Spring Break Getaway: Los Angeles

By Michelle Kim on February 24, 2014

Sun-kissed skin, fresh beach, towering palm trees, daisy dukes, and gold — all words describing the California dream that could come true this spring break. Instead of going too touristy, that are often overrated, experience what local Californians live by and aim for something different.

I personally recommend you start off by getting an Airbnb, a travel rental, instead of a hotel — that way, you get accommodations at a place of residence where local Californians lodge. As long as you read over the reviews and ratings thoroughly, you’ll find a place that’s finer, more unique and often times cheaper than a standard hotel.

1.     Escondido Falls

Escondido Canyon Trail, Malibu, CA 90265

If you’re an enthusiast hiker and inclined to take a look at one of the most alluring waterfalls, go for Escondido Falls in Malibu. As you’re walking towards the prairie in the beginning, you’ll see many striking mansions and the gleaming Pacific Ocean on each side — the grandness created by Mother Earth will completely astound you. Once you hit the forestry trail, that’s when your hiking officially begins.

There are three main hiking trails — the first trail which leads you to the initial waterfall is fairly easy to reach; however the second and third tracks are relatively challenging. But guess what? Sometimes you have to live on the edge to get the best view.

Shortly after passing the first waterfall, you’ll start climbing through steep rockside by holding onto ropes and walking on cliffs. You may notice the trail during the second course start diminishing and eventually leading up to your decisions during the third part of your journey. It’s more of a mental challenge rather than a physical one, but certainly a beautiful hike.

2.     Leo’s Taco Truck

1515 S La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90019

Tacos at three in the morning? Yes please! This is probably one of the best taco places in L.A. and the perfect spot for after hours eating from that wild partying. Leo’s Taco Truck is known for its al pastor tacos that are each only $1, cash-only. Additionally, a massive pork will be grilling over an open flame on the side of the truck and they’ll slice off the meat and a chunk of pineapple right in front of your eyes.

They also have a salsa bar on the other side of the truck, where you can add other ingredients to give some spice to that taco or even pack it for your convenience. It can get a little messy and there’s no specific dining area — so prepare for a new standing dining experience but, trust me, you won’t want to complain once you take a bite of that juicy taco.

3.     The Varnish

118 E 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014 

Classy, exclusive, dim lights, good music, a touch of the 20′s Gatsby era with a speakeasy element — if these keywords are appealing to you, try “The Varnish”. This lounge is for those who are obsessed with cocktails; but you need to make an effort to find this gem. The only way you will find this place is by going through a random door at the end of Cole’s restaurant and once you find it, go through it even though it doesn’t look anything like a public entrance — it appears more like a random door to a closet.

Try their Sazerac, a cocktail made with rye whiskey, which is also one of the oldest cocktails created in New Orleans. The cocktails listed on the menu are great, but tasting some of the marvelous creations by the cool looking bartenders, who are dressed in nice vests and shirts, would be, hands down, the best choice.

4.     DTLA Fashion District

110 E 9th Street St. A1175, Los Angeles, CA 90079

The LA Fashion District is composed of many blocks, where you can explore a more diversified shopping experience, ranging from bargain clothing to trend-setting designer tags. It’s not for people who wish for rows of fancy stores, which is located in Rodeo Drive, but more for those enjoying thrift and sample sale shopping. It’s best to go Saturdays when wholesale stores sell their items for 40 to 70 percent off retail prices.

One of the most popular retail areas in the LA Fashion District is Santee Alley, located at 210 E. Olympic Blvd #202. Santee Alley has over 150 retailers that has everything from apparel to household items, but make sure you bring in cash and your bargaining skills to battle against other vicious shoppers and vendors.

5.     Runyon Canyon Park

2001 N Fuller Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Those who aspire to take a look at the extensive view of the buildings in downtown L.A., the Hollywood sign and the scenic views of the entire city should hike up Runyon. It’s more of a hipster, yoga-centric and urban hiking route where people can become more social. If you are truly wanting that native Californian experience, hiking Runyon is definitely worth the try.

6.     Silver Lake

Silver Lake is a residential neighborhood in L.A., also named as one of the “Best Hipster Neighborhoods,” according to Forbes. The district is composed by interesting street arts and hot spots, including Intelligentsia Coffee, located at 3922 West Sunset Boulevard. When I visited, the coffee shop was full of interesting people, and I was honestly busy observing each and every one of them, wondering if some of them were aliens by their unique personas. I loved it though and I must admit that they serve the best espressos and lattes in L.A.

Every Saturday, the area opens up a small, traditional Farmers Market, located at 3700 Sunset Boulevard, where you purchase fresh, organic nourishments and get to try out luscious pupusas for only $3.

The neighborhood is just full of energetic and fashionable people, and is a perfect setting for those willing to read or get inspired with their surroundings. It’s probably going to be your best bet to get an Airbnb in Silver Lake to be exposed to the neighbor in a more authentic level.

I guarantee everyone can get the most out of their spring break in L.A. by checking out these cool places. Just remember, safety comes first! See you in L.A!

Michelle is a senior journalism student at the University of Iowa. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking and doing anything beachy! She's an aspiring writer who would love to write or edit for a lifestyle magazine or trend forecasting agency.

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