Feb 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm #1299468
I am heading to LA next week. My son has an interview for a scholarship at USC and I get to go with him. Being from Kentucky, I feel a bit like I'm in the theme song for "the Beverly Hillbillies". Regardless, I will have a little time on my own as he is spending the night and a day on campus without me. I know there's a lot of southern Californians here. I'm hoping to get some advice on day hikes or other things to do in the area. Any advice is appreciated.Feb 19, 2013 at 5:55 pm #1956183
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Hiking Griffith Park / Hollywood Hills Sign, on the way you can see the Batcave form the TV series.
Will Rogers State Park – lots of trails/fireroads there through the Santa Monica Mountains
Venice Beach – LA at its weirdest; a place that you won’t soon forget. It’s not hiking, but it is an experience.
Hollywood Walk of Stars – Like Venice Beach, an LA oddity that you’ll never forget
California Science Center – If you can get tickets, they have the Space Shuttle on exhibit
The Getty Museum and the Getty Villa are great museums
BTW, the area around USC isn’t exactly the safest area so be careful where you go.
Also, everything that you may have heard about traffic is true. A smart phone with mapping functions will; be a great benefit.
Best regards – JonFeb 19, 2013 at 6:02 pm #1956187
You'll fit right in. Most in LA are from somewhere else. Traffic is otherworldly. I'm sure you'll get some good offers/suggestions.Feb 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm #1956193
If you have the time, and it seems like you might, try driving out to Joshua Tree, camping (or do a Motel 6 – it's about the same thing!), and hiking around some desert unlike anything in Kentucky!
If you want snow, drive to Palm Springs and take the tram up to San Jacinto – be aware that it's high altitude (9-10,000 ft), snow, and you'll likely need snowshoes, mini-crampons, and full winter gear! See the "Winter in Southern California" thread here for some photos, etc.
There are numerous sites along the coast that will give you a nice ocean side hike. If you want to see what SoCal mountains are like, but San Jacinto seems too much, drive to Chantry Flats, and hike out from there.
All these places have maps and info on the net – and I'm sure any of us here in SoCal would be glad to answer any questions by PM. Some of us might even have time available to do a bit of guiding!
Have a great time while you're here!Feb 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm #1956203
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
If you want to hike near the coast and have the potential for ocean views, consider some of the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation area. It starts around Malibu and heads up the coast for about 30 miles and a few miles inland, lots of various trailheads along the way. Also lots of nice beaches around there.
If you wanted to get away from LA, you could head farther north toward Ventura or Santa Barbara (about 1-2 hours north). Lots of nice day hikes with ocean views and options for longer overnight hikes in Los Padres NF. There's closer national forests to LA, but I don't have any experience with them.
Feel free to send a PM if you think of heading north.
Oh, and take everyone's word about LA traffic… I try to avoid passing through there as much as possible.Feb 19, 2013 at 7:55 pm #1956226
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I live in Palm Springs which is also close to Joshua Tree. That area was recommended by someone else. It is about a 120 mile drive one way from USC. There is SO much to do in LA.
Right next door to USC is the LA County Museum of Natural History. That alone could take a few days to really explore. Do a Google search — you might be surprised. There are other museums close by too.
Check out the LA Music Center (Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum, and Ahmanson Theater, and Walt Disney Concert Hall).
Or ditch the kid and go to Disneyland :)Feb 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm #1956231
…Feb 20, 2013 at 6:49 am #1956313
I went to USC but a long time ago – yeah, lots of bad areas, you have to be careful
LA is a big area and takes a long time to drive across – traffic can be horrible – so you probably want to stay close to wherever you are
That hike out of Malibu is good if you're on that side of the city
San Gabrial Mountains are good – maybe something on the LA side like Chantry Flat or Fern Canyon. Or go up highway 2 but there's probably snow at some point – nice Sierras type granite
Santa Monica to Venice along the beach – just for culture shock?Feb 20, 2013 at 8:34 am #1956359
Thanks for all the advice and offers. Based on the short length of my trip, I'll likely stay relatively close to the city. You've given me some good options. Hopefully he'll get a good deal at USC and I will have a good excuse to go back for some longer trips. I have stepped in the Sierras and the California deserts a little, but would like to do some longer trips.
A few of you mentioned some negatives about the USC area. Is it really that rough of a place to be? He's really interested in USC but his mother has had concerns about the neighborhood too.Feb 20, 2013 at 8:51 am #1956369
…Feb 20, 2013 at 8:59 am #1956372
I think USC and maybe Occidental are the only 2 California schools he is considering, more for academic and scholarship reasons than anything. He's admitted to film school and there's really no place better for film than USC. I guess the rough neighborhood is something we'll have to take into account. He's a pretty independent kid, but don't want to send him into crossfire. I will at least get to check out the area myself while I'm there.Feb 20, 2013 at 9:10 am #1956377
I don't think rough neighborhood is a reason not to go to USC
Just keep it in mind and avoid bad areas/times
I'm sure USC administrators could give you good advice about where to go and not goFeb 20, 2013 at 11:02 am #1956440
Your first trip to LA ?
definitely Do Not waste it on the outdoors/wilderness/mountains/desert/hiking/camping.
others have offered some great urban suggestions,
there are many others too.
