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Boston to LA: A Thanksgiving Travel Guide for College Students

Is LA worth the hype? I visited the celebrity center of America, and here are a few places I went to that you should keep in mind if you ever plan to visit! 

This was not my first time visiting California, but it was definitely memorable because I got the chance to see my extended family during the holidays! This Thanksgiving was filled with lots of great cuisine, mini road trips, and was an overall grounding experience being surrounded by those I love after such a hectic semester. This break could not have come at a better time. Honestly, I was extremely stressed, and looking back now, I was definitely bordering on burnout.

Spending time away from home and removing myself from my regular surroundings reminded me of the much bigger world outside of college. Even though UMass is a significantly big school, it can also feel really small. It’s important to just breathe sometimes and zoom out of the little world we sometimes confine ourselves to. No, you do not have to travel across the country to realize this, but I figured it was a nice realization, especially with finals season coming up. Now that I gave my little wisdom spiel, here are the highlights of my trip! 

Rodeo Drive is a little shopping center in Beverly Hills (yes, it’s fancy). These two streets filled with designer boutiques and stores make it fun to imagine what it would be like to afford these items on a daily basis. From Dior to YSL, window shopping has never been easier. I personally do find it fun to get inspiration for fashion, but I would not consider a trip to Rodeo Drive a very exciting activity. My mother, on the other hand, enjoyed taking pictures every step of the way as she usually does on our family outings. If we did not stop every three minutes for a selfie, we probably would have left an hour earlier. Overall, I would consider Rodeo Drive a nice stop for first-time visitors! 

A Votre Santé is a very well-established Mediterranean restaurant in LA. Their amazing menu has a decent amount of vegetarian and vegan options that are so delicious that you wouldn’t even notice they were vegan or vegetarian. I would recommend the vegan banana or blueberry pancakes for breakfast, which says a lot because I am not a big pancake person. The Grass-Fed Wagyu Beef Burger or Blackened Salmon Wrap is a must to try for dinner, and do not even get me started on the pizzas.

As you can tell, I ate here very often, and for a good reason. The seating outside with such cute lighting and greenery at night reminds me of the restaurants in Europe. Also, if you’re a fan of ginger, please try the Ginger Lemonade – I still dream about it. If you do ever get the opportunity to check this place out, tell them I sent you! The owner will be very amused since I ordered the entire menu during my time there, and definitely not because he’s my uncle LOL.

Calling all Seth Cohen fangirls…I have officially been to the O.C., and I took in every second of it imagining I was in the show. The little road trip from LA to Laguna Beach was a hefty two hours with traffic, but I consider it very worth it. My favorite part about California is that you are most likely driving through valleys for miles and then all of a sudden you’re at a beach. The area was very cute and I felt like I had entered a parallel universe because it felt like summer…in November. It is actually quite crazy that people in the same country as me live quite contrasting lives. While I’m fighting the wind walking past the Du Bois Library, people are swimming in the ocean and living their best lives. There was a very nice cliff walk along the ocean that my cousin and I walked about three times before devouring some A Votre Santé takeout on a bench at sunset – which I consider to be a very perfect moment.  

The biggest takeaway from this trip is how much I love good food and some California sun.

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Chloe Massabni

U Mass Amherst '25

Chloé is a sophomore Political Science and Public Health Major and Business Minor. She loves sushi, painting, and learning about holistic medicine!