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Is Los Angeles a good place for families? What neighborhoods would you recommend?

by tom44 on April 22, 2013

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Question by ESCRIPTOR: Is Los Angeles a good place for families? What neighborhoods would you recommend?
If you haven’t lived in Los Angeles, please don’t bother to answer: I have never been to LA, but may have to move there to pursue a job opportunity there. I have kids in elementary school and wonder if I should pass on the job opportunity for their sake. Is LA really a violent, crowded and gang-infested metro area? Or are there reasonably good neighborhoods to commute from, within reach of the downtown? Please, all specific advice will be appreciated.
Thanks for your answers so far. I’ll add one more question: what specific neighborhoods should families avoid, given their track record?

Best answer:

Answer by Ja J
i think los angeles is a big city for a family vacation its even worse to live there if your kids are around 6 years old i think it would be dangerous to lost them so virginia beach is a better option

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5 thoughts on “Is Los Angeles a good place for families? What neighborhoods would you recommend?

  1. copestir says:

    Where in LA is your place of work? For the most part people with family live in places like, Simi, thousand Oaks,West Valley, Agoura, Clabasas, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Tarzana , Woodland Hills. to the South Check out La Palm, Cerritos, Yorba Linda, Anaheim Hills, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Fullerton etc.

  2. $$$ says:

    I would suggest the San Fernando Valley like Northridge, Granada Hills, Encino, Winnetka, Chatsworth, Woodland Hills, and Tarzana.

    If you want more of a city-like area Universal City, Culvar City, West Hollywood, or kind of a suburban city area which is Sherman Oaks.

    If in Ventura County try Simi Valley, Moorpark, Calabasas or anywhere in the Ventura County.

    Areas I wouldnt suggest is Reseda, Canoga Park, Van Nuys, South L.A., and East L.A.

    -Not all of L.A. is crowded and gang infested

  3. Obviousman says:

    You should really visit and make your own judgement. There are some rotten parts of LA, and some very nice ones. Is the job downtown? If so, you should move someplace that has easy access to Metrolink.

    “LA” is such a big place, there are so many neighborhoods/cities where you can live. Of course, even within a city or neighborhood, there are safer sections and less-safe sections.
    In Los Angeles, some nice sections are West LA, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Eagle Rock, Encino, Tarzana, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Granada Hills, Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, West Hills, Chatsworth.

    To the east: South Pasadena, parts of Pasadena, Altadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Glendora, San Dimas, Laverne, Azusa, Rancho Cucamonga.

    Along the beach: Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes, Rancho PV.

    In Orange County aka “The OC”: Seal Beach , Huntington Beach , Newport Beach , Corona Del Mar , Laguna Beach , Dana Point , Capistrano Beach , San Clemente , Brea, Yorba Linda, Orange, Tustin, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Rancho Santa Margarita, Lake Forest

    To the west: Agoura, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Simi Valley, Moorpark.

    This is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s a start.

    For a number of reasons, we get a bunch of questions asking what it’s like in LA in order to move here.

    First of all, I’ll tell you what it’s NOT like: It’s not like anything on TV. People watch shows on TV and think that’s what it’s like out here. The “Real OC”, Newport Beach, The Hills, etc. Ever wonder why people in those shows never have to pay bills, do laundry, and are NEVER stuck in traffic? Because it’s FAKE. And the news doesn’t help either, since they know that sex and sensationalism sells. News flash: There aren’t running gun battles in the street. There aren’t shootouts every day. Also, you don’t see celebrities just walking down the street, all glammed up, or sipping a cappuccino at Starbucks waiting to sign autographs. We don’t go surfing during lunch hour.

    Some sections are REALLY nice, others are “ghetto”. Too many people have this vision in their head that LA is one or the other (either Beverly Hills or Compton). In fact, most of it is working class and middle class stiffs working to pay the bills.

    You NEED a car to live in Southern California. We don’t have an effective public transportation like New York or San Francisco. One reason is that LA is larger in area than either of those, without a central hub where everything is. Back in the 1960’s, we might have done it. But by the time local governments got their act together, it was much more difficult to make a working public transit system. Also, unlike NY, we have earthquakes, which make it a little more difficult to build underground.

