The Eagle Eye

We’re not in Rancho anymore

Just 50 miles north of our cozy town of Rancho Santa Margarita lays a concrete jungle full of fame, fortune and fun.

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A little pink never hurt anybody, especially not the many tourists taking advantage of one of L.A.'s greatest treasures

The local Orange County spots I typically venture to, the breakfast places in Laguna Beach, the boardwalk in Newport and the pier in San Clemente are getting redundant. I am tired of looking at the same places and doing the same things. It is clearly time for an adventure.

I take it upon myself to research fun and inexpensive things to do that are close to home. The answer to my restlessness was always right in front of me, on TV, in magazines or on social media: Los Angeles, or L.A. Just an hour or so drive and bam, I’m in the epicenter of one of California’s most popular cities.

On Jan. 17, my girlfriends and I hop in my car and head towards a new world of culture filled with different scenery and people. It’s exciting to see sights, take pictures, shop and eat. Basically, I’m excited to be a total tourist for the day!

It’s ironic for me to say that I am a tourist in a town so close to home. But in a sense we’re all tourists constantly searching for new adventures and thrilling experiences that we can’t find locally.

The drive to L.A. is somewhat dreadful, depending on how much traffic you hit, but just being there is worth it. The most rewarding part of spending my Sunday there is that I am immersed into a culture that we don’t have here at home.

My friends and I started our day eating at the Line Hotel in a greenhouse with succulents hanging from the ceiling. We then make our way to Melrose Avenue, taking in the skyscrapers, colorful walls, modern architecture and lavish clothing stores on our way to the popular pink wall.

Paul Smith’s pink wall is crowded with people from all over the world talking selfies against the vibrant color. The surrounding stores contain articles of clothing only the Kardashians could afford, but it’s still fun to window shop.

We find a store within our price range — Burton Snowboards. Not only do we find cute surfer clothes but we also run into Meghan Trainor who introduces herself and asks to take pictures with us. No big deal.

It’s now late afternoon and time to get some caffeine pumping in our blood streams. We find a hidden coffee house called Alfred Coffee. Their décor topped that of any coffee house around SM and their vanilla latte was better tasting than the ones from Starbucks.

Our last stop is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The sun set and the lampposts outside the museum are as luminous as the stars in the sky. I feel like I am in an Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman movie as I run between the lights.

After my day spent devouring authentic food and shopping on Melrose Avenue, meeting Meghan Trainor and visiting LACMA, I am convinced that there’s more to California than we think.

Every town, city and county has its own character that’s waiting to be discovered by someone other than the people who are tired of living their daily lives there.

California has more to offer than just sunny days and radical beaches. L.A., for example, encompasses all aspects of California with its trendy fashions stores, popular beaches, diverse culture filled with art, music and architecture, art museums, Hollywood history and more.

Million dollar cars rolled through the city streets that were lined with elite clothing stores. Girls and guys strutted the city sidewalks wearing the latest fashion and flaunting their wealth. But despite the affluent areas that encompass L.A., poverty stricken neighborhoods reside two blocks away from the most expensive stores on Melrose Ave.

Yet there’s no distinct line between the rich and the poor. And to me that is L.A.’s best asset: the fact that its culture relies so heavily on the mix of all kinds of people of all kinds of races.

A day in L.A. is a great opportunity to explore our home of Southern California. I’ve come to the conclusion that I take Orange County and the surrounding areas for granted. I may complain that there’s not enough culture in the little bubble in which we live, but my complaining can be so easily suppressed by just a quick trip due north  to L.A., south to San Diego and even east to Palm Springs.

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