downtown los angeles

2011 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: From UCLA to USC in Downtown LA

Rozzi Crane, 19-year old music student, performing at USC book festival

I’ve been going to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books for many years now. For as long as I can remember, it has always been held at UCLA, which was a great venue. Dubbed the largest book festival in the country (last year’s attendance was around 140,000), I always have a great time at this festival and consider it to be one of LA’s greatest cultural and educational events.

So I was very excited this year to see how the LA Times Festival of Books would fare as it changed venues from UCLA to its new permanent home across town at USC in Downtown LA. Although some may question the move to USC, I think it was definitely a smart decision to change venues from an accessibility standpoint.

As the new Metro Expo Line nears completion, with an opening planned for this November, three new rail stations will serve the USC campus (one station is right in front of the school at South Trousdale). This will allow thousands of people next year to attend the book festival using public transit without having to deal with the headache caused by traffic, the constant increase in gasoline prices, and the incessant search for scarce and expensive parking. Basically, a dream come true for Angelenos sick and tired of driving!

Will you ride the train to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books next year?

The Expo Line will be open for next year's LA Times Festival of Books, and I expect this particular station (USC/Expo Park station) to be VERY popular as riders from all over LA attend the book festival without having to drive to the event

Thousands of Angelenos attended the first LA Times book festival held at USC

The book festival was divided into different sections and topics for easier navigation based on interest

More directions so you can't get lost

There were myriad tents set up all throughout USC's campus stocked with books and other products sold by vendors

Pasadena's very own Vroman's Bookstore represented nicely here

I'm a big fan of Los Angeles Noir seen here at the Vroman's Bookstore tent

The LA Times Festival of Books is a fun and relaxing way to spend the afternoon with friends and family

The book festival is a family friendly event that kids and adults both enjoy

Target sponsored puppet show for the kids

Great marketing for Ben and Jerry's for setting up this fun looking colorful truck serving FREE ice cream to the book festival attendees

The Ben and Jerry's cow and the famous Target dog watch the crowds from above

More books in the numerous tents around USC campus

The Shrine Auditorium (former home of the Oscars) can be seen from campus

Rozzi Crane and her band perform to the crowds at USC

Rozzi Crane's backup singers performing on USC stage

Rozzi Crane, a USC music student, gave an amazing performance to the crowds who attended this year's LA Times Festival of Books at USC

Of course you have to "follow" and "like" the LA Times Festival of Books online! Oh and there's an app too.

A couple more Expo Line pics taken this past weekend:

The new Expo Line includes this aerial station at La Cienega and Jefferson

The new Metro sign has been installed at the Expo Line Crenshaw station


  1. Carter says

    Drove under that Expo line on La Cienega at Jefferson on Saturday. They were installing the stairways.
    Really looks great, and will surely be a success when the time comes, whether traveling to the Festival of Books, to Trojan football games, to and fro classes, or to downtown or other destinations.

    • I completely agree Carter and I can’t wait to ride it later this year! Don’t forget the museums at Expo Park.

  2. Cindy says

    We took the Gold Line to Union Station, then took the free Target bus to the festival on Saturday. We had a long wait for the free bus in the morning, but no wait at the end of the festival. I can’t wait for next year to do the train the whole way.

    My complaint about the festival was the lack of food. The advertisements in the newspaper had a long list of restaurants, Besides the student center (with ridiculous lines – they clearly couldn’t handle the crowds) and a couple of booths, we couldn’t find any of the food. We asked at the information booths, but the volunteers didn’t know anything. We had tickets to more talks, and didn’t have much time to wait in those lines for lunch. I really wish I had packed a lunch!

    • There are actually some fast casual food options outside of campus across the street. We ate at Chick Fil A, and there was also Quiznos, Chipotle, etc.

      But I agree, if they advertised that there was going to be food options, they should have followed through. I’m sure it was just some logistics issues from moving to a new venue. It should be a lot better next year (esp with the Expo Line completed).

  3. Cindy says

    Well, shoot. We must’ve walked the wrong way off campus to look for food. I asked at two information booths for off-campus options, and they both had no idea and just directed me to the Student Union. Nothing was marked on the pull-out map. I ended up at a gas station convenience store.

    All this still doesn’t explain why their advertisement in the newspaper claimed to have a long list of restaurant foods available.

    In general, the “help” I got at the information booths was less than stellar. Eager and friendly, but they had to look everything up, which I could do myself. One time I asked to point which direction Bing hall was, and they pointed on the map. I explained I found it on the map, but I wasn’t sure where I was, and they admitted they didn’t know either?!

    Oh well, enough complaining! The sessions I went to were fabulous – interesting, well-run, and very entertaining. And as you pointed out, the events on the stages were fantastic, too! I also got two of my favorite books signed.

  4. TonyC says

    Was that the Festival of Books? I thought from the glut of USC booths filing the exhibitor areas that I had wandered into a USC pep rally.

    Like Cindy, for me the low quality of service at the booths and for food options was indicative of how far this event has fallen. (USC expects us to leave the campus in THAT neighborhood? Seriously???)

    And I can’t tell you how many times I heard that “Oh,it’s just their first year” excuse. The FOB has been going for 15 years. Its like they just forgot everything that worked and figured the bright shiny campus would awe everyone into submission. Sorry, not buying it.

  5. Joel C says

    I had a great time at the Festival of Books this year, with my wife and daughter. It was much easier to navigate than at UCLA.

    However, the food concession was very bad. Most of the food choices were in the new student union, and the lines wrapped around forever. Fortunately, we were able to find the dorm cafeteria, which was reasonably priced. But alas, most people had no idea where it was.

    I also agree that the event staff, while trying hard to be helpful, didn’t seem to know anything. And the “iPhone App” was virtually useless, I was better off viewing the pdf on my phone.

    BTW, we found very easy parking in the neighborhood southwest of campus. Free. Our new car was not touched by anybody.

    Seriously folks, the festival was held in the middle of the day. If you honestly think your car is going to get jacked in broad daylight, with all the police presence that was out there, then you’ve watched way too many movies or believe everything the TV news tells you. It’s just funny to see how scared otherwise reasonable people can be of people of color.

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