A Charming UCLA Self Guided Tour

Updated: April 3, 2022 | Has affiliate links

UCLA

I love visiting the UCLA campus especially in the fall when classes are in full swing. Since I graduated from UCLA myself a long time ago, I love to take my family around the campus and tell them about each building. Over the years, the UCLA campus has become part of the history of Los Angeles. Anyone can enjoy visiting the campus for a day, so come along with me as we take a UCLA self guided tour.


I went to school at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles), and every time I get a chance I take my family for a visit. So, put on some comfortable shoes, and come along with me as we take a UCLA self guided tour.

My Favorite Things to Do at UCLA

  • Walk up Janss Steps all the way to Dickson Terrace.
  • Take pictures with the original UCLA building (Royce Hall, Powell Library, Haines Hall and the Humanities Building).
  • Visit Powell Library. This is a public university and you have access to see the interior.
  • Take a stroll through the Murphy sculpture garden on the North end of the campus.
  • The Inverted Fountain is an interesting concept but not very exciting.
  • Go down (or up) on Bruin Walk on a regular school day. You’ll quickly get a sense of how busy UCLA campus is.
  • Visit the Ackerman Student Union store. Besides lots of UCLA gear you can buy, the bookstore is well stocked with hard to find technical books.
  • Attend one of the UCLA classes…really, they’re great and you can do it! Just talk to the professor before the class and usually it’s not a problem.

1. Bruin Walk

Royce Hall and Janss Steps seen from Bruin Walk
Royce Hall and Janss Steps seen from Bruin Walk
Photo by tommao wang

Bruin Walk is my favorite way to start our UCLA self guided tour. This is the very short potion of Bruin Walk up the hills from Ackerman Union to Powell Library. I love this shaded stretch of stairs especially in the spring when all the trees and flowers are in full bloom.

This is the heart of UCLA during a normal school day, with all the clubs and organizations active on campus.

2. Powell Library

Powell library is a main attraction on any UCLA self guided tour
Powell library is a main attraction on any UCLA self guided tour
See my photos from UCLA

Let’s focus our UCLA self guided tour at my favorite place: Powell Library. Powell Library is one of the four original UCLA buildings. The Powell Library building has been renovated recently and it boasts great Romanesque Revival architecture on the outside as well as on the inside.

The Powell Library interior shows arches and other Romanesque architecture features.
The Powell Library interior shows arches and other Romanesque architecture features.
See my photos of UCLA

Powell Library is the main undergraduate library on the UCLA campus. Even though it provides lots of study space, it is often overcrowded because it’s the favorite study area for most UCLA students. The “old feeling” of the interior architecture is very relaxing and provides a unique feeling for students. During my UCLA days I loved studying in Powell as well and it was my favorite place to study as well.

3. Janss Steps

Janss Steps overlook the lower Wilson Plaza
Janss Steps overlook the lower Wilson Plaza
See my photos of UCLA

Continuing our UCLA self guided tour, we step out of Powell Library to Dickson Court which is the main historical court at UCLA. This is the best place for taking pictures with the oldest four buildings on the UCLA campus. This is where UCLA started. At the edge of the hill you have a great view of Janss Steps and Shapiro Fountain as well as the four original UCLA buildings.

4. Royce Hall

Royce Hall is one of the four original buildings on the UCLA campus.
Royce Hall is one of the four original buildings on the UCLA campus.
See my photos from UCLA

Completed in 1929, Royce Hall and its twin-towered front remain the best known UCLA landmark. Named after Josiah Royce, a California-born philosopher, the building’s exterior is composed of elements borrowed from many Italian sources especially from the famous Abbey Church of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, Italy.
Taking a picture with the beautiful Royce Hall, will definitely prove you have visited the UCLA campus.

5. Sculpture Garden

On the Northern side of the campus, near the Theater building you can stroll trough a small open air sculpture garden. It is a relaxing place, perfect for taking a break and admiring the sculptures on display. This 5-acre garden on the UCLA campus features 70+ sculptures, plus lawns & sitting areas.

6. Inverted Fountain

Continuing our UCLA self guided tour on the east side of the UCLA campus we come to the Inverted Fountain. A popular meeting and hang out place, the Inverted Fountain is what the name implies: a water fountain flowing down instead of  being pushed upward.

7. Botanical Garden

Bromeldias at UCLA Botanical Garden
Bromeldias at UCLA Botanical Garden
Image courtesy of UCLA Botanical Garden

We continue our UCLA self guided tour by moving towards the Mathematics Building and then turning south right in between the Mathematics Building and Franz Hall. Taking a leisurely stroll and maybe picking up a cup of coffee, we arrive at the small but tranquil UCLA Botanical Garden. This is one of my favorite places to find a quiet place while strolling around and admiring all the plants and different habitats.

Plan Your UCLA Self Guided Tour

Getting to UCLA. Well, UCLA is well known in Southern California and any of the online maps would be able to give you accurate driving directions. Personally, I like to exit the 405 freeway at Sunset Boulevard and go over the 405 freeway.

Where to park at UCLA? Finding parking at UCLA is always a challenge, but you should be able to find visitor’s parking in parking structure 8, which is very close to the heart of the campus. Allocate at least 4 hours for your parking permit in order to have a good visit of the UCLA campus.

For more details checkout the UCLA Campus Map.

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