Backstage Message Board
LA Neighborhood Breakdown
December 23, 2011, 12:47 PMCountrygirl.in.the.City
LA Neighborhood Breakdown
When I first moved here, I lived in Sherman Oaks. It's a great neighborhood, safe, lots of conveniences nearby, less expensive... all good things. But I will tell you, as wonderful as the valley is, it's nothing like living in the city. If you're interested being surrounded by a little more energy, stay south of the hills. Yes, it can be more expensive, but it's not that bad. I have a really good friend who lives in Studio City, another who lives in Culver City and I live in West LA (inland Santa Monica.) We all have very comparable apartments in price and quality. My Culver City friend and I just have a little less square footage for the same price, but I sort of think of it like a Denny's dinner platter... yeah, it's a good deal, but I don't really need all that food. I have a great apartment with plenty of space and I'm two miles from the beach in one direction and just a few miles for Beverly Hills and WeHo in the other necessary spots. It can be a pain to get to Burbank for auditions, but I'm relatively close to a freeway, so midday auditions aren't too difficult.
In my humble opinion, look for an older building in great neighborhoods like Santa Monica, Brentwood, Culver City, Westwood (though lots of UCLA kids), West Hollywood, some parts of Hollywood, Miracle Mile, Park La Brea. You can get some great deals, especially if you can do a roommate situation. On that note... I have found all my roommates of Craigslist and will say, if you have the luxury of a month or two to move, take your time and go meet lots and lots and lots of people, you can find really great roommates. I have been living with my current ones for two years and they are now two of my best friends. There are a LOT of crazies, but put in the leg-work, you'll find many great normal people. I wouldn't trade my roommates for anything.
In the end, just remember that wherever you end up, it will dictate who you'll hang out with. Los Angeles is a huge area and though it may not look like far on the map, or even if someone tells you it's just a 30-minute drive, it's glossing over what it takes to go visit someone -- there's the distance, plus the traffic, plus parking. It's exhausting. If you move to Burbank or Glendale, you're not going to have friends on the westside. You're just not.
I've lived in LA for four years and it never ceases to amaze me how many cool and unique neighborhoods are available. You could pack up and move every year and still not reach them all in 20 years. The main thing to keep in mind is that you really won't understand the feel of all these different areas until you live here, so you may end up moving around a few times until you settle in the neighborhood with the vibe that feels right to you. For me, feeling comfortable and happy at home is really important for my sanity. The great news is there are lots of absolutely great apartments all over town, and with patience and hard work, you can land a gem in a neighborhood you wouldn't think you could afford.
April 09, 2012, 01:27 PMstumbleine
Bumping this do it doesn't disappear into the archives.
April 09, 2012, 05:03 PMTorontoActress
I went to LA to check out a bunch of neighbourhoods last month and I went everywhere to get a porper lay of the land. I stayed in Hollywood Heights with family and that area is crazy expensive.
I'm looking for a 2 or 3 bedroom place so my budget is considerably pricier than studios or 1-bedroom places but I found a few 2 bedrooms for between $1500 and $2000 along Franklin between La Brea and over to La Cienega, as well as a few places right near Runyon Canyon.
The other area I liked was Los Feliz but I think I'd be pickier about where in Los Feliz as I'd want to be close to the main shopping/restaurant strip. Also, being from Toronto, I'm very used to public transit as we take it everywhere, which I also did while in LA. So I'd want to be close to the Metro and a bus line. I will get a car of course but there may be days where it may be easier to not have to worry about parking and just jump on a train/bus. GASP I know.
I also checked out North Hollywood, Valley Village, Century City and Pasadena. I definitely liked all those areas but couldn't picture myself living there. If the price was that much cheaper and had the amenities I was looking for, might be tempted to try those neighbourhoods out.
And if I could live anywhere, no worries about cost, I'd probably choose the Vine and Sunset area. Trader Joes, Farmer's Market, restaurants, shopping, nice condos, reminds of Toronto.
April 09, 2012, 10:05 PMYonie
North Hollywood has some newly built apartment buildings very near the station.
April 09, 2012, 10:16 PMJackie200
Personally I live in West Hollywood; I don't think you can find a better location than that. 1 mile away from Beverly Hills; close to the Beverly Center and the Grove and many classes... I live like less than a quarter mile away from Brian Reise Studios... Close to Aaron Speiser school too... etc
Personally I HATE Sunset and Vine because it's filled with annoying tourists. I like to drive everywhere and never take public transportation so being close to places in walking distance is not important to me. I've never walked anywhere ; I just love to drive...
