Three days ago I flew out to LA with my family to explore the city before classes start this fall. Here’s how it’s gone so far! 


Day 1: Friday, August 13th


On Friday we woke up bright and early at 4:00 am to catch a flight out of my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We arrived at Burbank around 10:00am, leaving us with plenty of time to fit in a full day of activities. Our first stop was the USC campus, where I headed to the Pardee Tower lawn for a COVID test. Even though I’m fully vaccinated, I wanted to make sure to get tested before and after my flight to comply with USC’s recommendations and stay safe as I travel around LA. After that, we stopped to get lunch at Rock & Reilly’s, one of the restaurants located in the USC Village. Our next stop was to Ingelwood, a neighborhood in southwest LA, to check-in to our Airbnb. I love opting for Airbnb’s as opposed to hotels since you get to experience LA as if you were a native. I really enjoyed taking walks around the neighborhood, sitting out in our backyard, and checking out the local area restaurants. We finished out the night with a trip to the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena to attend FoodieLand, a festival hosting over 150 vendors, where my brother and I got some boba and fries to end the day.


Day 2: Saturday, August 14th


After taking some much-needed time to sleep in, we started off the day around noon by heading over to the Getty Center. The Getty is one of the biggest museums in LA and hosts a wide variety of art from paintings to photography to even the architecture of the building in itself. I especially loved the “central garden” where you follow a stream down to a circular garden filled with flowers, succulents, and hedges. Something I really liked about the garden was the way it lets you experience art as a multi-sensory experience. For example, the stream was designed with intentional placements of rocks and boulders to create an “auditory art piece” where the sounds of the water would transform as you walked along the path. After the Getty we had a picnic lunch in the UCLA (gasp) botanical gardens. I enjoyed taking a look around our neighboring school and exploring Brentwood. 


Day 3: Sunday, August 15th


On Sunday we explored the various marketplaces and shopping downtown LA has to offer. We started off by grabbing a bite to eat at Smorgasburg LA, an open-air food market that takes place every Sunday. I had a taco and an acai bowl, both of which were delicious. After that, we drove a few blocks north to visit the Little Tokyo Marketplace. Here my brother and I took a look at various manga and souvenir shops to find some collectibles from our favorite Japanese films and animes. We also visited The Last Bookstore which is a two-story bookstore in LA with some of the most intricate decorations I’ve ever seen. To finish it off we walked over to Grand Central Market, an indoor collection of restaurants and stores where we got dinner at China Cafe. On our way back to the car we made a quick stop at the Angels Flight Railway which is a historic train that takes you up and down a hill in LA for $1. While I was skeptical at first, it actually turned out to be a fun little stop that was a relaxing end to a day full of walking.


Image of hanging lanterns in Little Tokeyo


Day 4: Monday, August 16th


Today was move-in day!! I got to take the first look at my loft apartment in the USC Village. I have an amazing view of the clock tower and love how close I am to stores like Target and Trader Joes for late night snacks. I’ll be spending my first night in the apartment tonight and couldn’t be more excited!


While my last few days have been busy, I’m so grateful to have seen so many different sides of LA in such a short time. I have a few more days here with my family and then I’ll be off to start my sophomore year here at USC. Already campus has been looking much more lively than last year and I’m excited to see how the semester unfolds!


P.S. As some of you may have noticed, this blog was from a few weeks ago! Due to some technical difficulties it’s just getting published now. I’ve now been in LA for a little over 3 weeks and have been loving it!

Katie Randall

Katie Randall

MAJOR: Computer Engineering and Computer Science YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Milwaukee, Wisconsin PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @katie.randall0 Within Viterbi I'm a part of the USC Makers, an electronics project-based design club and am a course producer for EE109 - Introduction to Embedded Systems. Outside of engineering, I'm a guide with SC Outfitters, USC's student-run outdoors club, and train with the USC Climbing Team. In my free time, I like to play tennis, go for walks, listen to music, and hang out in my hammock!