Home to world famous UCLA, Westwood has all the characteristics of a great college town, with all the benefits of living in Los Angeles. Used as a backdrop for several movies, including Van Wilder, Higher Learning, The Nutty Professor and Legally Blonde, it’s not uncommon to see Hollywood stars taking advantage of the bustling college community and beautiful residences in Westwood and Holmby Hills. While there, there are many great places to dine and sites to take in.

Diddy Riese is one of the most popular eatery destinations for students and residents. Referred to as “Diddy’s,” their ice cream sandwiches are a local legend – and affordable at $1.25. You’ll also find a wide selection of cookies and ice cream and can buy coffee and hot dogs.

Right across the street you can stumble into two hookah bars. Habibi Café (923 Broxton Ave.) and Gypsy Café (940 Broxton Ave.) bring flavored tobacco and a piece of the Mediterranean to Westwood.

In addition to enjoying your choice of flavored tobacco in exotic water pipes, you can also order Arabic food (at Habibi) or Mediterranean cuisine (at Gypsy). Both bars are open late on weekends.

If you’re in the mood for a movie premiere attended by your favorite movie stars, you just have to walk a few yards from the hookah bar or Diddy’s to the Fox Village Theatre. Built in 1930, it’s known for its grand architecture, state-of-the-art presentations and large auditorium (capacity is 1,341).

Westwood has its share of nature too. Inspired by the gardens of Kyoto, the UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is a one-acre site that includes antique stone carvings, water basins and lanterns, as well as a five-tiered pagoda and key symbolic rocks – that come directly from Japan.

Each structure at the garden was built in Japan and reassembled in Westwood. The garden is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by reservation only. Call (310) 794-0320 to make a reservation.

After taking in the Japanese Gardens, take a short trip to the UCLA Campus and visit the Murphy Sculpture Garden, which spans five acres of UCLA’s North Campus. The largest garden on the West Coast, it’s one of the most distinguished outdoor gardens in the country and features over 70 sculptures from artists worldwide.

While on the UCLA Campus, be sure to visit Royce Hall, which hosts performing arts shows and concerts. Completed in 1929 as one of the four original structures at UCLA, it’s designed in the Italian Romanesque Revival Style.

The defining image of the university, Royce Hall boasts world-class acoustics and a 6,600-pipe Skinner pipe organ. The concert hall fits 1,883 guests and is used for recording sessions of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

A short walk from the UCLA Store will lead you to the famed Pauley Pavilion, home to UCLA Basketball and Volleyball, as well as a variety of other events, including concerts, awards shows and a presidential debate. Pauley was also a venue in the 1984 Olympic Games.

For those who enjoy stage production, do not miss the Geffen Playhouse (10886 Le Conte Ave.). Built in 1929 by the Masons, the small theater is located in a tranquil courtyard just south of the UCLA campus. The theater focuses primarily on dramas and has already had the likes of Peter Falk, Debbie Allen, Annette Bening, Martin Short and others grace its stage.

If you prefer art museums, the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Culture Center (a.k.a. Hammer Museum) is the place for you. Operated by UCLA, the museum has a small collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It’s also the home of over 7,500 works by French Satirist Honore Daumier, the largest collection outside of Paris and well known for its collection of contemporary artwork on paper.

The Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, located on Wilshire at the 405 Freeway, is perhaps one of the most famous cemeteries in Los Angeles. An obscure cemetery for years, it was popularized when Marilyn Monroe was buried there (as arranged by Joe DiMaggio). It’s the final resting place for some of entertainment’s biggest names, including the future gravesite for Hugh Hefner.