    The freeway traffic is probably the worst thing about living here. The 405 is the worst. Know why they call it the 405? Because you go 4 o’ 5 miles per hour, and it takes 4 o’ 5 hours to get where you’re going. Freeway Traffic is bad from 6-10 AM and bad from 3-7 PM. I don’t know why they call it rush hour. It’s more than an hour, and nobody’s rushing, that’s for sure.

    The gangs are the cause of many rumors. Keep in mind that there are gangs in any large town, in every part of the country. In LA, the gangs aren’t really downtown, they are in South LA, East LA, and north Long Beach (an extension of the South LA gangs, actually). And here’s the deal: Mostly, they just kill each other.

    Gas is expensive in California. It’s about 20-30 cents above the national average.

    Yes, gas and real estate are very expensive in SoCal. However, this would be the best time to BUY a house because it’s a buyer’s market right now. There are a lot of foreclosures, and too many houses on the market.

    Yep, freeways are a drag, it’s smoggy in summer, and expensive to live here. Yet, if it’s so bad, why do we have thousands and thousands of people moving here?

    Weather, Activities, Plenty of jobs, Beaches, mountains, deserts all within driving distance, and plenty of opportunity for those who have the skills and tenacity.

    In colder parts of the country, people keep their cars in their garages all winter. Kids get snow toys for Christmas. Here, kids get BIKES, scooters, and skateboards. 10 AM Christmas morning, the streets are FULL of kids on their new bikes, scooters, etc. We have a play set from Costco in the back yard. I installed a light in the yard and our youngest plays on it (sometimes with friends) at night during the “winter”. You can’t do THAT in the snow.

    The job market is good here, mainly because there are SO many people here that it creates its own job market. Then there are MANY industries, including tourism, entertainment, shipping, manufacturing, etc. It’s an incredible economy.

    However, it is not for everyone. Every time someone posts this question, you get the LA haters who post thei

  4. chuckles951 says:

    90% of LA is great to live in. The gangs tend to stay in a small area where most of the good people have left. However, before you start to look for a place to live, you need to know where you will be working first. Because you will want to live within 10 miles of where you work. Otherwise you could be stuck with a 3 hour each way commute.

    And then just ask the other workers there what workd for them.

    If you think you will be one of the about 3% of the LA people who work downtown, you would likely take the Metro to work and you could live in say Pasadena.

    But remember that housing is about double here than elsewhere in the country.

    Myself, I live in Orange County and it is a great place to raise kids. But you don’t want to commute from here to downtown LA.

  5. maliboo_girl says:

    A reasonable commute to downtown would be from Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Sierra Madre, Altadena, Arcadia, Alhambra, San Gabriel, La Canada, Burbank, Glendale, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Silverlake, Los Feliz, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Wilshire / Hancock Park, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Century City, Santa Monica. Of course, having grown up in LA, what I consider reasonable might be too long for you. Also, timing is very important when driving the freeways.

    Some locations listed above are cities, some are neighborhoods, but the names will appear on google maps. All have nice neighborhoods in the areas, but some have rougher areas. Even the very expensive areas, like Santa Monica, can have rough neighborhoods. Generally, living on the east-side, like in Pasadena, will cost you less money and traffic time then living on the west-side near the beach. The beach areas are going to be more expensive for less home.

    For public school information –

    Home prices –

    I’ve lived in LA county all my life and the only crime I’ve dealt with was stolen cars before I had good car alarms. If you stay out of areas with gangs, lock your doors and be careful, chances are you’re going to be fine in LA. Downtown LA where most of the offices are, like California Plaza, is a safe area to work, outside of the area where the big buildings are is rough.

    I’ve traveled extensively, but I’d never live anywhere else than LA.

    Good luck with your decision. You might want to ask more specifica questions when you narrow down an area that seems right for you.

    EDIT –
    It’s really hard to say where to avoid, but most people would not like to live in Compton, East LA, South Central LA or the downtown area due to the crime statistics and generally not so great schools. So many areas in LA are mixed, you have really wealthy or safe areas and crime ridden areas in one city. Almost every area I’ve lived in LA has been like that and it’s been fine, you just don’t go into certain neighborhoods. Probably the best thing to do is to decide what is most important to you, like public schools with high ratings, housing cost, shortest commute to downtown, etc, and search for that with the links above. How much you can spend and what size home you need will be a big factor.

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