When you’re in the San Fernando Valley, you’re in an area that’s part residential, part business, and always interesting. Whether you’re cruising Ventura Boulevard, with its stretch of boutique stores and popular new restaurants, or shopping in Sherman Oaks at the large Sherman Oaks Galleria, there’s something to do for everyone in the San Fernando Valley. It’s 30 minutes from UCLA to get to the heart of what the locals famously call “the valley.”

Photo courtesy of Thomas Hawk, Flickr


The most fun part of the San Fernando Valley is Studio City (along with Sherman Oaks). Ventura Boulevard, the main thoroughfare, cuts through Studio City and offers visitors the chance to shop boutique stores and eat at popular restaurants like Firefly, Barrel and AshesThe Front Yard, or Chin Chin. Studio City gets its name from its neighbor studios — Warner Bros. and Universal Studios. At night, Studio City comes alive with great bars and lounges. Compared to Hollywood, Studio City is much more low key and a great place to gather and mingle. Studio City is just 12 miles from UCLA and, depending on traffic conditions, may take between 30 minutes and one hour to get there. Here are directions on how to get from UCLA to Studio City.

Photo courtesy of Jim Ellwanger, Flickr


Grab a healthy lunch or the valley’s best coffee at a number of casual cafés, restaurants and coffee shops in North Hollywood. Some popular places for food and coffee include EAT (famous for its breakfast, among other things) and Republic of Pie (try its Nutella pie). And if you’re looking for culture, you can find it at the numerous galleries here, too, as the “NoHo” Arts District has quickly become a growing artists hub. For live entertainment, historic El Portal Theatre hosts many theatrical performances, and the HaHa Comedy Club is one of L.A.’s most famous comedy clubs. Here are directions on how to get from UCLA to North Hollywood.

Photo courtesy of Kent Kanouse, Flickr


Heading west on Ventura Boulevard from Studio City will take you to Sherman Oaks, almost its duplicate. It’s a great corridor for dining and shopping, capped with the popular Sherman Oaks Galleria at the end of busy Sepulveda Boulevard. You can see movies galore at the ArcLight Cinemas there, or dine at its many restaurants, including The Cheesecake FactoryP.F. Chang’s China Bistro, and Public School 818 across the street. Here are directions on how to get from UCLA to Sherman Oaks.

Photo courtesy of Prayitno, Flickr

Universal City

If you love movies, then Universal City is the place for you! Visit its most famous tenant, Universal Studios Hollywood, for a fun time at one of America’s most famous studios and theme parks. See what goes into making some of your favorite film franchises, and have fun on thrill rides like The Mummy or Jurassic Park: The Ride. One of Universal Studios’ newest attractions, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-see for any fan of the series. If you want to shop at specialty stores and eat at some cool restaurants, head to Universal CityWalk, right next to Universal Studios. Also, Universal City is the start of one of the most favorite spots for sushi in town, with its strip of Ventura Boulevard (heading into Studio City) known as “Sushi Row.” Here are directions on how to get from UCLA to Universal City.