Experts from overseas property broker Tranio.com provide a breakdown of the 10 best neighbourhoods and suburbs, whether for holiday getaways or for purchase, in the Greater Los Angeles area. The area is comprised of 272 neighbourhoods in total. Of greatest interest to property buyers and holidaymakers are the following:
- Bel Air
- West Hollywood
- Pacific Palisades
- Santa Monica
Beverly Hills: the high life of movie stars and musicians
Beverly Hills is a glamourous city and, while not a part of Los Angeles, it is surrounded by LA neighbourhoods on every side. Hollywood actors choose it as their place of residence. Actors and other celebrities started moving there as early as the beginning of the twentieth century. For example, Sergey Rachmaninoff, a Russian composer, lived in his house on Elm Drive until 1943. Such celebrities as Mick Jagger, Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, Eddie Murphy, Mickey Rourke, Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis live in Beverly Hills today.
The city is world-famous for its posh shopping areas: there are over a hundred boutiques, including the shops on the famous Rodeo Drive. There are many renowned five-star restaurants, including Bouchon, Scarpetta, Spago and Cut.
The city has good schools and is impeccably clean. Some residential complexes have parking garages where you can leave your car for one or two hours at no charge.
The only disadvantage of Beverly Hills is the costliness of residential property. According to Elliman, in Q1 2016 the median price for detached houses ran at $4.27M. In 2014, the founder of the Minecraft video game, Markus Persson bought a house for $70M. Another property, Palazzo di Amore, was put up for sale at $195M, but it never sold.
Despite the name, most of Beverly Hills is relatively flat. The prices for the houses located in the hilly area north of Sunset Boulevard exceed the city average by far because of the beautiful views from the heights.
Bel Air: villas and the wealthy and famous
Bel Air is an upscale, celebrity-status Los Angeles neighbourhood with beautiful landscapes. It is mainly characterised by privacy and exclusiveness.
The neighbourhood’s multitudinous gardens, parks and forests attract nature lovers. There are enough restaurants and shops, to be sure, but Bel Air is more a residential area and less a shopping precinct. The three main communities are East Gate Old Bel Air, West Gate Bel Air and Upper Bel Air. The airport is about a 30-minute drive from Bel Air.
There are no apartment buildings here: everyone lives in a detached house. The construction of multifamily houses is prohibited by law. The types of buildings range from modest ranchers to large estates. The higher the mountains, the smaller the land plots and the simpler the houses become.
Architectural masterpieces with marble staircases and two-level kitchens are not uncommon here. According to Elliman, in Q1 2016 the median price for detached houses in Bel Air ran at about $2.2M.
Despite the fact that the stars living in the neighbourhood wish to keep their addresses private, enterprising vendors still offer maps indicating famous actors’ and singers’ places of residence to tourists.
Brentwood: another neighbourhood of celebrities
Brentwood is a prestigious Los Angeles neighbourhood located at the bottom of the Santa Monica Mountains. It appeals to stars just like Beverly Hills and Bel Air. There is a beach about 15 minutes away by car.
Brentwood is suitable for families and offers good schools. There is a plethora of shops and restaurants here. A market selling fresh local produce — fruits, vegetables, honey, eggs, cheese and bread — is open every Sunday.
Many personalities, including Marilyn Monroe, Jim Belushi, Monica Lewinsky, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gisele Bündchen and others lived in Brentwood at different times.
Along with Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Brentwood is one of the most expensive Los Angeles neighbourhoods to buy residential property. According to Elliman, the median price for detached houses is $2.58M.
Venice: bohemians and beach lovers
Venice is a fashionable and bustling coastal Los Angeles neighbourhood with a diverse nightlife and numerous amusements. It is perfect for young people.
The neighbourhood was founded by a tobacco magnate and lover of Italy’s own Venice, Abbot Kinney. The entrepreneur created a copy of the Venetian canal system and “imported” gondolas. However, the design engineers did not take into account the strong tides in the area, and some of the canals were later filled up.
