Visiting West Coast Art Schools

Visiting West Coast Art Schools & Foodie Stops Nearby

We are planning our family summer vacation trip around art and design school visits for my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, who is a rising senior in high school. Her wish list for this trip includes a visit to the Chihuly Gardens in Seattle so we will be driving from San Francisco to Vancouver, British Columbia, with a pit stop along the way in Seattle. For anyone planning a similar trip, note that rental car places will not let you return the car in another country, including Canada. Thus, we have to fly out of Seattle in order to drop the car off.

We are also doing a quick leg in Southern California to see a few schools, and my mother as well. At 92, she’s now in an independent living home, so we plan to see her and take her out for a meals. Foodie stops are important for all legs of the trip, and I’m including my research on those in this post below. My mother likes Asian food that is both delicious, plentiful, and inexpensive. We all joke that she must have a hollow leg because her appetite is impressive.

How about you? Any foodie stops you recommend for us to check out in Southbay California, San Francisco, Seattle and/or Vancouver, British Columbia? Thanks for sharing.

Art Schools Southern California

California Institute of the Arts: CalArts

California Institute of the Arts: CalArts

My daughter is interested in the very competitive computer animation program at CalArts.

Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design

We are going to do a drive by of Otis as it’s not really on our list but is near where we are staying.

Art Center College of Design

Art Center College of Design

We are not visiting Art Center College of Design though it is a terrific art school because it does not offer a foundation year. Instead, Art Center College of Design requires undergraduate applicants to declare their major and submit a portfolio in that area of specialization.

At ArtCenter, we offer a specialized education that places students in intensive studio classes specific to their major from their first term of study. We require that students choose a major when they apply and that they submit a portfolio specific to that major (see Step 2 below). So it is important to understand our programs of study and how they align with your creative ambitions.

Art School Northern California

California College of Arts

California College of Arts

My daughter loves San Francisco so this art school is on the list based on that preference alone. Also, though the acceptance rate is quite high at 76%, my daughter notes that everyone gets employment after graduating. That could be due to location; Silicon Valley has an unceasing appetite for those looking for commercial art jobs.

Art School Vancouver, British Columbia

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Emily Carr is moving fifteen minutes from its previous location on Grenville Island in Vancouver, British Columbia, to its new campus dubbed the Great Northern Way Campus. It has the first year foundation year that my daughter wants and also offers Industrial Design as an undergraduate major. We don’t know too much about this school but I have been to Vancouver before and it’s a wonderful city!


My daughter has a few stops she wants to make during this trip including:

Shepard Fairey. She would like to figure out a way to visit his studio in Los Angeles. That might take some sleuthing and maneuvering.

Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle. Since we will be driving from San Francisco to Vancouver, British Columbia, we are making this stop for her.


Foodie Stops in Southern California

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

1305 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

We were here before and it’s gets crowded.

“There’s nothing quite like the quaint beach bungalow-turned pancake house Uncle Bill’s. The Manhattan Beach mainstay is quite the local hangout, with serious weekend lines. But when your morning flapjacks come with ocean views, who can really complain.” from Eater LA

Yellow Fever

24416 Crenshaw Blvd #4
Torrance, CA 90505

“Longtime Torrance staple Yellow Fever offers healthy Pan-Asian fare in the popular build-your-own format. Select a base of rice, noodles, or greens; flavors that range from the “Seoul” to “Kona,” then add toppings to create a bowl you won’t feel guilty eating.” from Eater LA

I-naba restaurant

20920 Hawthorne Blvd
Torrance, CA 90503

My mom would like this restaurant:

“This humble strip mall Japanese establishment is an understated but excellent all-around restaurant with a few tricks up its sleeve. First, it’s a part of the group that makes the amazing noodles at Ichimiann, so the soba and udon are about as good as you can get in L.A. Second, there’s a super affordable tempura omakase, with a parade of freshly fried vegetables, meats, and seafood for a very reasonable price.” from Eater LA

The Kettle

1138 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

24 hour!

“After a night of bar hopping up and down Manhattan Beach Boulevard, you’re likely to end up at The Kettle, one of the South Bay’s few 24-hour restaurants with an extensive menu that satisfies just about all of your late-night cravings.” from Eater LA

Foodie Stops in San Francisco

Sotto Mare

552 Green St

San Francisco, CA 94133

This gets high marks for Italian-style seafood & pasta.

Fog Harbor Fish House

 Pier 39

San Francisco, CA 94133

Since we will be near Fisherman’s Wharf, it would be nice to walk to dinner. This restaurant also has scenic views of the bay & Golden Gate Bridge.

Great Eastern

649 Jackson (at Kearny)

We are looking for dim sum because San Francisco is known for it.

“Chinatown’s best dim sum house isn’t its prettiest or cleanest. Novices and veterans alike will benefit from asking for the comprehensive photo menu, which silently answers questions like “Is that deep-fried?” The baked pork puns have great soft texture. A foil bottom for the steamed Shanghai dumplings keeps their soup waiting for your bite. Don’t miss the sauteed string beans with XO sauce; scraps of dried meat flavor the crisp beans.” via SF Weekly

Foodie recommendation from Debbi Michiko Florence:

If you are in the San Mateo area, Santa Ramen is by far the BEST ramen I’ve ever had in the US and comes very close to the ramen I’ve had in Tokyo.  1944 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403 Closed on Tuesday. Usually has a long line.

Foodie Stops Seattle

Harbor City Place

707 S King St
Seattle, WA 98104

Gets a lot of accolades for best Dim Sum and is near Chihuly Gardens.

Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar

124 Republican St
Seattle, WA 98109
Great seafood near Chihuly Gardens.


Foodie Stops Vancouver, British Columbia

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

108-777 Broadway W

Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 4J7

Best Dim Sum Vancouver.

The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant

535 Johnston St

Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada

“Seafood hot spot under the Granville Island bridge with sushi made to order & live music nightly.”

Au Comptoir

2278 W 4th Ave

Vancouver, BC V6K 1N8, Canada

“Charming all-day cafe serving French classics, plus a full brunch.”


2511 W Broadway

Vancouver, BC V6K, Canada

Won Best Casual Japanese by VanMag.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

1690 Robson St.

Vancouver, 604-681-8121

Best noodle house.

Marutama Ra-men
780 Bidwell St., 604-688-8837

Motomachi Shokudo
740 Denman St., 604-609-0310


p.s. More about Art Colleges from our college tours:

RISD Pre-College Program

Visiting California College of the Arts

Visiting Emily Carr Art + Design University in Canada

Visiting Pratt

Top Art and Design Colleges

Applying to Art School: School of Visual Arts

Applying to RISD: Advice from Antonio Peters in Admissions

Visiting California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Tips for National Portfolio Day


and some fun stuff …

If you are visiting New York City, here are our cheap foodie finds.

Our NYC (Cheap) Foodie Finds

45 Art Gifts for Seriously Arty Kids (by my arty daughter)

Art Competitions for Kids and Teens

Our Art Gift Kits for Arty Kids

10 Inspirational Art Books for Arty Kids

Best Toys for Arty Kids

An Arts Studio of One’s Own

Please check out my art board in which I save art ideas for my arty daughter. It has 64,000 followers!

Visiting West Coast Art Schools

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Sounds like a fun list. We are heading to Tampa Fla. this fall and I found that we have a Chihuly museum just a few minutes away from our condo. My middle son and I plan making a side trip out of this.
    Mother of 3 recently posted…Weekly Wrap- Up: The Week We Went Peach Picking.My Profile

  2. Lots of luck with the visits. Enjoy your visit with mom and have a wonderful vacation!

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