By ZOE BERGER
After all the homework has been finished, after all the tests have been studied for, and after all the mundane tasks of everyday life have been completed, students need a break. In their free time, students have been spending more and more time discovering new places. Cafés, beaches, restaurants and museums have proved to be popular.
The Lab Anti-Mall, a collection of stores, cafes and restaurants in Costa Mesa, has been growing rapidly in popularity. Buffalo Exchange, a thrift store at The Lab, is reeling people in with low prices on upscale brands of clothing, shoes and accessories. “Buffalo is my favorite chain thrift shop. They always have the most unique and interesting things at pretty amazing prices. The people who work there are also super cool and interesting; I’ve made a couple friends there,” said Nika Zarazvand (Jr.). Another frequented place at The Lab is the Gypsy Den, a café known for its unique, cozy atmosphere and quality coffee. “The Lab is one of those places that makes you appreciate human art and those people with wildly creative brains. There’re interesting little boutiques and sweet coffee shops all over with added bits of flare to every blank space. Inspirational quotes are spread everywhere, fairy lights are hung and trees are even covered with a knitted sleeves. Overall, it’s one of the raddest places to hang out because it breaks societal norms of the typical shopping mall, and incorporates elements of nature and art into every inch: my kind of mall,” said Nashalah McNamara (Jr.).
Beaches have always been a favorite of southern California, but recently people are visiting the coast even more, especially during warm weather. “Newport and those beaches are really nice to go and either relax or have fun since the weather is always good,” said Tara Delbaksh (Jr.).
Corona del Mar Beach offers fire pits for night-time bonfires, while Laguna Beach hosts a variety of cafés and art galleries. Newport Beach’s allure includes the pier and Balboa Peninsula, which is home to many restaurants and fashionable boutiques. “Living on the coast makes random beach visits a must, so I drop by almost every week. It’s so beautiful,” said Tanya Mozafari (Jr.).
Food is a major focus of ever-hungry teenagers, which is why places like Anaheim Packing House have been attracting masses of people lately. Anaheim Packing House includes restaurants, cafés and outdoor picnic areas and dining porches. The historical Packing House, built in 1919, was a local center of commerce where goods were packaged and loaded onto rail cars to be shipped nationwide. “The minute you walk in, you feel as though you are in a food wonderland. The Packing House really does a good job with providing a wide variety of foods while being a trendy and fun place to hang out at the same time,” said Ariana Parsa (Jr.).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has also proved popular in recent years, drawing people in with fresh, new exhibits in many types of art, from modern art to classical art. LACMA boasts multiple Picasso and Matisse pieces, as well as hands-on sculptures like “Urban Light” and “Penetrable.” “Urban Light” consists of hundreds of street lamps set in a grid-like formation while “Penetrable” resembles spaghetti with its yellow plastic tubes suspended from a grid.
“LACMA is my creative getaway. My friend and I usually take the metro and the bus to LACMA as a mini vacation from the Irvine ‘bubble’ and enjoy the variety of contemporary and ancient art that never ceases to inspire. LACMA showcases art that is thought provoking and provides for a really imaginative and often intimate experience,” said Zarazvand.
As these types of places continue popping up, students will have even more places to go and spend whatever free time they have. Fresh, innovative attractions such as these encourage students to continue discovering new things to try as they explore their options.