Los Angeles Neighborhoods

Featured Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

1 Hollywood

Hollywood, California, where stardom lays just a breath and a dream away. This mecca of wanderlust, fantasy, and decades of celluloid whimsy is as beautiful and magical in its reality as in the wishes of millions who step into the city each year. Beneath the plush houses on the hills surrounding that oh so famous sign, lay streets paved with stars not just from the footsteps of those following the paths of legends, but literally in the form of the celebrated Walk of Fame. Several movie studios, record labels, and publishing companies can be found there as well. Tourists can spend hours, days even, sightseeing along Hollywood Boulevard taking in everything from the mundane and nostalgic to the downright cutting edge and absurd. When the sun sets, catch a summertime concert at the world famous Hollywood Bowl or hit the clubs of the more infamous Sunset Strip where rock legends past and present have turned a troubadour's life of debauchery and excess into an art form. More than the sum total of its famous landmarks, Hollywood is also home to one of the country's most popular hot dog stands and eateries. Some of the hippest coffee shops and happening dinner theater scenes can be found along these streets. For something a little different take a trip down to the local historic cemetery. Pack some fine wine, a bountiful dinner that you might even purchase at one of the great restaurants in the area, a blanket, and a chair or two and prepare to sit back with friends under the cool night sky and enjoy an old black and white movie displayed against one of the cemeteries large back walls.

2 Venice

Photo by oneinchpunch / Shutterstock The palm-lined Venice Beach boardwalk — with its sidewalk vendors, street musicians, roller skaters and Muscle Beach bodybuilders — has become synonymous with Los Angeles, appearing on film almost as often as local luminary Dennis Hopper. The movie veteran's Frank Gehry-designed compound is one of many architectural standouts in Venice, a community that serves as a magnet for L.A.'s actors, musicians, designers and artists. Several piers and amusement parks have come and gone, battered by storms and fires. Now the performers congregate along the Venice boardwalk — skateboarders and stilt-walkers, musicians and magicians. Tattoo parlors, booths stuffed with sunglasses and beach clothes, and purveyors of street food line the scenic beachfront. Cyclists interweave between the pedestrians as the beat of conga drums fills the air. Basketball games on the beachside courts draw a crowd, especially on Saturday afternoons. Since its early days the city has attracted the odd and adventurous — artists and spiritual seekers, Beat poets and hippies. The best and bravest performers show their stuff on the beach's main stage; others vie with the vendors for sidewalk space to perform and hawk CDs and paintings. Local cultural highlights include the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), the literary center Beyond Baroque, and performance spaces at the Electric Lodge and the Pacific Resident Theatre. Just off the main drags are the narrow residential streets of Venice, a mix of lovingly restored bungalows, modest apartments and modernist architectural statements. Grass-lined streets, dog parks, recreational areas and well-tended gardens turn this densely populated neighborhood into a pleasant retreat. Venice is the number one seaside destination on the West Coast so please come visit Venice and be a part of its colorful history!

3 Downtown

Starting at the Staples Center and spreading east toward the LA River, Downtown LA is now home to some of the best restaurants in the city, nightlife and cultural destinations, and an arts district that continues to evolve. It wasn’t always this way. A large area of downtown was once mostly warehouses and cheap clothing stores, but the area is experiencing a renaissance, thanks in part to changes in the wake of large developments including the Staples Center, the architectural centerpiece Walt Disney Concert Hall and the spacious Grand Park. Downtown LA is divided by unofficial districts, each with its own distinct flavor. The southwest corner is occupied by the bustling entertainment district where crowds gather to watch sports games or concerts at the Staples Center and enjoy other nightlife entertainment at L.A. Live. The northern area is home to the financial district, the food-filled Grand Central Market and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Fans of the arts can visit the Museum of Contemporary Art and El Pueblo, the city center in the 1700s, is now home to Union Station and modern bazaar Olvera Street. Chinatown is an emporium of dim sum, imports and traditional architecture in the northern-most corner of DTLA, while the eastern corner is home to the arts district, an area that maintains an underground, just-discovered charm that can’t be found anywhere else in LA. Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Songquan Deng

