Hello faithful blog readers !! I am so excited to be back this semester to share some of my thoughts, and a big thank you to those that take the time to read these. :+)

Now that we are getting back into the swing of things, with the optimism of possibly making the slow move back onto Biola’s campus, I thought that I would dedicate this blog to the “Top 10 local spots” around Biola. Seeing that I have grown up in Southern California my entire life, and live about fifteen minutes away from Biola, I would qualify myself as a local.

Before I get into my actual list, I want to first disclaim that this is a supplement to the normal “Disneyland, LA, Huntington Beach” list that prospective students usually hear about. Everyone knows those popular spots, so hopefully my list can give a more inside scoop - without exploiting my own secret spots of course. :+)))

Starting with #10, AKA last place, AKA the least exciting but still worth visiting…

Melrose Avenue

For those that may be unfamiliar, Melrose is a street filled with a variety of shops, eateries, and other “entertainment” options (not quite sure what that means). Biolans will speak about LA as a whole, but Melrose is rarely specifically named, despite it being frequently visited. To put it bluntly, going to Melrose would be financially unwise, because of how expensive everything is; even the thrift stores located on Melrose charge a hefty amount, unlike the charity shop prices we love. Melrose is often very busy (I’m not sure what it is like with COVID), and like all of LA, parking is almost always difficult. I was debating whether to even put this on the list, but for the sake of popularity, we will keep it on the bottom.

Next up, #9

The Hollywood Hike

This is actually something I’ve never done, and perhaps that is the reason it is a notch above the absolute bottom of this list. But from what I’ve heard from others that have done this hike, it is actually quite strenuous and is not the nice, leisurely walk one might expect. And for the level of difficulty, seeing a raggedy sign does not seem incentive enough to make that venture.

Climbing up the list, next is #8

Newport Beach

Oftentimes Huntington Beach gets the spotlight because it generally is a major attraction for anyone visiting California. I had to put this on the list because I do think it is better than Huntington - in terms of tourism-density, cleanliness, and overall “prettiness” - but it is still slightly overrated. Biola students enjoy making the drive to this destination during the weekend, or perhaps even after afternoon classes to catch the sunset; it is a beautiful beach and is worth seeing, but it can be quite busy and expensive if you are trying to find a quick dinner.

Next on the list, #7 goes to

Griffith Observatory

This is actually a very pleasant place to visit, especially from the evening to night; there’s a large green lawn in front of the entrance, and inside there are some pretty interesting things to look at like the ~tesla coil.~ And for the avid La La Land movie fans, this is like a dream come true, being able to walk the same halls as Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.

Reaching the middle ground here, #6 is

Fountain Valley Skating Center

For everyone who jumped on the bandwagon and got new roller skates for Christmas, this would be a great place to break them in. Unfortunately they are temporarily closed due to COVID :+( but it is such a fun - not to mention physically active - option that is only half-an-hour away from Biola. Just make sure to be aware of all those older, male, ex-hockey players that speed and weave around everyone!

And smack in the middle of the list, #5 is

Joshua Tree/Yosemite

I am kind of cheating for including two in one, but both of these National Parks are absolutely breath-taking, and Biolans love being able to make the excursions out to these places during long weekends or weeks when class is cancelled. Joshua Tree offers a beautiful desert landscape with starry night skies, and Yosemite has the most jarring rock formations and waterfalls. Both are definitely worth the drive.

Making our way to the top, #4 is

Downtown Fullerton

I actually love Downtown Fullerton, and visit quite often. Some of my favorite places within this area are Buffalo Exchange (a curated consignment/thrift store), Half Off Books Records Films (a second hand book and record store), MADE Coffee, and Play Coffee. DT Fullerton is also nice because there is lots of free parking, and is quite close to Biola.

And now, second runner up, #3

Trader Joe’s

Ok now obviously this is not something that is super specific to Southern California, but for lots of out-of-staters, this is going to be a new experience. I have come to really appreciate Trader Joe’s, not only for having delicious items, but how convenient they are. They have so many items that are easy to prepare, tasty, not super expensive, and relatively healthy (emphasis on “relatively”). Not to mention that there is one less than ten minutes away from Biola. TJ’s is truly a treasure for the college student on a budget.

First runner up, #2

El Burrito Jr.

This is a local Mexican restaurant located in Seal Beach (one of my personal favorite beaches because of how non-touristy it is) where you can order and receive your food through a little window across the street from the beach! It’s amazing! And it is very bold of me to proclaim this tiny Mexican joint as the second best place in Southern California, but it truly is. During the summer I would spend days at the beach, eating carne asada burritos in the sand with my friends, and it was just the sweetest time. But just a quick heads up, they take cash only, and charge a $5 service fee for using their ATM!

And finally, #1 on my list of top 10 places to visit around Biola goes to…


Stay with me on this. I know that again, this is not unique to Southern California, and that there are probably plenty - if not better - charity/thrift shops across the nation. However, the Savers that is literally 4 minutes away from Biola, is one large Easter egg. Because it is located so close to Biola, lots of students/alumni donate their belongings, so it is very easy to find Biola clothing and textbooks for some of your Bible classes, both for much cheaper prices. And of course, you can find anything between, shoes, clothes, accessories, homeware, furniture, and electronics for great prices - a dream for a college student!

If you have reached the end, thank you so much for reading up to this point! I hope that this guide is of service to you. And if any of you follow up on my recommendations, hooray if you enjoy yourself, and if you don’t, I did not force anyone to do any of these things. :+)

You’ll probably find me at Savers,