One of the things I love most about going to school at USC is the access students have to the city of Los Angeles.  There is so much to do – you can shop, visit museums, go hiking, swim in the Pacific Ocean, ski in snowy mountains – and you can do that all in one day.  I’ve been lucky in my two and a half years here to have a number of these experiences, but I would have to say that my all time favorite place to go in LA is Melrose Ave.

Of course, Melrose is a long street in Los Angeles, but the part of Melrose that I like to go to is just west of La Brea in West Hollywood.  On this stretch of the street, there are tons of restaurants and vintage stores lining both sides of the street.  I love to go there on the weekends, usually for brunch followed by shopping.

One of my favorite places to go on Melrose is Blu Jam Cafe.  Although the line is sometimes long, they allow you to explore Melrose while you wait for your table.  The restaurant has an awesome menu for breakfast, lunch and brunch.  Usually when I go, I like to make my own egg scramble.  Friends of mine have gotten their mac ‘n cheese, the waffles, and pancakes, all with rave reviews!

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Mexican Egg Scramble at Blu Jam Cafe

Another restaurant on Melrose that I love is Urth Caffe.  Urth has a couple of different locations around LA, but the one on Melrose has a really great atmosphere.  There is a large patio area where you can sit outside and enjoy the perfect LA weather.  When I go to Urth, I typically get a fresh fruit smoothie (Strawberry Pineapple is my favorite!), along with the Butternut Squash and Ricotta Pizza – which is probably the best pizza I have ever had.

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Caprese Panini from Urth Caffe

I also love all of the vintage shops on Melrose.  My favorite of these shops is Wasteland, which is a very unique clothing store that sells not only current designer clothing, but also thrifted vintage clothing.  They have shoes, purses, dresses, shirts, tops, overalls, hammer pants – all of the latest trends as well as the trends of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.  It’s always fun to dig through to see what kind of items I can find there.

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Shopping at Wasteland!

I also love American Vintage, which is a vintage thrift shop down the street from Wasteland.  Lining the walls of American Vintage are rollerskates, cowboy boots, Member’s Only jackets, skirts made from neckties, giant earrings, Chuck Taylor’s, and all sorts of items that are great for anyone feeling nostalgic.  I love going into American Vintage because it seems like I’m traveling back in time.  It’s fun to get creative with the items there to make them current.

I think Melrose is one of the best places in LA because it combines two of my favorite things: eating and shopping.

Samantha Kaplan-2015

Samantha Kaplan-2015

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2015, Learn more on her profile here!