University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Student Ambassador Blog | Erika


New to LA? No Worries!

, by Erika · email · comment

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Every LA native has their list of go-tos to take people when they visit but they also have their smaller, more intimate list of what a friend of mine calls, “secret squirrel spots.” These are places that are just a little more special. For me, they are places that have grown my eyes a little bigger, made my heart a little softer, or tickled my tastebuds like never before. I hope that by sharing these with you all, you will find them as beautiful, meaningful, and as memorable as I have. Whether you’re new to LA or not, go, explore, and be merry!

SuihoEn Japanese Garden — Van Nuys

An oasis in the middle of the city! It’s one of my favorite hidden places in LA and it’s only $5 to enter. As you venture through the garden, you’ll find a tea house. I’d recommend bringing some hot tea in a thermos and a friend and have yourself a little tea party overlooking the koi pond.

El Matador State Beach — Malibu

Being in LA, you have an entire coast of beaches to choose from! After venturing from the valley to the OC, I still reserve a special place in my heart for El Matador State Beach up by Malibu. There are rock formations there that transfer you to another planet. Climb them, crawl through them and find little crabs, or find a little cave to take a nap in!

LASA — Chinatown

What’s LA without good eats and what’s an LA experience without supporting local chefs? I knew these two brothers, Chad and Chase, from high school and seeing them blow up on the LA food scene featuring food I grew up with brings tears to my eyes. Born and bred in aroma-filled Filipino homes, they’ll provide you with an innovative yet authentic taste of Filipino cuisine.

The Great Wall of LA Mural — North Hollywood

The Great Wall of Los Angeles, North Hollywood

The Great Wall of Los Angeles, North Hollywood

After hearing about it for years, I only visited this gem about a year ago and regret not visiting sooner. This was a community project done by more than 400 community youth, their families, artists, oral historians, ethnologists, and scholars depicting the history of Los Angeles from 20,000 B.C. all the way up to the 1960s. It’s a half-mile long and a great way to spend the afternoon learning about the city you’ve found yourself in! Be sure to pop this into your phone ( to guide you through your historical and visually stimulating experience.

If you end up visiting any of these spots, leave a comment and let me know how you liked them!

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