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Preparing to Study in Malibu

One of the best ways to prepare to live in a new city, state, or country is to learn as much as you can about the area prior to your arrival. If you arrive on campus prepared, you will be able to more quickly acclimate to Pepperdine, make new friends, and ensure the smoothest possible transition to your graduate program. 

We are excited to welcome you to Malibu and show you all that this beautiful city has to offer! Be sure to view our virtual Malibu Campus Tour to see all that the Malibu campus has to offer.

Campus Map and Directions

Plan your route to campus by viewing our interactive campus map and directions.


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the closest international airport to Pepperdine.
A variety of local, independent transportation and rideshare services are available from the airport. Visit the suggested websites listed below to book directly with the vendor of your choice.

Off-Campus Transportation

By no means is our Malibu campus isolated, but there are transportation limitations you should consider before arriving on campus:

  • Traffic – Because of the heavy traffic and narrow shoulders on Highway 1, it is not recommended that students walk or bicycle from campus into Malibu.
  • Public Transportation – It is important to note that public transportation (provided by Los Angeles County) to and from the Malibu campus is quite limited. Students can consult the Metro website’s Trip Planner feature for public transportation options.
  • Rideshare Services – Using apps like Uber and Lyft are convenient ways to get from campus to town, but for daily commuting those services will quickly become quite expensive.
  • Car Rental – For short-term car rentals, students can consult travel search websites such as Kayak to compare prices.

Plan Ahead!

If you’re going to live off-campus, it’s very important that you consider how you will get to and from campus, and then create a reliable transportation plan.

On-Campus Transportation

Campus Shuttles

The on-campus shuttle provides students with free transportation to a variety of locations around the Malibu campus.

There are two on-campus shuttle routes:

  • The orange shuttle route serves upper (Drescher) and lower campus and runs counter-clockwise
  • The blue shuttle route serves the lower campus and runs clockwise

To see where the shuttles are located at any given moment, be sure to download the Pepperdine app, and you can view the live shuttle tracker feature.

For the most up-to-date shuttle schedules, visit the Transit Services section of the Pepperdine website.

Off-Campus Shopping Shuttle

You can also catch the free Shopping Shuttle for a trip to local destinations like Whole Foods, Malibu Country Mart, and Ralph’s grocery store. Be sure to check the Shopping Shuttle schedule for departure and arrival times.


For Pepperdine students who don’t own their own vehicle, ZipCar is a great car-sharing system that allows you to rent cars by the hour or by the day. To register with ZipCar and reserve a vehicle, visit the Pepperdine ZipCar website.


Check out our list of Malibu area hotels, some of which offer special Pepperdine rates. Please contact the hotels directly to book or for more information.



Many of your basic shopping needs, such as grocery shopping, can be done at the Malibu Colony Plaza, which includes a Ralph’s grocery store, and the Malibu Country Mart and surrounding shopping area, which includes Whole Foods and a weekly Malibu Farmer’s Market. Both of these shopping areas are within a short, 5-minute drive from campus, or can be accessed by the Pepperdine Shopping Shuttle.


Just a short drive through the Malibu Canyon, you will find a variety of shopping options in Calabasas, including a Trader Joe's for groceries, and The Commons at Calabasas, which includes several grocery, clothing, and personal care stores. Erewhon Market also provides a variety of pre-made food options, organic groceries, and wellness products. Keep in mind that you will need to drive to Calabasas as there are no bus lines that go there.

Woodland Hills

Most of your household necessities (i.e., linens, tableware, electrical appliances, basic furniture) can be purchased at Target in Woodland Hills; however, keep in mind that you will need to drive to the Target as there are no bus lines that go there.

Santa Monica

Expanded shopping needs, including grocery shopping, household necessities, and clothing, and personal care, can be found in Santa Monica, which is accessible by car or bus.

There is no shortage of entertainment in Malibu and the greater Los Angeles area. Explore dining, culture, shopping, and recreational activities near the Pepperdine campus that enrich the experience of living and studying in southern California. Additionally, Pepperdine's One Stop office provides discount tickets to various movie theaters, amusement parks, and a variety of other Southern California attractions, vendors, and local restaurants.

Things to see and do in Malibu:

Beverly Hills - The famous shopping and dining grounds of the Stars. Make sure to take a trip down famous Rodeo Drive while you are there. Beverly Hills is 24 miles away from campus. Take PCH south to the 10E, to the 405N and exit on Santa Monica Blvd., Right on Santa Monica, Left on North Beverly.

