Being a college student is expensive, and it’s hard to find things to do nearby that are both good for your well-being and your wallet. Lucky for you, I’ve composed a list of common things that can be found on and around campus that will keep you entertained, for cheap. Read on for a list of 13 things to do when you’re broke AF at USC!
This is a collaborative piece by: Jessica Carillo, Katarina Vidal Cueva and Noelle Thomas
1. Building Government Events
With free monthly events held for residents, BG-hosted activities range from ice cream and boba to pizza and pumpkin carving.
2. Farmers Market on McCarthy Quad
Held weekly on Wednesdays and the occasional Tuesday, the farmer’s market is the place to find organic fruits, freshly made tacos, and iced teas for only $5 a cup!
3. Visions and Voices Performances
Student performances, dances, talks, and shows are held here throughout the year, and tickets can even be free if you’re in a Kaufman class. Also, you may catch a glimpse of Viola Davis and the cast of HTGAWM on the days that they film here!
4. Comedus Interuptus on Trousdale
Comedus Interuptus performs on Trousdale Friday afternoons, and their improv skits, jokes, and songs are sure to make you laugh!
5. Ground Zero
If you don’t know about this, broke or not, you are missing out on some serious laughs! Multiple nights a week, Ground Zero features ‘SCs most talented students on comedy nights, open mic nights and improve night. It’s literally right on campus and won’t cost you more than a laugh-induced cry. Head over to GZ and check out their late-night schedule! Mouthwatering milkshakes and pastries for $5 or less, and comedy nights, concerts, and open mics too? Count me in!
6. Engemann Health Center
Check out the third floor for yoga and meditation classes, the chance to chat with a friendly face, or stop by Pause-for-Paws and play with a furry friend to destress, all at no cost to you!
7. Work Out at the Lyon Center
Students get a free membership, so take advantage of the free facilities and equipment. Go alone, take a friend, and get your exercise on!
8. Movie Nights on Pardee Lawn
Outdoor seating, friends, fun and food? Check out these movie nights with your friends for a break from studying.
9. Musical Theater Repertory (MTR) Shows
Watch talented Trojans perform in shows such as Heathers: The Musical; Tick, Tick…BOOM!; and more! Tickets tend to be only $5-10 for students, and the experience is always incredible.
10. LA Times Festival of Books
Held in April, the Festival of Books is the place to be to meet your favorite authors and listen to speakers like Buzz Aldrin. Entrance is free and you can find free swag everywhere.
11. Eat at Armando’s Food Truck
Drool-worth burritos, tacos, and sandwiches for less than $10 and you can find them parked almost religiously on both McClintock/Jefferson and Hoover/Jefferson Mondays-Fridays.
12. Thrift Shop at Goodwill
Clothing, footwear, house ware, and more for cheap? Only a five minute walk away from campus, Goodwill is the place to loaf around and waste time. What could be better?
13. Party at The Row
Free booze, loud music, and dancing? Yes please!
14. Hike to Burn the Broke Blues
If you like to workout, love views, are trying to get into a new hobby, or just simply need something to get you out of your dorm room, apartment, or off campus, it’s time to take advantage of some of the best hiking destinations. Los Angeles is home to Runyon Canyon, the Griffith Park Trails, Eaton Canyon, and Franklin Canyon Park. Each is a variety of distances for all levels of hiking, and each has a unique view of location in LA.
15. Get Your Art On
Los Angeles is home to many of the most popular museums. The closest, and most popular are the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Broad, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The MOCA houses the art of our current time. It is free every Thursday from 5-8 PM. The Broad, one of LA’s newest museums, is home to postwar and contemporary art. It is always free to visit. LACMA, one of the biggest and most popular museums in the West United States, holds lots of historical art from ancient times to the present time. It is free the second Tuesday of every month, and ever weekday from 3 PM to closing time for residents of Los Angeles.
16. Hidden Gems of DTLA
DTLA is home to some beautiful places that most locals have seen, let alone heard of. Grand Park is between City Hall, and the Music Center. It is a great place to do homework, hang out with friends, have a picnic, and even to attend free events held for the community. The Bradbury Building, another hidden gem of DTLA, has been a famous architectural building for over one-hundred years. It is a National Historic Landmark, and is a great place to visit if you love the beauty of architecture. Finally, DTLA is home to The Last Bookstore. This is hands-down one of the coolest bookstores you’ll ever step into. You can spend hours in here looking at the different books, rooms, and creative decor of this bookstore.
17. Tourist-y Attractions in DTLA
Los Angeles is known to be a very tourist-y city. Olvera Street, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, DTLA Arts District, and the Fashion District are very popular locations to visit, but not to the average tourist. These locations are “hot spots” for locals. Olvera Street is a Mexican Marketplace, filled with Mexican-inspired decor, small cafes, vendors, shops, and restaurants. Just like Olvera Street, Chinatown and Little Tokyo are cultural locations inspired by the places they’re named after. The Arts District of Los Angeles is actually a nonprofit organization, but it’s also a location that houses lots of public art, murals, small businesses, lots of restaurants, cafes, and shops, and does in fact have lots of residential buildings. Lastly, the Fashion District is a great place to walk around if you are a fashionista, or are looking for a cheap location to purchase anything fashion-related. All of these places are really great locations to explore, without spending a dime!
18. Try Vegan on for Size
Who doesn’t love free food? And, its healthy!! Every Tuesday, Good Karma Cafe hosts a vegan lunch for any and everyone looking to try out some fresh, vegan meals! They have plenty of seating in a cute little courtyard that is prime location for a “catch-up with a friend” lunch for the health conscious. And for those of you who aren’t into a lifestyle change, that’s cool too–just be open to trying new things, and grab your free lunch!!
19. Hop on the Metro.
Scrounge up $1.75 and hop on the Metro this Saturday and take it into the center of everything-AKA Downtown LA! Once you get there, you won’t need to spend a dollar just exploring the diversity of the city. You could probably spend a week there and still not see everything! Bring a friend along and take turns taking Insta-worthy shots with the skyline.
20. Make a Lorenzo friend!
Well, have you seen the place? It has like 4 pools, a volleyball court, a 3 story gym, and a few sun-bathing decks. Need I say more? Plan: determine if you have friends that live at the Lorenzo and if not, networking is a Trojan’s middle name!! Now go–that tan is awaiting you!
What are your favorite things to do when you’re broke AF at USC? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured photo source: favim.com and dailytrojan.com
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.