Northridge might be a neighbourhood within the city of Los Angeles, but it has its own identity that sets it apart from the rest of the city.
Its location in the San Fernando Valley means it has easy access to other nearby cities and pristine natural areas.
Northridge has a population of about 62,000 people and is most well known for being the location of California State University. It’s also known for its urban feel with a touch of small-town ambience.
There are many cafes, restaurants, cultural attractions, green spaces, and shopping areas in Northridge, including Northridge Fashion Center and Devonshire-Reseda Shopping centre. A short drive takes you to the natural wonders of the area, including a number of state and national parks and Lake Balboa.
Many festivals and events take place in Northridge throughout the year, such as the Valley Greek Festival and the Reseda Boulevard Summer Series.
Below are 15 of the best things to do in and around Northridge, California.
1. Spend the Day Golfing at Porter Valley Country Club
The 18-hole Championship Golf Course at Porter Valley Country Club is said to offer one of the best golfing experiences in the region. The club is surrounded by spectacular scenery that includes the Santa Susana Mountains.
The course is suitable for all levels, but it does have some challenges to keep your game interesting. Also on site is a driving range, practice green, and a practice bunker.
The on-site restaurant has fantastic views of the area and serves a variety of high-quality dishes.
2. Visit the Botanic Garden
Situated at the California State University of Northridge, the CSUN Botanic Garden is a 1.5-acre property featuring a botanical garden, nursery, and greenhouses.
Since 1959, the site has welcomed visitors who come to admire the beautiful garden and the more than 1,200 plants from various climates around the world, including cacti and succulents. They also come to relax in the peaceful environment.
3. Escape to Vanalden Park
Vanalden Park is an urban park that allows visitors to take a mini-escape into a natural area away from the crowds.
Whether you wish to simply relax under some trees or participate in outdoor activities, it’s the perfect spot to take a break without having to travel far. On-site, there are picnic areas, horseshoe pits, and a walking path.
4. Observe the Night Sky at the Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium
The Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium is run by the Physics and Astronomy department at California State University. It hosts a variety of events – including star shows – throughout each month.
The planetarium features a small theatre with a star projector that recreates the night sky on a dome. It’s so accurate, you would think you were looking at the real thing.
During a star show, you’ll see more than 2,000 stars and several planets. The experience is educational and relaxing, the images are of high quality, and the sound is digital, which makes the experience all the more impressive.
5. Get a Taste of Thailand at Lum-Ka-Naad
Thai cuisine is delicious, but many restaurants only offer a few well-known options. At Lum-Ka-Naad, you can choose from an extensive menu featuring a wide range of delicious traditional dishes from the northern and southern regions of the country.
The menu features items such as appetizers, soups, salads, stir fry, curries, fried rice dishes, seafood dishes, grilled items, and noodle-based dishes. You’ll enjoy your meal in a cosy cafe-type setting and have access to a full bar.
6. Get a History Lesson at The Museum of the San Fernando Valley
The primary purpose of the Museum of the San Fernando Valley is to obtain items related to the region’s history and culture and preserve and showcase it for residents and visitors alike to learn about it.
As you make your way through the various exhibits, you’ll see many artefacts, photos, and documents. Some of the past exhibits have included Edgar Rice Burroughs & Tarzan, Sculptor Henry Van Wolf, and The Hollywood Shorties.
Various programs and events occur throughout the year, including historic walking tours.
7. Relax in Nature at Lake Balboa Park
Lake Balboa Park is a beautiful natural area where it feels like you are far, far away from the city, although it’s only a short drive away.
This large park area features picnic areas, walking paths, and green spaces where you can relax and take in the surroundings and fresh air. Of course, the lake is the shining star of the park. A trail runs alongside this lake, and there are benches where you can relax and watch the ducks and geese.
While you’re there, you can also take a boat ride on the lake and watch for local wildlife. If you happen to be there during spring, you’ll have the chance to admire the lovely cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
8. Plan a Fun Day at Northridge Skateland
At Northridge Skateland, you can take a trip back to the past and have a fun-filled day at the same time. Since 1958, residents and visitors alike have been coming to this roller-skating rink to meet friends or partake in a vacation activity removed from the norm.
A live DJ provides the soundtrack to the activities, and ambient lighting sets the mood. Also on-site are an arcade and pizza eatery.
9. Race the Clock at Enchanted Escape Room
At Enchanted Escape Room, you and your group are locked in a room with one goal – to escape this room before your time is up. During that set time, you’ll need to use teamwork to solve a series of puzzles and riddles, and find clues that will help you get closer to unlocking the room.
There are several themed rooms to choose from, including Spellbound, Task Force Agent, Enchanted Forest, and Genie Ransom.
10. Enjoy a Show at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts
Situated on the campus of California State University in Northridge, the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts is a successful and always-growing arts venue showcasing a wide variety of performances each season.
There are about 50 different performances held at the centre each season, including music performances, dance, theatre, and family-friendly events. Many of the performances are by local artists, but there are a number of performances by artists from around the country and the world.
Between the Great Hall and Plaza del Sol Performance Hall, the centre has 1,700 seats. There are concession stands selling various treats and beverages, and an art gallery is also on-site.
11. Sample Local Craft Beer at Cellador Ales
Since 2014, Cellador Ales has been producing unique ales using 100% oak barrel-fermenting methods that are rarely used today. In fact, it’s one of only a few breweries using this ancient technique in the country. Locally-sourced, organic ingredients are also used.
The on-site taproom is where you can sample a wide variety of beers. Some of the choices available are Caute, Firegold Blend 1, Walden, and Confuzzled.
12. Spend a Day Exploring Universal Studios
At Universal Studios, you’ll learn about the past and present of the film industry, along with behind the scenes workings.
After roaming the film studio aspect of the park, you can enjoy a wide range of exciting activities at the theme park area, which has nine rides, a spacious play area, and seven entertaining shows.
Some of the on-site attractions include the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem motion simulator, an aerial carousel, a tram ride, the DreamWorks Theater, and a Simpsons ride.
13. Stay Active at Dearborn Park
The urban green space at Dearborn Park is the perfect place to be, whether you want to relax after a long day or week of exploring or catch up on your fitness routine.
The park is home to picnic areas, basketball and tennis courts, a children’s playground, and plenty of open space to just lie in the sun and relax.
14. Get the Argentinean Experience at Buenos Aires Grill
At Buenos Aires Grill, you can travel to Argentina without leaving Northridge. Since 1989, this eatery has been offering delicious, high-quality, traditional Argentinean cuisine with a side of warm Argentinean hospitality and cosy ambience.
The menu features a wide variety of options, including appetizers, salads, grilled options, pasta dishes, seafood dishes, and sandwiches.
Of course, no Argentinean eatery would be complete without a prize-winning selection of wines from the country.
15. Visit the World-Renowned Getty Center
The first thing you’ll likely notice upon arriving at the Getty Center in the nearby Brentwood neighbourhood is the stunning architecture, beautifully-maintained grounds, and incredible views of Los Angeles.
Inside the museum, you’ll be able to admire paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculptures, and photographs from all over the world. Some of the notable artworks on-site include a variety of outdoor sculptures in the gardens and a painting by Vincent Van Gogh called Irises.