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Published on June 18th, 2011 | by Staff 12-13


The Ultimate Staycation

Price range:

0-10 dollars — $
11-20 dollars — $$
21-30 dollars — $$$

*Note: all distances are measured in relationship to Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90402.

As the school year is coming to a close, Samo students are buzzing about their summer plans. Many students are getting ready to go abroad, start an internship or participate in a camp or pre-college program. However, these summer LA hotspots may just leave you wanting to “staycation” this break. Here are the top 5 (inexpensive) things to do in LA for the coming months.

Price: $$
Transportation: By Car: 12.5 mi. (24 min.)

If you aren’t taking any trips this summer, why not spend a day being a tourist at home? We are lucky enough to live in a hotspot that attracts travelers from all over the world and there are a number of fun summer — and even some year-round — activities that many Santa Monica residents never take advantage of. Try heading to the heart of LA tourism: Hollywood. The mall at Hollywood & Highland offers a number of fun activities that are sure to keep you entertained. You can visit the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and check out the celebrity hand prints implanted in the concrete, or walk along the Avenue of the Stars. You may even see a red carpet movie premier — they often take place at both Grauman’s and the El Capitan, which are across the street from each other — or you can simply catch a movie in either of these luxurious theatres. Ticket prices at these theatres are comparable to regular admission tickets at other movie theatres in the area.

If you happen to have a car, you could try purchasing a “Star Map,” which will lead you to the homes of some of your favorite celebrities, from one of the souvenir stores across from the mall (or from one of the “sketch” vendors that stand sporadically on the side of the street from Hollywood to Beverly Hills); you can drive around and stalk your favorite stars! You may even see one of them leaving their house!

2. The Pantages Theatre
Price: $$$
Transportation: By Car: 20.7 mi. (26 min.)

For all of the theatre fans out there, the LA community is lucky to have amazing venues that showcase some of the most popular and critically acclaimed theatrical spectacles around. The mother of these theatres is the Pantages Theatre, located at 6233 Hollywood Boulevard. Although seeing a professional performance can be extremely expensive (seats at the Pantages can range anywhere from 45 to 125 dollars) The Samohi has an exclusive secret that can save you some serious cash and still get you some great seats at your favorite musical. The day of the performance, head over to the theatre about an hour and a half early and go up to the ticket counter. Ask to purchase some of their $25 seats and ask for the best seats they have. Because the theatre so often has extra tickets come show day, they try to fill the extra seats by selling them for a reduced price. Although you are not guaranteed a seat, the chances are good, especially if you go in the middle of a run or to a matinee (Note: Shrek the Musical starts July 12!).

3. KCRW Summer Nights
Price: FREE!
Transportation: By car: 5.8 mi. (10 min.)

After the success of their previous summer events, KCRW, one of Southern California’s free public radio services, is bringing back their previously widely attended free concerts starting on Saturday, June 11 at the the Hammer Museum in Westwood (10899 Wilshire Blvd.).  Paralleling their eclectic independent music choice, KCRW will be showcasing various DJs and new artists, including Lady Danville, Graffiti6, and Grouplove. For full dates and details, visit http://www.kcrw.com/events/summer-nights-2011.

4. Malibu Hike/Frozen Yogurt
Price: $
Transportation: By Car: 3 mi.

Although many students are familiar with the most popular hiking routes in Santa Monica, the Malibu Creek Canyon Hiking Trail has somehow managed to stay off the radar. This trail, although for beginners, is extremely sunny and scenic, with long stretches of flower-filled hills. The best part of the trail, however, comes about halfway through. Just as you start to feel hot, the trail leads down a hill to a lake, perfect for a quick bath. It is also surrounded by a cover of trees, which provide shade for whoever doesn’t feel brave enough to take a dive. As you continue, make sure to check out the site where the television show M*A*S*H was filmed, which is a bit farther up the trail. After returning to the trail’s entrance, you can head over to Malibu Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream, located at 23755 Malibu Rd. It is the perfect (and relatively cheap) post-hike refreshment.

5. The Rural Experience
Price: $
Transportation: By Car: 47.1 mi. (50 min.)

Although the distance might seem daunting, the Underwood Family Farm in Moorpark is definitely worth the commute. If you want to get out of the city for a while — maybe get in touch with your wild side — this rural farm is the perfect place to experience a more isolated environment. The farm offers a large range of activities, including a corn maze, games on the weekends, and most importantly, fruit picking. A short walk from the entrance leaves you in the middle of fields of fruit and vegetables, perfect for picking and bringing home, or just eating on the spot. So, gather some friends and make a day out of it. Admission to the farm is only 3 dollars Mon.-Fri. and 5 dollars on weekends, and the full bellies-worth of fruit you will undoubtedly consume throughout the day is definitely worth the small fee.

Although the allure of a foreign country is understandable, nothing beats these LA hotspots in the heat of summer. So get some friends, grab your bags and get going! Your summer awaits…


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