When it comes to hitting the town, college kids have it best and worst. While they're the ones who likely have the time to take advantage of all the cultural activities and attractions that Los Angeles has to offer, budget-impaired students are the least likely to have the financial aid necessary to take part.
But those relegated to a life of macaroni and cheese and canned beans don't have to let studying be the only way to pass the time. With a flash of a student ID, the world of discounts opens up to college students.
College newspapers are filled with advertisements for places where students showing valid ID can save money. Many dry cleaners, hair salons and Chinese places offer 10% to 15% discounts, and pizza parlors do two-for-one slices if you can prove you're a college coed.
Stores and eateries in Westwood Village near UCLA and University Village near USC clamor for student business, along with many other places.
But the bargains can be found beyond college areas.
Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain offer specials at various campuses and just about every movie theater chain in town offers students a savings of $1 to $3. Numerous restaurants, museums and nightclubs offer the same--all you have to do is ask.
"The movies is probably where we use our IDs more than any place else," said Brent Boschetti, an English major at Loyola Mary- mount University. "But if you just say you're a student, people will usually give you discounts for things."
Here are more places where students can receive a discount by simply showing their college ID:
While the Getty Center is free for everyone, college students can get extra savings at a handful of museums across the city: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art offers something for everyone--art exhibitions, films and lectures--while giving a $2 savings on the $7 general admission price with a valid student ID. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire district. (213) 857-6000.
Museum of Contemporary Art features the kind of bold artwork that might especially appeal to college students. Though Thursday nights are open to the public for free from 5 to 8 p.m., college students can save $2 on the $6 admission all other times with a valid ID. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles. (213) 621-2766.
Petersen's Automotive Museum pays tribute to Southern California's car culture, the world of the automobile and tips its hat to college students by giving them a $2 discount off the $7 admission price with a valid ID. 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 930-2277.
Everyone gets into the California Science Center--formerly the Museum of Science and Industry--for free, but students save $1.75 on admission to the Imax 3-D and 2-D films (normally $7.25 and $6.25) with a valid ID. 700 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles. (213) 744-2019.
"College students see a lot of movies because the discount is $2 or $3, and that makes a big difference," said Jeremy Wildman, a senior majoring in political science at UCLA. "But there are a lot of other places that will give us discounts."
Indeed, numerous nightclubs and restaurants in L.A. rely on the college crowd to pack the place, especially on weeknights when crowds tend to be thin. As a result they make it easier for their biggest fans to get in the doors.
Malibu Inn Restaurant is home to the Pepperdine set. Its students come to this surf hangout Tuesday through Sunday to see the live bands or hear a deejay. They're offered an extra incentive to come hang with the 15% student discount they receive on food, drinks and merchandise. 22969 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. (310) 456-6106. 18 and over Thursday; 21 on all other days. Cover varies. Full menu.
For more than a decade, Harvelle's, a small blues club in Santa Monica, has been the preferred spot on the Westside for blues fans. Live music gets going at 8:30 sharp every night of the week, and college students 21 and over get in free Sunday through Thursday. 1432 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 395-1676.
For 10 years, Comedy Sportz--a tag-team improv troupe--has been playing to its audiences by taking their suggestions for improv routines and playing them out like a game. The comics wear sports uniforms and play on Astroturf. They get points for being funny and fouls for going nowhere. Tickets are $10 but a college ID and a reservation will save you $1. Tamarind Theater, 5919 Franklin Ave., Hollywood. (213) 650-8509. All ages.
At Cyber Java, the first online cafe in Los Angeles, laptop junkies link up, Internet illiterates learn to surf and computer communicators send off e-mail while downing latte with almond biscotti. College students with ID get 5% off all services, such as Internet linkups and faxing, along with a cost savings on their java. 1029 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 581-1300.
College students seeking a nightclub that caters to gay collegiates can head to Micky's on Tuesday nights where it's $2 to get in with an ID before 10 p.m. The happening dance club is typically 21-plus, but on Tuesday nights the minimum age is 18. 8857 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 657-1176. Cover varies.
Axis, another gay nightclub in West Hollywood, reaches out to the college crowd on Thursday nights with Club Varsity. Deejay Paul E spins an eclectic set of tunes, and the door is open to folks 18 and over. 652 N. La Peer Drive, West Hollywood. (310) 659-0471. Cover: $6 for 21 and over; $8 for 18-20.
901 Club is a popular off-campus spot for the USC crowd because it has burgers and beer. It also features live music or a deejay various nights of the week and weekly food and drink specials for students who flash their ID. 2902 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. (213) 749-0865. 21 and over. Cover varies.