If you are like me and feel tired of walking the same old route and seeing the same old view of campus (or feel uncomfortable studying in the dead silence of Powell), look no further. This quarter, I made it a routine to get out of campus and go to Westwood coffee shops to make studying more exciting. But I understand that there’s uncertainty in starting cafe-hopping… is there free WiFi? Outlets? What are the busy hours and prices? Don’t worry—I compiled a list of Westwood coffee shops (within walking distance from UCLA) with all the information you need to choose the best option for you:
- Espressoteric Coffee
This quiet, vintage coffee shop is my go-to study spot on the weekends. There are a variety of seats from couches, armchairs, metal chairs and counter stools, with outlets in almost every seating area. This is definitely a “working cafe,” with everyone either reading or typing up an essay. They also only tend to play calm, moderately quiet music so no noise cancellation is needed. Moreover, the baristas are super sweet and cheerful, delivering my coffee to my seat.
The only thing that was “missing” from this coffee shop is the lack of the scent of coffee beans. This was especially disappointing for me as someone who usually feels more productive with the scent of coffee. Moreover, the free WiFi cuts off every hour so you need to turn on/off your WiFi, which can get a little annoying. The AC also tends to be a little strong so make sure to bring a jacket!
The latte was very reasonably priced at ~$5, but the food was overpriced at ~$6. Although this coffee shop was quite far from the Hill, with a solid 40-minute walk, there were plenty of UCLA students studying in the coffee shop.
A pro-tip is to avoid the 9:30~10:30AM rush hour and get there either before 10AM or after 11AM! You can still find seats during rush hours but there will be a big line at the cashier.
- ESPRESSO PROFETA
If you are looking for small, cozy and “local” coffee shop, you will love Espresso Profeta. While I was sipping on my latte, I realized that there were many regulars having friendly conversations with the barista. The age range of the customers was on the higher end as well, and I sometimes found myself to be the only UCLA student there. In other words, this is a great getaway from the “UCLA bubble” without walking too far from campus.
The coffee shop has free WiFi but does not have outlets so make sure to charge your devices before going! In the mornings, it tends to be loud with people chatting on the couches. But from 1PM on, it tends to be pretty quiet. The coffee shop is moderately close to the Hill, only being a 25-minute walk.
The soy latte I got was on the pricier side at $6.84. But it was definitely worth the investment… it was one of the best coffees I had in a while! At noon, they also open up the patio for an outdoor study space! The patio is less public than those of other coffee shops like Bluestone Lane, so it is an ideal, quiet outdoor study spot.
- UPSIDE DOWN
Short on budget? Have a flexible schedule on the weekdays? If you said “yes” to both questions, this coffee shop is for you. Upside Down is a unique coffee shop that allows you to pay however much you want for beverages. Yes, you read it right—you can pay $0 or can even pay $20 if you feel extra generous. They also have special drinks every month; they served strawberry matcha (matcha latte with strawberry syrup) in April, which was one of the best matcha I’ve had in Los Angeles! But as you probably guessed, this coffee shop is always popular and you may have difficulty finding open seats at any time of the day. It especially has a rush hour from 1-2PM. It is also only open on the weekdays, so make sure you have a flexible weekday schedule.
Although this coffee shop is lacking the iconic “coffee bean” scent, the interior is very aesthetic and spacious. Once you find a seat, you will find that this place is very comfortable since there are not too many people coming in and out (everyone usually stays and studies), and the AC is weak, so you will not be freezing. There is also free WiFi and lots of outlets, so this is a good study spot if you are planning on staying for a long time.
If you get sick of studying, you can chill with your friends in the “no-tech” areas. These are couches where you can read a book, chat with friends or zone out.
One caveat is that you might find it hard to focus here if you easily get distracted by pop music. The baristas also sing along to the music sometimes. So if you think that is going to distract you, this coffee shop might not be the best study spot for you.
- BLUEsTONE LANE
This coffee shop is very aesthetic with well-cushioned seats and plenty of outlets indoors. It also has an outdoor patio open all day. The patio even has parasols to protect you from the sun. However, the patio is very public and located in a busy area in Westwood, which may make it difficult for you to fully focus. Although it does not have free WiFi, the Eduroam (WiFi) connection works perfectly so you won’t find any trouble connecting to the Internet.
The coffee shop is also constantly busy, with customers going in and out. Thus, it may feel less “cozy” than other coffee shops. But if you prefer a busy coffee shop to keep you alert, Bluestone Lane might be your perfect option.
One downside that we can all agree on is price. An oat latte of the smallest size cost $7.28, and the smoothies are almost $10 each. But each item is of good quality—the Berry Brekkie Smoothie was a great source of energy and the oat latte’s caffeine hit.
- Alfred Coffee
Located near the Hammer Museum and a 25-minute walk from the Hill, Alfred Coffee is a very aesthetic work cafe with free Wi-Fi. Although I found this coffee shop to be overpriced with a medium-quality strawberry matcha priced at $7.30, the cute coffee sleeves and the cute store interior makes the price somehow swallowable.
However, this place might not be your best choice if you are planning to stay for a long time. There are no outlets nor bathrooms inside the coffee shop. Moreover, the AC tends to be strong, so you may find yourself freezing after an hour. The doors to the coffee shop are also open so you can hear the traffic outside, so make sure to bring your noise-cancelling AirPods! Overall, I recommend Alfred Coffee if you are planning to stay for a maximum of two hours.
- Ministry of Coffee
A 25-minute walk from the Hill, Ministry of Coffee is one of the most popular Westwood study spots among UCLA students. It provides free WiFi and outlets in some seats. It also has lots of seats both indoors and outdoors, so you won’t have too much difficulty finding a spot.
The coffee was moderately priced, at $5.40 for a regular latte and $6 for matcha latte. However, the food was very overpriced, at $5 for a croissant. This was overall a cozy study spot, nicely located near Trader Joe’s, Target and Urban Outfitters, so you can even take a break from studying and shop nearby!
These were some coffee shops that you can visit to get away from campus. It’s important to refresh with a new study environment to prevent academic burnout and retain motivation. So, why not start by exploring your own college town?