Exploring the Gems of Studio City

There’s a lot more to Studio City than the studios—from iconic homes and nostalgic cafés to relaxing spas.

The world-famous Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and theme park located just a stone’s throw away (technically it’s in Universal City but we couldn’t resist mentioning). Attractions include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Simpsons Ride, and other immersive themed lands. During the Studio Tour, visitors ride in a trolley and go behind-the-scenes of various film sets on the Universal Studios lot. At the adjacent Universal CityWalk, a vast selection of entertainment, shopping, and dining options are available, along with an 18-screen Universal Cinema and a seven-story IMAX theater. 100 Universal City Plaza, 800-864-8377, universalstudioshollywood.com

Directly across from Universal Studios Hollywood sits one of Los Angeles’ greatest historical treasures, Campo de Cahuenga, a California State Historical Landmark that is referred to by historians as “the birthplace of California.” The original adobe structure was demolished in 1900, but decades later the City built a Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial-style replica adobe ranch house. Now a park and interpretive center, the building stores historical records from five phases of California history, including the Spanish Mission and Mexican Rancho periods. It has an Open House the first and third Saturdays every month, and each January hosts its signature event, which features the annual reenactment of the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga in 1847. 3919 Lankershim Blvd., 818-763-7651, campodecahuenga.com

The front exterior after renovations in the original Brady Bunch House, in Studio City, California, as seen on A Very Brady Renovation. (After #2)

The second most-photographed home in the U.S. after the White House, the Brady Bunch House will forever hold a special place in television history and American pop culture. In 2018, HGTV transformed the iconic ranch home, which was used for exterior shots on the original series, into a replica of the original TV set at Paramount Studios. Everything from the iconic floating staircase and Greg’s attic to the orange-and-green kitchen was recreated, as well as the addition of 2,000 square feet to the original footprint—all without compromising the home’s instantly recognizable street view. 11222 Dilling St., hgtv.com/brady

 Located in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains, Wilacre Park offers 128 acres of natural beauty and a picnic area. A popular destination for hikers and dog owners, the well-shaded trail meanders through chaparral, walnut woodland, and coastal sage scrub, providing access to the Betty B. Dearing Trail and the Cross Mountain Park trail system to Coldwater Canyon Park, Franklin Canyon Park, and Fryman Canyon Park.  3431 Fryman Rd., 310-858-7272, mrca.ca.gov

Open 365 days a year, Pinz Bowling Center has been a destination for fun since the 1950s. With 32 lanes, billiards, an arcade, a restaurant and a bar, the popular hot spot is a favorite among celebs such as Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, whose names are printed on the lockers. Those celebrating birthdays and other special occasions can host them in the Kirkwood Room, a mid-century modern banquet room that accommodates up to 200 guests. 12655 Ventura Blvd., 818-769-7600, pinzla.com

Featuring black-and-white photos of classic Hollywood movie stars on the walls—a stark contrast against the bright orange seating—Patio Café at Sportsmen’s Lodge is a nostalgic nod to the 1950s. Open for breakfast and lunch, the menu at the retro-modern café features the best in comfort foods such as specialty omelets, freshly prepared buttermilk pancakes, and Belgian waffles. 12825 Ventura Blvd., 818-769-4700, sportsmenslodge.com

The local go-to spot for sushi, Sushi Katsu-Ya Studio City is known for its innovative creations that range from sashimi and special rolls to tempura and Bento boxes. Founded by Katsuya Uechi, one of a small select group of master sushi chefs in Los Angeles, the restaurant is known for its distinctive style and first-rate execution of high-quality dishes. Menu highlights include the Lobster Dynamite Roll, Yellowtail with Scallion, Japanese Ceviche, and more. 11680 Ventura Blvd., 818-985-6976, katsu-yagroup.com

Seamlessly melding vintage with contemporary, Firefly is a popular date night spot that provides a unique yet cozy ambience with a library-themed bar, outside dining room with cabanas, and candlelit tables. All of the dishes offer a sense of whimsy with their creative use of ingredients, such as the grilled cheese served with raisin puree and chives on country bread. There is also the Chef’s three-course Prix-Fixe Menu, which comes with an optional wine pairing. 11720 Ventura Blvd., 818-762-1833, fireflystudiocity.com

Created by the founders of Drybar, Squeeze offers quality massages at affordable rates and places emphasis on providing a highly personalized experience. Treatment rooms are outfitted with phone charging stations and integrated in-room touch screens, where guests can set the room temperature, adjust lighting, and browse a music selection that ranges from reggae to ocean sounds. The cherry on top? A “ready” button to notify your therapist when you’re ready. For added convenience, Squeeze offers a downloadable phone app that allows you to choose your therapist, as well as book a treatment, pay, tip and review—all at the touch of a button. 12338 Ventura Blvd., 855-858-6263, squeezemassage.com   

Designed with the busy parent in mind, SpaLa is a full-service spa that offers free child care for kids between the ages of 6 months to 9 years while moms and dads enjoy their treatments. A schedule of complimentary daily classes and events for children is available with trained and certified nannies tending to the little ones. Guests are encouraged to come early and use the common space to meet and mingle with one another or simply relax. 4338 Tujunga Ave., 747-227-4338, spalela.com

Photos: All courtesy of source except for the following:
Brady Bunch House (Courtesy of HGTV)
Katsuya (Courtesy of Fotonoggin)

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