15 Best Things to Do in Northridge, Los Angeles

Northridge, Los Angeles
trekandshoot / shutterstock.com

There is an eclectic selection of things to do in Northridge, even as its area spreads at just 9.47 square miles.

The Northridge enclave in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles City, for one thing, is home to one of the 23 campuses of California State University.

Cal State Northridge, with more than 40,000 students, notably holds the largest enrolment in all of the university.

As a university town, therefore, Northridge has developed wide-ranging urban facilities that appeal to students and visitors.

The manpower and talents that the local Cal State campus graduates likewise strengthen the high-tech and light industries based in Northridge.

These economic drivers further provide a multiplier effect on the points of interest and amenities available in Northridge.

Additionally, this community takes pride in its roots as an agricultural town once known as a center for raising thoroughbreds and the "Horse Capital of the West."

With all these factors that make up the community’s character, it would be a thrill to seek out these 15 things to do in Northridge in your visit.

Tour the Cal State Northridge Campus

Entrance sign of California State University in Northridge, Los Angeles
Ken Wolter / shutterstock.com

Also popularly known as CSUN, Cal State Northridge’s 353-acre campus offers many points of interest accessible to the public.

One of these is the 1.5-acre CSUN Botanic Garden, with a nursery and greenhouses featuring more than 1,200 plant species from worldwide sources.

Aerial view of California State University in Northridge, Los Angeles
trekandshoot / shutterstock.com

You can also check the calendar schedule of The Soraya—The Valley’s Center for the Performing Arts—featuring events like jazz festivals.

The campus is also home to the CSUN Art Galleriesexhibiting paintings, sculptures, and other artworks.

You can also drop by at the Matadome, an arena for men’s and women’s basketball, as well as men’s volleyball, mainly as a venue for the home games of CSUN’s Matadors.

Another entrance sign in California State University.in Northridge, Los Angeles
Ken Wolter / shutterstock.com

Visit the Museum of the San Fernando Valley

This museum was opened in 2005 at Nordhoff Street to preserve San Fernando Valley’s history, art, and culture for the enjoyment of locals and visitors.

One standout among the museum’s exhibits is on the popular jungle hero Tarzan created by LA-born Edgar Rice Burroughs and alumnus of Cal State Northridge.

Besides its artifacts, artworks, and documents on exhibit, the museum also holds Historic Walking Tours in iconic places in the Valley like North Hollywood and Van Nuys.

Throughout the year, the museum also holds various events, such as Narrating Lives: Oral Histories of the SFV.

The museum’s other activities include a Public Art Initiative program which is behind the murals and artworks in several public spaces in Northridge.

Explore the Universe at the Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium

Cal State Northridge is the home of this planetarium that started offering regular public shows in 2022.

The Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium provides a 100-seat star theater equipped with a cutting-edge projector that re-creates the night sky with brilliant accuracy on a 40-foot dome.

In the planetarium’s show, you can watch more than 2,000 stars and five visible planets.

You will be amazed at the apparent motions of these celestial bodies as they come alive in a relaxing and unique setting overhead.

The planetarium also has the equipment for large format image projection and captivating digital audio.

Shop at the Northridge Fashion Center

Front View of the Northridge Fashion Center in Northridge, Los Angeles
Juan Llauro / shutterstock.com

The Northridge Fashion Center is one of the prime shopping destinations in the San Fernando Valley.

Located on Tampa Ave, this shopping center draws 18 million customers per year.

A strong merchandise mix draws shoppers to the Northridge Fashion Center where you can find more than 170 national retailers.

Colored panels inside the Northridge Fashion Center.in Northridge, Los Angeles
vesperstock / shutterstock.com

The popular tenants of this shopping destination include Banana Republic, Apple, H&M, Disney, M.A.C., and Sephora.

Dining at the Northridge Fashion Center presents popular choices as well, like Red Robin, California Pizza Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Wood Ranch, Yard House, Bar Louie, and H2O Sushi.

For an even more exciting shopping–dining mix, you can visit the Walnut Grove Shopping Center down the next block of Tampa Avenue.

