Road Trip: UCLA
Posted: Wednesday January 10, 2007 11:20AM; Updated: Wednesday January 10, 2007 12:20PM
Even the staunchest Trojan will begrudgingly tell you that the best college neighborhood in Los Angeles is in Westwood, not in South Central, as they hop into their cars and drive into enemy territory by the droves on the weekends. With theaters worthy of Hollywood premieres and cafes and boutiques frequented by celebrities lining the streets of Westwood Village, UCLA boasts arguably the best locale (college, or not) in the country. Where else can you play a pickup game at historic Pauley Pavilion, shop on Rodeo Drive and party on Sunset Boulevard all without traveling more than five miles through the back streets of Beverly Hills and Bel Air?
Best place to go after 2 a.m.: Jerry's Famous Deli. This delicatessen located in The Village is frequented by the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David and has become the spot where students nosh on loaded pastrami sandwiches and matzo ball soup while pulling all-nighters.
Best spot for the munchies: Diddy Riese. This legendary cookie store near campus with a constant line of students stretching out of its glass doors has served up fresh cookies, muffins, brownies and ice cream since it opened in 1983. Despite recently raising their prices, a single cookie is still 35 cents, a "Diddy" dozen is only $3.75, and the famous ice-cream sandwiches are only a buck.
Best place to get some culture: Pierce Bros. Westwood Village Memorial Park. This tiny cemetery near campus is the final resting places of some of the most famous stars in Hollywood, including Marilyn Monroe, Donna Reed, Dean Martin, Natalie Wood, Roy Orbison, Carroll O'Connor, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, George C. Scott, Burt Lancaster, Eve Arden, Carl Wilson, Eva Gabor and Truman Capote.
One thing you need to know: Do not wear a red shirt on campus or in The Village unless you want to be subjected to the not-as-friendly-as-it-may-sound chant of "Take off that red shirt!" Failure to do so may result in a different hue of red on your shirt.
Best spot for music: Royce Hall. With its dramatic archways and bell towers, this legendary building is regarded as one of the nation's finest concert halls. It was actually the original building on the UCLA campus, completed in 1929, and has seen such legends as Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Luciano Pavarotti, George and Ira Gershwin, Arthur Rubinstein, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder grace its stage.
Best way to get around: Everyone in LA has a car or knows someone who has a car; public transportation is something most locals have only heard about. But there's no need for a car -- just a comfortable pair of shoes if you're on campus or The Village.
Best Place to get tickets: Tickets for all UCLA athletic events can be purchased online at uclabruins.com or at the on-campus ticket office. Even when games are sold out, scalpers are around holding up the obligatory "I Need Tickets" sign with dozens of dockets in their back pockets.
Best place to soak up Bruin tradition: J.D. Morgan Center. Most of UCLA's record 118 national championships, including the 11 men's basketball titles won by legendary coach John Wooden, are housed in the Bruins' plush athletic center located next to Pauley Pavilion and are on display in the Hall of Fame wing, which is open to the public on weekdays.
Best spot for pregame: No pregame (or postgame, for that matter) would be complete without a trip to Maloney's, UCLA's rite-of-passage watering hole located in the heart of The Village. It's the perfect place to grab a drink with friends before the game and/or party until 2 a.m. with students and locals after the game.
Best spot to get your hoop on: Strap on your sneakers and basketball shorts and buy a day pass to the John Wooden Center, where, if you're lucky, you can hoop it up with the likes of Master P, Jack Haley, Dennis Rodman or any number of current or retired athletes taking part in one of the many legendary pick-up games on campus.
Best rite of passage: If it's a nice day (and in Los Angeles when is it not?), take your sandals off and make like most every UCLA graduate and walk through the inverted water fountain in the center of campus.