15 places to take your parents during Trojan Family Weekend

Check out these fun activities, neighborhoods and restaurants to help you showcase Los Angeles to family and friends.

Sunset view of Downtown Los Angeles from Griffith Observatory (Photo by Michael Chow)

The 2022 USC Trojan Family Weekend officially started Thursday and will run through Sunday. This annual celebration is an opportunity for families to spend time with their students on the USC campus with activities like tours, workshops, programs, lectures and other events to look forward to. On Saturday, the campus will be filled with tons of school spirit for the family tailgate and game against Washington State.

However, this weekend is also a chance for families and their students to explore the greater Los Angeles area that USC calls home. From food markets, to beaches, to shopping centers, here is a list of places to check out during your family’s stay at USC.

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market features a wide variety of food options from different cuisines (Photo by Jason Goode)

Website / 317 S Broadway 90013

Looking to try a number of diverse cuisines in your short time in Los Angeles? The Grand Central Market is the home for dozens of vendors to express their cultural cuisine to the Los Angeles community. Visitors are greeted with aesthetically pleasing neon signs and foods from around the world, ranging from tacos at Ana Maria, to lobster rolls at Broad Street Oyster Co., and to currywurst at Berlin Currywurst.

“There are a lot of different cultures and cultural foods … it felt like a different country,” said freshman Helenna Eyobe.

Mercado La Paloma

Website / 3655 S Grand Ave 90007

Located in the Figueroa Corridor of South Los Angeles, Mercado La Paloma offers a close and convenient spot for anyone to dine before or after your family weekend endeavors on campus. After a recent renovation, the Mercado La Paloma welcomes families and students with a vibrant community gathering space full of restaurants, shops and nonprofits to showcase local creativity.

The Grove

The Grove in Los Angeles at sunset (Photo by Jaydelle Herbert)

Website / 189 The Grove Dr 90036

The Grove provides a unique, outdoor shopping experience unlike most in Los Angeles. In accordance with the beautiful weather of California, The Grove offers dozens of fashion-forward stores and ever changing pop-up shops in its aesthetically pleasing location. Be sure to stop by The Original Farmers Market for additional dining options and fresh fruits and vegetables. Over parents weekend, The Grove will feature pop-up shops for new skincare line, Augustinus Bader, and the Cara Delevingne collection, Cara Loves Karl.

“[The Grove] is a nice place to walk around; they have some good stuff there like stores and restaurants,” said USC freshman Erik Xochipa. “I like the aesthetic of it.”

Little Tokyo Historic District

Little Tokyo ceremonial tower (Photo by Michael Chow)

Website / DTLA 90012

The second largest Japanese town in the U.S. is home to none other than the Little Tokyo Historic District, located in Downtown Los Angeles. Little Tokyo is the heart of the largest Japanese American population in North America and is the site of dozens of extensive Japanese cuisines and markets, such as the Sushi Gen Restaurant and Men Oh Tokushima Ramen. The area also includes a variety of activities, like the Japanese American National Museum, that can make the trip an enjoyable full day experience for the whole family.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory (Photo by Michael Chow)

Website / 2800 E Observatory Rd 90027

Welcome to Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos! One of the classic tourist attractions in the heart of Los Angeles is the Griffith Observatory, free to the public. Tourists are able to watch live shows in the planetarium, explore the 60 unique exhibits or observe the sky through the free public telescopes. If you want to turn your visit into a workout, tourists can hike from the bottom of Griffith Park straight to the observatory, which has tremendous views of the Hollywood sign and of the greater Los Angeles area.

Melrose Trading Post

Website / 7850 Melrose Ave 90046

Looking to support small businesses and local vendors? Every Sunday, the Fairfax High School campus turns into the Melrose Trading Post, a bustling and vibrant flea market open to the public. From vintage clothing to food trucks to live performances, Melrose certainly does not disappoint.

Brentwood Farmers Market

Website / 741 S Gretna Green Way 90049

Before the Saturday tailgate, stop by the Brentwood Farmers market from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The market includes fresh and locally grown cheese, produce, flowers, fish, and much more. If you visit the Brentwood Farmers Market, you surely won’t leave empty handed.

Westfield Century City

Website / 10250 Santa Monica Blvd 90067

A repeated favorite amongst USC students is Westfield Century City, located in Santa Monica. Known for their wide variety of stores, affordable restaurants and open environment, Westfield Century City guarantees college students and families alike will have a grand time. USC sophomore Cristina Shea attributes the large selection of Boba stores as her favorite aspect at Westfield, while junior Sonia Kaul loves the mall’s outdoorsy feel.

“I really like Century City because I like outdoor malls a lot and I feel like there’s not a lot of those here, but this one’s really nice,” Kaul said.

The Americana at Brand

Website / 889 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210

The Americana at Brand combines world-class retail, food and entertainment together in one beautiful destination in Glendale. With over 40 stores, 35 restaurants, one massive AMC movie theater and a recurring trolley system, there is certainly something to keep everyone in the family occupied. Celebrate the end of the weekend by stopping by Sephora on Sunday between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. for a 20% discount and complimentary gift with your purchase.

Santa Monica Beach and Third Street Promenade

Photo of Santa Monica Pier (Photo by Michael Chow)

Website / 1351 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Need a place to cool off and relax over the weekend? Look no further than the Santa Monica Pier and Beach, which is only a 30 minute drive from campus or a 45 minute direct metro ride from Expo Park/USC. Spend the day playing games on the boardwalk or walking through Downtown Santa Monica which is home to many iconic and local eateries.

Runyon Canyon Park

Website / 2000 N Fuller Ave 90046

If you are looking for another beautiful landscape aside from USC’s campus, be sure to check out Runyon Canyon Park, located at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. With wonderful views of the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Bay, Griffith Observatory and more, Runyon Canyon Park will leave you speechless. You may even be left starstruck, as many celebrities in Los Angeles are seen walking these trails.

Palisades Village

Website / 15225 Palisades Village Ln, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Where shared moments between family and friends become traditions, the Palisades Village hosts over 40 curated boutiques, entertainment opportunities and fresh food experiences all within a walking distance. The Palisades Village is also the site of the Legendary Bay Theater, which features new Netflix releases, family programming and classic beloved films for any avid movie watcher to enjoy.

The Broad

Website / 221 S Grand Ave 90012

Craving an artistic experience while in Los Angeles? Look at none other than the Broad, a two-story comprehensive collection of contemporary art from the 1950s. The Broad Museum offers free general admission and an active program of rotating temporary exhibits and innovating audience engagement to ensure the viewer a quality, unique experience.

Getty Villa

Getty Villa is a Greco-inspired art museum featuring a spice garden and many artefacts. (Photo by Michael Chow)

Website / 17985 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

The Getty Villa is home to extensive collections of art and history with free admission after making a timed-entry reservation. Sitting along the PCH in Malibu, the Getty Villa focuses on Greek and Roman antiquities. Los Angeles Native Eduin de la Torre said that the Getty Villa art is “worth the drive.”

Universal Studios

Website / 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

If you’re looking for a fun activity for the entire family, the larger L.A. County area offers many amusement parks, providing fun for kids of all ages. Universal Studios is one popular amusement park, located roughly 30 minutes from USC, depending on traffic. You can even get in the Halloween spirit with Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights!

“Maybe we’ll do a little fun trip to the amusement park because I got three siblings,” said USC sophomore Carter Rocket-Munk, adding he wants to “show my siblings a fun time.”