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One Day in Los Angeles - Malibu | UCLA | Grove | Koreatown

(1) Eat lunch with the celebrities at Nobu Malibu

If you're looking for that quintessential L.A. celebrity meal... look no further than Nobu Malibu. Look... even if you're NOT into sharing a meal with a celebrity (or at least sitting in semi-close proximity to one)... you should have a meal at this place, because it is mind-blowingly beautiful and the sushi / sashimi is ridiculously fresh and delicious.

Located right along the Malibu coastline, Nobu is one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world. The restaurant is big and spacious. The inside doors are normally open, offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from the dining room. It is minimalistic and modern.

Yes, the prices are ridiculously high (even for LA standards)... but you gotta treat yourself right? Here are some things you must get:

  • Sashimi Tacos are Nobu’s most famous dishes. They're small and there's a variety of them for you to try. Great thing for your taste-buds, horrible for your wallet!

  • Yellowtail Sashimi With Jalapeño is another signature appetizer dish

  • Black Cod Miso is a must-have entrée dish. Super buttery... melt in your mouth deliciousness

  • Rock shrimp tempura - tiny pieces of sweet, juicy shrimp deep fried to perfection!

  • All the sushi and sashimi. Just ask for recommendations... you can't go wrong!

[credit: Nobu Malibu]

(2) Check out the architecture (or dollar cookies) UCLA

Normally I'd never recommend you visit a college campus during your vacation. But UCLA is no ordinary campus. The architecture on campus is beautiful... there are some outdoor space you must check out! One of the most lauded outdoor sculpture collections in the country, the tranquil Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden at UCLA features 70 sculptures and spans more than five acres on the northeast corner of campus.  Otherwise, go find your favorite flower on the rolling hills of UCLA's Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Gardens, a beautiful collection of gardens on the southeast corner of campus. There's a self-guided tour, including a dragon tree from the Canary Islands in the desert section and weeping myrtles from Western Australia. Also, if you visit the UCLA Planetarium on Wednesday night, there are free planetarium shows hosted by current astronomy graduate students. Shows last between 45-60 minutes, with optional telescope viewing after the show (weather permitting). 

A short walk from campus, the Geffen Playhouse is a Los Angeles treasure and presents a body of work that garners national recognition each year. The popular Hammer Museum is a unique, cutting-edge arts institution that connects the classics and the contemporary through its varied collections, wide-ranging exhibitions and thought-provoking programs. Admission to all exhibitions and public programs is free and open to the public.

Aside from the campus itself, there are plenty of shops right around campus in Westwood. The Fox Village Theater opened in 1931 and host plenty premieres. This single-screen movie theater is easily Westwood Village's most iconic structure thanks to its 170-foot-tall Spanish Mission-style tower and its neon Art Deco "Fox" sign. Another institution is Diddy Riese. This decades-old scoop shop is an L.A. rite of passage. Its famous massive ice cream sandwiches are just $2 each. Choose any two freshly baked cookies then add a scoop of ice cream - the combinations are endless and all delicious! 

[credit: UCLA]

(3) Escape to Italy for a cappuccino at Eataly

Located inside the Westfield Century City shopping complex, Eataly L.A. offers two floors to eat, shop, and learn all about the best food and drink from Italy and California. There are three restaurants, nine take-away counters, and two cafès. Eataly L.A. offers both local and Italian products. There's plenty of artisanal products and wines (their Italian wine selection is huge and reasonably priced!).

Eataly also offers complimentary tastings in the market and cooking classes at La Scuola di Eataly by Valcucine. Almost every day, producers will offer tastes of their products across the market, so you can learn the story of your product, try before you buy, and get recipe suggestions from the source. There are also classes led by the experts at the cooking school.