Living in LA
Finding a place to live is an important part of the preparation process for the start of the new school year. Any student not familiar with Los Angeles may find the prospect of locating a place to live daunting. As with any large metropolitan city, you have both attractive and not-so-attractive areas. And Los Angeles, famous for its sprawl, has so many, many neighborhoods!
To help you start your search, we’ve divided this section into 3 segments – USC contracted/owned housing, “near-campus” housing (privately owned, but in the USC neighborhood), and a section on living outside of the USC neighborhood. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but rather some representative options we believe you would benefit from considering.
Students in Summer Intensive ProgramUnless a student chooses to find long-term housing that will begin in the Summer and last the duration of the program, students beginning their program with the Summer Intensive Program will be able to apply for specially arranged, Summer-only, on-campus housing.
Although most MAcc and MBT Full-time students live off-campus, on-campus housing options are available. USC Housing offers a wide variety of living arrangements. Accommodations include apartments, residence halls, and houses in an assortment of styles, locations, and sizes. All USC housing facilities are furnished, include laundry facilities, provide local and long distance phone service and internet connection, and provide an electronic security access system. Demand is high for USC Housing. In fact, most on-campus housing assignments are filled by the month of April. As a result, interested participants must apply as soon as possible in order to increase their chances of obtaining a unit assignment.
For further information, you may contact the housing office directly at: http://housing.usc.edu
Family (Married and/or with children)
USC offers a limited number of apartments for students with a spouse and/or children. Apartment buildings designated for family housing are fully furnished and conveniently located in the student community immediately north of campus. There is great demand for the Family apartments, so those interested should apply as early as possible after being admitted to the University.
To qualify for these apartments, the applicant must be enrolled full-time at USC, with a spouse and/or children. There are no accommodations for families with more than two children. Since space is limited, relatives or friends of the student assigned, other than his/her spouse and children, may not reside in the apartment.
Near Campus Housing
Some students choose to live in the neighborhood surrounding USC. An advantage to living close by is that a car is not necessary to get to campus. There are several apartment buildings within a short walking, bicycling or skateboarding distance to the campus, and a University Tram Service provides transportation to most of these areas. While living near USC means living in an urban environment with its associated problems, the area within a mile radius of campus is patrolled by the USC Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The following is a partial list of other properties for rent near the USC campus:
Cal Student Housing
Southern Assets Housing
City Park Apartments
Conquest Student Housing
1157 West 30th Street
1, 2, & 3 BR furnished apartments(213) 746-4878
There are two websites which can assist you in looking for housing in the LA area. Craigslist is free and Westside Rentals charges a membership fee.
West Side Rentals
Living Away from Campus
Many students choose to live in one of L.A.’s neighboring communities and commute to campus. The advantage of living away from campus is the opportunity to be part of a community with neighborhood restaurants, theaters, social and health clubs. Possible drawbacks are higher rents (depending) and the addition of time each day to commute to and from campus. Sadly, Los Angeles is infamous for its traffic, so this is an important consideration.
Below is a list of neighborhoods where students have lived in the past. They are listed based on travel to time campus with the closest neighborhoods first. Commute times are based on driving a car. Some neighborhoods have better public transportation options than others. You can research this by using the Trip Planner on the MTA site: http://socaltransport.org/tm_pub_start.php
Downtown / Little Tokyo
Downtown is located just North of USC. This very urban area is known for the many tall office buildings that mark the busy financial district. Fast-paced during the day, Downtown tends to clear out as folks head home from work after 5PM and on weekends. Downtown is also home to Los Angeles’ most famous performance venues, sports arenas and museums. A new development called LA Live features a walking mall with shopping, nightlife and restaurants. Recently renovated Lofts are plentiful in this area. There is a 10-15 minute commute to USC from this area.
Immediately North-east of the USC neighborhood, Koreatown is both very convenient to USC and centrally located to popular LA destinations. With a lower crime rate than the area immediately surrounding USC and relatively low rents, Koreatown provides the convenience of being near school while still letting you get away from campus after class. The area has nightlife and lots of great Korean Barbeque restaurants. Expect a 15-20 minute commute from USC.
For those looking to experience the essence of L.A., Hollywood is the place to be. North East of USC, Hollywood is more urban than the beach communities, and is characterized by many restaurants, theaters, bars, nightclubs, and – of course – movie and television studios. Hollywood is also home to Griffith Park, Los Angeles’ largest urban green space. The crime rate is higher in some parts of Hollywood than others, so keep this in mind when looking for a place to live. Expect a 25-35 minute commute.
