Living in Los Angeles

USC Leventhal puts students at the heart of Los Angeles and Southern California, giving them access to all that a major international city has to offer, from accounting firms and Fortune 500 companies to world-class culture, entertainment and dining.

One of the world’s most dynamic, diverse and successful business centers, Los Angeles is equal parts international trendsetter and cultural crossroads. Home to the headquarters of 15 Fortune 500 companies, it’s a gathering place for dealmakers and opinion shapers across the globe. It’s a thriving multicultural environment where more than 200 languages are spoken.

Los Angeles has been ranked among the top 10 U.S. cities for college students, internships and recent grads. It has also been named among the top 10 happiest cities to work in and the most fun cities to live in.

Geography

Los Angeles is situated in a wide desert basin, surrounded by the San Gabriel Mountain range and divided by the Santa Monica Mountains. Los Angeles County has 81 miles (130 km) of coastline and altitudes ranging from nine feet (3 m) below sea level to 10,080 feet (3,068 m) above sea level atop Mt. San Antonio.

Despite its size, Los Angeles feels much smaller, manageable and even intimate once you come to understand it. The area is made up of numerous communities, each offering unique opportunities. On any given day, you can bicycle on a sunny beach path in Venice Beach, visit a world-class museum in Pasadena, try new cuisine in Koreatown, shop on the famed Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, hike in the Santa Monica Mountains and sample the legendary club scene in Hollywood — and do more than one of them in the same day or weekend.

People

Los Angeles County is now home to more than 13 million people, making it the second-largest metropolitan area in the United States. A vibrant melting pot, Los Angeles County is considered the most diverse metropolitan area in the country with people from almost 140 countries, speaking 200 languages. It also has the largest number of foreign-born residents in the United States. USC reflects the diversity of the greater Los Angeles area and has more international students than any other U.S. university.

Weather

Southern California’s weather has often been described as “near perfect” and with good reason. Los Angeles averages 329 sunny days per year, accompanied by gentle ocean breezes. Autumn and winter daytime temperatures average 60 to 70°F (15 to 20°C) and range from 40 to 50 °F (5 to 10°C) at night. Late spring is mild and often overcast. Summers usually reach about 85 to 95°F (33 °C) in the daytime and usually drop to the low 60s (16-18°C) at night.

Arts and Entertainment

While USC offers students an array of experiences on campus, the treasures of Los Angeles beckon from as close as a walk across the street. Directly across Figueroa from the University Park campus are the Natural History Museum and California Science Center. Only three miles away from USC, downtown Los Angeles is home to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Walt Disney Concert Hall (home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) and a cluster of other Music Center venues featuring major theater, opera and dance productions. A short drive from USC are storied night clubs featuring everything from jazz to hip-hop to salsa, small theaters, trendy shops and restaurants serving food from around the world. Sports fans enjoy the proximity of Staples Center (home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Sparks basketball teams and Los Angeles Kings hockey team) and Dodger Stadium (home of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team). Downtown Los Angeles is easily accessible from USC on the Expo light rail line, located just across the street from the USC University Park Campus.

Other prime attractions in Los Angeles and neighboring cities include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Getty Center, the Getty Villa (Greek and Roman art, in Malibu), Universal Studios Hollywood (the movie theme park), Disneyland (in Anaheim), Griffith Park Observatory (with a view of the Hollywood sign), the Norton Simon Museum (European, Asian, and modern and contemporary art from the United States and Europe, in Pasadena), and the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (in San Marino). Los Angeles has something for everyone: museums, studios, music, shopping, theater, dining, hiking, beaches, nine pro sports teams and more — all within walking and driving distance of the USC campus. For more about things to do in L.A., visit discoverlosangeles.com, latimes.com and laweekly.com.