Los Angeles Guide
Los Angeles is an international destination city that is a hub of creativity in the arts and business. It is filled with vibrant neighborhoods and ethnic communities—Chinatown, Koreatown and Little India among them--where you can hear sounds and taste food from around the world. In summer, there are outdoor concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theater. Many activities are free, including stargazing at the Griffith Observatory, hipster watching in Silver Lake and outings to the mountains and beaches.
The following are a few useful websites for general information on Los Angeles and UCLA:
happenings.ucla.edu (UCLA’s Calendar of Events)
www.lacvb.com (L.A. County Visitor’s Bureau homepage)
www.ci.la.ca.us (Official L.A. city page, includes tourist information)
losangeles.citysearch.com (L.A. city guide with reviews)
Located just south of campus, Westwood Village is designed around student tastes and needs. It has three major grocery stores and dozens of restaurants and cafes. Among its movie theaters is the Mann Village Theatre, which hosts frequent movie premieres. The Geffen Playhouse puts on plays that are as inventive as they are star-studded. UCLA’s own Hammer Museum showcases art and inventive programming. Not far from the village—just a few minutes by bus on the other side of the 405 Freeway--is the Getty Center.
What was once a sleepy beach town is now a vibrant city between UCLA and the coast. In addition to Santa Monica’s beaches and the famed Santa Monica Pier, you can stroll Main Street, lined with shops and art galleries, or the Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian district with restaurants, more than 200 shops, a farmers’ market, and street performers.
Just a couple of miles from UCLA you’ll find Beverly Hills and its famed Rodeo Drive. The city is home to tree-lined boulevards, carefully-kept mansions and highest-end retailers. If shopping and locating star homes isn’t your thing, you can take in a screening at the Museum of Television and Radio.
The developer Abbot Kinney was inspired by New York’s Coney Island when he designed Venice, California as a beach resort, complete with a casino, a saltwater pool, and a pier full of restaurants and other amusements. He dug huge canals to imitate the Italian city and built a beachfront boardwalk (home to Muscle Beach and some of the most colorful characters in town). Venice remains a great place for playing and people watching; the restaurants that line Abbot Kinney Boulevard are among the best in the area.
Downtown LA has emerged as a hub of LA nightlife, with scores of new clubs, restaurants and arts events making names for themselves. The south end of Downtown is anchored by LA Live, the Nokia Theatre (home to the Grammys) and Staples Center (home to the Lakers and Clippers). On the north end you’ll find the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall (home to the LA Phil), MOCA, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (home to the LA Opera), and the Ahmanson and Taper theaters. Nearby are such architectural classics as the Bradbury Building, City Hall, and Union Station. Two new architectural standouts—the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the School of Visual and Performing Arts—face each from either side of Highway 101.
Taco trucks have always been a staple in Los Angeles, but when Kogi BBQ opened its first window (in November 2008) to serve chef-designed fusion Korean-Mexican tacos and used Twitter to announce its locations, a movement was born. Today, designer food trucks are everywhere in LA (including on the UCLA campus) and you can enjoy dosas, banh-mi, Chinese-Mexican fusion tamales, deluxe cupcakes, vegan fare and scores of other tastes. For food truck locations and tweets, visit www.foodtrucksmap.com.
Disneyland—Walt Disney’s original theme park in nearby Anaheim—is a favorite destination of students and winning sports teams. The residential halls organize visits to Disneyland for students in the summer.
When you are at UCLA, you don’t have far to go to explore rest of California. To the east is the desert, with Palm Springs and its retro vibe, and the climbing rocks of Joshua Tree National Park. To the south, the surfing beaches of Orange and San Diego counties unfold one after another. Drive north on coast-hugging Highway 1 for unforgettable ocean views, lunch in Santa Barbara and tour Hearst Castle. Farther north, you can explore the streets and bridges of San Francisco, the Napa Valley vineyards and breathtaking Yosemite National Park.