Enjoy the Trek on Limekiln Canyon Trail

From Northridge, you can access this trail near the junction of Turney corner Calvin Avenue near Northridge’s border with Porter Ranch.

The trail is 6.1 kilometers long and runs northward to the Limekiln Canyon Park on Rinaldi Street at Porter Ranch.

Biking, running, or trekking in the out-and-back Limekiln Canyon Trail is suited for all skill levels, and dogs on leash are allowed on this paved pathway.

The trail winds through a green valley with wildflowers providing a relaxing ambiance along the way.

Spend some time at the trail’s terminus at the Limekiln Canyon Park, where you can gain access to some picnic areas.

Bring the Family to Northridge Recreation Center

Located on Lemarsh Street, the Northridge Recreation Center provides wide-ranging facilities suited for the entire family.

It provides an aquatics center, a full-size gymnasium, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, three lighted baseball fields, and four lighted tennis courts.

In addition, the Northridge Recreation Center offers to children two playgrounds, a pre-school and after-school facility.

The center also features a park with an open grass field, picnic tables, and barbecue pits.

On special occasions, the Northridge Recreation Center hosts family festivals featuring carnival rides, live entertainment, senior dance karaoke night, Zumba, senior dance and karaoke night, live entertainment, and many more.

Visit the Northridge City Little League

Little league baseball is active in Northridge, with action in this iconic kids’ ball tournament centered at the George W. Hall Fields on Devonshire Street.

This ballpark of the North City Little League is notably the home of the 1994 US World Series Champions.

There’s more to come for the North City Little League as it has been authorized by the   Little League International to permanently expand its coverage.

Henceforth, the league will include new parts of Northridge, North Hills, Van Nuys, Lake Balboa, and other areas nearby.

In the Northridge City Little League ballpark, games featured include competitions for 4-5 years old and 13-15 years for the juniors.

Enjoy the Good Life at Dave & Buster's

Front View of Dave and Buster
Juan Llauro / shutterstock.com

Eat, drink, and play at the Northridge location of the fun center Dave & Buster’s at Tampa Avenue.

Virtual reality games loaded with 3D action plus a myriad of other arcade games are the main attractions at Dave & Buster’s.

Housed in the Northridge Fashion Center, this recreation hub offers family fun bannered in titles like Jurassic Park Arcade, Rampage, and Halo: Fireteam Raven.

Dave & Buster’s also features a restaurant specializing in American dishes like steaks and chicken wings.

You can also watch blue-ribbon athletic events on the large HDTV screens in Dave & Buster’s sports bar, with a wide range of beer and wine selections.

Visit the Historic Oakridge Estate Park

Take a glimpse of the lifestyle of the rich and famous of yesteryears with a visit to the Oakridge Estate on Devonshire Street.

The park’s historical 8-acre site was formerly a part of the famous Marwyck Ranch, a 130-acre breeding farm for thoroughbred horses.

The estate had as co-owners the famed 1930s actors Barbara Stanwyck and Zeppo Marx.

The estate’s mansion sits on a hilltop, and from this vantage point, the views of the entire San Fernando Valley are truly amazing.

The Oakridge mansion was designed in a rustic but elegant Tudor-English Revival architectural style by noted California architects Robert Finkelhor and Paul Williams.

The luxurious construction of the mansion can be seen in its redwood paneling, cork floors in the kitchen, and a marble tub.

Reminiscent of its past residents of Hollywood fame, there is a grand closet and dressing room off the master bedroom of this mansion.

Watch a Film Classic at CSUN Cinematheque

Front View of  CSUN Cinematheque
Spatms, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Watch out for film screenings at the CSUN Cinematheque in the Cal State Northridge campus.

This is the only film showing venue of its kind in the San Fernando Valley, featuring a 130-seat, state-of-the-art movie theater.

The CSUN Cinematheque presents retrospectives of film classics and contemporary releases of aesthetic significance.

This film screening venue holds this innovative film screening program throughout the year.

