Los Angeles is a town of famous things. The people are famous. There are plenty of famous places. But if there ever was a season where the football in L.A. was going to be pretty famous too, it’s no doubt going to be this one. No franchise in the NFL is worth watching unless they have themselves an established superstar at the quarterback position. After his award-winning rookie season, Justin Herbert is expected to be that player for the Chargers. This city is unique for a plethora of obvious reasons: it is beautiful, the weather is spectacular, and if you like the finer things in life, it’s probably a good place for you. I mean, this is Hollywood! Do you like the arts? There’s plenty of that. Do you want a diverse cultural experience? Los Angeles is a melting pot. Football or not, there’s something for everyone.
What to Eat
We’ve all seen Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction … and if you haven’t, then why the hell not??? The iconic scene where Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer (aka Pumpkin and Honey Bunny) hold up a diner after marveling why “nobody ever robs restaurants” was actually filmed at the Hawthorne location of Pann’s that has since closed down, but this spot near LAX more than lives up to its legacy. Named by our sister site Eater as one of the “20 classic greasy spoons that every Angeleno should try,” Pann’s is a perfect example of Googie diner architecture. Stop in to refuel after a long flight with their strong black coffee, or soak up Sunday’s tailgating alcohol with a classic 1958 breakfast, hot cake plate and a mimosa. Because this is healthy California, Pann’s even serves a selection of salads – but we’d recommend the waffle and fried chicken combo instead.
Century Bar and Grill
From L.A.’s history to its future, Century Bar and Grill in Inglewood is located in the newly-refurbished Hollywood Park Casino, which is a stone’s throw (or a Justin Herbert Hail Mary pass) away from SoFi Stadium. The old Hollywood Park Casino was moved to a shiny new building after the racetrack closed in 2013, and Century Bar and Grill is its premier dining option. The restaurant boasts an expansive menu ranging from nachos and sliders to share, through high-end entrées such as pan seared salmon and grilled ribeye steak. Recent Yelp reviews praise the service, food and convenience to SoFi for pre-game pit stops.
Biggest tourist attraction
Manhattan Beach and Pier
You can’t visit L.A. without burying your feet in the sand and taking a dip in the Pacific Ocean. Just nine miles south of SoFi, Manhattan Beach is one of the city’s coolest beaches. The iconic red-roofed roundhouse at the end of the pier was built in the 1920s, making it the oldest concrete pier on the west coast. It also contains an aquarium housing octopuses, sharks, jellyfish, sea urchins and other marine creatures, which is free to visit. There’s a plethora of outdoor restaurants and bars that you can ride a bike or rollerblade down the strand to, or try your hand (literally) at volleyball on one of the sand courts.
Under the radar attraction
Kenneth Hahn Park
While tourists flock to crowded Hollywood hiking spots like Runyon Canyon, locals head to Kenneth Hahn Park, which is conveniently close to Inglewood. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg fans may even recognize it from their 1992 “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” video! Named after a legendary Los Angeles County supervisor who advocated civil rights in the ‘60s, the park spans 401-acres and has been dubbed “L.A.’s Central Park.” Follow one of the many trails and you’ll get treated with views of the Hollywood sign, downtown L.A. or Santa Monica Bay. The main recreation area also has basketball courts, a baseball diamond, fishing lake and an Oriental lotus pond.
Game day experience
With this season being the first that fans can attend games in person, it’s yet to be seen just how hectic things will be in and around the stadium on game days. Like most commutes in California, I’d suggest adding some cushion to your schedules when headed to SoFi Stadium to make sure you’re prepared for any obstacles that may arise. Earlier this offseason, the Rams were forced to delay a practice as several players were unable to arrive in time due to traffic. That paints a pretty clear picture of what to expect. Otherwise, once you’ve arrived and settled at SoFi, the world is your oyster. With the entire experience being new to everyone there, it’s a great opportunity to explore all the high-class amenities the stadium has to offer.