A beginner’s guide to discovering Los Angeles

Shideh Ghadeharizadeh | Daily Trojan

Los Angeles is a city like no other — it exists at the intersection of entertainment and culture.

A melting pot of diverse histories and identities, the City of Angels was practically built for exploration. Walking a few blocks through any given neighborhood will lead explorers to a completely different locale with new atmospheres and flairs.

Conveniently located in the heart of L.A., USC allows students the flexibility to explore many diverse communities beyond the red-brick walls of its campus.

Here are several ways to make the most of your time while working, playing and, most importantly, exploring in the City of Angels.



For a nearby hangout destination, try Study Hall, a pub-style eatery located on the corner of 29th and Hoover streets.  About a 10-minute walk from campus, Study Hall offers a variety of fan-favorite entrees like Margherita flatbreads, chicken pesto sandwiches and chili cheese fries. With a relaxing ambiance and friendly service, Study Hall is the ideal after-class spot.

For all-you-can-eat Korean barbeque, venture out to Bulgogi Hut in Koreatown to fill up. With a variety of options like its signature bulgogi, black angus beef brisket and bacon- wrapped rice cake, this affordable restaurant is sure to be a frequented joint.

For lazy days, pay a visit to a coffee shop in the Arts District like the tried-and-true Blue Bottle, which offers richly roasted coffee and warm pastries in a hip environment. Perfect for studying or catching up with a friend, Blue Bottle has a setting to suit everyone’s espresso needs.



If Downtown traffic begins to feel stifling, step outside the urban jungle and experience some of L.A.’s finest getaways. Take the Expo line to Santa Monica and soak up some Southern California sunshine. From renting Bird scooters to riding a Ferris wheel overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the beachside streets of Santa Monica have it all.

If you’re looking to explore the outdoors, hike along the Mt. Hollywood Trail and make your way to the iconic Hollywood sign. At 6.5 miles, the trail is suitable for beginners or those looking for a relatively easy hike. Be sure to carry water and dress accordingly.  

If rugged trails and loading up  on SPF don’t sound alluring, take a walk to Exposition Park, located right across the street from campus. Explore the rose garden or visit the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and  marvel at the dinosaur bones between classes. With blooms of many different colors and a scenic fountain at its heart, the rose garden provides the perfect mini-getaway for a date or staycation.



The Broad is a contemporary art museum located in downtown L.A. with free admission. Peruse the two-floored gallery and be sure to reserve tickets for Yayoi Kusama’s famous and Instagram-worthy “Infinity Mirrored Room.”

Home to multiple sports teams, and host to countless live artists, the Staples Center is the perfect place to watch dynamic sporting events or attend a live concert. Get tickets for popular performers or even attend a convention centered around a particular interest.

End the night by trekking to Griffith Observatory for stargazing and astronomical exhibits. The observatory offers gorgeous views of the city and an opportunity to re-enact a scene or two from “La La Land.” The Griffith Observatory also hosts “star parties” once a month where visitors can try out equipment and talk to knowledgable astronomers.



If you’re looking to sate your appetite for comedy or see one of your favorite artists perform, few cities compare to Los Angeles. The city is widely synonymous with the entertainment industry, and there is no shortage of opportunities to entertain oneself.

For music fans, catch a show on at one of the city’s numerous locales. Explore more divey venues — like West Hollywood’s Roxy Theatre or Echo Park’s Echoplex — to more storied locations, such as the famous Hollywood Bowl or USC-adjacent Shrine Auditorium.

Enjoy an old cult-classic at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre. This legendary theatre was built in 1922 and is renowned for its old Hollywood style. It frequently screens independent films and documentaries. Another theatre that boasts the classic Spanish Colonial style is Disney’s El Capitan Theater, which screens previous as well as current Disney films which are often accompanied by performances. The theater’s convenient location on Hollywood Boulevard makes it ideal for a night out, which can end with star-spotting on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Whether you’re grabbing lunch at a local eatery with friends or enjoying the outdoors, Los Angeles is the place to be. Make the most of your time in L.A. by exploring everything the city has to offer.