America’s Great Neighborhoods: Los Angeles

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

Beverly Hills Sign

Jagged mountain peaks, palm trees, soaring skyscrapers, glitz, glamour, and neon lights – Los Angeles has all of that and more. It is dynamic, diverse, and crowded. It has both great beauty and true grit. And it is one of the most exciting cities to live in. If you are looking for an LA apartment, take your time choosing your neighborhood – unlike most cities, Los Angeles neighborhoods are more like small, self-contained towns. Each one has its own identity – and residents rarely (if ever) venture from their chosen neighborhood. So make sure you choose your community very carefully – because once you are a part of it, you will most likely stay put.

Downtown: One of the most eclectic areas of Los Angeles, Downtown LA is made up of several districts that range from great wealth to abject poverty. There’s nothing quite like Center City – from the glitter of the Diamond District to the trendy Arts District, from the Historic Core to the elegant and sometimes outlandish Fashion District, and from the sports events and conventions in South Park to the site of the original 1781 Los Angeles settlement that is Chinatown. If you choose to live in a Downtown LA apartment, you’ll have access to LA Live, the Staples Center, the Nokia Theater, and the monthly Downtown Art Walk.

Hollywood: Sunset Boulevard, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, movie stars, and historic studios – Hollywood is arguably LA’s most famous neighborhood, and “fame” is what Hollywood is all about. Many of the older buildings in Hollywood have been converted into trendy loft spaces and residents are flocking to fill them. Watch the stars walk the red carpet at the Kodak Theater, catch a show at the historic Chinese Theatre, and enjoy the history of Hollywood and Vine – you’re renting an apartment in Tinseltown, after all, so enjoy it!

Highland Park: This northeastern LA neighborhood is tucked in the hills. It is very diverse, trendy, and slightly edgy. Highland Park has a terrific collection of Craftsman homes and, by LA standards, is very affordable. The neighborhood is much more pedestrian-friendly than other LA communities. Occidental College is located nearby, so Highland Park is home to many students. It is much less the “concrete jungle” with several natural areas, including Arroyo Seco Park and Ernest E. Debs Regional Park. As a young, trendy neighborhood, Highland Park is home to vibrant nightlife with plenty of hip nightclubs and a certified farmers market.

Beverly Hills: As Highland Park is affordable, Beverly Hills is expensive. If you can afford it, this is the place to be in LA – it has the highly-desirable 90210 zip code, it is where many actors and celebrities live, and it is home to the shops of Rodeo Drive. The Beverly Wilshire Hotel is a historic landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, built in 1928. Another historic Beverly Hills location is Greenacres, a mansion on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in the 1920s by Harold Lloyd, a silent film star. Today, it is a popular filming location.

Venice: One word describes Venice, and that word is “cool.” Venice is located in extreme west Los Angeles, along the Pacific Coast. It is home to Venice Beach and its famous Boardwalk, a pedestrian-only promenade featuring everything from vendors and artists to fortune tellers. Just like its Italian namesake, Venice has a series of canals that were dug in 1905 by town founder and tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney. Of course, being LA’s uber-cool neighborhood, Venice is home to a skate park, a wide variety of restaurants and oyster bars, the ultra-hip Abbot Kinney Boulevard, street artists and musicians, murals, and more.

Pacific Palisades: Located north of Venice along the Pacific Coast, Pacific Palisades is quietly wealthy. It is home to high-end country clubs, upscale communities, beautiful ocean views, walking trails, shopping centers, and celebrities who choose to live in guard-gated communities such as Country Estates. Many celebrities have called Pacific Palisades home, such as Chevy Chase and Steve Guttenberg. Parks in Pacific Palisades include the Will Rogers State Historic Park and Polo Club, Rustic Canyon Park, and Palisades Park.

Silver Lake: This is the neighborhood that never sleeps. Silver Lake is a hip and trendy community filled with nightclubs, restaurants, and bars. Silver Lake oozes cool, from its indie rock music scene to its Bohemian vibe. Silver Lake is pedestrian-friendly, filled with food trucks, and is home to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music – a non-profit started by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea (Michael Balzary) and his friend Keith “Tree” Barry. Residents who have lived in Silver Lake include Flea, Ryan Gosling, Christina Ricci, Eva Longoria, and Rachel McAdams.