The Best Neighborhoods in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is known for a lot of things, from its glitz and glamor to its movies, beaches, and traffic on the 405. With a 2020 population of 3,898,747, Los Angeles is the largest city in California and the second-largest city in America behind only New York City.
But Los Angeles is far from a monolith. There are over 114 residential areas, and all of them have their own distinct personality. So, let’s take a closer look at some of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including:
- Downtown Los Angeles
- West Hollywood
- Santa Monica
- North Hollywood
- Santa Clarita
- Marina Del Ray
- Woodland Hills
By the end of this guide, you’ll be ready to explore all that Los Angeles has to offer. And once you figure out the traffic—take the 10 to the 110 to the 101 to avoid the 405—you’ll be ready to explore this sprawling American city.
1. Downtown Los Angeles
Los Angeles may not be known for its downtown (DTLA), but that’s changing. Over the past couple of decades, the previous workaday downtown area has become a destination full of hip dining options and bustling nightlife. Some highlights of the downtown neighborhood include:
- Food and dining: If you want Italian food, you can’t beat the Cavatelli alla Norcina at Bestia. If you’re more into Middle Eastern fare, start with hummus and a shared malawach for the table at Bavel.
- Coffee: Stop by neighborhood fixture Cognoscenti Coffee’s roastery or their Olive street location. And, if you take a trip to Grand Central Market, be sure to hit up coffee hub G&B.
- Culture: Downtown is also home to the world’s shortest railway, Angel’s Flight. Be sure to also check out the contemporary art museum, The Broad, or see the LA Philharmonic play at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. If you’re more of a sports fan, head to the Crypto.com arena and catch a Lakers or Clippers game.
- Transportation: Los Angeles has the reputation of being a driving city. However, it does have a public transit system, and the subway covers much of DTLA. Since parking can be at a premium, taking the train may be a smart option.
Let’s go to the beach! Los Angeles is situated on the Pacific Ocean, and many of its neighborhoods are located right on the beach. Perhaps none of those neighborhoods better encapsulates the surfer ethic than Venice Beach. This neighborhood offers:
- Outdoors: You come to Venice for the beach, so you may as well spend as much time as possible soaking in the beachy vibes. The Venice Beach Boardwalk stretches over two miles and attracts over 28,000 people daily. This is the main artery of Venice where you’ll find skaters and surfers, as well as upscale shopping and dining.
- Restaurants: A day at the beach needs good food. Try the Mahi Mahi tacos featured in “I Love You, Man” at James’ Beach on North Venice Boulevard, or try some traditional Indonesian cuisine like the rendang memak at Wallflower.
- Groceries: If you’d rather stock up and watch the sunset from home, there are the usual suspects like Ralph’s and Whole Foods, as well as the upscale Erewhon Market.
Hollywood is the beating heart of America’s film industry. It’s also the beating heart of Los Angeles. Full of history and home to a vibrant, diverse population, you can’t live in LA without spending at least some time in high-end Hollywood. This neighborhood offers:
- Entertainment: Hollywood is the entertainment capital of the world. Take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame or tour the studio lots. Then be sure to catch a concert at the Hollywood Bowl or a movie at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
- Restaurants: Hollywood has options to satisfy any gourmand. Have a steak and a Martini at historic Musso & Frank, or try some of the city’s best pizza by ordering the Bianca at Pizzeria Mozza.
- Nightlife” Start your night at ‘70s-themed bar Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, then head east toward Los Feliz for a craft cocktail at The Dresden.
4. West Hollywood
West Hollywood (WeHo) is, as the name suggests, west of Hollywood. This trendy, hip neighborhood has a thriving nightlife and is known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community. This neighborhood offers:
- Nightlife: West Hollywood is known for its gay bars, and none is more well known than The Abbey. However, WeHo offers a variety of nightlife options. If you’re more of a rock fan, be sure to check out the historic Whisky a Go Go.
- Restaurants: You’ll need food before heading out to enjoy the WeHo nightlife. Find some of LA’s best sushi with the must-have omakase at Sushi Park. or visit a landmark and enjoy the Chicken Parmigiana at Dan Tana’s.
