Areas and suburbs in Los Angeles
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Each of the areas and suburbs in Los Angeles has carved out its own unique niche; sustaining a particular sense of community and atmosphere. With an array of options, house-hunting in LA is harrowing, but it's essential that expats are patient and take the time to ensure that the area they choose is right for them.
Here are some recommended neighbourhoods in Los Angeles.
Family-friendly areas in Los Angeles
San Fernando Valley
Casually referred to as "the Valley" by locals, this extended space is a seemingly endless network of gorgeous suburbs and malls. Boasting both Ventura Boulevard, an expansive strip of shopping, dining and entertainment options, and Universal Studios Hollywood, arguably the broker of the world's most famous movie magic, families with children will find little beyond their reach in this area of town.
Just 10 miles (16km) from the city centre of Los Angeles, Pasadena offers families access to the freeway while still allowing them to maintain the leisurely lifestyle most often associated with a not-so-sleepy town. Old Town Pasadena presents residents with a pedestrian-friendly centre where an assortment of bars, boutiques, cafés and restaurants cluster together. Charming neighbourhoods populated with quaint California bungalows sidle up to good-quality schools, cultural institutions and top-notch universities.
Beachside living in Los Angeles
This popular beach community marries all the characteristics of an urban centre with the beauty of a seaside getaway. With a cost of living that is less than Malibu and a character cleaner than that of Venice Beach, Santa Monica is a good option for middle-class expats taken with the idea of fresh ocean air and the famed Third Street Promenade – a pedestrian-only entertainment, dining and shopping venue.
The edgier cousin of Santa Monica and Malibu, Venice Beach is well known as a bohemian-spirited beach community with inexpensive housing. The iconic boardwalk offers residents a prime people-watching and exercise platform, but can be dangerous at night. This is a great area for young artsy couples or beach bums looking for an easy-going neighbourhood with plenty of eclectic entertainment on offer.
Hip, young areas in Los Angeles
Known as an up-and-coming neighbourhood with all the energy of a big city crushed into a small town, Culver City is increasingly being thought of as home by a young, mixed crowd of residents. Expats on a budget with a gusto for life will find the inexpensive housing and burgeoning nightlife an ideal combination.
This hilly neighbourhood acts as a point of congregation for throngs of creatives and hipsters. The area is also home to a large LGBT population as well as a sizeable Mexican community. Countless coffee bars, art galleries and ethnic restaurants entice expats with an artistic whim, while the area's large reservoir proves an attractive asset for those with dogs or who fancy a fair bit of greenery.
Luxury living in Los Angeles
Referring to residents of this neighbourhood as upper-crust would be a euphemism. Beverly Hills is one of the wealthiest areas of Los Angeles, and unsurprisingly, one of the quietest and the safest. Many of Hollywood's megastars play house behind the perfectly manicured hedges. The area is also well-known for its ritzy shopping options, most notably the famed Rodeo Drive. Expats looking to settle down here should have a super-sized budget.
West Hollywood is upscale, but considerably more affordable than Beverly Hills. The area is known to be clean and safe, and a number of young families are beginning to call this neighbourhood home. West Hollywood is nestled between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, and is known as a walkable area with fantastic furniture stores, restaurants and retail outlets.