Calabasas Commons - A local outdoor shopping area with a movie theatre, Barnes and Noble Bookstore, and various stores and restaurants. The Calabasas Commons are 15 miles away from campus. Take Malibu Canyon to the 101S, Exit Parkway Calabasas to the left, The Commons will be on the right side.

Catalina Island - On a clear day the island is visible from the school Cafeteria. Activities on the island include water sports, island tours, and various seaside shops. The Catalina Express boat leaves daily from San Pedro, Long Beach, and Dana Point ports.

City Walk - A boardwalk of restaurants, unique stores, clubs, and theatres located next door to Universal Studios. City Walk is 35 miles from campus in Universal City. Take Malibu Canyon to the 101S and exit Lankershim Blvd/ Universal City.

Disneyland - "The Happiest Place on Earth". Disneyland is 54 miles away in Anaheim. Take Pacific Coast Highway south to the 10E, to the 15S (Santa Ana Freeway) and exit on Lincoln Ave.

Dodger Stadium - Take Malibu Canyon to the 101S, Exit Alvarado, go north, then turn right on Sunset. Go approximately one mile and turn left on Elysian Park Avenue. You will run into Dodger Stadium. Tickets range from $6-$21 per game.

Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art - located on the Malibu Campus of Pepperdine University

Griffith Park Observatory - The Observatory closed to the public for a three-year renovation in January, 2002. According the Observatory's website, the Griffith Observatory has been a major Los Angeles landmark since 1935. It is visited by nearly two million people each year and ranks as one of the top tourist attractions of Southern California. It sits on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood where it commands a stunning view of the Los Angeles basin below. Thousands of people enjoy the view from its balconies, especially at night. The Observatory grounds are open to the public Tuesday-Friday from 12pm-10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am-10pm for visitors to enjoy seeing the building's exterior and the spectacular view of Los Angeles. The Observatory is closed on Mondays. 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

The Grove LA- The Grove Los Angeles is a shopping and entertainment complex built adjacent to the historic Farmers Market. It centers on a landscaped park and a dancing fountain. It's become a popular spot for shopping and dining, and its lively crowds and street grid layout making it feel like an old-fashioned downtown.

Hollywood - "As LA's hottest new destination, Hollywood & Highland gives a physical presence to the glamour and excitement for which Hollywood has always been known - and what visitors worldwide look for when they visit this entertainment capital. It's the definitive place where movie and television production, high fashion, and fine dining come together." Take the 101 South, and exit on Exit on Highland Ave/Hollywood Bowl; merge onto Cahuenga Boulevard. Cahuenga becomes N. Highland Avenue. Stay on Highland until Hollywood Boulevard.

J. Paul Getty Museum - With incredible views of Los Angeles, all the way to the ocean, this is a great place to visit even if you are not interested in viewing the exhibits. The Getty Center is centrally located in Los Angeles near the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405) and the Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10). Take the Getty Center Drive exit from the 405 and follow the signs.

The Getty Villa Malibu - The Getty Villa is an educational center and museum dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Located on Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades (just south of Pepperdine), the Getty Villa is the place to see Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities arranged by themes including Gods and Goddesses, Dionysos and the Theater, and Stories of the Trojan War. Tickets must be purchased in advance, although admission is free. Parking is $8. The Villa is open Thursday-Monday from 10am-5pm.

La Brea Tar Pits - Saber-toothed cats, Colombian mammoths, and the La Brea Tar Pits, the world famous repository of Ice Age fossils in the heart of the Los Angeles 'Miracle Mile' district. The La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum are located at Wilshire Blvd. and Curson Ave.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art - The main buildings at LACMA (also known as LACMA East) are located in the Miracle Mile area between Fairfax Avenue and La Brea Avenue, on Wilshire Boulevard, just east of Ogden Drive. 323.857.6000, students: $5, adults: $7

Los Angeles Zoo - The Los Angeles Zoo is located in Griffith Park, at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.

Magic Mountain - A popular theme and adventure park associated with Six Flags. Magic Mountain is 48 miles away from campus in Valencia. Take Malibu Canyon to the 101S, to the 405N and exit on Magic Mountain Parkway.

Museum of Contemporary Art - Students: $5, Adults: $8, 213.621.1741, take the 101S, exit Temple St and turn left, right on Grand Ave., left on 1st St., right on Olive St. and enter CA Plaza parking garage on the right.

