Boston College Vs. USC: Los Angeles Travel Guide

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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What: Boston College Eagles vs. USC Trojans
When: Saturday, September 14, 2013
Time: TBA
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
TV: Pac-12 Network

Touristy Things To See For First-Timers

No trip for a Boston College football game against a PACIFIC-12 opponent would be complete if you didn't also get to the Pacific Ocean. Manhattan Beach is a beautiful, clean beach that has a great path for walking or riding bikes. There are great restaurants in the area near the beach. Very family friendly.

Another great option is Dockweiler Beach in Playa Del Rey - they have fire pits, so you can hang out at dusk. It's not the most beautiful beach, but great for hanging out in the evening with friends. Other great views of the ocean can be found in either Malibu or Santa Monica.

If you've never been to Southern California, take the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to coastal spots, as you'll be hard pressed to find a prettier view from another U.S. highway.

Check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theater but don't spend more than a few hours there. You can also see the famed Hollywood sign from that area. If you like shopping, stroll 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. It's an outdoor mall a couple of blocks from the ocean with lots of stores and restaurants.

For you baseball buffs, the Dodgers begin a four-game series at Dodger Stadium against the arch-rival San Francisco Giants on Thursday, September 12 (7:10 pm). The Giants and Dodgers play again on Friday (7:10 pm), Saturday (6:10 pm) and Sunday (TBA). Order a Dodger dog while taking in a game at the third oldest park in MLB. The Angels are out of town all week.

Where To Stay

Do NOT stay near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

DO stay in West LA. Check out Marina Del Rey near LAX, or Santa Monica if you want to be within walking distance to beaches, shops and restaurants. Santa Monica and Marina Del Ray are probably your best bang-for-your-buck options, keeping you close to the ocean and a number of entertainment options while still being close enough to the Coliseum for the game (West LA is about a 25-minute drive from USC).

There are smaller boutique hotels in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, though it's a bit longer of a drive to get to the Coliseum.

Where to Hang Out / What To Eat

Santa Monica's got a ton of great restaurants and bars in three distinct parts of the downtown area (3rd Street Promenade, Main Street and Montana). Can't really go wrong with any of the spots here, or if you venture just south to Venice.

Manhattan also has a great downtown area that should be a bit less crowded come September (packed for the summer, though). As far as specific restaurants, try Father's Office in Culver City (very close to Santa Monica) for some great craft beer, and M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica for great southern-style food for dinner, plus a delicious brunch selection if you're still in town the Sunday after the game.

You honestly can't go wrong with a single Mexican food place in this city.

No trip to the left coast would be complete without a quick stop at In-N-Out. Be adventurous and order your burger "animal style," an off-menu option with grilled onions. It's fresh, delicious and cheap and bound to kick-start around round of the In-N-Out vs. Five Guys debate.

Other Tips

No one brings up the weather here, since it's always nice. Traffic is the conversation icebreaker, as well as the best route to get from one place to another in the L.A. metro area. Don't get put off by it -- it's just how things are.

Refer to every freeway with the word "the" before hand ("the 5," "the 405") if you don't want to appear like you're from out of town. When driving places around here, expect it to take you between 30 and 60 minutes regardless of where you're going, just to be safe.

Everyone here also believes themselves to be a great driver (not the case), so be wary of that whether you're on the road yourself or simply crossing the street.

Special thanks to Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician's @JohnCassillo, a Los Angeles resident, and my wife, who spent four years at another fine Jesuit Catholic university in LA, for contributing to this BCI travel guide.

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