Spring break getaways on a budget

Photo by Christianna Triolo/Staff Photographer

Midterms are done, term papers are turned in and now the Holy Grail has finally arrived at CSUN–spring break.  Many college students may have their heart set on Mexico, but what is one to do in this time of recession with little cash. Here are a few alternatives to enjoying spring break without hurting your wallet and still beating the San Fernando Valley’s heat.

Any beach
Soaking up the sun and hanging out with friends is the simplest thing you can do on spring break, and beach weather is also cooler than the Valley’s. The beach is  a cheap and fun thing to do especially if there is a nearby pier or a shopping center nearby.

Parking for some of the beaches can vary from paying $6-10 at the lots, coin meters that  let you park for a few hours or, if you do not mind a little walking, street parking.

If you go to Santa Monica or Venice Beach you can wander around the boardwalk, pier, pubs, shops and restaurants.

Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is only two hours away and if you get up early you can easily avoid traffic. Traveling and carpooling with friends can make the trip fun and affordable. Have everyone chip in for gas and parking (if it is needed). There are a lot of things to do in Santa Barbara which include the beach and window shopping.

Solvang, a small Danish town, is only a few minutes from Santa Barbara. Solvang has many restaurants that serve Danish food, shops (like a clog store that makes specialized wooden clogs) and, if lucky, you might catch a special event with the townspeople dressed in Danish clothing and clogs.

When you set foot in this town you will feel like you are in a different country because of how the buildings are shaped. It is a very interesting town that can keep you entertained. If you go to Solvang then be sure to sample the Danish pancakes, they are a must in Solvang.

Hollywood/Los Angeles

Since Hollywood and Los Angeles are close by CSUN so you can try riding the Metro Red Line, the subway that starts in North Hollywood and has stops at Universal City Walk, Hollywood, and Union Station in downtown LA.

A one day pass is $5 and parking is free at the North Hollywood  station, the NoHo Arts District is also on the same street as the station.

Los Angeles and Hollywood have museums and attractions that you can visit, some of which offer student discounts if you show your ID. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) are a couple places that offer such discounts.

At Union Station you can wander over to Olvera Street where there are a lot of Mexican food options and vendors that sell bags, clothes and even Mexican candy.

San Francisco
San Francisco may be a bit pricier for some students since the mini-roadtrip is usually five to six hours, so gather your friends to help out the costs.

To stay over night you can always share a hotel, motel or hostel room.  You can also buy a pass for the entire day to ride the trolleys around the city or, of course the cheapest form of transportation is to walk.

The street to check out is Haight/Ashbury which has hippie-inspired places like record stores, vintage shops, and funky furniture shops.

You do not have to spend everyday of spring break outdoors. Why not try staying in a couple of days with friends by relaxing and watching a movie. Whatever you do take advantage of the break and take a breather because the following week it is back to those essays and exams.