Museum of Tolerance - "The Museum of Tolerance is a high tech, hands-on experiential museum that focuses on two central themes through unique interactive exhibits: the dynamics of racism and prejudice in America and the history of the Holocaust - the ultimate example of man's inhumanity to man." Students: $5:50 (with ID) Adults: $9 310.553.8403 Take PCH N, Santa Monica Freeway (10) east - exit at Overland/National. Turn right and right (north) again on Overland Ave. and continue towards Pico Blvd. Turn right (east) on Pico Blvd.

Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area - Headquarters: 401 W. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks 805.370.2301

Santa Monica Pier

Third Street Promenade - An outdoor walkway of shops, restaurants, cart vendors, and street entertainers. Third Street is 14 miles away from campus in Santa Monica. Take Pacific Coast Highway South to the California Incline, turn right on Ocean, and turn left on Santa Monica Blvd.

Topanga State Park - Entrada Road/Topanga Canyon Blvd. 310.454.8212

Universal Studios - A theme and adventure park within the heart of the movie studios. Universal Studios is 35 miles away in Universal City. Take Malibu Canyon to the 101S and exit Lankershim Blvd/ Universal City.

Venice Boardwalk - Venice, California is a desired destination for travelers the world around. It. s unlike any place on Earth. Well known for its artists, street performers, and funky atmosphere. It is a virtual carnival running year round with free admission.

Buca di Beppo - Italian
1442 2nd Street, Santa Monica

Cafe Habana - Cuban/Mexican
3939 Cross Creek Road, Malibu

Duke’s - Hawaiian/Seafood
21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Geoffrey’s Malibu - Seafood/American
27400 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Mastro’s - Seafood
18412 Pacific Coast Hwy

Malibu Farm - Organic/local
23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Marmalade Cafe - California cuisine
3894 Cross Creek Road Malibu
(310) 317-4242

Ollo - locally sourced California cuisine with Mediterranean influences
23750 Pacific Coast Hwy
(310) 317-1444

Viva Vegan - Vegan
1028 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica

El Torito - Mexican
3360 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 450-8665

Cholada Thai - Thai
18763 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
(310) 317-0026

P.F. Chang's - Chinese
21821 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills

Saddle Peak Lodge - American - show your Pepperdine ID and receive 10% all food and beverage!
419 Cold Canyon Rd, Calabasas

Taverna Tony’s - Greek
23410 Civic Center Way, Malibu

Zooma Sushi - Sushi
29350 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu

Dhaba Cuisine of India - Indian
2104 Main St, Santa Monica

Malibu’s Seafood - show your Pepperdine ID and receive 10% all food
25653 Pacific Coast Hwy
(310) 456-3430

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill - show your Pepperdine ID and receive 10% all food
Creekside Village Shopping Center, 26527 Agoura Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302
(818) 880-0885

Howdy's Rancho Cafe
23401 Civic Center Way, Malibu, CA 90265
Phone: (310) 579-7549

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
575 Los Liones Drive, Pacific Palisades

Conejo Valley Church of Christ
2525 E. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks

First Church of Christ Scientist
28635 Pacific Coast Highway

Hindu Temple
1600 Las Virgenes Canyon Road, Calabasas

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witness
32057 Pacific Coast Highway

Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue
24855 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

Malibu Presbyterian Church
3324 Malibu Canyon Road, Malibu

Malibu United Methodist Church
30128 Morningview Drive, Malibu

Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church
3625 Winter Canyon Road, Malibu

  • A Pepperdine shuttle is available for the 11:00 am Mass every Sunday during the regular semesters (not through Christmas break or summer) and has 2 stops on the way to church:
  • The Drescher Dorms bus stop at 10:40 a.m. (next to Chumash Ridge Lane)
  • Towers Road bus stop at 10:45 a.m. (next to Student Health Center)
  • The shuttle will pick you up outside of OLM after Mass at Noon.

Serra Retreat
3401 Serra Road

St. Aidan's Episcopal Church
28211 Pacific Coast Highway

St. Paul Lutheran Church
30600 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Agoura Hills

University Church of Christ
Pepperdine University, Malibu

Waveside Church
6955 Fernhill Drive, Malibu

Ascend Malibu
3602 Winter Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265 (at Webster Elementary School)

Calvary Chapel Malibu
30237 Morning View Drive Malibu, CA 90265

Church in the Canyon
4235 Las Virgenes Road Calabasas, CA 91302

Malibu Seventh-Day Adventist Church
3602 Winter Canyon Road Malibu, CA 90265

The Malibu Gathering
6525 Dume Drive Malibu, CA 90265