LA has something for everyone.Feb 20, 2013 at 11:04 am #1956441
Just remember to look for the adams apple…..Feb 20, 2013 at 11:16 am #1956446
Doug, I learned that on my first trip to New Orleans. For my son, I won't ruin it for him. That's a lesson best learned by himself.Feb 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm #1956528
I agree with the suggestion about the Natural History Museum and also the La Brea Tar Pits. If you leave the denim overalls home and actually wear shoes, you won't have any problems walking around USC or the neighborhood outside it during the day.
However, if you walk across the USC campus at night without a pastel-colored sweater, loosely tied over your shoulders, you're dead meat. Well, if it's burgundy with gold, they're cool with that also but don't forget to put the coins in your penny loafers, for God's sake!
To your wife's (legitimate) concern from so far away about a land you hillbillys hear is full of gangsters, hippies, wife-swappers and republicans… check this out: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-southern-california/256036-usc-neighborhood.html That will give you a good start before you walk around and get a real look.
You'll be in striking distance to check out Oxy, too, so I suggest you head over and walk around. It's great to get a feel for colleges by being on campus during the week and going in and sitting through a large-hall lecture class (nobody cares, and you can always just tell the prof you're shopping her school) to see what the school is really like. Eat lunch on campus in the commons, around students!
If you really do want to hike, I also concur in the suggestions above for the Hollywood Sign/Bat Cave and both Topanga Canyon and Sycamore Cyn, both from the Highway 101 side in Malibu.
Last, figure out what kind of food you'd like to try and then Google yourself some places to hit.Feb 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm #1956537
Don't worry, Erik. I plan on bringin' my squirrel rifle. That'll keep the gangstas away. But I don't think the boy(pretty much man, now) has a pastel sweater to tie up. Maybe we'll check out the thrift store before we go. And I don't need shoes; airport security is much faster without them.
The more you guys talk, the more I think I'll stay pretty much in the city with my limited time. A few museums and great food doesn't sound so bad. Looks like there are some decent walks not far from town too.
I was buying your line, Erik, until you said there were Republicans in California.Feb 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm #1956538
+1 on hiking Griffith, and would say the observatory is totally worth a stop (free). I like going up after dark on clear nights, great views of the city.
As far as the crime in LA, I was about to say there wasn't anything to really worry about… but I think I'm maybe desensitized, because when I thought about it for a moment, I realized that there is still police tape flapping in the wind in front of my house where they found a guy dead on the sidewalk.Feb 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm #1956545
"Last, figure out what kind of food you'd like to try and then Google yourself some places to hit."
Tommy'sFeb 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm #1956560
Jerry says, "Tommy's" and indeed. The one on Rampart (@ Beverly or so?) is the OG one. Also, if not from SoCal, In-N-Out burger. Those are iconic L.A. food.
Oh, but what of Phillipe's Original, across from Union Station, the literal birthplace of the "french dip sandwich" and still really, really good.
Pink's, for a really good, LA hotdog after waiting in line so long you can easily eat it.
Tito's Tacos, for the Los Angeles analog to San Diego's (Ro)-berto's chains of roadside taco dives.
The Apple Pan, burger joint, also dating way back and still true to the old form.
Lawry's, for a hunk of prime rib like the one your Dad dreamed of. Or, like Nick maybe.
FatBurger, also an LA creation now "around"
Baby Blues BBQ in Venice, new but so very LA in its stoke and breadth. Plan to wait for a seat.
Father's Office, for the burger. The burger. Just ask, they'll know.
Yeah, been skipping lunch. Anyway, those are a few of the famous LA joints, but the place is a metropolis: good food abounds. Hell, even in the Valley, ha ha!Feb 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm #1956568
"Jerry says, "Tommy's" and indeed. The one on Rampart (@ Beverly or so?) is the OG one"
That one has huge lines – maybe Hollywood Blvd?
In 1975 there was one in La Canada on the way to the San Gabriel Mountains
You have to develop a taste for Tommy burgers – has to be chili burger – most people would probably consider it disgustingFeb 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm #1956570
@anthonywestonLocale: Southern CA
I live in Los Angeles.
When are you planning to come out. Right now Mount Gorgonio and Mount San Jacinto all have snow and are about an hour drive from USC area. San Jacinto has tram that will take you up the first 8000 feet and then it's a short 5 miles to the top, well worth doing.
Lots of big trees and mountain air.
If you want to hike up to Mount Gorgonio (old greyback) then take the trail to dry lake, it's another 5 mile trip.
If you want to walk along the ocean there is a bike path from Santa Monica pier to
torrance 26 miles
The USC neighborhood is safe on campus, a stone's throw from the campus is a rougher neighberhood, not a place to get shot but car thieves and prostitues much like every big city in the country but generally Ca is a gentler place than most of the country.Feb 20, 2013 at 3:45 pm #1956575
@anthonywestonLocale: Southern CAFeb 20, 2013 at 3:54 pm #1956579
Thanks for the input, Anthony. I'm flying out this weekend but will just be there for a few days. And I need to spend some time looking at the colleges.Apr 29, 2013 at 6:31 am #1981508
How'd the visits go?
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