As summer winds down, back to school season is upon us. For many of us, this means heading back to our college towns. This year is particularly special as we’ve all been away from our campuses for so long. Now, we’ll get the opportunity to explore the areas around our schools and have super fun day trips. If you’re heading to school this fall in Los Angeles— at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Southern California (USC), or Loyola Marymount University (LMU)—there are so many places to discover within the city of angels. Whether you’re an incoming freshman, a sophomore who has never been to campus, or upperclassmen looking for new spots, Limon has you covered with the best back-to-school recommendations.
The UCLA campus is practically a city all of its own, as it sprawls through all of Westwood. However, there are still so many fun places to check out off-campus for students. If you’re a Bruin, don’t miss these spots.
Part of the draw of going to school in Los Angeles is the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. This is especially true of UCLA, as it neighbors Hollywood. However, you don’t even have to travel outside of Westwood to experience this. All you have to do is head to the Regency Village Theatre, a hub for movie premiers. You can even see red carpet arrivals! This is the perfect spot for the quintessential L.A. experience.
Although still technically a part of UCLA’s campus, the Mildred Mathias Botanical Garden is an oasis in Westwood. It is a 7.5-acre garden, open to the public, in which you can explore the beautiful and diverse flora and fauna. If you’re looking to escape the stress of school, stroll through the gardens and forget your worries.
Another classic Westwood joint, Diddy Riese, is a cookie and ice cream shop with probably the most affordable prices in Los Angeles. For just 50 cents a cookie, and $3.50 for an ice cream sandwich, Diddy Riese is the perfect spot for a satisfying dessert on a college student budget. Treat yourself after a long study session to some of this deliciousness.
Located in the heart of Los Angeles, there are countless things to do around the USC campus. There’s a lively nightlife scene and great museums and parks if you’re looking for a quieter getaway. At USC, you’ll likely never be bored.
Surrounding Staples Center is a famous district known as L.A. Live. It has several fun things to do in a short distance, including live music and sports, nightclubs, a bowling alley, restaurants, movie theatres, and more. You can also check out the Grammy Museum! Throughout the year at L.A. Live, there are countless events that you won’t want to miss out on.
Right next to campus, you’ll be sure to spend plenty of time at Exposition Park during your time at USC. Grab your study materials and sit outside, soaking up the sun and new knowledge! Trojans are also lucky in that some of the best museums are within walking distance of campus. Make sure you hit the Natural History Museum, the California Science Center, and the California African American Museum.
If you’re looking to hang with other USC students, 901 is the best place to go. You can catch Trojan football games here and be sure to cheer on the team with others in the USC community. It’s rowdy but an excellent college bar experience. The 2-for-1 happy hour drinks don’t hurt either! The 2-for-1 happy hour drinks don’t hurt either!
The hidden gem of Los Angeles colleges, LMU is located on the West side, near the ocean. It’s tucked away on a bluff, in the largely quiet Westchester neighborhood. However, the surrounding areas are bustling with places for Lions to explore.
Although not the best beach to lay out on or swim at, Dockweiler is special for one main reason: bonfires. Not all California beaches allow bonfires, but there are fire pits stretched along Dockweiler where you can set a fire up. This is the perfect beach to grab some friends, wood, s’mores, and enjoy a warm California night.
Every Saturday from 9 A.M. to 2 P.M. Playa Vista, a cute neighborhood right by LMU, hosts a spirited farmers market. You can find fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious cheeses, handcrafted jewelry, and much more. There’s also food made right there, including avocado toast that is seriously to die for. As you shop, performers entertain with live music. This is a great way to engage with the community around LMU!
An old-school style pub, Brennan’s is always full of LMU students. It has a huge outdoor area, perfect for avoiding a packed inside bar or club, and you can play fun games like cornhole. What makes Brennan’s stick out amongst the rest of the West side bars is its turtle races. Home to this ridiculous sport for 45 years, the turtle races always bring in a crowd, and it’s a blast to bet on your favorite turtle. And don’t worry, the turtles are kept safe and happy! If you’re a Lion, you can’t miss out on this tradition.
Photo by @stefanie_issa on Instagram