In 1946, the Rams moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles to become the first professional sports team in America to play on the west coast. The Rams spent 50 years in California prior to moving to St. Louis, but came back home in 2016 after 21 years and one Super Bowl victory as the Greatest Show on Turf. From Disneyland to Hollywood to a long list of museums, restaurants, and nightlife, there’s no shortage of sights in LA — but perhaps nothing will top the experience of visiting the $5 billion SoFi Stadium that hosts the Rams and Chargers. It is the most expensive stadium ever built, and the Oculus video board is unlike any screen that human beings have ever built before. Perhaps only topped by SoFi’s roof, which will project the games out into the stars, where planes flying overhead can even catch a glimpse of the action too.
What to Eat
Ms. B’s M&M Soul Food
Mrs. B’s M&M Soul Food is an Inglewood staple that has existed long before SoFi Stadium was even a twinkle in Stan Kroenke’s eye. The local favorite has been serving up family recipes since 1990 (that was back when the Rams were playing in L.A. the last time before moving to St. Louis!). The restaurant was originated by Ms. Beverly Brinson, a Black woman from Mississippi who moved to LA with $17 in her pocket and a dream of sharing “Down-South Home Cooking” with Californians. She struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic and is now back open for business in a new location that includes a cozy outdoor patio, ready to feed locals and visiting fans alike with feel-good comfort food such as short ribs, BBQ hot links or turkey wings.
You can’t visit LA without getting Mexican food, and this historic restaurant is both blocks from Venice Beach and has a sand-covered outdoor patio. It doesn’t come more Southern California than that! Baja Cantina — or simply “Baja” as it’s known by the locals — has been a neighborhood staple for 40 years. Located on the border of Venice and Marina del Rey on bustling Washington Blvd., it is just 10 miles northwest of SoFi Stadium. Baja has long had a large patio with outdoor TVs airing football every Sunday, but after the pandemic impacted indoor dining they also transformed part of the parking lot into an additional beachy area. The expansive all-day menu includes Mexican staples such as tacos, quesadillas, fajitas and enchiladas. Be sure to dive into the extensive margarita and tequila selection, too.
Biggest tourist attraction
Santa Monica Pier and Amusement Park
If you take Route 66 from anywhere west of Chicago, you literally end up directly in Santa Monica – and there is no better place to get your kicks than at the beachside city’s legendary pier. What began life as a Pleasure Pier in 1906 is now home to an expansive amusement park overlooking the ocean called Pacific Park. It boasts 12 rides including a solar-powered Ferris wheel; a steel roller coaster; a 44-plunge ride; and the “Shark Frenzy” spin ride. Walk down the boardwalk-style pier towards the water and you’ll find a ton of arcade games — Beach Bash even lets you fling sandbags at your most-hated NFL logo. While there are some restaurants actually on the pier, our favorite watering hole is Big Dean’s Ocean Front Café at its base on the beach. Head to the back patio for a cold beer while watching football in the sun on their HDTVs.
Under the radar attraction
Venice Canal Historic District
If you take our advice above by eating and drinking at Baja Cantina, then you have perfect access to the historic Venice Canals. Tucked away just east of the beach and spanning the area between Washington Blvd. to the south and Venice Blvd to the north, the Canals might be L.A.’s best kept secret — if you don’t know they’re there, you can literally walk past them for years! The area was created by developer Abbot Kinney in 1905 to mirror the famous Venice Canals in Italy with an intersecting neighborhood of quarter-mile long canals connected by bridges. You can spend hours marveling over the colorful and characteristic houses, or hit the water in a kayak or rowboat to explore the Venetian way.
Game day experience
There is little yet known about what it will be like for fans to attend a game at SoFi Stadium because it has never happened before. That makes it impossible to know what will happen with regards to parking and traffic, a notorious issue for the city of Los Angeles on both accounts. It’s possible that traffic will be horrendous prior to games, so fans will want to leave early and give themselves ample time to arrive before game time; at one scrimmage during the 2021 offseason, the practice had to be delayed because players couldn’t navigate through traffic to arrive on time. But when you get there, SoFi Stadium and surrounding Hollywood Park will give fans plenty of things to do once you arrive and settle in.