Located on the Westside of Los Angeles, Westwood is a commercial and residential neighborhood that’s bordered by Beverly Hills to the east and Century City on the southeast. Westwood was initially developed in 1919 by Arthur Letts, the founder of the Broadway and Bullock's department stores. Developed in 1929 by Janss Investment Company, Westwood Village is a shopping and commercial district in the heart of Westwood, home to cultural attractions like the Hammer Museum and Geffen Playhouse. The campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is just north of Westwood Village. Read on for a walking tour of some of the can't-miss spots in Westwood.

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Santa Fe Scramble | Photo courtesy of Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe, Facebook

Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe

Start your tour with a breakfast bite and a coffee at Mary & Robbs Westwood Cafe, a family restaurant that started out as a soda counter in the 1950s. Go with an omelette, scramble or short stack and fuel up for the rest of the day - it's all delicious. Wood paneled walls and semi-circular booths with natural, calming hues give a warm neighborhood vibe. You're among family when you dine at Mary & Robbs.

Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park

After breakfast, visit this quaint little 2.5-acre cemetery, which opens for visiting hours at 8 a.m. The quiet oasis is the final resting place of legendary actors and artists such as Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Truman Capote, Donna Reed, Jack Lemmon, Bob Crane, Dean Martin, Roy Orbison, Don Knotts, Eddie Albert, Eva Gabor, Burt Lancaster and Frank Zappa. Enter from the west side of the park off Glendon, onto the small circular road and into the cemetery.

Hammer Museum 1

Hammer Museum

Next, head to the Hammer Museum, founded in 1990 and offering free admission for everyone to appreciate a renowned contemporary art collection of more than 50,000 works. The Hammer is one of three public arts units of the School of Arts and Architecture at UCLA, which manages and operates the museum. The Hammer is acclaimed for the diverse range of artists whose works are on display. Overlooked or unknown artists are brought to the forefront, along with rotating exhibits, lectures and readings, and other special events.

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Photo courtesy of Los Angeles California Temple

Los Angeles California Temple

The Los Angeles California Temple (formerly the Los Angeles Temple) is the second-largest temple operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Located south of Westwood Village on Santa Monica Boulevard, it was the largest of the LDS Church’s temples at the time of its dedication in 1956. The Modernist temple is situated atop a small hill above the intersection of Overland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The 15-foot statue of the angel Moroni atop the temple can be seen for miles. A visitor center and the temple grounds, featuring a variety of plants, are open to the public.

attari sandwiches

Attari Grill and Attari Sandwich Shop

For lunch, if you're in the mood for Middle Eastern food, don’t miss the restaurants in nearby Persian Square. From the temple, walk north on Westwood Boulevard and head to Attari Grill, which features lunch specials for $10 or less. The menu features delicious stews like gheymeh and ghormeh sabzi and a variety of kebabs. If you prefer a sandwich, check out their first outpost, the specialty sandwich shop next door, which offers kuku and abgoosht on Fridays. You can't go wrong with such budget-friendly, delicious food.

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Ice cream sandwich at Diddy Riese | Photo courtesy of Varin Tsai, Flickr

Diddy Riese

Finish your lunch with a classic Westwood Village treat that’s easy on the wallet. Open since 1983, Diddy Riese offers cookies, ice cream, or both in their famous ice cream sandwich. The line can sometimes be daunting but it always moves fast and is certainly worth it, with prices like $4.75 for a "Diddy Dozen" cookies and $2.50 for a delicious Dreyer’s ice cream sandwich. The dough is never frozen and always made from scratch, but unfortunately there are no vegan, dairy-free or gluten-free options.

Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

Walk off that ice cream sandwich with a stroll through the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden, located on UCLA’s South Campus. The garden was started in 1929, and thanks to contributions from many botanical resources over the years, it now contains over 3,500 species and varieties of plants. Docent-led tours for groups of 10 or more are free, or you can go on a self-guided tour at your own leisure.


Fowler Museum at UCLA

After the botanical garden, visit the Fowler Museum in the North Campus. The Fowler was established in 1963 in the basement of Haines Hall with the intent of collecting non-Western art and artifacts on campus. The Fowler focuses on global arts and cultures, emphasizing past and present cultural and political works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas. The museum is free to the public, closed Mondays and Tuesdays and open from noon to 5 p.m. all other days.

Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden at UCLA
Gerhard Marcks - “Maja” (1941) at the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden | Photo: Hammer Museum

Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden

Walk further into UCLA's North Campus and explore the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, which features over 70 modern and contemporary sculptures in one of the most distinguished outdoor installations in the country. Dedicated in 1967 by UCLA’s third chancellor, Franklin D. Murphy, the sculpture garden spans five acres and includes pieces by Henry Moore, David Smith, Deborah Butterfield and Hans Arp.

W Los Angeles–West Beverly Hills

For a classy poolside happy hour, stop by the W Los Angeles - Westwood, located on Hilgard Avenue just east of the UCLA campus. The happy hour takes place in The Backyard, the hotel’s outdoor lounge, weekdays from 4-7 p.m. Take advantage of lower prices on signature cocktails and casual yet delicious bites like truffled popcorn, oysters and short rib grilled cheese. Relax in a plush lime green and brown outdoor bench, sip a cocktail and let the lounge music put you at ease as you unwind from an eventful day. But don't get too comfortable, it's almost time for dinner.

800 Degrees Pizza - Westwood Village

After happy hour, take a short walk into Westwood Village and enjoy dinner at 800 Degrees, named for the minimum temperature at which pizzas are cooked in their wood-fire ovens. 800 Degrees offers some of the best pizza in town. The restaurant takes great pride in the seasonal and quality ingredients used for the light, Neapolitan style pizzas that emerge from the oven in less than a minute. Create your own custom pie or pick one of their specialty pizzas, and pair it with wine on tap or a soda from the state-of-the-art Coke machine offering over 150 varieties.

iPic Theaters Westwood

iPic Theaters Westwood

For evening entertainment, watching a movie is always a good option. Not just any old flick, but a new release in a state-of-the-art theatre will all the modern accoutrements you could ask for - and then some. Step into the iPic Theaters Westwood, where you'll sink into leather recliners and be treated to blankets, pillows, and in-seat service at the touch of an iPad. All you have to do is kick back and enjoy the movie. Rest assured that the food and drink at iPic are more than up to snuff, since Sherry Yard oversees both the restaurant and concessions.

Geffen Playhouse

Optional: Geffen Playhouse

If you prefer live performances, try the Geffen Playhouse instead - but make sure to check their calendar for programming. Founded by Gil Cates in 1955 and named for the entertainment mogul David Geffen, the intimate Playhouse consistently produces quality, original works that continue to make ripples throughout the theatre world in Los Angeles and beyond.

Optional: Royce Hall

Royce Hall is one of UCLA’s four original buildings and is essentially the University’s flagship landmark and defining image. Designed in the Lombard Romanesque style, Royce Hall was completed in 1929 and features a 6,600-pipe E.M Skinner pipe organ. Every year since its first performing arts season in 1936, Royce Hall presents an enviable calendar of events featuring the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and a variety of visiting performing groups. Check the schedule for the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.