Historic Westwood Village is one of the most charming pedestrian districts in all of Los Angeles- the perfect place for dining, shopping, and entertainment, as well as strolling, mingling, browsing, people watching, theater going, music, art and much more. Founded in 1929 as "the town for the gown" for the new UCLA campus, it is Southern California's original urban Village amidst a city. Westwood is known for extraordinary dining, delightful shopping, a plethora of cultural attractions, giant single-screen movie theaters, and glittering premieres. The Village is famous for its Mediterranean architecture, numerous historic landmarks, and warm and friendly collegiate spirit. Westwood Village is an urbane niche within the sprawl of Los Angeles, a place where people get out of their cars to walk, explore, linger, and be with each other. Meandering through Westwood's tree and flower-dotted landscape is a wonderful experience of discovery.
Bruin blue-and-gold colors can be found throughout the Village: on historic lampposts, Spanish tile and sidewalk art. Many buildings feature inviting courtyards, patios, paseos, fountains, frescoes, clay tile roofs, glazed Spanish tile, and soaring towers. These give the Village a gracious, European feel. The roster of architects represented in Westwood is a "Who's Who" of Southern California artisans: Allison & Allison, Paul R. Williams, John and Donald Parkinson, S. Charles Lee, Gordon B. Kaufmann, Stiles O. Clements, Percy Parke Lewis and modernists Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Rudolph M. Schindler, Welton Becket, and Charles and Stephen Kanner, among others. Known for exceptional dining, and with more than 100 places to eat, Westwood Village is the "Culinary Capital of L.A.'s Westside."
The Village boasts many of L.A.'s most celebrated restaurants and chefs, offering virtually every type of cuisine imaginable. Several Village restaurants are architectural masterpieces in historic buildings. Westwood Village also is home to numerous family-owned, independent shops and boutiques, some more than 70 years old, along with national retailers. Village shopkeepers extend a warm welcome to visitors and locals alike. Westwood is also the "Movie Premiere Capital of the World," where Hollywood's royalty comes to strut their stuff for all the world to see. Westwood's first-run silver screens host more than 100 gala film premieres each year. The two most popular premiere sites are Mann's historic 1931 Fox Westwood Village Theater and the 1937 Art Deco-style Bruin Theater, landmark movie palaces with colossal 70-foot screens, on opposite corners of Broxton and Weyburn avenues. Visitors are treated to an almost weekly parade of glittering stars arriving in limousines, traversing the red carpet, and greeting cheering fans amid klieg lights, TV cameras, flash bulbs, and paparazzi.
Westwood is one of the best places in all of L.A. "to see Stars." With a remarkable collection of renowned cultural institutions, Westwood is one of the nation's major centers for the arts and culture. Westwood Village is home to the UCLA Hammer Museum, Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, Italian Cultural Institute and acclaimed Geffen Playhouse. Public art embellishes many Village sidewalks. UCLA's Royce Hall, Schoenberg Hall, Freud Playhouse, and Macgowan Hall host an extraordinary range of music, dance and theater performances presented by UCLA Performing Arts and the popular Reprise! series. The cultural and visual arts are showcased at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, and New Wight Art Gallery. Hollywood's cinematic heritage, past and present, is celebrated by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and Melnitz Movies programs, which screen at the James Bridges Theater in UCLA's Melnitz Hall. For the literati, the annual "Los Angeles Times Festival of Books," the nation's largest, is held on UCLA's campus the last weekend in April. The extraordinary UCLA Library System, spanning more than seven million volumes, is considered one of the world's finest.
The UCLA Hammer Museum hosts regular poetry readings and a Summer-long Jazz Festival. UCLA Extension also sponsors a wide range of literary, arts and cultural programs. Pauley Pavilion, the citadel of college basketball, also hosts championship volleyball, gymnastics, and other sporting events. UCLA's Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden and Hannah Carter Japanese Garden are serene sanctuaries of natural beauty and wonder. Little known is the fact that Westwood also is the final resting-place of some of Hollywood's most legendary stars, at tiny Westwood Village Memorial Park, a peaceful oasis at 1218 Glendon Avenue, hidden behind Wilshire Boulevard's high rises. Worldwide visitors come to Westwood to honor the memories of Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Fanny Brice, George C. Scott, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Eva Gabor, Dorthy Stratton, and Heather O'Rourke; musicians Mel Torme, Frank Zappa, and Roy Orbison; authors Truman Capote, and Will and Ariel Durant; producer Darryl Zanuck; Hollywood agent Irving "Swifty" Lazar; and industrialist Armand Hammer.
Westwood is also the site of the historic Los Angeles National Cemetery, the nation's second largest veteran's cemetery, known as the "Arlington of the West." For more than 70 years, Westwood Village has served as the "Gateway to UCLA." The Village reflects the intellectual energy that emanates from Westwood's world-renowned university and famed medical center. International students mix freely with foodies, visitors, tourists, working artists, Nobel Prize winners, Bruin athletes, Olympic champions, professors, doctors, researchers, well-heeled residents from Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Westwood Hills, Hollywood stars performing at the Geffen Playhouse or attending a premiere, as well as corporate types and young dot-com workers from surrounding office towers along Wilshire Boulevard. This unique blend of people and talent gives Westwood Village a decidedly cosmopolitan flavor, and a spirit that is unmatched in all of Los Angeles.