Once the Expo Line opens, the University of Southern California is going to be extremely easy to reach with three stations in the immediate area: Jefferson/USC, Expo Park/USC and Expo/Vermont. This is great news for students, but what about the people who aren’t there for class?
Movie buffs can visit the campus for its Hollywood connections. Many films have been shot on location at USC, including The Graduate, Forrest Gump, Legally Blonde and The Social Network. Plenty of TV shows have also been shot on campus, such as House, M.D., CSI: NY and The Office. Visit USC’s website to see a more comprehensive list of what’s been filmed there and get the details on exact locations.
Consider going to a concert, a lecture or the museum while at USC. The USC Thornton School of Music presents more than 500 concerts every year, while the School of Theatre puts on plays in a wide range of genres. There are also film screenings and library events, many of which are open to the public and exhibitions put on by the Fisher Museum of Art. Visit USC’s events page to get a better idea of what’s happening on campus.
Of course, if you’re a sports fan there are always games to attend. Football at the Coliseum is the biggest draw, but there are plenty of other sporting events. Catch a basketball or volleyball game at the Galen Center, USC’s home arena at Figueroa and Jefferson. Galen Center also plays host to a variety of events, from the occasional Los Angeles Lakers practice to Nickelodeon’s Annual Kids’ Choice Awards, which is taking place at the end of March. And, if you’re at USC just for the sake of being at USC, take a walking tour. Both group tours and self-guided tours are available.
You don’t have to be a USC student to enjoy their dining options. The number one spot that comes to my mind when it’s time to refuel is Lemonade. Located on the second floor of the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, the small eatery serves unique salads, great sandwiches and traditional comfort foods like mac’n’cheese. It’s a great place for those trying to eat healthy…but definitely try their desserts – the giant macaroons are amazing. And of course, you can’t go to Lemonade without getting one of their delicious lemonades. Try to go during off-peak hours if you can as the line of diners can trail out the door during mealtimes.
An inconspicuous side door behind the Tutor Center leads you down to Traditions Bar & Grill. Enjoy the sophisticated pub atmosphere and tuck into a Trojan burger, or share the in•de•ci•sion appetizer platter with friends. Pool tables are available if you need to work up an appetite, and they have a stage, which means certain nights will offer live entertainment. With ten flat-screen TVs, it’s a great place to watch a game as well.
For something more toward the fine dining end of the spectrum, head to Moreton Fig, located on the ground floor of the Tutor Center. The stylish Cal-Italian inspired restaurant features an open kitchen and an outdoor patio anchored by USC’s historic Moreton Bay Fig Trees. Lunch prices aren’t as bad as dinner and you get more choices, such as sandwiches and more salads. Their lounge does serve some tasty snacks though, and give their specialty cocktails a whirl. No worries if you’re not into alcohol, Moreton Fig also serves “zero proof” cocktails that are refreshing and good for your liver.
If you’d rather head off-campus, walk east on 37th Street. Once passing the 110 freeway, you’ll find Mercado La Paloma. The community plaza is home to some great ethnic food joints, including Chichen Itza and its highly touted pollo asado. If you’ve eaten more than you should, work it off by browsing through the cute little shops around the plaza. Mercado La Paloma closes in the early evening, so it’s best to visit for lunch.
Keep checking back with for more articles featuring Expo Line, we’ve got some posts lined up on Exposition Park and there will be more on Culver City as well!