LA gets a bad rep at Penn. East coasters love to bash on my city. But I think LA deserves a fighting chance. Once you step into this town, I promise it will begin to change your mind. It has the beach, the mountains, and the city all in one convenient place. It’s the largest home to the entertainment industry in the world. And to top it all off, everyone is happy all the time because of the good weather. It’s all about that vitamin D. If you—like many other Penn students—are here this summer, consider yourself lucky. Here are 5 of the best things to do in LA over the summer.

Drive down PCH: Okay, I know this is cliche, but hear me out. There is truly no greater feeling than blasting music while driving down California’s scenic Pacific Coast Highway, which runs up and down the coastline of the entire state. It can take you to some pretty cool places if you let it, or you can just enjoy the journey. 

Photo by JCS via Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Go to the beach in Malibu: Whatever you think about LA, it's hard to argue that the city does have some of the prettiest beaches in the world. Most tourists flock to Santa Monica, which has its perks, but if you want the best beaches for swimming, surfing, and relaxing, go to Malibu. They’re way less tourist-filled, meaning you can pretend you’re just the average local.

CC0 Public Domain via Flickr

Hike to the Hollywood Sign: The Hollywood Sign may be LA’s most iconic view, and thankfully it’s pretty easy to get to. While you can’t sit on the sign like you see in movies, you can get pretty darn close on the Mt. Hollywood trail. Also, it’s obviously a great Instagram opportunity. 

Check out the museums: If you need a break from the outdoor lifestyle, LA’s got you. The city is home to some pretty amazing museums. My personal favorites are The Getty, LACMA, and The Broad. You can even make a day out of it and picnic on some of the museum’s lawns, like at Griffith Observatory, which gives you a panoramic view of the city.

Photo by happikoala via Flickr // CC0 Public Domain

Don’t be afraid to be a tourist: Even though being touristy is usually derided as the worst thing you can do, I actually recommend it in LA. I will openly admit that I have a soft spot for walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, shopping on Rodeo Drive, and wandering around Disneyland. These places are tourist traps for a reason—they’re actually a lot of fun.

Photo by Camera Sony Nex-3n via Max Pixel // CC0 Public Domain