Venice has been attracting bohemians since the early twentieth century and now has an abundance of art studios. The area’s bright façades make Venice a popular location for filming. It is a neighbourhood of modern art: many home are decorated with tastefully picturesque graffiti which can only be described as works of art.
There is always an air of festivity about Venice. Its alleys and avenues are full of street performers, fortune tellers and souvenir sellers. Abbot Kinney Boulevard is one of the busiest LA streets, home to many affordable restaurants, bars and shops. In 2012, GQ magazine declared Abbot Kinney Boulevard “the coolest block in America”.
Venice Beach is a world tourist centre, attracting millions of visitors annually. Unlike other places on the Los Angeles coast, this beach is wide, with the seafront lying parallel to it. There are plenteous handball, volleyball and tennis courts nearby. Surfing aficionados also frequent Venice Beach.
Among the properties for sale, apartment complexes and small bungalows prevail. According to Zillow, the average price for these properties is $1.52M.
Hollywood: the film industry’s beating heart
As actor Denzel Washington once said, “In Los Angeles, everyone is a star”. If so, Hollywood is the most “star-studded” city neighbourhood of all. Traditionally, Hollywood is associated with the American film industry, as there are many motion picture studios and movie stars which call it home. Stars, tourists, nightlife – these are words which best describe Hollywood.
In addition to cinemas and other enterprises related to the film industry, Hollywood has many art galleries, nightclubs, restaurants and shopping malls. A Sunday farmer’s market – an outright gift for lovers of healthy nutrition – is also organised here regularly.
Hollywood hosts one of the oldest Armenian expat communities in the US and the world. The first Armenians arrived in 1880s from the Ottoman Empire; following the 1915 Armenian genocide, their numbers increase greatly. Nowadays, about 50,000 Armenian-Americans live in Hollywood (about 25% of the Armenian-American population). There is even a community called Little Armenia.
The adjacent Hollywood Hills and Hollywood Heights are also associated with Hollywood. According to Zillow, the average price for residential property in Hollywood is $739,300.
West Hollywood: Russian speakers and nightlife
West Hollywood is a busy, bohemian city, perfect for the lovers of amusements and nightlife. It has several entertainment venues of which celebrities are habitués (Dan Tana’s, Formosa Cafe, Palm Restaurant: West Hollywood, Rainbow Bar and Grill, Soho House, The Abbey Food & Bar, Villa Nightclub, Whisky Bar). The famous Sunset Strip, the stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, is located here. This is the heart of Los Angeles nightlife, home to restaurants and rock and nightclubs (House of Blues, The Roxy Theatre, Whisky a Go Go, Viper Room, etc.). There is also a smorgasbord of bookshops, art galleries, yoga studios and boutiques in West Hollywood.
Thanks to its compactness and the convenience of the streets, West Hollywood is deemed one of the best Californian cities for pedestrians.
West Hollywood is where Little Russia, the neighbourhood in which the Russian-speaking population of Los Angeles concentrates itself and constitutes 14% of the local population, is located. After some districts of New York, it is home to the most populous Russian expat community in the United States. Shops selling Russian groceries and restaurants of Russian cuisine are concentrated on Santa Monica Boulevard, which is the main artery of West Hollywood. Many Russian-speaking immigrants, including many Jews, came here after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. There are five to six thousand Russian-speaking Jews living in West Hollywood. Most of them came here during two migration waves: one between 1978 and 1979 and another 1988 and 1992.
The main residential neighbourhoods are Norma Triangle, West Hollywood North, West Hollywood West, West Hollywood East, and West Hollywood Heights.
In West Hollywood, multi-storey apartment complexes prevail, but you can also find an occasional bungalow. According to Elliman, the median price for detached houses is $1.585M, and for flats it is $685,000.
