THE COMPLETE NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE TO LOS ANGELES.
Los Angeles is many things. It is massive, chaotic, bubbly, charming, aggressive, vegan, pretentious, and honest at the same time. What areas are hot and what to avoid? This post covers it all.
It took me three long visits to finally fall in love with Los Angeles and want to move here. There is more than meets the eye. I came to realize that there is more to it than celebrity culture and movies. There are also world-class museums, galleries, showcases and exhibitions, restaurants, beaches (OMG the beaches), parks, quirky neighborhoods, and much more. You have to know where to be and at what time to find yourself gasping for more than you can handle.
Whatever you want it is going to be here in L. A. These are pictures from our furnished Valley apartment where we were lucky to stay for four months.
In short, you have to research and know where to find what you are looking for because L.A. has it all. In general, in Los Angeles, it is like traveling from one bubble to the next. Where you live or stay plays a huge role in what kind of perception you have of the city.
Side note: only in Los Angeles, you can have both gay and old school Russian area at the same time! 🙂
WHERE TO STAY IN LOS ANGELES?
Pasadena is a good neighborhood that offers security, cleanliness, and anything your heart desires in terms of shopping and cafes.
Since my last time in Los Angeles, we have finally made to Pasadena and OMG! It is like Beverly Hills pretty but without the million dollar prices. The old city downtown is gorgeous, and shops and cafes are plentiful.
West Hollywood is the place to see and be seen and my personal favorite. Located between Hollywood and Beverly Hills it is a lovely and safe mix of everyone together. Think old school Russians together with gays. Doesn’t it sound like fun?
The Valley, or rather San Fernando Valley, is a more affordable option than the rest of the city. This area is where most people who want to have more space for their dollar live.
Hollywood, where the walk of fame is, is THE touristy area and it used to be pretty ghetto especially at night. It still gets especially sketchy closer to evening time. The prices for what you get are unfair. Advertised as the “it” stay point, but I would stay away.
Santa Monica and Beverly Hills are superb regarding a visit but are way too expensive to live in. Maybe in my next life. 🙂 And there are almost no options for rent short term. The neighborhoods are safe and beautiful. Santa Monica beach views are incredible. It gets me every time.
DO stay as close to where you want to be or your points of interest. Even if it is going to be more expensive, it will pay off since traffic in Los Angeles is exceptionally slow and shows no signs of improving.
Manhattan Beach is amazing and not far from the airport. It has no noise pollution. It is an amazing and my most favorite place in all of Los Angeles. The views and the beach are mind-blowing. It is one of those neighborhoods one can dream of for the next life. There are almost no affordable options short-term rentals so we come there to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere.
Areas to avoid staying in Los Angeles
I would avoid staying in Koreatown, Downtown Los Angeles, Inglewood, and anywhere east of highway 110.
Koreatown might be impressive during the day, but during the evening hours, I was afraid of coming out of my car. We had to come and see the property, and it was so sketchy that even Mr. K was worried.
When looking for a property to rent: pass by in the evening hours or when it is dark. It will give you a good idea of what kind of neighborhood you are in.
Downtown Los Angeles is being rebuilt and re-marketed as the place to be and do business in. However, it is still pretty sketchy, and I felt uneasy walking past 6 pm outside alone. There are a lot of homelessness there, and some do not look as friendly as one would like.
In Downtown Los Angeles aAnything west of Olive Street is a “no go”.
This time around we have stayed at The Los Angeles Athletic Club, and I loved it there. Though it was not cheap, everything was worth it. Well, except maybe for the women locker room. They were rebuilding it, and it did not look like a place to relax. However, the renderings and the sample board did leave an optimistic impression of what was to come.
Stay away from East section, Inglewood. East of Los Angeles or behind highway 110 was described as a “dangerous area” by a local real estate agent who helped us find our Valley apartment. So if a local says this, I would stay away.
Venice is not a nice neighborhood. It is popular with tourists and homeless people. It has chill vibes and a rather dirty atmosphere where one does not want to come back to. Real estate prices are thru the roof because of its popularity. Do not be fooled though. Once the day hipe wear off it is the last area you want to rent in.
What to see and do in Los Angeles besides the obvious? Read this post. Did I mention most of the activities are free?
WHERE TO FIND ACCOMMODATIONS IN LOS ANGELES?
I love using Airbnb. I find this is one of the most helpful websites and prices are somewhat sane.
It also is worth it to rent for longer than shorter. Since we were staying for four months the landlord was much more agreeable in terms of price.
Previously, I have used Sublet.com to find an apartment for one month.
Do not use craigslist or similar websites for rentals as there are a lot of scammers. I have been almost scammed twice.
I would also recommend using services of a local real estate agent. The service is free and the search will be shorter. I did find ours at craigslist.
Some of my golden places to look for tickets, apartments, events, or free stuff are these websites:
Let me know if there are more sites in the comments down below. I am these are not all there is. Have you been to Los Angeles? Did you like it? What neighborhood did you love/hate most?
Hungry for more details? This post covers Los Angeles in more detail.