No plans for spring break? Here are some interesting places you could go, either for the day or for the whole week, to escape the Claremont bubble.
If you’re in the mood to head South, catch a train at LA’s Union Station and take it down the coast to San Diego, a city with plenty to explore, from the well-known, touristy sites—the zoo, SeaWorld, and Legoland—to the more local treasures. At the harbor, you can explore the USS Midway—an aircraft-carrier-turned museum—as well as older ships, including the HMS Rose—used in the movie Master and Commander: Far Side of the World—at the Maritime Museum.
If you’re feeling old-fashioned, check out the Gas Lamp District in historic downtown San Diego. Of course, you can’t leave San Diego without visiting Balboa Park, an urban cultural park complete with science, art, history, transportation, archeology, and cultural museums, as well as beautiful gardens.
Alternatively, you could head North up the coast, take a road trip to San Francisco, and drive in straight across the Golden Gate Bridge. On the waterfront are Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square, as well as Alcatraz out in the bay. There’s also the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum; The Palace of the Legion of Honor, an art museum; and of course San Francisco’s Chinatown.
But the city by the Bay isn’t the only reason to drive up the coast. A road trip on Highway 1 will take you past all kinds of beaches, lighthouses, and interesting cities. Along the way are Hearst Castle, the sand dunes of Pismo Beach, the cliffs of Big Sur, and several State Parks with endangered wildlife.
If California’s not exotic enough for you, try heading East to Las Vegas: even if you’re under 21, there is plenty to do! And then there’s always Tijuana, or “TJ,” a popular spring break spot south of the border.
For the adventurous and outdoorsy, there are many cool natural parks within a day or two’s drive. You could head out to Joshua Tree or Yosemite, or even further east to the Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks in Arizona and Utah, respectively. There is also Big Bear just a couple of hours away, with snowy peaks for skiing and snowboarding galore. You could head west across the water to the Channel Islands or Catalina to explore the beautiful scenery or try your hand at snorkeling.
Another option for spring break is Los Angeles’ plethora of theme parks. There is always Disneyland, because you’re never too old for the happiest place on Earth. If that’s too tame, try Six Flags Magic Mountain, where roller coasters like Goliath, X2, Déj Vu, and Scream reign supreme. For something less heart-stopping, Knott’s Berry Farm has not only cool rides, but Peanuts characters as well. Universal Studios Hollywood boasts rides and behind-the-scenes shows in the park, plus great shopping in Citywalk.
If you don’t want to stray too far, you could get to work on President David Oxtoby’s list of 47 things to do in the Los Angeles area before you graduate. The Getty Museum is a must-see, the California Science Center is really interactive and fun, and the Huntington is truly historic with beautiful gardens. Downtown, there are some really interesting cultural niches, like Chinatown, Olvera Street, and Little Tokyo. Downtown L.A. is also home to the Disney Concert Hall, where you can hear the LA Philharmonic, along with the LACMA and the MOCA, two modern art museums, and the La Brea Tar Pits, a museum about, well, the tar pits. Go shopping on Rodeo Drive, or get over to Hollywood and see Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, where celebrity handprints are preserved in cement. Griffith Park is also cool, with the Los Angeles Zoo and the Gene Autry Museum, and there is also the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Hollywood Bowl.
In truth, you don’t even have to leave town to enjoy spring break. In fact, just relaxing in the dorms, reading some books, watching movies, and exploring the charms of the Village could make for a very pleasant vacation.