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How to have fun spending a holiday by yourself in LA

This is Santa Monica Beach. It looks like this in August, December, March—oh, and all those other months too.
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman This is Santa Monica Beach. It looks like this in August, December, March—oh, and all those other months too.

Even though I looked a lot like McCaulay Culkin growing up, I haven't spent many holidays away from family since moving to LA in 2008. Typically, this is the time of year where I spend way too much money buying a plane ticket to fly back home to Florida for present exchanges and another intense, sometimes humid round of mini-golf with the family (you should see how frizzy my hair gets, ladies). But circumstances dictated - I blew all my cash placing over-under bets on Lakers' games, and now, I'm here in LA for Christmas. So, how do I, or anyone for that matter, make the most of it? Here's a list of the fun things to do in LA when it isn't so LA.

 1. Go bowling - down the 405. Seriously, traffic on the 405 is similar to 'Carmaggedon' 405 traffic...there isn't any. So, drive up to the peak of the 405 hill near where it meets the 101, nudge a bowling ball and let gravity do its thing until it reaches Van Nuys.

2. Just drive. Like I mentioned, the 405 is empty, and so is every artery in this town. Gas prices are under three bucks, so just fill up and get lost. But not too lost. Remember, it's still LA and the show COPS started here.

3. Continuing on the driving thing...if you are going to get lost, go north, or south or east. Probably not west, though. It's all water. Seriously, if you haven't explored this state, Rob Lowe isn't lying in his "Visit California" commercial. My recommendation is north to the central coast. No houses within viewing distance of the PCH for a long stretch through Big Sur, and the landscape as you wrap around the mountains and peer over the ocean is like Malibu on steroids.

4. But you're not going to get lost and you're staying in town, so instead, take a hike. Enjoy Runyon Canyon without navigating around it like you're at a crowded shopping mall in the heartland. Quick fact: there are actually more high heels at Runyon than at a mall in Omaha. You can also visit Topanga Canyon. It's like Malibu on LSD.

5. This is not specific to LA, but go watch an afternoon matinee. I recommend The Interview.

6. Go help out the homeless. If you're not sure where to find the homeless, just visit Santa Monica.

7. Speaking of the beach...if you happen to be there, go for a swim in the ocean. It should be pretty deserted, so feel free to go skinny dipping or throw on your wet suit. Just try to stay afloat...there won't be many folks around to save you.

8. Go visit downtown. You can take a skate around the ice rink at LA Live, grab a drink at a cool restaurant or bar downtown and this year, the Clippers are playing the red hot Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center. The Clippers are like the Lakers, except better.

9. Just enjoy not being around people (or as many people). In all seriousness, LA is a pretty amazing place. That's a big part of the reason we're here in the first place. There are tons of opportunity, the best weather in the world, diversity in people and scenery and yes, Malibu not under the influence. So take it easy, go explore and embrace the calm of an LA holiday.

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