The itinerary: A quick guide to the hot spots in L.A.
UCLA is located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, but the Bruins have to travel all the way to Pasadena to play their home games at the historic Rose Bowl. That 25-mile journey can be brutal or a breeze -- it all depends on L.A. traffic.
Los Angeles is the second-biggest city in America and is filled to the brim with tourist attractions, great restaurants and celebrity sightings. But it’s also a true college town, highlighted by the fierce rivalry between UCLA and USC.
There are plenty of tourist traps to visit -- the Hollywood Sign is a lot smaller than you imagine, and that’s not the real Darth Vader on Hollywood Boulevard -- so to feel like a true Angeleno, make sure to go off the beaten path. Here are some of the best spots in L.A.
These guys are serious about craft beer. You can sample local beers brewed from Pasadena to San Diego, all while munching on Jidori hot wings, duck fat fries or the massive Beer Belly Grilled Cheese. They’ll also deep-fry Oreos, Twinkies and Pop Tarts, just in case you want your favorite childhood snacks made even tastier.
Just off UCLA’s campus is Fat Sal’s, a joint that is unapologetically unhealthy in a city known for vanity. Pretty much everything on the menu will make you fat, so why not try the Big Fat Fatty? That’s an unholy Frankenstein sandwich featuring cheesesteak, cheeseburgers, pastrami, chicken fingers, bacon, mozzarella sticks, fried eggs, jalapeno poppers, fries, onion rings, chili, marinara sauce and fat sauce. You’ve got 40 minutes to devour it, and a lifetime to regret it.
An old-school icon, open since 1961 and serving up the famous Zombie cocktail created by Don the Beachcomber, the father of the tiki bar. Order the Blood & Sand to get the whole bar chanting Toro! Toro! Toro!
This incredible museum has a world-class art collection and a world-class view. The Getty is actually two museums: one in downtown Los Angeles and one in oil billionaire J. Paul Getty’s former mansion in the Pacific Palisades. Make sure to check out the Getty villa. If the art inside the museum doesn’t thrill you, the view of the Pacific Ocean will.
In the heart of Griffith Park is the Griffith Observatory, built by Griffith J. Griffith in 1935. Griffith. Go see the state-of-the-art live shows to get a digital tour of the universe, or hike around the park for some of the most spectacular vistas in Southern California.
The boardwalk at Venice Beach will remind you that L.A. isn’t all cars and stars. Hit the skate park to watch kids ollie, or Muscle Beach to feel bad about your body. The endless parade of people is one of the best free attractions in the city.
With an arcade, an aquarium, a trapeze school, a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster, this is a perfect place for kids or adults who want to feel like kids.
The Universal Studios Theme Park offers rides, but the Warner Bros. tour lets you go behind the scenes on sets for “The Big Bang Theory” and features an exhibit celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman. How’s that for star power?
Stars: They’re just like us! They shop at malls and film reality shows and E! News segments in front of hundreds of gawking tourists. If you’re sick of seeing stars on concrete and want to see them in the flesh, this may be the best place for a celeb sighting in the wild.
The comedy venue founded by Amy Poehler & Co. is the best place for improv and sketch comedy in the city, and it’s the best spot to see your favorite TV and film funny folks perform live. If you’re more of a standup comedy fan, the legendary Laugh Factory is the home club for mega standup stars like Dane Cook, Adam Carolla and Daniel Tosh.