For all you wandering, aimless stragglers rejected from the OTL trips that were full within an hour of being posted, have no fear. Fall break is the perfect opportunity to explore the millions of places to go in Claremont, Los Angeles, and Southern California.Drained from all those midterms, many of you will be perfectly content to stay inside your dorm sleeping most of the time. But eventually you will get bored and tired of dining hall food. Treat yourself–it’s Fall Break! Wander into the village for an excellent gourmet burger, parmesan French fries, or even a raspberry beer at the Back Abbey, located behind the Laemmle Theater. Pretend you’re not in Claremont by smoking hookah and chowing down on delicious Mediterranean food at Casablanca, located in the Packing House by 21 Choices. Take advantage of all the great live music in Claremont on the weekends or check out the Hip Kitty in the Packing House for some fondue and jazzy musical stylings.If you are willing to go a bit farther, the Pomona Arts Colony is a must see. Located around Third Street and Garey Avenue, the Arts Colony contains several quirky galleries and art museums. The edginess here starkly contrasts with the gentrified village, and unlike the village it is usually active well into the night. The Glass House is a popular concert venue in Pomona and is located within the Arts Colony. For an ultra-kitschy theme night, go see the movie Whip It starring Ellen Page, and then head down to the Glass House on Sunday at 6 p.m. for the Down and Derby Roller Skating Party (five dollars to enter). To get to the Arts Colony via public transit, take the 480 bus from the Claremont Depot and get off at Garey and Third. Bus fare is one dollar each way, but make sure to check the schedule at foothilltransit.com before you leave to make sure you don’t get stranded.Though there is lot to do around Claremont itself, Fall Break provides you with the perfect excuse to head into Los Angeles. For those of you without cars, the Metrolink is a great way to get around. Buying a Metrolink ticket also grants you access to LA’s subway system, which is surprisingly useful and extensive. Within walking distance of Union Station is Olvera Street and El Pueblo, the oldest part of Los Angeles. Get a sense of the city’s history walking down this street and buying an oversized sombrero for ten dollars. This part of Los Angeles was historically known as Chinatown, as evidenced by the lonely Chinese American Museum and about five red paper lanterns hanging amidst mostly Mexican-style decorations. The actual Chinatown is now located a few blocks away.Also within walking distance of Union Station is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a Catholic cathedral that is definitely worth checking out. One of the largest cathedrals in the United States, Our Lady of the Angels contains marvelous alabaster windows and a desert sandstone motif with a huge, red, marble altar. Beneath the congregation area is a jarringly illuminated crypt with colorful stained-glass inserts and white marble headstones. The cathedral is truly one of Los Angeles’ architectural treasures and can be appreciated by believer and non-believer alike.But perhaps you are tired of Los Angeles’ sprawling freeways and palm trees. If so, instantly transport yourself to New York by taking the Red Line subway from Union Station to Pershing Square. Amid skyscrapers and bustling street life, you’ll completely forget that you are in Southern California. If you are craving some cheap ethic food, head over to Grand Central Market on Broadway Street. It is walking distance from Pershing Square, and you can buy everything from sushi to tacos to fresh produce for three or four dollars per meal.Located next to the Grand Central Market is the Bradbury building, one of Los Angeles’ most beautiful buildings. Though the plain brick exterior veils its inner magnificence, the building is a marvel. The Bradbury Building brings the outdoors indoors with its rose brick atrium and glass ceiling. Painted black iron accents the staircase and the two mirrored open-shaft elevators. Even if you are not remotely interested in pretty buildings, it’s worth stopping inside for a minute or two on your way from Grand Central Market.To the northeast of Pershing Square is the Los Angeles Central Library, a strange Egyptian-themed building with an interesting history of arson and earthquakes. Downtown is fun to walk around and explore. Believe me, you will find something that interests you somewhere in this area. And for a bonus, it’s remarkably easy to get to from Claremont.If none of these suggestions sound appealing to you, remember that the Web is your best friend. Type in something you like to do, add “Los Angeles,” and voila! You will have hundreds of results matching your interests. Also, remember that Google Maps can give you directions to a place via public transit lines. And finally, know that Los Angeles is not as sprawling and massive as it seems. You just need an adventurous spirit and an open mind.
$10 and a Tank of Gas: Fall Break Edition