Los Angeles is a true sprawl of a city. While most people associate it with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Los Angeles is home to some of the most diverse communities in the world, rooted in a deep history that far predates the stars on the Walk of Fame.
Living in Los Angeles provides you with access to a wide range of different experiences and neighborhoods suited for all walks of life. The City of Angels truly has something for everyone.
Deciding the best place or the best neighborhood to settle down in LA can be intimidating for newcomers and longtime residents alike. Check out this list of some of the best neighborhoods to live in Los Angeles.
Located on the Westside of the city near Century City and north of Culver City, Brentwood is a fairly affluent Los Angeles neighborhood that is predominantly suburban with residential homes and apartments making up the majority of its real estate. The neighborhood does feature some shops, restaurants, and offices in its main corridor due to its proximity to Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, but if you are looking for a quiet residential neighborhood with a slow pace and a good bit of character, consider living in Brentwood.
The area features a fairly healthy mix of large mansions, family homes, and affordable apartments, so you can generally find a living situation that fits your specific needs. Brentwood is also home to some excellent public and private schools. The neighborhood’s proximity to UCLA adds to a mix of students, families, and higher-profile celebrities.
Outside of the residential spaces, residents are treated to a growing array of restaurants, boutiques, and independent bookstores. The brightest cultural touchstone and arts district in the neighborhood is the Getty Center, home to the Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, and other offices and programs.
Known specifically for its extravagance and wealth, Beverly Hills remains one of the bastions of affluence in the country and in Los Angeles County. Beverly Hills, located west of the Hollywood Hills, regularly appears as one of the most expensive cities and neighborhoods to live in. Understandably, most of its residents are fairly high profile, ranging from movie stars to superstar athletes to former politicians. The current median price for homes is $2.2 million.
While the city does see a healthy flow of tourists enjoying the various shopping options and historic Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills is actually surprisingly quiet. Shops tend to close at 9 p.m. every night, and the neighborhood is a bit of a bubble that tends more toward laidback, private, and family-friendly vibes. That atmosphere is enhanced by small pocket communities within the neighborhood that only allows exclusive access to locals.
While the area mostly hosts a suburban atmosphere full of large residences, it does have its fair share of amenities and entertainment, though the selection reflects the same rich, luxurious tastes as the rest of the neighborhood. Overall, Beverly Hills is one of the few parts of L.A. that has stayed relatively unchanged and remains as reliable as the year-round weather.
Until recent years, Calabasas was largely a suburban, residential city that mostly got attention for its Wild West history. Today, the city in the San Fernando Valley has become a home for celebrities who want a quieter life and a larger distance from Los Angeles proper. Calabasas has a population under 24,000, making it smaller than even Beverly Hills (a population of just over 34,000). Combine that with its relative geographic separation from Los Angeles, and you can see why it has become a bit of a haven for the rich and famous. Where Beverly Hills presents a large bubble, Calabasas offers a greater sense of individual security and isolation with its many gated communities.
Even with its celebrity residents, Calabasas remains a quiet city with a distinctly small-town atmosphere. It’s a fairly affluent city with the median home price at about $1.076 million. The suburban L.A. neighborhood is interrupted by some upscale strip malls and shopping centers. One of the main cultural highlights of Calabasas is the Leonis Adobe in Old Town Calabasas, which offers a look at the city’s roots in the late 1800s.
As one of the oldest parts of the San Fernando Valley, which is located in the northern part of Los Angeles County, Encino is an enclave of “old money” Los Angeles. The historic neighborhood offers a mix of upscale urban charm with suburban peace and quiet. Although close to North Hollywood’s nightlife, Encino has maintained a small-town atmosphere that offers amenities within walking distance, along with an active nightlife and cultural hallmarks throughout.
Encino was home to many celebrities of yesteryear, and its affluence remains relatively steadfast. The median home price in Encino is about $905,000, while the median rent is just over $2,000. Schools in the area largely comprise private or charter schools, though the public schools are still consistently rated as excellent.
