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Road Trip Tips: Los Angeles

Nov 22, 2012, 9:57 PM EDT

Third Street Promenade

#1 Notre Dame at USC. With a national championship game berth on the line, it’s the Fighting Irish’s most important trip west since 1988. If you’re joining the team in Los Angeles, there will be a lot to keep you occupied before the game begins at 5 pm (8 pm ET).

In case you need a few suggestions, a couple of young alums offer their ideas on how you can best enjoy the trip (though an Irish victory should be all you’re asking for).

Sara McLay is a 2011 graduate from nearby Torrance, Calif. Here’s what she had to say:

Welcome, Domers!! Always a treat to have the Irish back in the City of Angels. LA’s sprawl tends to be intimidating to those visiting from more centralized, public transit-friendly cities, so here’s an incredibly abbreviated guide to help navigate the city.

ND in LA: In the very unfortunate event that you find yourself without a ticket to the game, head to Sonny McLean’s (2615 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica), Dillon’s Irish Pub (6263 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood), or Boogaloo’s (1238 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach)—all established ND gamewatch spots throughout the LA area.

Nightlife: There’s something for everyone in LA. For a night out by the beach, check out Santa Monica or Hermosa Beach for some cocktails and a variety of bars (my personal favorites are Central and Main on Main in Santa Monica and Ocean Bar in Hermosa). Just want to dance? Head to West Hollywood for the club scene. Looking for something quieter? Try Downtown LA for a night at one of their speakeasy bars (I recommend Edison or Varnish).

Food: No visit to LA is complete without good tacos. Visit Tito’s Taco’s (11222 Washington Place, Culver City) or La Flor de Yucatan (800 South Hoover Street, Los Angeles) for tacos done right. Check out Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica for both shopping and endless food options. Finally, there’s the rightfully renowned In-n-Out Burger, located conveniently at many freeway off ramps.

Other areas of interest: Still looking for a place to stay? Located southwest of the USC campus in the “South Bay,” Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach are known for their nightlife and otherwise sleepy beach town vibe. Check out Underground Pub for a pitcher of beer and some shuffleboard with locals, Shellback Tavern for a fun night along the beach, and Hennessey’s on the Hermosa pier for a rooftop view of the Santa Monica bay and a delicious corned beef breakfast to close out your weekend.

Have a great weekend, enjoy LA, and Go Irish!!

Kevin Donohue (’10) spent two years teaching in Los Angeles through the ACE (Alliance for Catholic Education) program. He added a few suggestions for ND fans and alums making the trip:

The 901 is the closest bar to the USC campus. It’s a USC bar and rather small, but a great place on Friday from 4-9 pm for buy one get one free happy hour. Don’t go late at night because it fills up with the frat crowd.

The Seven Grand downtown is a little upscale, but a cool bar with hundreds of whiskeys and a large number of beers on tap too. Usually there’s no cover.

Also downtown is the Irish bar, Casey’s. It’s a large basement bar with good Irish food and plenty of beer choices. It’s right in the heart of downtown, but not pretentious at all.

Finally, La Cita is a Mexican version of the Backer. Same music, same sweaty atmosphere with a taco shop attached and questioning looks from the bouncer at the door. Also downtown, across from the park made famous in 500 Days of Summer.

It’s LA, so obviously there is a lot to do, but if these options don’t catch your eye, the Notre Dame Club of Los Angeles also has several events planned, including an IrishFest tailgate on Saturday beginning at noon.

Enjoy the trip, and bring home a W!

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