Filed under Diversions, Showcase

Surviving the Semester

Long Beach offers a variety of places and activities that help repel school-induced stress.

Surviving the Semester

Fingerprints record store is a local spot to buy and listen to awesome tunes.

The diversions team has compiled some of its favorite ways of staying cool under pressure, all the while enjoying what the City of Long Beach has to offer.

Dancing
There’s nothing like holding hands and locking eyes with a complete stranger while loud music plays in the background. You have to press your bodies together, following your partner’s subtle signals, letting the rhythm pulse through your bodies.

Surrendering to music relieves stress like no other. There are venues all over Long Beach that offer dance classes and social dance for cheap, like Breezy Knees and The Atomic Ballroom for swing, PCH club and Café Sevilla for salsa. Most of these places have cover charges at less than $20, and instead of getting a sweaty, overcrowded clubbing environment, you get an instructional class or two followed by an opportunity to social dance with your new acquaintances.

On campus there are noncompetitive dance clubs for styles from all over the world, like Filipino, African, Latin, Bollywood, Belly and Social for a little bit of everything. Check out Week of Welcome during the second week of the semester to become acquainted with more than 350 clubs and organizations that can take your mind off stuffy classrooms and piles of homework, or enroll in a one or two-unit dance class and dance  for your grade.

Fantastic Café
After a night out, it is easy to oversleep and miss dining hall breakfast, or 5 a.m. may come before sleep does. Never fear, there’s a better option.

Fantastic Café ­­­— located within walking distance on Studebaker Boulevard and Anaheim Road and open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. — is a much better alternative when it comes to curing that hangover. The reasonably priced diner offers a wide variety of breakfast foods: some favorable mentions include an assortment of breakfast burritos, chicken fried steak and eggs, pancake dishes and more.

The lunch menu ranges from double cheeseburger combos to gyro sandwiches, to gigantic taco salads encased in a fresh tortilla-chip bowl. Add a creamy chocolate, vanilla or strawberry milkshake to top off that order, and don’t forget to grab a basket of complimentary chips and salsa while you wait for your food.

Yoga
Depending on the environment and level of difficulty, yoga can be found all throughout Long Beach. There are studios throughout the city, offering classes of all types: from challenging Hatha Yoga to simple stretching and breathing exercises, along with healing and meditation classes and partner yoga.

If you’d rather enjoy nature and save money, free yoga sessions are held at various locations in Long Beach throughout the week. In Belmont Shore, sessions are held at Mother’s Beach and advertised through Long Beach Meetup, and every day there’s free yoga on the bluffs off of Ocean Boulevard and Junipero Avenue led by a rotating yoga enthusiast or instructor from a local studio.

You can even throw an extra unit onto your schedule and take a yoga course in the Kinesiology department once a week.
It’s incredible how an hour of closing your eyes, moving slowly through poses and escaping inside the mind can clarify the physical world outside. When you’re done, you’ll want to hug  your neighbor, then get a kickstart on your homework.

Fingerprints
Let’s face it, college can be stressful. With new people and a new city, there’s a lot to learn in these first few weeks. Perhaps the best place to check out in Long Beach is Fingerprints record store, located in the eclectic East Village Arts District at 420 E. Fourth Street, where you can shop away your stress and jam to awesome music.

Fingerprints offers everything in terms of music: a large selection of vinyl records, CDs and cassettes — including some rare bootlegs — in a plethora of genres.

Fingerprints also plays host to many in-store performances throughout the year, providing an intimate venue where well-known artists like Jimmy Eat World and Best Coast as well as today’s up-and-comers perform. Admission varies depending on the performer, and sometimes you have to line up early to snag a spot.

The store doesn’t only hold in-store concerts, but it is also great for purchasing tickets to concerts, music festivals and local events within the area, such as the annual Long Beach Zombie Walk.

Music and caffeine
It’s not college without a study night at a Long Beach coffee shop, and it’s hardly a Long Beach coffee shop without regular open-mic nights and guest performances.

Escape from the campus library or your dorm room and study at one of the aesthetically pleasing, deliciously smelling cafés just a short drive away from campus.

These spots are a great way to enjoy and discover diverse sounds from Long Beach’s array of talented artists. Considering that Long Beach is home to Sublime and the Cold War Kids, these open-mic nights are worth checking out.

The Library Coffee House on Broadway Avenue is a homey coffee shop with dollar drip coffee, comfy chairs and couches and community bookshelves. A piano is nestled in the corner where guest performers often play background music, sometimes accompanied by percussionists or guitarists.

Portfolio Coffeehouse is an artsy spot on Fourth Street, which offers healthy meals and a colorful variety of beverages, including hemp milk, and many vegan options along with open-mic nights every Wednesday from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Viento y Agua Coffeehouse is a local favorite with artwork covering the walls and a Latino-inspired menu and aura. Belly dancers, actors and local bands are invited to perform in addition to Thursday’s regular open-mic night. Sip on a Mexican Mocha while studying or enjoying the show, and you’ll surely stay wired into the morning.

diPiazza’s Restaurant and Lounge
If you live in Beachside College, there’s no reason not to check out the family-run restaurant and venue.

Located on Pacific Coast Highway, the restaurant offers tasty Italian cuisine, occasional quiz nights and live music. While local musicians and bands  usually perform, don’t be surprised to find the occasional well-known rock stars  performing to an intimate crowd, such as Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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