Exploring California!

Even with Marriott’s awesome office environment, having a work-life balance is still very important. To me, maintaining that balance means pursuing my interests outside of work. This includes working out, spending time on the beach, and traveling. Traveling has been one of the best parts of  my internship. I truly did not realize just how much there was to do in California (let alone how big the state is) until being here. There are still so many places I have not been, and I have lived here the entire summer! It is good to get to know the area you are interning in because it will help you to realize if you will enjoy the environment if a long-term opportunity presents itself. As I have learned from being here, there’s a reason people say “West Coast Best Coast.” If you are ever hoping to visit the bear flag state, here are some suggestions of my favorite things to do!

Orange County (OC)

My coworker and I spending the day at California Adventure Park

Even in Orange County, there is still a ton to do outside of shopping at high-end malls or dreaming of driving the Tesla you see next to you on the 405. The area is known for its great beaches and surfing. For these activities, I  recommend Newport Beach and Laguna Niguel. Visiting the original Disney park is an essential thing to do as well! You can easily spend two days at Disney since there are two awesome parks located right next to each other. At California Adventure Park, you can ride the iconic Mickey Mouse ferris wheel or take a stroll along Pixar Pier.
At Disneyland, you can experience classic rides such as It’s a Small World!, Space Mountain, and Haunted Mansion. After a long day there, you can watch the beautiful fireworks display over the Disney castle while eating a dole whip or churro, as the locals do.

The original Disney castle is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but still such an icon.
Every sunset is different and somehow gets more beautiful! This is near where I live at Newport Beach, CA.






San Francisco (SF)

Dim sum aka dumplings

The “City by the Bay” has a tremendous amount of things to do as well! If you have never been there you have to check out what the city is known for by eating some amazing dim sum in Chinatown, seeing the seals at Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, enjoying an authentic piece of Ghirardelli chocolate made in SF, getting spooky at Alcatraz, driving on Lombard Street, observing Painted Ladies (for any Full House fans out there), and of course, traversing the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge. Since it is costly to cross it via car, I recommend biking across for a really cool experience with much less traffic. If you have already visited this city, there is still a plethora of things to do! Northern California is known for its vineyards (Napa is not too far from SF) and colossal redwood trees (which can be seen at Muir Woods, a park not too far from the city). If you are looking for a fun, photographic, and tasty experience, visit the Museum of Ice Cream where you get some ice cream related item in every exhibit! They even have a sprinkle pool (seen on the right). Lastly, when in San Francisco, I would recommend trying some soup in a sour-dough bread bowl made at Boudin, which originated there.

Los Angeles

A view of LA and behind the Hollywood sign from my hike there.

Being only 40 minutes away from the 2nd largest city in the US, I frequented LA a lot and still was not able to do it all. My favorite part of LA was all of the hiking opportunities. There are various hikes near the Hollywood sign as well as Runyon Canyon, which provide an excellent view of the city. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen since it is very dry with minimal shade. Griffith Observatory also has plenty of hiking nearby and a great view of the city. An alternative to hiking would be to walk around Beverly Hills or the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see all of your favorite celebrity stars as well as the TCL Chinese Theatre. If you are hoping to enjoy some air conditioning and fine art on a hot day, I advise going to the Getty Museum, the Getty Villa, the Broad (for modern art), as well as the LACMA. Great food can be found at the Grove or Grand Central Market (which is featured in the movie  La La Land along with Griffith and Angels Flight). Across the street from the market is the architecturally famous Bradbury building, the Last Book Store (a buy/sell used-book store with awesome installations), as well as Angel’s Flight (the world’s shortest railway). Lastly, if you just want to relax on the beach there are still plenty of those around, just a short drive away on Pacific Coast Highway. These beaches include Santa Monica (and the recognizable pier), Malibu, and Venice Beach.


San Diego and Mexico

Views from the splash zone of the dolphin show at SeaWorld.
The sign at the entrance of Tijuana (also known as TJ).

An hour or two south of where I reside in Newport Beach is San Diego. Similar to the rest of these cities mentioned, there is a lot to do here as well! One of my favorite places I have been during this internship was SeaWorld. There is just something magnificent about seeing a 2 ton whale do flips! SeaWorld also has some great rides too and many other kinds of animals to observe. San Diego has a lot of Navy influence as well, so there are plenty of naval ships to see on display. For a chill beach day, you can check out Coronado Island and the famous hotel there featured in the movie Some Like It Hot. If you would like to walk around and see some neat architecture, Balboa Park is also the place for you. A good place for restaurants and drinks is anywhere in the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy. And lastly, I recommend to check out Tijuana, Mexico if you are in the area. It is within 30 minutes of San Diego but has so much to offer in terms of culture and authentic Mexican food. It’s also a good way to practice your Spanish:).

In general, there are still so many things in California to do, especially in “SoCal.” The food there is something else, ranging from In-N-Out burgers to the best and freshest fish you will have. Go out of your comfort zone and try poke, I guarantee you will enjoy it! California is definitely a place worth visiting. I am so grateful for my internship that has given me the opportunity to see what life is like on this side of the US!

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