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When visitors hear that Providence is near L.A., most think of walking downtown Hollywood; seeing the stars, the Chinese Theater, the Hollywood sign, and maybe heading over to Beverly Hills. Those more familiar with the L.A. area might think of the famous Ferris Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, the unique experiences offered by a walk in Chinatown, the iconic Union Station, or the prestigious sounds of the Walt Disney Concert hall. Though these are all certainly enjoyed by students, whether offered as an Avodah experience or explored on their own, students have also branched out and discovered other niches on their own.

When walking Hollywood boulevard, when most tourists would readily recognize the Chinese Theater, students at Providence have likely had more experience with the Egyptian. This theater is also owned by Grauman and shows many old films, sometimes even with directors, producers or actors attending the screening of their movies. Another draw for local shoppers in Hollywood are the vintage and trade clothing store; if you know where to look, you can soon be immersed in two stories worth of ageless clothing.  Nearby, students can also join the ranks of the celebrities who have visited Pink’s hot dog stand, for a wide variety of hot dog options with toppings that will make every mouth water. For music enthusiasts, there will be no complaints with the selection at Amoeba Music, two floors of music and movies in a warehouse sized building that could take days to explore.

Hungry sojourners downtown and far from Hollywood still have many options of where to grab a bite during a touring break. Olvera Street offers hot churro vendors, and world famous taquitos at Ciento Lindo. Little Tokyo hosts excellent sushi houses, but also a few shops that carry a unique Asian dessert known as mochi, which often contains ice cream, or red bean sauce inside a covering of rice paste.  If fresh food is what a student craves, there are many options at the LA market, an iconic destination full of cultural tastes and flair.

Farther from the city, there are other chances to engage the culture of Southern California. For the many students who took advantage of 2011’s year end bargain, a free weekend means a trip to Valencia to visit Six Flags! There, a host of roller coasters await them as they scream the stress away, including two of the few 4th dimension roller coasters in America, and Goliath, which has the sixth tallest steel coaster anywhere. For those who wish to have adventures which are less on the edge, there is always the J. Paul Getty Art Museum. This incredible collection of grand marble buildings house paintings from VanGogh, Turner, and Monet as well as some very scenic gardens.  Art buffs may also be interested in visiting the LA Center for Modern art, free for residents of Southern California.

Clearly there is more to be done in Southern California than any student or visitor originally imagines. So when you have gotten tired of riding the carousel or roller coaster at Santa Monica and are sick of the many elevators at the Western Bonaventure building, don’t fear – there is more where that came from!

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