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Most areas and suburbs of Los Angeles have carved out their own niche, and come with their own sense of identity, character, and atmosphere. With an overwhelming array of options, house hunting in LA can be harrowing, but with a little patience new arrivals and expats are sure to find the area that ticks all of their boxes.
Here are some recommended neighbourhoods in Los Angeles.
Family-friendly areas in Los Angeles
San Fernando Valley
Often referred to simply as 'the Valley', this large area of LA is a seemingly endless sprawl of affluent 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, Pasadena offers families easy access to highways 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 sit aside good-quality schools, cultural institutions, and top-notch universities.
Beach-side living in Los Angeles
This popular beach community marries all the characteristics of an urban centre with the beauty of a seaside destination. With a cost of living that is less than Malibu's 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's beachside community is considered slightly more bohemian. 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 bodies looking for an easy-going neighbourhood with plenty of eclectic entertainment on offer.
Young and hip areas in Los Angeles
An up-and-coming neighbourhood with all the energy and buzz of a big city packed into a small town, Culver City is increasingly being called home by a young, diverse crowd of residents. Constantly evolving and developing, there's always something new and exciting going on in Culver City.
This hilly neighbourhood acts as a point of congregation for throngs of creatives. Countless coffee bars, art galleries, and ethnic restaurants may entice those new arrivals of artistic inclination, while the area's large reservoir proves an attractive asset for those with dogs or who fancy a bit of greenery.
Luxury living in Los Angeles
Referring to residents of this neighbourhood as upper-crust would be an understatement. 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 renowned for its ritzy shopping options, most notably the famed Rodeo Drive. Expats with big dreams of settling down in this area will need a super-sized budget to match.
The home of Sunset Strip, West Hollywood is an upscale area that is less expensive than Beverly Hills but still offers luxury. The area is known to be clean and safe, and a number of young families are beginning to flock to this neighbourhood. West Hollywood is known as a walkable area with fantastic furniture stores, restaurants, and boutique retail outlets.
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Images: Pasadena by Nathan Dumlao; Venice by Cameron Venti; Silver Lake by Mark Adriane; Beverly Hills by Ashlee Attebery. All sourced from Unsplash.
Are you an expat living in Los Angeles?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Los Angeles. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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