A true highlight of Encino is its outdoor spaces. The neighborhood features incredible architecture, along with plentiful green spaces for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Combine that with the many restaurants and boutiques, the weekly farmers market, and the tightknit community, and you’ll quickly understand why so many people love this neighborhood.
Pacific Palisades connects the Santa Monica Mountain range to the Pacific Ocean and primarily acts as a residential neighborhood for many of the wealthy residents of L.A. Along with richly manicured single-family homes, Pacific Palisades features condos and townhouses. The median home listing price hovers around $3 million. The selection of schools in the area is considered excellent.
The area boasts good outdoor spaces, particularly beaches and the famed Santa Monica Stairs. It also has a small commercial center that offers high-end dining and shopping options.
Pasadena is just a few miles from downtown Los Angeles, but it offers its own unique tastes, history, and atmosphere. Known as the City of Roses, Pasadena features luxurious, upscale homes along with plenty of amenities and options for dining and entertainment. The northeast LA region is within the San Gabriel Mountain range, boasting incredible views to the east. The median home value is about $650,000, while the average rent in the city is around $2,000.
Pasadena features an incredible combination of residential, commercial, and outdoor offerings. The Eaton Canyon Nature Preserve offers 190 acres of forest and wildlife with loads of trails for hiking and biking. Thanks to its location, the preserve tends to be less busy than the parks in Los Angeles. For shopping, Old Town Pasadena features boutique shopping, galleries, and over 300 restaurant options to satisfy everyone’s appetite.
Santa Monica is a West Los Angeles seaside city that is easily one of the most picturesque parts of L.A. County. The city’s beaches are its most popular attraction, next to upscale shopping, a bustling pier, fine dining, and great weather all year round. The residents are fairly diverse, comprising a blend of families, students, celebrities, and surfers. Santa Monica is also just a few miles from other L.A. favorite beach cities such as Venice Beach, Hermosa Beach, Playa Del Rey and Mar Vista, and Manhattan Beach.
The overall atmosphere of Santa Monica is the personification of California: laidback, low-key, and casually cool. The housing options are just as diverse as the residents, with a healthy blend of single-family homes and apartment complexes. However, the average home value hovers around $2 million. Santa Monica also boasts the highest rental prices in L.A. County. One-bedroom apartments have an average rent of $3,090 per month.
Still, taking into account the incredible views of the Santa Monica Pier, the shopping on Abbot Kinney, the great weather, and the ocean air, it’s easy to see why people visit Santa Monica and never leave.
Just over the hill from Bel Air and Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks is an upscale neighborhood with plenty of history, classic architecture, and a uniquely Old L.A. feel. Don’t mistake Sherman Oaks for being stuck in the past. The neighborhood has seen immense growth and expansion in recent years, perfectly blending that timeless elegance with modern shops, restaurants, and entertainment.
From apartments to ranch-style properties to massive mansions Sherman Oaks has a living situation for just about everyone. The median home value is about $842,000, while the median rent is about $1,800. These are higher than the national medians but lower than other neighborhoods in L.A.
Quaint but still exuding plenty of charm, Studio City is home to fewer than 40,000 residents and offers a unique space for both Hollywood’s elite and your average affluent families. Quiet and laidback, Studio City is uniquely hip and trendy while still maintaining an Old West Hollywood atmosphere with its mid-century architecture and post-World War II buildings. New, hip eateries and boutiques continue to sprout up in the Los Angeles neighborhood. The median home price is about $1,054 million, and the median monthly rental stays at around $1,956.
Los Angeles is large, diverse, and beautifully unique. One good part about the city is that, thanks to the commuter nature and network of freeways, you are never too far from fun, new experiences, and activities in all of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods. If you’re ready to become an Angeleno, or are looking at other places in Southern California such as San Diego or Orange County, contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties today. Our team of Southern California real estate specialists can guide you through each step to help you find the home of your dreams.