Malibu: surfers and students
Malibu is a resort city in the west of Los Angeles County. This place is perfect for just about everyone: both families with children and young people. Athletes, celebrities and students come to live here (the latter — because of the private Pepperdine University).
Malibu is famous for its six beaches spanning 17 km, as well as for being a Hollywood stars’ place of residence. Native Americans used to call this place “Humaliwo”, which means “the surf sounds loudly”. This was the word from which the modern name of the city originated. The city’s motto is “27 miles of scenic beauty”, and Malibu offers numerous opportunities for recreation: kayaking, surfing, yachting, diving and swimming.
There are many luxurious villas in Malibu, but it manages to preserve the cosiness of a small town with tiny markets, playgrounds and tidy sidewalks. According to Elliman, the median price for detached houses is $2.86M, and for flats the price is $850,000.
Pasadena: roses and ancient buildings
Pasadena is a city within a city that combines opportunities for entertainment and peaceful relaxation. It is also known as a “town pretending to be a city”. The rich culture attracts both museum goers and the lovers of carnivals. About 11% of Pasadena residents are of Armenian descent. This community exerts great influence on the economy, culture and the social life of the city.
Pasadena became a holiday destination for the residents of the East Coast as early as the nineteenth century. The Rose Parade, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists annually, has been held here every New Year’s Day since 1890.
The Metro Gold Line will easily take you to the centre of Los Angeles. Downtown and Disneyland Park are 15 and 40 minutes away by metro, respectively.
There are quite a few villas dating back to the early twentieth century and beautiful, ancient buildings in the centre of Pasadena. Many restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues are concentrated in Old Town Pasadena.
According to Zillow, the average residential property price in Pasadena is $721,400.
Pacific Palisades: expensive villas and silence
Pacific Palisades is a luxurious, residential Los Angeles neighbourhood on the ocean coast. This is a tranquil locality to which many stars took great fancy.
The neighbourhood is known as “the place where the mountains meet the sea.” Pacific Palisades pleases its residents with picturesque landscapes and ocean views. The beaches here are quieter than in Santa Monica, but surfers like to catch waves here as well. The Beach Boys mention Pacific Palisades in their “Surfin’ USA” single.
In Pacific Palisades, shops selling local organic produce are popular. There are numerous boutiques and expensive restaurants here. Another feature of the neighbourhood is the abundance of greenery and parks, suitable for hiking and relaxation.
This is primarily a bedroom community with spacious modern private homes, small old villas and apartment buildings. According to Elliman, the median price for houses is $2.724M.
Santa Monica: mild climate and athletes
Santa Monica is a US city located in western Los Angeles County. Many Hollywood stars and film company employees live here. Santa Monica is also a mecca for skateboarding and surfing aficionados.
The hottest month in Santa Monica is September. Due to the city’s geographical location, June is often cloudy and chilly, while in Los Angeles it may well be quite warm and sunny. The Pacific breezes make Santa Monica’s air fresher and cleaner, and they make the city itself far less smoggy compared to the inland regions.
Santa Monica has its own airport, five cinemas and several museums. Having more immigrants from the UK and Ireland than the whole of Los Angeles, the city is home to countless British and Irish pubs. There are three shopping areas: Montana Avenue, with luxurious boutiques and restaurants; the downtown area, with the Third Street Promenade pedestrian zone; and Main Street, with clothing shops and goods of various kinds. All this, including the streets and grand promenades, makes Santa Monica one of the best places to live in the Greater Los Angeles area.
According to Elliman, the median price for detached houses in Santa Monica is $2.995M, and for flats, $895,000.
Tranio.com recommends choosing Los Angeles neighbourhoods and suburbs for holidays and property buying in accordance with your preferences, lifestyle and budget:
— The most expensive neighbourhoods: Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades
— Nightlife: Venice, Hollywood, West Hollywood
— Beach: Malibu, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades
— Quiet neighbourhoods: Bel Air, Pasadena, Pacific Palisades
November 19, 2016