There's More to Meets the Eye in Northridge

Tour Northridge in Style

Northridge, CA

It may have been a while since you’ve visited Los Angeles—and perhaps it's been twice as long since you last took a trip up to the San Fernando Valley. But just because it’s been awhile doesn’t mean the valley is lacking in hidden treasures unique to the area! Just north of Santa Monica you’ll find the city of Northridge, and no it’s not just for college kids heading to Cal State Northridge! There’s a lot more hiding under the surface.

While in close proximity to attractions such as Universal Studios and Six Flags, Northridge has some of its own attractions that are worth mentioning. To get your thrills without the crowds, many residents swear by the Amazing Escape Room, an interactive simulated scenario in which groups of friends are given clues to ‘escape’ from a room. The themes of these rooms vary, and each scenario is unique to that theme. A difficulty level can even be set for beginner groups that need some extra help in figuring out the puzzle. These timed challenges are a great activity for bonding with family or friends, as groups have to work as a team to figure out the key to escaping!

If you’ve never been to the city, you might not be aware that there’s a huge university in the middle of it, boasting a large population of an over 40,000 student body. But the college isn’t just for young adults; the university recently constructed the Valley Performing Arts Center, nicknamed the VPAC, which is a beautiful center that features some of the most talented performers in their field. Select student productions are featured here, with riveting performances by hopeful actors and actresses. The line-up is always interesting each semester, with notable orchestras, ballets, and performers filling the season preview. While in the city, attending a performance at the VPAC is a must; even LA WEEKLY has acknowledged the center for its continued excellence in the surrounding LA area.

If you’re even an bit adventurous, the hiking in the valley is the best, with hills perfect for exploration. One of the largest parks in Los Angeles, O’Melveny Park is a whopping 672 acre park, with lots of room for hikers to get in some exercise without the crowds that you’ll find on popular LA hikes like Runyon. Also being above the general smog of downtown is always a plus for your lungs! The incline of the trails can be exhilarating and will ultimately lead those most adventurous to the top—a breath-taking panoramic view of the valley! There are picnic areas at the base, perfect for catching your breath at the end of your journey, and the park is also dog friendly for you and your furry friend.

It’s true that Northridge is in a unique place in relation to viewing the entire valley. There are multiple look-out spots that showcase the beauty of the valley without having to hike any hills! These spots are especially incredible at night when all of San Fernando Valley is lit up and on clear nights you can catch a glimpse of Downtown Los Angeles in the distance. Another view in the city that is on the quirky side is the Cadillac Shaped Building. Yep, that’s right: there’s a building in the shape of a Cadillac car. Now this might not be a life-changing monument, but it still attracts curious onlookers to its storefront. The building surprisingly has never featured a Cadillac dealership, nor any car-related business. Apparently, the dimensions of the building prompted the original construction of the unique architectural wonder. 

After an eventful day exploring all the city has to offer, you’ll want to check out the noteworthy dining options in the area. The restaurant Odyssey is a choice that stands out, a favorite amongst locals. They serve a mean brunch buffet, cater, and accommodate large groups, ideal for rehearsal dinners and banquets. The cuisine is superb, consisting of a substantial prime rib amongst other specialties. You’ll also want to stick around for dessert, with delectable options to choose from, like their popular cheesecake. To accompany the delicious food, the restaurant boasts a picturesque view that is unbeatable.

There’s a rumor floating around the LA area that claims the valley holds the key to the best sushi. We’re not confirming or denying this, but the sushi at Katsu-Ya restaurant definitely suggests there might be some truth to the statement. This hidden gem has been serving the area some of the most praised sushi around. The fish is so fresh that even a novice sushi connoisseur can detect the quality in every dish. The presentation of each plate will have you reaching for your phone to document the creativity and beauty the sushi chefs conjure. It’s more than just serving up a meal at Katsu-Ya; it’s literal art. 

While visiting Northridge, you’ll want to stay at one of the top-rated hotels. Look no further than Airtel Plaza Hotel to meet all of your needs in a friendly, modern environment. Near the famous Van Nuys airport, the entire hotel reflects the theme of aviation, specifically with a prop Pan Am plane in the lobby! Famous for celebrity figures visiting the airport like Marilyn Monroe, Amelia Earhart, and even as the location of the classic film Casablanca, the hotel features the glamor of the airport’s rich history. The unique historic essence of the hotel is matched with a sleek, modern approach, complete with every basic amenity and perfect for accommodating conferences and large parties. The Airtel is truly one of the best options for your stay in LA, with the elegance of fine hotels in the city.

If you’re looking for a change of scenery for the weekend, or for a mini trip, the city of Northridge is worth the drive. There you’ll find excellent hikes, entertainment, and fine dining. Skip the hustle and bustle of Downtown LA and opt for a destination on the quieter side; you won’t regret it.