As wonderful as L.A. is with its perpetual sunshine, balmy beaches and abundance of great brunch spots, it’s still possible that you might get homesick. If you’re from out of state like I am, you’ve probably found yourself nostalgic for Mom’s cooking or something other than 75-degree weather. Whether it’s local food or a change in climate, whatever you are yearning for can be found in Los Angeles to an extent. Here are five things to do in L.A. when you’re missing home:
1.) Find a restaurant that makes food closest to what your mama prepares (or what your favorite restaurant back home serves). Home-cooked meals are hard to replicate, but it’s possible to find something similar in a foodie city like L.A. We’re lucky to live in a metropolis with some of the tastiest and most diverse cuisines available. Whether you’re craving authentic pho or Sunday morning dim sum, ethnic enclaves like Little Saigon and Chinatown are only a few miles away.
2.) Escape to a chillier place, and play in the snow. It’s pretty difficult to justify pulling out your warm sweater and fur boots in L.A., but if you drive a little east, you can actually find some cold in the snow-topped San Gabriel Mountains or the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest. Big Bear Lake is a popular retreat location and frequented by many USC students for its ski resorts and slopes. Other mountainous regions worth visiting are Lake Arrowhead, Mt. Baldy and Mountain High.
3.) Go hiking along the windy trails of Malibu. Although the City of Angels is normally equated with arid desert and lack of greenery, I’ve found that you can get in touch with nature in Malibu Creek State Park. There may not be trees dotting every path, but you can certainly get great exercise and ocean views by walking along all the the steep ridges and peaks.
4.) Visit an L.A. museum. We are also very fortunate to live in a city that values art and culture. Some of the nation’s best museums can be found in L.A., including the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and my personal favorite, the Getty Center. When I want an escape from academics, I like to visit any of these museums and get lost among the different galleries and exhibitions.
5.) Attend a social event with friends. Finding fun things to do with company can sometimes be difficult but not when you live in a vibrant city like Los Angeles. There’s always something going on, from large-scale events such as the O.C. Fair or the 626 Night Market, to more casual opportunities like night concerts and outdoor movies. Last month, my friends and I spontaneously decided to go to the Avocado Festival at Angel City Brewery because we missed eating veggies and fresh produce. It was a random outing, but it turned out to be a great way to explore the city and meet people. For more information on free events in L.A., check out Time Out Los Angeles’ guide, available here.