4 West Hollywood

Photo by View Apart / Shutterstock Even though West Hollywood is less than three miles wide, the sheer volume of hotels, restaurants and clubs packed onto its streets makes it a world-class entertainment and nightlife destination. Historic music venues like The Troubadour, Roxy Theatre and Whiskey a Go Go line the famous Sunset Strip and they’re all within walking distance of the vibrant bar scene on Santa Monica Blvd. Popular among a hip, young and LGBTQ-friendly crowd, West Hollywood mixes new spots with long-established favorites for an atmosphere that’s fresh and continually evolving. The bottom half of WeHo is populated with bars and lounges like The Abbey and Harlowe. A few blocks north, there's the Sunset Strip with entertainment venues like The Troubadour, Viper Room, Comedy Store and Roxy Theatre. West Hollywood is also home to trendy hotel nightclubs, including Skybar at the Mondrian and The Standard’s rooftop.

5 Santa Monica

Where transcontinental Interstate 10 meets the Pacific Coast Highway at the western edge of North America lies iconic Santa Monica, a community of 90,000 known as the birthplace of skateboarding. Visitors and residents alike appreciate Santa Monica's historic pier, palm-lined neighborhoods and stylish shopping and restaurants. Few Southern California scenic spots can turn an afternoon work break into a mini-vacation as well as Santa Monica's Palisades Park. Santa Monica Bay stretches out below the park's bluffs, curving along the horizon from Palos Verdes to Malibu. The Santa Monica Pier, with its historic carousel and neon-clad Ferris wheel, juts out across the wide public beach. On the other side of Ocean Avenue, the Fairmont, the Huntley and other resortlike Santa Monica hotels offer even more expansive Pacific Ocean views. A couple blocks from the cliffs, the Third Street Promenade offers a mix of retail shops, movie theaters and restaurants augmented by a steady stream of street performers — musicians, dancers, jugglers, magicians. From Abercrombie & Fitch to Z Gallerie, familiar retail names line the pedestrian mall, one of Southern California's most bustling street scenes. Those seeking culture rather than commerce won't be disappointed. Santa Monica art galleries can be found in many parts of town, including the 18th Street Art Center and the Edgemar Center for the Arts, but the mother lode is Bergamot Station, housing 25 galleries just north of Interstate 10. A few blocks away is Santa Monica College, home base for the popular public radio station KCRW and several high-quality performance spaces. American Cinematheque screens revival-house fare at the Aero Theater, while the Nuart, just over the border in West L.A., programs indie films and cult classics.

6 Beverly Hills

Photo by Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock Gucci, Prada, Versace, and many other names that stand for opulence and wealth line the shops of Rodeo Drive and the Golden Triangle. The playground of heiresses and the social elite, Beverly Hills is a bastion of material excess and solid gold style. Houses in the area range from the extravagant in size and splendor to the divinely elegant. Outstretched palm leaves extend their shadows over stately manors situated on some of the city's most sought after addresses. Apartments and condos are also highly fought over as seekers look to move and mingle among high society ravenously pursue available vacancies. The famous Beverly Hills Hotel is a Hollywood landmark of sorts that has been seen on film, television, and thousands of postcards distributed throughout the world. Home to movie stars and eccentric entrepreneurs, it is definitely a sight worth checking out if one happens to be in town. Other accommodations in the area offer more affordable, yet still memorable lodging. High-end car dealerships are also not an uncommon find in the city. If names like Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Ferrari are to your liking then you'll find yourself in the ideal location to take hold of those million dollar keys. As far as dining is concerned, Beverly Hills offers many options to sate any budget. Medium range venues can be located side-by-side with their upscale brethren. There are many scrumptious dishes awaiting you regardless of budget or social status.

7 Santa Catalina Island

An island oasis that is an easy ferry ride from Los Angeles, Santa Catalina Island, or simply Catalina Island is a great place to explore. East to get to by ferry, private boat or splurge and take a helicopter. Photo Courtesy of ShutterStock and Patrick Timlin

8 Koreatown

Koreatown is one of LA’s best-kept secrets. It’s a part of town that’s populated by native Koreans who have brought their traditional cuisine and culture with them as well as a large Latino population. This melting pot situation has yielded a few delicious results, in particular Roy Choi’s Latin-inspired Korean food truck Kogi, Guelguetza mole house and Beer Belly. Venturing away from the familiar into the vast collection of strip malls, eateries, spas and karaoke joints that make up Koreatown is intimidating to some, so most of Angelenos to be found are the locals or long-time residents in search of delicious Korean barbecue and a night of inebriated karaoke. This neighborhood is credited with having the highest concentration of bars and nightclubs in Southern California and many of these establishments are open for 24 hours. For the most part, Koreatown has managed to circumvent the tourist radar and build a unique experience in LA, one that’s both authentically Korean and a cultural mash-up.

