I’ve lived in Westwood Village and attended UCLA for a year-and-a-half now. It’s safe to say that there are especially memorable parts of the neighborhood I live in. From UCLA traditions to Westwood's centrality, here are the essential ABCs of Westwood Village that are a huge part of the lives of the people that live here.
One wouldn't assume that housing plays as important of a part of the UCLA/Westwood Village experience, but really, this is the main reason why I love living here so much. Most students living near campus live in the apartments on the Hill next to campus.
I'm close to the Village and UCLA, seeing as a 10 minute walk gets me to either place!
2. Bruin and Fox Village Theatres
Our historic theatres are what make Westwood Village so different from other college towns. We can watch brand-new movies, right down the street from us. Our student discounts make going to the movies the best weekend activity.
3. Campus events
Seeing as campus is located right alongside the Westwood, those in the Village cannot avoid campus events. Especially when Homecoming Week starts and most businesses in Westwood are covered in BRUIN PRIDE! messages and stickers.
4. Diddy Riese
A tourism staple for the out-of-towners and a late-night necessity for sugar-driven college students, our ice-cream shop makes getting through the quarter that much easier.
Ice-cream sandwich or scoops, Diddy Riese always delivers.
5. Eight a.m.s
Nothing solidifies the reality of college than the stream of students walking out of their apartments and trekking through Westwood at 7:30 a.m. to get to their classes. A phenomenon I haven't experienced until this quarter, there is a strange camaraderie amongst students all sleepy getting in the Westwood shuttles in the early morn.
6. Fowler Museum
The Fowler is one of the most featured attractions of UCLA — and for a good reason. The Fowler Museum is a museum of global arts and cultures from several continents and countries.
A highly recommended exploration!
7. Geffen Playhouse
If we want to ever become cultured beyond the silver screen, the Geffen Playhouse is the site to see. Dramatic productions from top actors, producers, and directors from around Los Angeles are constantly running.
I have yet to visit, but it's definitely a goal of mine before graduating.
8. Hammer Museum
When admission is free and the whole museum is open to the public, there's no reason not to check out this contemporary art museum.
9. Improv Space
UCLA students alongside L.A. locals perform and learn more about improv in this rather hole-in-the-wall space. They also have stand-up events and classes to attend, so check this place out!
10. Just the right location
We're located in the heart of Westwood, but we tend to get everyone hanging out here from Holmby Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and even those far-away peeps from Santa Monica!
Looks like we got it right with location! location! location!
11. Kind and friendly
This may be a more personal experience, but I've always felt welcomed and been helped out either on campus or in the Village.
We have Powell Library and Charles E. Young Research Library, and really every other library in between. If you want to be educated or just find a quiet space to work, that's covered!
13. Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden
Take a walk on the wild side! Well, the botanical side, more accurately.
I've found wandering through the Botanical Gardens and finding a place to sit and write incredibly relaxing. There are even docent-led tours every first Saturday of every month at 1 p.m.
It's not that hard to feel a part of the community. Whether feeling the college town vibes in the apartments or the professional vibes of those who work in Wilshire or our medical buildings, we all have found the perfect way to co-exist.
15. Old meets new
Westwood has been the heart of UCLA since the start of the university — literally. The Village was built for UCLA and we have been residing side-by-side for almost a hundred years (that anniversary is approaching soon!) and the history is prominent.
Yeah, we get to boast about the fact that real-life Hollywood premieres take place at the Fox Theatres here in Westwood. Besides creating a moderately-debilitating traffic jam all around the Village, the premieres feature the coolest of the cool debuting their films right here!
17. Quintessential snack spots
We got Koala-T and Chipotle and Starbucks and BJ's. We have so much food and yummy treats in our reachable distance. It's a miracle we aren't eating outside every single day (although last quarter I got very close to that).
UCLA's neighborhood haunt and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night party-place! Regardless of whether or not you like going to bars, Rocco's is the place to be simply because they have some of the best fries on the planet!
19. Study spaces
Being a college town, one would assume that we have satisfactory study spaces on campus. But I especially love going to Tender Greens, Espresso Profeta, and Boba Loca.
20. Target and Trader Joe's
If you're ever in need of groceries, you'll probably find yourself on the east side of the Village at the Target-Trader Joe's-Ralph's nexus of food, drinks, and especially toilet paper. Here you can find UCLA students and Westwood residents alike on Sunday nights and Saturday mornings.
You can't avoid UCLA if you're in Westwood Village. Even though the towering turrets of Kerckhoff Hall, Royce or Powell Library cannot be seen, Ronald Reagan Medical makes for the first sight inside the boundaries of the UCLA signs.
Our nickname is "The Village." It's when we want to be cool and fresh.
23. Weekly farmer's market
Then again, what West L.A. city doesn't have a farmer's market? But really, we get the freshest produce and it's a nice way to get out and meet people from our neighborhood.
24. Xtremely late nights
Westwood Village is always on, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You will always find people milling about Westwood, especially after dinner or watching a movie.
25. Yelling at Midnight
At UCLA, we have the tradition of the Midnight Yell all throughout Finals Week. Yes, we literally yell as a student body, from all over Westwood, at midnight.
It's quite a thing to hear, especially when it vibrates throughout the neighborhood.
26. Zealous college students
UCLA college students in Westwood are inevitable. And we are loud. And proud. Especially after a college basketball game or on the weekends. And you know we're always having a good time!
I am privileged and so thankful to live in the neighborhood that I do, and I recognize that every day. From the people, I am able to surround myself with to the amenities I take for granted at times. I highly recommend that if you get the chance, visit Westwood. See what we're always raving about.