Founded in 1919, the alma mater of Jim Morrison, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Jackie Robinson ranks among the nation’s top universities. The campus is vast: walking briskly from one end to the other takes at least 30 minutes. You could easily spend a couple of hours exploring its manicured, sycamore-shaded lawns, profuse gardens, Romanesque Revival architecture and cultural assets.
Among these assets is the Fowler Museum at UCLA, which presents intriguing multimedia ethno-exhibits. Close by, the Powell Library houses the UCLA Film and TV Archive, the country’s second-largest after the Library of Congress, with more than 350,000 movies and 160,000 TV shows. It’s only open to researchers, but regular screenings take place at the state-of-the-art Billy Wilder Theater in the Hammer Museum, located just south of the campus in Westwood Village.
Northeast of historic Royce Quad is the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, considered one of the country's most comprehensive. Set amid jacaranda, redwood and coral trees, its 70-plus sculptures include works by American and European greats such as Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, Hans Arp, Alexander Calder and Jacques Lipchitz. We're partial to the giant, torqued ellipse by Richard Serra in the adjoining plaza of the Broad Art Center. Designed by Richard Meier, the Broad houses the UCLA visual-arts programs and an MFA student gallery.
In the campus’ southeastern corner, the tranquil Mildred E Mathias Botanical Garden is home to more than 3000 native and exotic plants and flowers. Guided tours of the garden run on the first Saturday of the month at 1pm and depart from the Nest. Enter on Tiverton Ave.