Living In SoCal

Los Angeles is a lot more than Hollywood. The city is among the world’s most eclectic and diverse, with a mind-blowingly offbeat spirit. L.A. and its Southern California surroundings offer every landscape and more cultures, languages, cuisines and ways to live and think than you can imagine. It is sun, surf and tacos. But even more, it’s open minds and fearless moves. LA is a home where your creative mind will thrive.

Get Up and Go

    California African American Museum

    CAAM, one of several museums located in Exposition Park, a block from campus, displays some 5,000 objects that span landscape painting and portraiture, modern and contemporary art, historical objects and print materials, and mixed-media artworks to tell a vivid story of the African American.

    Pink’s Hot Dogs

    Stuffing buns on the corner of Melrose and North La Brea since 1939, Hollywood’s iconic Pink’s is a go-to. Go for the original Chili Cheese Dog and the classic roadside architecture.

    Bunker Hill

    Downtown, Bunker Hill’s visual and performing arts institutions–housed in architectural gems–include MOCA, The Broad Museum, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles County Performing Arts Center, REDCAT and more.

    Griffith Observatory

    Perched on a hilltop high above Los Angeles sits the 1935 city observatory where James Dean shot scenes of Rebel Without a Cause. Take in the views and a space show.

    Santa Monica Beach

    A short Metro ride west of Downtown, this world-famous 3.5-mile, extra-wide strip of sand and shoreline has surfing, biking and stunning sunsets. Ride the Santa Monica Pier solar-powered Ferris wheel!

    Grand Central Market

    Opened as the Wonder Market in a downtown Beaux Arts building more than a century ago, this food extravaganza offers every eat imaginable, from wood-fired pizza to Chinese-American chop suey and Salvadorean pupusas.

    Exposition Park

    Across the street from USCs campus sits Exposition Park, where lush green spots provide lounging space between cultural gems like the California African American Museum, the California Science Center and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a visual storytelling treasury that will open in 2025. If you like football, the Trojans sprint the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s field many game days. The park’s LA Metro stop makes it a gateway to all of L.A.

    Land of Adventure

    L.A. is a sprawling city—with an abundance of nature. Hike four miles to the iconic Hollywood sign, stroll scenic paths or bike the waterfront. Surf ocean crests or rip down snowboard runs. Hungry? This is a foodie’s city. 


    Whether your goal is to reach the Hollywood sign, the historic observatory or the storied Wisdom Tree, Griffith Park’s 4300-plus acres have wilderness trails for you.


    A peddle along the LA River Path only gets better with a stop at the Spoke Cafe in Frogtown, a tiny, arty neighborhood named for its former abundance of amphibians. 


    Mellow swells and tales of famed ‘70s surfers like Miki Dora and Billy Al “Moondoggie” Bengston are good reasons to bring your board to Malibu’s Surfrider Beach.You can also capture photos among the tourists.

    Snowboard and Ski

    In winter, you can see the snowy peaks from downtown. Seventy miles away, Mountain High Resort boasts a terrain park. The resorts at Big Bear Mountain make you go a little further but  offer awesome runs for all levels.  

    Climb Secret Stairs

    LA County is a maze of secret staircases. Scale the Financial District’s graceful Bunker Hill Steps or the 369 Castellammare Stairs leading to a Pacific Palisades beach. 


    From Michelin-rated but affordable Holbox—located in the Mercado la Paloma just off campus—to Roy Choi’s Kogi food truck, in SoCal you can experience cuisines from around the world. 

    Getting Around

    Some say you can’t get anywhere without a car in L.A. Not so. You can ride the rails of the L.A. Metro to lots of essential sites, emissions-free. The Expo Line runs from East L.A., through Downtown and to Santa Monica; or from the Valleys south to Long Beach; connecting cool neighborhoods, centers of culture and art, beach and and adventurous food spots. You can board close to campus. For short trips, use two wheels; bike and scooter shares are easy to find.