Just because medical students work hard doesn't mean they shouldn't play hard, too. Weekends are a great time for students to take a respite to explore non-tourist things to do in LA and enjoy some well-deserved downtime.
Here are three budget-conscious ways to take advantage of Southern California, from the day trip to the weekend getaway.
Visit the Getty
Overlooking Los Angeles from its perch on the Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty Center wows with art, architecture, gardens and views. It's easy to spend a relaxing day here, taking advantage of the café or packing a lunch and enjoying it al fresco. The Getty Permanent Collection includes European paintings, from medieval to modern, early-Renaissance manuscripts, Neoclassical sculpture, prints and drawings through the ages, photography and contemporary outdoor sculpture.
At the Getty, the only cost (aside from food) is parking, and it's best to get there early before the facility fills up. The parking pass provides same-day parking and entrance to the Getty Villa — a two-for-one day trip. The Getty is also accessible by public transportation.
Mention Paramount Ranch to those who live in LA, and they'll likely respond with a strange look. But this is one of the best non-tourist things to do in LA. Located in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, this site got its name when Paramount Pictures bought it in 1927. It was the location for a variety of film projects, ranging from westerns to films set in Massachusetts and even China. Visitors can spend the day hiking, mountain biking and visiting the ranch to see movie-making history. The trip makes an excellent overnight camping experience, as well, with affordable sites run by the National Parks Service in the area.
In spite of its popular name, Joshua Tree National Park is one of the best non-tourist things to do in the greater LA area. The drive is about two-and-a-half hours without traffic. As a national park, Joshua Tree offers a budget vacation to escape from it all for just the right amount of time, whether you are camping or staying at a local motel. During the day, there are plenty of great hikes and sites to explore, such as Keys Ranch, plus great bird watching, star gazing and ranger programs.
Spring and summer weekends are a part of the experience of being a student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Breaks like these are golden opportunities to blow off some steam and explore so you're fully recharged for the week ahead.
by Deborah Abrams Kaplan