9 Pasadena

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock Strike up the band. This home of the Rose Bowl, rich in pageantry, tradition, and of course the annual Rose Bowl Parade, is a major area attraction like no other. The Old Town section of the city extends to both those familiar with the area and those just visiting a plethora of shopping and dining choices. From Latin fare to southern California taste quenchers, the restaurants in this area are among the best in the state. A college town air is apparent here and bar hopping along the streets of Old Town is a must do for those so inclined to partake in that scene. For those seeking a place to stay in style, some of the world's most high-end hotel chains offer part-time residence conveniently located near many of the city's prime attractions. For those looking to go the less expensive routes there are plenty of places to lay your hat for a night or more at some of the modestly, yet still quite respectable, dwellings in town. Pasadena also calls home the California Institute of Technology and NASA's very own Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is open to the public on certain select days. If art or music are your thing, then you've come to the right place. The city is quite popular with artists and connoisseurs alike as it has many galleries and museums featuring just as many styles and interpretations and claims as its very own the Art Center College of Design. Musically, some of the best Jazz in the state can be found here. A good Jazz club or bar is about as Pasadena as, well, outstanding beaches are to Santa Monica. Also home to many of the regions hottest local acts, it truly is a haven for art, technology, and culture.

10 Melrose

With an exciting mix of high-end designers and kitschy boutiques, Melrose Avenue is an LA fashion destination. The strip spans the four blocks between La Brea and La Cienaga and is packed with well-known stores like Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson and Diesel as well as smaller shops like Bird Boutique. Celebrities, locals and tourists alike can be found shopping at Diane Von Furstenberg and Vera Wang or dining at Hatfield’s. While the brands are on the same caliber as those found on Rodeo Drive, the atmosphere on Melrose Avenue is more laid-back and accessible to the average shopper. Melrose’s main draw may be the shopping, but visitors also come for famous bakeries and cafes like Duff Goldman’s Charm City Cakes and the large selection of teas at Urth Caffe. [Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Michael-John Wolfe]

11 Silver Lake

One of LA’s hippest neighborhoods, Silver Lake and its Sunset Junction are a plethora of small indie boutiques, including the Spice Station, the Cafecito Organico coffee roaster and Mohawk General Store. Some of the best restaurants in LA can also be found in Silver Lake, from Cliff’s Edge and Sqirl for brunch to L & E Oyster Bar for dinner. During the day, the weekend farmer’s market is abuzz with live music and local artisans while the path around Silver Lake Reservoir is brimming with runners, walkers and parents with strollers. With its numerous bars and music venues like the Thirsty Cow, Silverlake Lounge, El Cid and Red Lion Tavern, many within walking distance, the outdoor action doesn’t stop when the sun sets. [Photo Credit: Shutterstock / cdrin]

12 Studio City

Studio City is divided into two main parts: the bustling strip of Ventura Boulevard with its restaurants and shops and the northern section with Universal Studios Hollywood. Named after the CBS Studio Center built in 1927, Studio City’s film industry continues to thrive at Universal Studios. Movies are frequently shot in the park’s back lot and guests have the opportunity to tour the area via tram. Adjacent to the theme park is Universal Citywalk, a lively entertainment district. The area features restaurants like the Karl Strauss Brewing Company and Saddle Ranch Chop House, the Howling Moon piano bar and the 5 Towers stage for outdoor music. While the original CBS Studios still operates as a set, show tapings and tours take place at the studio’s Beverly Hills location. [Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Jerome Kundrotas]