Los Feliz is too hippy, artsy for me; I don't like the vibe. The valley, Studio City and Sherman Oaks are ok but boring and more suburban, not very "city" like.
April 09, 2012, 10:53 PMarrowhead
As they say... to each their own. But to find out what 'your own' is, you have to know the neighborhoods... it's nice to keep this thread going for sure.
April 09, 2012, 11:12 PMamo37
I live in silverlake and I love, love it!
I also love La Crescenta and Glendale, but for some people they're too far out.
April 09, 2012, 11:28 PMYonie
Amo, gonna have to say that I'm one of those people that think Glendale is a bit too far off the beaten track for actors. Traffic can get really heavy during morning and late afternoon. It's still passable via surface streets Glendale -> Burbank -> NoHo. But it's still quite a trek.
Have heard good things about Silverlake.
April 09, 2012, 11:39 PMamo37
I've lived in the valley and that's no picnic either traffic wise. Glendale is a little out there, but cheaper to live in some cases.
All in all, if you're going to live in LA, you will have traffic.
I like Silverlake because I am a half mile from Sunset, the 2 is very close, the 101 is a mile away and the 5 is also real close.
April 09, 2012, 11:42 PMamo37
My cousin lives in a great condo in Culver City, but that area also seems like a traffic nightmare via the 10 and the 405. But I have had some auditions down there, so avoiding traffic is not possible when you audition in this town.
Surface streets are great, but sometimes you have to grit your teeth, pop in that cd and head onto the parking lot we call the 101.
April 10, 2012, 07:23 AMFishgurl
No mention of Toluca Lake? It's a nice, clean and safe area with a definite small town feel which is fine by me since I'm a small town girl. Your typical Tolucan is a bit older than most new actors, but you want to network? It's virtually impossible to step out your front door without networking because everybody works for the networks! Or studios ... I've met people from virtually every corner of the business when I was just out and about and have gotten to the point that I rarely leave except for auditions and work which is usually just a hop, skip and a jump away. And I've found some alternate ways down the hill for when the 101 is backed up, so that's not too much of a problem.
It does have a bit of a rep for snootiness which is in a way deserved, but people open up pretty fast if you, yourself are friendly and approachable and they figure out that you don't want anything from them. It also helps to be a hot girl that can talk about other things besides your career, but it tends to work that way everywhere ...
There's not much of a party scene but we do have Timmy Nolan's and Lucy's which are within easy and safe walking distance for me when I feel like tipping some adult beverages and watching a game or just shooting the shit with whomever at happy hour.
I'm not even sure what the average rent is, but it's gotta be fairly pricey and I kind of doubt most landlords would put up with new actors stacking four and five in a two bedroom like they seem to do in some areas. I'm actually paying $1,200 for a one bedroom guest house which was an incredibly lucky find that I wouldn't have been able to get were it not for a connection.
But, yeah ... I recommend Toluca Lake for actors who already have rep and credits and are moving to town from New York or if you've gotten to the point that you're making a consistent living at it and want to live near work.
I also stayed in Laurel Canyon when I was still living in New York and was in town on business. It's pretty nice in a woodsy, rustic way, but it's kind of isolated and can be a big pita to get out of when LC Blvd is backed up. It's also gonna be a nightmare when "the big one" happens and landslides block those tiny little roads out. The area seems fairly flammable, too, and likely fires from gas tanks blowing will make it even worse. Then, I guess that pretty much goes for anywhere in the Hollywood Hills. At. Your. Own. Risk ...
April 10, 2012, 09:19 AMYonie
Agreed on Toluca Lake. Better situated than NoHo et al if you have a car. Using Cahuenga to Highland is a speedy alternative to the freeway if you need to go south.
November 05, 2012, 01:27 AMarrowhead
Graphics and statistics here for each neighborhood. It doesn't really solve the problem of "where do I live?" and the statistics may or may not matter in reality, but it's kind of interesting.
November 05, 2012, 06:52 AMtoonaive
Since the thread got updated (thanks for the link, arrowhead), I thought I'd ask this question.
Is there really parts of LA that you have to be walking around in Kevlar or do actors like to be over-dramatic and this is just an exaggeration?
I mean there are parts of London, and other cities in Europe that are dangerous, where you probably don't want to be walking around daily during the night, but not to the level that you would have to think about getting shot each and every time you go near those neighborhoods, or even think about going around the whole neighborhood. Just be cautious, that's all.
November 05, 2012, 08:54 AMThrillSeeker
Hollywood is sketch. I wouldn't want to walk around east of Vine by myself at night.
No, they aren't exaggerating.