LA Neighborhood Guide: Westwood Edition


Photo credit: Nelly Rouzroch

Diddy Riese is a staple of the Westwood Village. Even on weekdays the line to get an ice cream sandwich can go all the way around the block.

“LA Neighborhood Guide” is a collection of listicles highlighting unique Los Angeles neighborhoods. It explores places to go, things to do and interesting information about the area in general. Through this spotlight, the Oracle hopes to explore Los Angeles’ diversity and unique attractions.

UCLA is what puts Westwood on the map, but the neighborhood is also filled with numerous diverse activities and food options.

According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, Westwood Village was developed in the 1920s, modeled after a Mediterranean-style shopping area with Spanish Colonial Revival buildings. Many of these historical touches remain, including the curving short streets and neighborhood layout, but the region has greatly expanded since then.

The construction of the 405 Freeway in 1960s brought in high-rise offices and condominiums, and the recent influx of Iranian immigrants has led to the creation of neighboring Persian Square.

The fusion of the Westwood Village and Persian Square creates a unique cultural landscape. Here are five favorite must-hit destinations. 

Sample Diddy Riese

Photo by Nelly Rouzroch
An ice cream sandwich from Diddy Riese. The shop sells a variety of desserts but is known best for the ice cream sandwiches.

Diddy Riese first opened its doors to the Westwood community in 1983. 

The store serves freshly baked cookies, ice cream, brownies and even shaved ice. However, what I enjoy most is their ice cream sandwiches.

Each ice cream sandwich features two soft cookies with creamy ice cream in between. The store offers 12 ice cream flavors to choose from, ranging from mint chip to strawberry cheesecake chunk. There are also ten cookie options to selected from. Some choices are chocolate chip and peanut butter.

The eatery is located at 926 Broxton Avenue. Diddy Riese is open from the afternoon until around midnight. Hours vary slightly according to the day of the week.

Experience Fox Village Theatre

Photo by Nelly Rouzroch
The famous Fox Village Theatre an iconic landmark of Westwood Village. The theatre frequently hosts premieres, like the one for Wonder shown here.

The Fox Village Theatre was built in 1930. Now it not only still serves as a movie theater but also as a historic landmark. 

The building is the most iconic symbol of Westwood Village. In 1988, it was designated by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission as a Historic-Cultural Monument.

The theatre was remodeled in the late 1950s and quickly became famous for the numerous Hollywood movie premieres that happen there. Still to this day they continue to host movie premieres. “The Emoji Movie”, “Harry Potter” and “The Terminator” are among the many movie premieres that were held at the Fox theatre.

A list of current movies playing and movie premieres can be found here.

The theatre is located at 961 Broxton Ave.

 Taste Saffron and Rose Ice Cream

Saffron & Rose is by far the most famous Persian ice cream shop in Westwood.

The must-have ice cream is “faloodeh,” which are noodles mixed with semi-frozen syrup made from sugar and rose water. It creates a taste very similar to a sorbet. It may sound strange, but trust me, it’s tasty.

While all of their flavors are unique and interesting, I would suggest the saffron ice cream too.

Everyone in the Persian community from young to old convenes in this ice cream shop on the weekends. 

The ice cream shop is located at 1387 Westwood Blvd. It is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, but on Friday and Saturday the shop stays open an extra 30 minutes late.

Try Bigg Chill

Photo by Avery Bush
Bigg Chill’s frozen yogurt. I especially like their cookie dough.

Bigg Chill opened its doors 20 years ago and serves mainly frozen yogurt.

Don’t be surprised to find a line around the block, especially on Saturday nights when the shop is fullest.

Bigg Chill has around 400 different flavors. While the flavors change Monday, Wednesday and Friday, vanilla and chocolate are the two consistent ones. 

Bigg Chill also offer vegan and non-vegan edible cookie dough as a topping. It can be served directly onto the yogurt or as a side on its own. The cookie dough is so good that I usually get just that, despite the fact that Bigg Chill’s specialty is frozen yogurt.

The shop can be found at 10850 W Olympic Blvd.

If you’re wondering what to do this summer, head to Westwood to experience this neighborhood’s unique attractions.