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12 Popular Things To Do Near USC
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12 Popular Things To Do Near USC

Here are the 12 most popular things to do near the University of Southern California to enjoy your time there.

Natasha Kouyoumjian

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6 min read

October 20, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

Get ready to be swept away with a plethora of enticing things to do near USC – the University of Southern California. Embraced by LA’s vibrant energy, the area around USC offers a wide range of recreational activities making it the perfect place to have both academic and social experiences. Enjoy the perks of this destination ranging from cultural cuisines to arts, entertainment, and outdoor activities. Soak in the delightful adventures of this magnetic spot, offering the best of college life for students, as well as a fun educational getaway.

Must-Try Food Spots Near USC

The Grand Central Food Market is located in Downtown Los Angeles, an 8-minute drive from USC.

1. Grand Central Food Market

With its bright neon lights and bustling crowd, this is a must-see place for all gourmands walking around town looking for things to do near USC. On just a minute walk from the Bradbury Building on Broadway 317, a wide-ranging variety of food vendors stand at the Grand Central Market. Take in the tantalizing aroma of international cuisine as you pass by the Asian fusion Moon Rabbit, the Tex-Mex Villa Moreliana, and the freshly prepped seafood from the Broad Street Oyster Co. You can even pick up some Mexican dried goodies from Valeria’s quaint little shop, or some fresh produce from Torres. 

Pro tip: Go to the Grand Central Market when you and your friends can’t agree on what to eat - there’s something for everybody!

This world-famous hot dog stand was featured in many films, TV shows, as well as books.

2. Pink’s

This snack joint has been in business since 1939 and is one of LA’s treasures. We know what you’re thinking — how can a hot dog stand be so special? From the Giant 12-inch Jalapeño to the Jaws and Double Pastrami burgers, Pink's menu is a drool-worthy atmosphere portraying the essence of American cuisine. Located on Melrose Avenue, the stand has appeared in films, television shows, and even in books. For awesome things to do around USC, we know you’ll want to try a bite at this cool shop serving up to 50,000 pounds of hot dogs per year. Grab “The Ozzy Spicy” from the popular favorites section and savor the colorful flavors of the Spicy Polish dog, American cheese, grilled onions, and guacamole burst in your mouth. If you’re coming from USC, take Bus 200 and transfer to Bus 10 and savor the scrumptious buns.

Olvera Street is the oldest part of Downtown LA, where you can find all things Mexican.

3. Olvera Street

You’ll come for the street food and stay for the culture in this historic drag in LA. Serving the best of Mexican cuisine, this is the prime spot to enjoy authentic Latin-American traditional fusion. Enjoy  Museums, murals, outdoor cafes, traditional dancers, cute cultural trinket shops, and other attractions. Explore the fun-loving community and spend your sweet time discovering cool things to do near USC

For the Nightlife & Entertainment Buffs

Enjoy a wide shot of the Microsoft Theater, right next to what used to be the Nokia Plaza.

4. LA Live

Movies, the Staples Center, the Microsoft Theater, bowling, and the Grammy Museum. This list of attractions is just the tip of the iceberg for this fancy town. Stroll down the streets lined with ornate buildings, bask in the dazzling nighttime lights, and experience the true heart and essence of Los Angeles. Take a walk in this town of Lost Angels, which offers nothing less than a rich history and culture.

5. The Pantages Theater 

Located in the heart of Hollywood, experience a ravishing auditorium at this one-stage theater. For fun things to do near USC during your time there, catch a show at this historic entertainment venue that hosts only one show at a time.

For a Dose of Art and Culture

Enjoy the live entertainment in Downtown LA as it transforms into an open-air art gallery.

6. DTLA – Downtown Los Angeles 

Grab your art-loving friends and stroll through the storefront-turned-art galleries just minutes away from campus. Enjoy the DTLA Art Walk which is an assemblage of local art galleries, studios, and craftworks unveiling around you as you take a simple 2 min walk from “The Last Bookstore”. The fun things to do near USC are endless when you’re cherishing the work of local artists. Save your appetite for the food trucks offering the scent of cultures through a wide variety of cuisines. Relish this fun parade representing LA at its best, with a high dose of exposition to ethnic diversity, art, and culture.

Let the extravaganzas of the FIDM Museum traverse you to the heart of each Hollywood blockbuster movie.

7. FIDM Museum

Make sure to clear a day for a  visit to this eccentric exhibition on your wanderlust for things to do in USC Los Angeles. Exhibiting a range of real-life outfits worn by Hollywood’s most famed celebrities, the FIDM museum attracts a lot of traffic. Elaborate Rocketman outfits and things you never thought you’d ever see from up-close are waiting to be explored at this one-of-a-kind museum.

One of the best places to take photos in LA, the Los Angeles County Museum boasts the enchanting vibes perfect for a first date.

8. LACMA 

Remember that scene from that rom-com where Ashton Kutcher calls Natalie Portman a hamster and then they get kicked out? Yup, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is where that scene was shot. Otherwise known as LACMA – one of the national historic LA landmarks, the place is a hotspot where people come to take trendy photos for Instagram. With an amazing setting like the Urban Light exhibit, I’d post that shot straight to Instagram too. Be sure to browse through the ample art collection and take a stroll through the magical sculpture garden for a culture-rich thing to do near USC.

For Outdoorsy Folks

9. El Porto beach

There is an abundance of fun things to do near USC due to its prime location near the coast. The scenic LA drives, amazing hiking trails, and, of course, bustling streets of Hollywood are all recreational spots that put this town on the map and on everybody's screen. Hop on Bus 102 and transfer to the Beach Cities Transit 109 Southbound route and you’ll reach the sandy shores of this southern California beach town in no time.

Explore the home of the Trojans at the Galen Center, where the outdoor activities take a more competent athletic turn.

10. Galen Center

The Galen Center is a multi-functional stadium owned and operated by USC. After some help from the generous donors of the Trojan family, the Galen center opened its doors in 2006, becoming home to the basketball and volleyball teams of USC. Enjoy exploring every inch of the center as you’re pondering over things to do near the USC campus. Check out the Events section on the stadium’s official website to find out all about the upcoming concerts, marvelous performances, and dashing pageants.

For the Future Trojan 

11. Greek Row

 If you’re mulling over universities and visiting college towns to help make your decision, you definitely want to check out the USC fraternity and sorority housing neighborhood. Make the most of your trip by taking a walk down Greek Row where you’ll get a good taste of the university lifestyle, one that is all about thriving in the pursuit of belonging and community. Enjoy the simple things to do near USC, while taking in the essence of what university life can offer you.

12. USC Village

For the future Trojan who is searching for reasons to apply, USC Village will be your home away from home for the coming years. Spanning 2.40 acres, this village-like center has everything a visitor or a community needs. Shop in popular chains and local boutiques, dine in the eatery serving your favorite cuisine and embrace the fitness classes that will challenge you to a superior experience. 

Take on the craziness of Los Angeles’ creative vibes, as you plunge into an academic experience in the presence of leading-edge professors and a candid community. Check out the departments, tour the dynamic campus, and make the most of your time at the beautiful University of Southern California.

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