Student film competitions, conferences, and film organizations’ activities are also being hosted at the CSUN Cinematheque.

It also encourages collaboration with guilds, local studios, and academies for screenings and related activities.

Take the Challenge of the Enchanted Escape Room

Gather the family for a live adventure game at the Enchanted Escape Room located on Tampa Avenue.

Here, you and your group will rely on teamwork and members’ wits to search for clues and solve a series of puzzles to fulfill a mission and escape from the room within a set period.

Kids aged ten can play at the Enchanted Escape Room in Northridge but need an adult companion like all under-16 players.

There are several themed rooms to choose from in this family-friendly fun place in Northridge, and none of them are too scary.

The rooms you can choose from are all adventure-based and include Spellbound, Task Force Agency, Enchanted Forest, and Genie Ransom.

Aim for the Greens at Porter Valley Country Club

Golfers visiting Northridge would typically have the Porter Valley Country Club on Singing Hills Drive as part of their itinerary.

A round of golf in this country club’s 18-hole course is truly worth including in a trip.

In this 6,090-yard layout from its longest tees, you’ll play on a par 70 course amid the picturesque Santa Susana Mountains.

Built in 1968, the Porter Valley Country Club’s golf course offers play suitable for all skill levels.

This country club also provides a driving range among its golf practice facilities.

For non-golfers, the Porter Valley Country Club offers options for tennis, pickleball, aquatics, and fitness training.

In addition, the country club boasts an onsite restaurant, The Orchard.

This restaurant flaunts an open-air concept that allows you to dine while enjoying fantastic views of the surrounding foothills and a nearby lake.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Explore the Santa Susana Pass Historic State Park

Scenic View of a meadow trail in Santa Susana Pass Historic State Park.
trekandshoot / shutterstock.com

This rugged canyon park covers approximately 680 acres and is accessible via Chatsworth, less than seven miles northwest of Northridge.

Trails crisscross the park that hikers, bikers, and horse riders can use to explore its historical sites.

Within the park, you will find a 174-acre property of the National Register of Historic Places that preserves village sites, artifacts, and pictographs dating back to 500 AD.

View of Santa Susana Pass Historic State Park in Los Angeles
trekandshoot / shutterstock.com

Besides these historical features, the park offers recreational activities in the other facilities it provides, like picnic tables and picnic shelters.

With an advanced reservation, you can camp at this park to better appreciate its ecosystem of flora and fauna thriving so close to an urban area.

Have a Beer at Cellador Ales

Try the distinctive beer taste at Cellador Ales on Nordhoff Street in North Hills, about 4 miles southeast of Northridge.

The brews of Cellador Ales stand out because these are among the few US craft beers fermented in oak barrels.

Brewers thousands of years back used this brewing method that is rarely employed by today’s craft breweries.

Tasting the beers at Cellador Ales will reveal a rustic complexity, compliments of the oak barrels where the brews were fermented.

The use of these barrels allows the brewmaster new ways by which to blend flavors, with each brew batch coming out unique.

Browse Over the Past in the Valley Relics Museum

Neon Sign of the Valley Relics Museum
Junkyardsparkle, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get up close to the props of movies you may have seen in the past, with a visit to the Valley Relics Museum on Balboa Boulevard in Van Nuys, 4 miles southeast of Northridge.

This museum houses original costumes worn by Elvis Presley and some country music stars.

All told, the Valley Relics Museum has a collection of more than 20,000 memorabilia items from the 1800s to contemporary times.

One notable artifact in the museum is the signage of a popular San Fernando Valley landmark—the country music venue Palomino Club in North Hollywood.

The museum’s collection also includes more than 150 BMX bike models assembled during the 1970s up to the 1980s.

Final Thoughts

Northridge is a must-stop for anyone who visits the San Fernando Valley and wishes to partake of the region’s best experiences.

The campus of Cal State Northridge and its immediate neighborhood already offer many marvelous sights and activities to enjoy.

Combine these with the points of interest in the neighborhoods contiguous with Northridge, and you’ll certainly have your hands full of things to do in a visit.