13 Westwood

When most people think of Westwood, UCLA immediately comes to mind. In fact, the school and its environs offer not only a world-renowned education, but also noteworthy attractions to the public as well. The Hammer Museum on campus features art from around the country, while the Geffen Playhouse hosts concerts and Tony-award winning plays. Within walking distance of the UCLA campus is Westwood Village, a gathering spot for students and professionals. The village is a small community of boutiques and some of LA’s best restaurants like 800 Degrees Kitchen and Fundamental LA. With an equally vibrant nightlife, the neighborhood is a hub for A-list parties, from the popular lounges at the W Hotel to the Regency Theater’s red carpet movie premieres. [Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Katherine Welles]

14 Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, know for its relaxing vibe, and 364 days of sunshine per year. Palm springs first gained national attention in the 50's as the LA getaway of choice for the Rat Pack, with celebrities like Frank Sinatra building magnificent post modern homes that help define Post-Modern Architecture. More recently, Palm Springs has seen a revival with the hip crowd seeking a weekend retreat at new hotels such as The Viceroy and The Parker. Relaxation is the central theme for Palm Springs. Biking, golf, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and tennis are popular forms of recreation, as is sitting by the pool with a cocktail.

15 Chinatown

Once an unfamiliar part of town visited by locals for their dim sum and noodle fix, LA’s Chinatown has recently gained popularity with hip events, a devout foodie following among diners seeking an authentic LA experience without the Hollywood hype. Every February for Chinese New Year in LA, crowds flood the streets for the Chinatown Lunar New Year festival. As the most popular lunar festival in Los Angeles, this event exposes the best Chinese food in LA with a Chinese cultural celebration. Food Truck pioneer Roy Choi’s brick-and-mortar shop Chego and the Chinatown Summer Nights food festival are also a big draw, and there's the rare opportunity for winter fun with an ice rink each winter. Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Betto Rodrigues

16 Griffith Park/Los Feliz

The Griffith Park/Los Feliz is home to several attractions popular with locals and visitors, including incredible hiking trails, the Autry Western Heritage Museum, the LA Zoo, golf courses and the Griffith Observatory. Visitors to Griffith Park can enjoy anything from concerts outside at the Greek Theatre to an adventure to the Hollywood sign or stargazing at Griffith Observatory. Los Feliz is home to laidback coffee shops and shopping and the excitement of the city continues well into the evening with shows at Rockwell Table and Stage, drinks at Messhall or Alcove’s Big Bar. Since every activity is close-by, it’s easy to spend the entire day in Los Feliz—or rent a bike in Griffith Park and explore the city on wheels. [Photo Credit: Shutterstock / trekandshoot]

17 Manhattan Beach

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock Similar in esthetic to neighboring Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach is another jewel along the coast of southern California. With picturesque mountaintops outlining the horizon, this has the look of summer bliss all year round. Home to high waves and level sands, botanical gardens, skate parks, and lovely picnic areas, Manhattan Beach serves as the perfect weekend getaway even if you already call the South Bay home. Chic eating establishments serving everything from tapas to chili cheeseburgers dot the many corners of this tiny coastal gem. A youthful area with much to do, Manhattan Beach lays claim to one of the funniest nights out on the town there is. A jaunt down to the neighborhood comedy club offers not only comedic treats, but much sought after eats as well. Combining the love of theater with a love for kicking back and taking in the beauty of one's natural surroundings, plays, particularly those of Shakespeare, are often performed in one of the city's many open spaces. Under the sunlit sky or under the starry night, you can find actors young and old acting out favorite scenes from a plethora of stories legendary or newly told. Another bastions of poets and painters, the city is home to a thriving art and entertainment community. There are few places in the area that match the gentleness and architectural mastery of the home designs in the area. Rentals are also in high demand as everyone who has ever been there wants to be able to call Manhattan Beach home.

18 Echo Park

Echo Park has one of the best neighborhood music scenes in LA and it's home to Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. While local and touring bands play in Echo Park at the Echo and Echoplex almost every night of the week, the neighborhood also hosts two major music festivals throughout the year: Echo Park Rising in the summer and Culture Collide in the fall. As small as the neighborhood is, it contains a vibrant vegan scene restaurants Sage, the all-vegetarian Elf Café, Kind Kreme dairy-free ice cream shop and vegan-friendly Mohawk Bend, all within walking distance of each other and the nearby music venues. Make a day of it by renting a pedal boat at Echo Park Lake and soaking in this hood's do-good, feel-good vibes. [Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Mike Liu]

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