Photo by Instagram user @uscedu

All done unpacking? As your parents help you move in and drop you off for another year at the greatest university in the world, let us help you be a good host (and make the most of them picking up the tab).

On Campus / Walking Distance


Photo by Chris on Flickr.

For those looking to show their parents a bit of the culture of the USC community, take your parents to Mercado la Paloma, a local marketplace featuring Mexican, Central American, Ethiopian and Thai restaurants. The market is a short walk under the 110 overpass just a block east of campus on Exposition. We recommend the Cochinita Pibil at the Chichen Itza restaurant, one of Jonathan Gold’s 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles.

The bougier option would be Moreton Fig in the heart of Campus, right next to the Bank of America ATMs at the Campus Center. Shade is provided by our grand magnolia trees and lovely outdoor seating with views of Tommy Trojan and Traveler.

If your parents aren’t in the mood for something they can’t pronounce, Rosso Oro’s pizzeria and The Lab Gastropub by the Galen Center on Figueroa are two comfortable options. But why eat pizza with the parents when you’re going to be lots of that at free events?

If you have a car (Also within a $10-$15 Uber from campus)


Photo by Instagram user @princesslexiii

  • POT — Not that kind of pot. But still a nice Korean hot pot place for hip parents who might be interested in trying the latest eatery Roy Choi has dreamed up.

Little Tokyo:


Photo by Kevin Tsukii.


  • Men Oh Tokushima Ramen — There’s a reason why the three largest Japantowns in the country are in California. If you’re from out of town, your parents should definitely see what the buzz surrounding L.A.’s ramen scene is all about. Men Oh is less crowded than nearby Daikokuya and Shin Sen Gumi (and arguably has better ramen).

Arts District

Photo by Instagram user @bestiadtla

  • Bestia — innovative Italian and the 14th best restaurant in Los Angeles, according to Jonathan Gold at the L.A. Times.

Photo by Instagram user @dailydosecafe

  • Daily Dose Cafe— If Pinterest and Instagram had a baby…this would be it. Mason Jars and hanging lights abound at this charming alley cafe. Great for an early dinner (they close at 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday).


  • Water Grill — Oysters that taste like they were just pulled from the ocean and sea bass that will redefine fish for you.
  • Mo-Chica — Beautiful dishes of modern Peruvian food, also one of Jonathan Gold’s favorites.