We don’t usually think of campuses as places to wander during the day, let alone after dark, but UCLA is lighting the way for a quiet evening stroll. The recreation department designed a 3.5-mile campus loop that’s lit up after dark for runners, cyclists, and walkers. With students currently on winter break, now’s a good time to enjoy some solitude and wax nostalgic about the good old days pulling all-nighters for midterms. Depart from Westwood Village on the west side of campus, passing Greek housing decorated in a hodge-podge of holiday cheer. Stroll into campus through De Neve Plaza, the home away from home for many undergrads. You’re not late for any exams, so take your time along De Neve Drive, meandering through the northwest corner and past academic buildings and residential halls. The loop parallels Sunset Boulevard, separated by a row of tall pines puffing out winter scents near the tennis courts, Drake Stadium, and athletic fields. Follow the map (found in a link below), cresting UCLA to Hilgard Avenue before heading back to Westwood Village. Or stray from the syllabus and explore the Murphy Sculpture Garden and Italian-inspired Royce Hall. Just look out for any Bruins that haven’t gone into hibernation for the holidays. They pop up in the most unexpected places.
Enjoy a cookie and ice-cream sandwich from Diddy Riese in Westwood Village (926 Broxton Ave.). A modest $1.50 gets you a choice of ten types of cookies and 13 ice cream flavors. The white-chocolate-chip cookie with mint-chocolate-chip ice cream is a winter-fresh lip smacker!
From the I-405, exit on Wilshire Blvd. and drive east half a mile to Westwood Blvd. Turn north and drive 0.4 mile through Westwood Village to Le Conte Ave. and park.Walk east to Gayley Ave. and turn right, traveling north for 0.6 mile to a pedestrian crosswalk just before Gayley angles west. Turn right and walk into De Neve Plaza on the UCLA campus. Across from the dining hall, turn left, and go up a flight of stairs to De Neve Drive. Turn left and loop 0.7 mile around Sunset Canyon Recreation Center to Charles Young Drive. Turn left and walk half a mile across the north side of the campus to Royce Drive. Turn right, go 0.1 mile, and turn left back on Charles Young Drive. The road bumps north and turns south parallel to Hilgard Ave. Take the walkway through to Hillard and proceed south. Turn right when you reach Le Conte Ave. to complete the loop. Bring this map of the UCLA campus with the highlighted route. Dog-friendly!