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Places in Los Angeles That Cure My Existential Dread

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic but occasionally, I get bitten by the “stay in my room and spiral thinking about the future” bug. To put it in STEM terms, this creates somewhat of a positive feedback loop. The more I lay around, the worse I end up feeling mentally, therefore making me want to lay around even more. In times like these, I remind myself that I literally live in LA, the city I dreamed of living in for years and worked so hard to get to. 

Your physical setting is EVERYTHING, and it can be a very powerful tool to jolt you out of a “funk.” There are certain places that I go that somehow manage to shift my mindset entirely, reminding me that everything is not doom and gloom. Without further adieu, here are places in LA that never fail to cure my existential dread:

Glossier Store

Glossier on Melrose isn’t just somewhere to shop, it’s an experience within itself. For one, the store is gorgeous, filled with pretty pastel pink tones, giant replicas of their products, and amazing lighting for photos. A trip here is never complete without several pictures. Besides that, swatching all the makeup in itself is healing. And lastly, if all that wasn’t enough, you can stop by the Alfred next door in the “Glossier Alley” for a vanilla latte. I swear, a trip here with a debrief session over coffee with friends after restores my faith in the world. 

The Grove

The Grove feels like Disneyland to me, with its decor and trolley. Back home, I hate outdoor malls because of the heat, but in LA, the weather is always perfect. Imagine walking through, browsing stores and people watching, while the sun is out but there’s a slight breeze so it’s not too hot. I’ll always make a stop at La La Land Cafe for coffee or maybe the farmer’s market for lunch. A trip to the Grove heals the soul.  

Westfield Century City Mall

Similarly to the Grove, Century City is just a great place to browse. It’s (kinda) outdoors, so you get a good dose of sunshine here too. I’m a big fan of “little treats” to lift my mood, and this mall has so many options for that (boba shops, Pressed Juicery, 85C Bakery). Overall, this mall feels kinda classy to me, without being as pretentious as the Beverly Center, so I love it. 

Heuk Hwa Dang

LA has no shortage of cafes, and this is one to go to if you want more of a desert than a coffee. While they have tea drinks/boba, the star of the show is the strawberry croiffle (croissant dough pressed in a waffle shape, with whipped cream and strawberries), perfect for sharing. Besides the treats, I like the vibes in here. I never have trouble finding seating, unlike many popular cafes. Plus, right next door, there is a Daiso, which is always cute to browse. 

These spots somehow manage to bring that zest back into my life. It’s hard to put it into words, but there are just some places that really make you stop, look around, and take it all in.

Lily is a third year Political Science major at UCLA from Sarasota, FL. In her free time, she loves binge-watching sitcoms, listening to music, and finding new coffee shops.