5. Santa Monica
Time to head back to the beach! Soak up some rays, play a game of volleyball, and enjoy the general vibe of one of the most desirable places to live in all of Los Angeles. The Santa Monica neighborhood offers:
- Outdoor and shopping: Perhaps no sight is more iconic in LA than the Ferris wheel at the must-see Santa Monica Pier. Once you’ve checked out the pier, head east to the 3rd Street Promenade, which is home to over 80 retailers.
- Groceries: While Santa Monica has plenty of grocery stores, you have to check out the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market for the best local fruits and veggies.
South of Hollywood and west of Downtown, you’ll find this diverse LA neighborhood known for its karaoke, nightclubs, and restaurants—as well as other hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems. This tight-knit neighborhood offers:
- Restaurants: When in Koreatown, any food talk has to focus on Korean BBQ. You’ll have plenty of options, some high-priced, some raucous party spots. The two-story space at Jeong Yuk Jeom means you shouldn’t have too long a wait to try some of their dry-aged offerings.
- Music: Known for Karaoke, K-town has plenty of options. Grab a private room at The Venue or leave the singing to the professionals and see a show at The Wiltern.
7. North Hollywood
We’ve finally made it to the valley. Once you make it over the mountains, Los Angeles can seem a bit more residential and family-friendly, but there’s still plenty to do, especially in the arts district of this bustling neighborhood. This family-oriented area offers:
- Theaters: The NoHo Arts District is a hub of creativity. Check out a play at the El Portal, or take a short walk up to Laemmle’s Noho 7 to see the latest movies.
- Restaurants: Try one of over 150 beers available at Brickyard Pub, or opt for a craft cocktail and a short-rib French dip at nearby Fat Dog.
- Transportation: Getting to the valley can be tough depending on the time of day, since you’re limited to the highways or the few canyon roads. The subway’s red line is another option to get to NoHo.
8. Santa Clarita
While technically a bit north of Los Angeles, Santa Clarita offers an alternative to being in the middle of the city. Located within a 30-minute drive of downtown (off of the I-5) Santa Clarita can be a respite from city life while still being close enough to dip into the city when you’d like. This neighborhood offers:
- Attractions: Roller coaster lovers will be happy to hear that Santa Clarita features Six Flags Magic Mountain and its attached waterpark, Hurricane Harbor.
- Restaurants: You don’t need to drive into LA for great dining. Santa Clarita is home to famed chef Daniel Otto’s Old Town Junction (be sure to get there before they run out of prime rib). There’s also a gastropub scene with entrants like Newhall Refinery, where you can try the brisket and fried-egg based Hangover Burger.
9. Marina Del Rey
The seafront community of Marina Del Rey is located south of Venice and is the ideal place for someone looking to join a boating and beach community. This neighborhood offers:
- Fitness: The beach is always there for a casual stroll, but if you want to sweat, take advantage of one of the many bike paths or fitness centers like Marina Athletic Club, which also offers beach classes.
- Outdoor dining: If you’re on the beach, why not dine al fresco (and have a prime spot to enjoy the sunset)? Enjoy craft beers and turtle races at Brennan’s, or try the clam chowder at Tony P’s Dockside Grill.
10. Woodland Hills
We’re headed back to the valley for our final neighborhood: Woodland Hills. Situated on the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, Woodland Hills is an upscale neighborhood full of great hiking, and it’s only a short drive from the beautiful beaches of Malibu:
- Restaurants: Ventura Boulevard features numerous options to suit anyone’s palate. Try the fried chicken sandwich and a craft beer at The Local Peasant. And, if you’re impressed, take a drive east and compare their Sherman Oaks location.
- Coffee: Fuel up with a latte and a bite to eat at Gasolina Cafe, or grab some cookies or a pie at local staple Doan’s Bakery.
Explore Los Angeles with Landing
While these are some of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles, they’re far from the only ones. Los Angeles has something for everyone, and the best way to find the neighborhood that fits you is to try them out.
With short-term, flexible leases from Landing, you can easily explore an area from one of our fully furnished apartments. Then, when you’re ready to move on, just let us know and you’ll be good to travel to your next pit stop.
Los Angeles has plenty to love. Landing helps you find it. Become a Landing member today.