Los Angeles – south of Downtown

Down Figueroa St. a few blocks from the Staples Center is the University of Southern California, the Coliseum and Exposition Park. But before doing that, be sure to stop in at The Original Pantry at Figueroa and 9th. It is open 24 hours a day and has been around forever. There is always a line. Prices are reasonable. The food is very good but not superb, but the experience is worth it.

University of Southern California

Even if you aren’t taking a son or daughter to visit colleges, the University of Southern California (USC) is worth a walk through. It is one of the most beautiful college campuses I have seen. There are a number of fountains but with the water shortage who knows if they will be working. They probably recycle the water.

There is Mudd Hall which is a beautiful Romanesque building and Widney Alumni House built in the 1880s and moved several times as they needed more room to build buildings. The Doheny library is fairly impressive.

Doheny Mansion and Shrine Auditorium

Speaking of Doheny, he was one of the wealthiest people in Los Angeles and his mansion is just north of campus. It is in Chester Place and not surprisingly is called Doheny Mansion. It was one of the largest mansions in the city. It can be toured and has been used in many movies and TV shows.

Right near that is the Shrine auditorium. Seating 6,300 it was the largest theater in the world and is still the largest in the US. It has been used to host the Emmy’s, the Grammy’s and the Oscar’s.


Just south of the campus is the Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans as well as the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. The experience of watching the Trojans play a football game is such a spectacle. There is a student dressed up as a Trojan riding on their mascot horse, Traveler. Every time a goal is scored, the Trojan stabs his sword into the field. Their band is huge and a lot of fun. The atmosphere is electric, even more so when they are winning.

Science Center and Natural History Museum

In between USC and the Coliseum is Exposition Park and the Natural History Museum and the California Science Center. For fans of the television show Bones, you will notice that the Jeffersonian is not in Washington DC but the exterior shots are from right here in the rose garden (huge and amazing and the roses smell wonderful) looking at the buildings.

The Natural History museum has a T Rex on display, other fossils, gems, minerals and much more. The Science Center has exhibits on science, mathematics, & technology. There are space craft among many other things. You could spend an entire day just in these two places.


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