accessed from Los Liones Drive in the Pacific Palisades.
Natural History Museum ($)
Located across from the Iovine & Young Academy on Exposition, the Natural History Museum offers free admission to all USC students and will be open for fall break.
“Whether you’re there for the dinosaur exhibit, the gemstones or just the re-creations of different scenes in history, it’s got a lot of really cool stuff to see,” Rodriguez said.
Don’t forget to explore the prehistoric sea at the multimedia L.A. Underwater exhibit. There’s over 40 fossils and a hologram display of extinct sea animals.
La Brea Tar Pits ($$)
The La Brea Tar Pits doubles as an open-air museum and an opportunity for a leisurely walk. The loop takes about 13 minutes to complete and is wheelchair and stroller accessible. The site is 20 minutes away from campus and can be a part of a longer day-trip.
“Head to the tar pits and then do a little walk around Miracle Mile, you can head to the grove if you want to do some shopping, or stop at the farmer’s market,” Rodriguez said.
Museum admission is free for L.A. County residents from 3-5 p.m. on weekdays.
The Getty Villa ($)
The Getty Villa Museum is a L.A. landmark. Inside the museum, explore Greek and Roman ancient art and relics — some as old as 4,000 years. Or enjoy the stunning view of the Pacific Ocean at the reflecting pool in the villa’s Outer Peristyle. Marissa Ding, a sophomore health promotion and disease prevention studies major, said her favorite part of the Getty is the architecture.
“The off-white buildings with the metal elements and the way the place is set up for you to walk around. I think observing that was pretty interesting and I liked it a lot,” Ding said.
If you’re not using public transportation, the museum is about a 40-minute drive from campus, depending on traffic, and parking ranges from $15 to $20.
Beach Cleanup & After Party ($)
L.A.’s Surfrider Foundation Chapter wants to celebrate your good deed. This Sunday, head over to Venice Beach for their monthly cleanup, then straight to Hotel June’s poolside for the after party.
Enjoy live music and a complimentary drink. Help the environment and sunbathe all in the same day!
Free screening of ‘Casper’ at the Jamaica Bay Inn ($)
If you’re looking to gear up for Halloween, Marina Del Ray’s Jamaica Bay Inn is offering free screenings of festive movies this spooky season. Watch the 1995 classic ghost film “Casper” this Sunday at 7 p.m. on the hotel’s beachfront lawn.
Santa Monica Pico Farmers Market – Sat. Oct. 15 ($$)
BYOB (bring your own bag/basket) to the Pico Farmers Market. Open every Saturday, rain or shine, the market offers produce from 25 Californian farms. While the market’s vendors accept most credit cards, they do recommend bringing cash just in case. Enjoy the live entertainment while you shop.
Smorgasburg is the largest weekly open-air food market in America and is open every Sunday in Downtown L.A. The market attracts 50,000 people each weekend and is free to attend for all ages. With over 60 vendors, Smorgasburg offers a range of delicious food, from churros to seafood. Post up at one of the market’s picnic tables from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and dig in.
Calling all sports fans! Kick off your Halloween festivities with Shaqtoberfest. Legendary NBA center Shaquille O’Neal continues his post-retirement entrepreneurial ventures with his namesake event: a massive Halloween festival in Long Beach. Attractions include a pumpkin patch for all ages during the day and spookier exhibits like Deadman’s Wharf and Pirate’s Cove after 8 p.m. Enjoy food, games and trick-or-treating. Tickets range from $35 to $100.