Culver City / Palms
Directly West of USC are Culver City and its neighbor Palms, two up and coming communities. Culver City has gone through a recent revitalization and the downtown area is host to many new and trendy restaurants, shopping and theatres. However the area has retained its distinctive industrial feel. Culver City and Palms are convenient to the beach without the higher rents usually associated with beach communities. The commute from Culver City/Palms to USC is approximately 25-40 minutes
West Hollywood / Beverly Hills
Northwest of USC are Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Both are characterized by exclusive shopping districts and estate residences, while West Hollywood is known as the heart of the gay community in Los Angeles. There is ample opportunity for students to find accommodations in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills regardless of budget or sexual orientation. Many apartment buildings are in walking distance to shopping, restaurants and cafes. The feel here is more upscale and chic. The commute from Beverly Hills or West Hollywood to USC is approximately 25-45 minutes.
Pasadena / South Pasadena
Located in a valley northeast of Los Angeles are the quiet, family-like suburban communities of Pasadena and South Pasadena. Old Town Pasadena is a smartly renovated strip that has become a lively nighttime district with great shopping and restaurants. Pasadena is also home to some wonderful museums and parks. The commute time to USC averages 25-45 minutes.
West LA / Santa Monica / Marina Del Rey
Characterized by a bohemian, artsy and eclectic scene, living on the “West Side,” is quite popular among USC students. Outdoor fun is popular in this area, ranging from sunning and jogging to beach volleyball. When it is time to unwind, you are rarely more than a 5-minute bike ride to a local cafe. Expect a 30 to 45 minute commute.
Manhattan Beach / Hermosa Beach / Redondo Beach
The quintessential California beach communities, these cities, known as the “South Bay,” are coastal residential neighborhoods South-west of USC where sun and surf are a way of life that the locals take seriously. Outdoor activities are most popular, yet there are plenty of restaurants and bars to occupy your time in the evening. The South Bay is very safe by L.A. standards. The commute to USC averages 45 minutes, pending traffic.
As you can see, there is a vast array of housing and residential options available to students…and there are plenty more that aren’t listed! We hope this helps you launch your housing search. Rest assured that finding a place to live is very possible. It will take a little patience, effort and preparation, but you can find the right place for YOU!
- Parking and Transportation
All students must obtain permits in order to park in the University-owned parking structures of lots. USC also offers student escort services and campus trams to help students get around campus and its vicinity.
- Maps and directions to USC
We want to be sure you arrive here safely and can find the important locations on the University campus!
Directions to USC and University Park Campus Maps
The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the main airport for the Los Angeles area offering both international and domestic flights. LAX is approximately 16 miles away from USC's University Park campus. Other area airports include, Long Beach (LBG) - 23 miles, Burbank (BUR) - 16 miles, Orange County (SNA) - 23 miles, and Ontario (ONT) - 45 miles.
Experiencing 325 sunny days every year with dry, warm to hot summers and cool to mild winters, Los Angeles is famous for its temperate climate. Winters range from around 60 to 75 degrees fahrenheit during the day with the end of winter to early spring being LA's rainy season. Summers range from the 80's up to the mid-90's, while the beaches tend to be 5-10 degrees cooler.
Los Angeles Attractions
LA offers an extensive variety of activities that can fit any interest. The following are links to LA's most popular attractions:
Museums and Zoos
The Getty Museum
LA County Museum of Art
Museum of Contemporary Art
USC Fisher Gallery
California Science Center
Museum of Television and Radio
Long Beach Aquarium of The Pacific
Dodger Stadium (LA Dodgers)
Staples Center (LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and LA Kings)
Angel Stadium (LA Angels of Anaheim)
From LAX - Commercial shuttle vans are a reliable form of transportation from LAX to your desired location in Los Angeles. Primetime Shuttle and SuperShuttle are two of the most popular and can be found at LAX. Taxis are available but can be costly depending on your final location.
In Los Angeles - Some students living close to campus choose to walk and use bicycles while many Los Angeles residents depend on cars for transportation throughout the city. Public transportation is available and the Trojan Transportation Office can provide students with the information needed to successfully navigate the Los Angeles area.