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With reading days quickly approaching, you might be looking to get off campus to escape studying and writing papers. Los Feliz is a charming neighborhood of Los Angeles with tree-lined streets, eclectic restaurants and shops, and hiking trails with views of downtown. Located less than an hour away from campus, Los Feliz combines elements of a city while maintaining a small-town feel.

Begin your day in Los Feliz with a cup of coffee from one of the countless local cafés. Try Café Los Feliz if you’re looking for eggs or colorful macarons to accompany your morning brew. If you need to get a bit of studying done before starting your day, head to the trendy but reasonably priced H Coffee House and enjoy the outdoor patio, complete with complimentary Wi-Fi. Hungry? Order the breakfast sandwich or the toast with homemade berry jam. If you prefer a more minimalist, industrial vibe, consider Bru Coffeebar and request the flat white.

Churro ice cream sandwich from Churro Borough
Churro ice cream sandwich from Churro Borough. Image credit: savagecats/Flickr

Next, check out some of the local shops. One of the last remaining independent bookstores in Los Angeles, Skylight Books on Vermont Ave. is a must-visit. The bookstore offers countless readings and events that you can look into on their calendar. While you’re browsing, enjoy the cool interior or ask for a recommendation from one of the welcoming staff members. For more books, knick-knacks, toys, and posters, go to Wacko Soap Plant on Hollywood Blvd., which refers to itself as “The 2nd Happiest Place on Earth.” Finally, for vintage women and men’s clothes, visit Una Mae’s, also located on Vermont Ave.

Ready for lunch? Make your way to the Trails Café in Griffith Park and enjoy the famous avocado sandwich or a grilled cheese with fresh squeezed lemonade. When you feel refueled, get ready to explore one of the many hiking trails in Griffith Park. Try the 6.5-mile Hollywood Sign Hike beginning at Bronson Canyon. There is parking at the end of Canyon Drive. Another popular option is the two-mile West Griffith Observatory Trail, which begins just past the Trails Café. The Observatory allows you to see the LA skyline and the Hollywood Sign from multiple perspectives—you’ll want to return here at night. For a less busy four-mile loop with views of the San Gabriel Mountains and ruins of the old LA Zoo, hike to Bee Rock, beginning at the merry-go-round parking lot.

When you’re done hiking, consider checking out some of the many other attractions in Griffith Park. The Autry Museum offers a history of the American West, featuring a large collection of Native American art. The Travel Town Museum is an outdoor museum that celebrates the history of American railroads and transportation. Not interested in museums? Take a ride on the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round or check out the Greek Theater, a popular concert venue.

Los Feliz has a wide variety of dinner options. For great Italian food, try Farfalla Trattoria, Little Dom’s, or La Pergoletta. Other choices include Mother Dough (pizza), Spitz (Mediterranean), Ruen Pair (Thai) and Alcove Café & Bakery (American/Californian).

Griffith Observatory at night. Image credit: Jimmy Yeh/Flickr
Griffith Observatory at night. Image credit: Jimmy Yeh/Flickr

For a sweet treat after dinner, head to Churro Borough. In addition to serving churros, the shop offers churro ice cream sandwiches with original ice cream flavors such as Spicy Hot Chocolate, Spanish Latte, and Brown Butter Cookie Sorbet. They also serve shakes and hot coffee.

After dinner and dessert, you’ll want to head back to Griffith Park to see the Griffith Observatory at night, especially if you didn’t make it there during the day. Parking can be tough when the lot fills up, but the view of the lights of LA make the challenge worth it.