Just moved from NYC to LA...need help!
Hi there chowhounders.
I need some advice on where to look for an apartment in LA. I'm having a bit of culture shock just having moved from NYC to LA. I would like to live in a neighborhood that you can walk around, shop, and eat without getting in a car too often. All the hoods that were recommended to me by New Yorkers are a bit too gritty (I think Silverlake has no central hub and it's not very pretty, Echo park seems boring). Any suggestions as to where I should look? I really need a place where there is lots of good food and grocery shopping to be found.
West Hollywood? I'm from NY originally and have lived in West Hollywood for the past 10 years...and love it! Very convenient to lots of restaurants and grocery stores.
I guess I would look in the Park La Brea area, or else in West Hollywood. It depends on what your definition of "good food" is. If "good food" is upscale-ish restaurants, then those neighbourhoods will do you fine. If "good food" is cheap ethnic joints (which is really what we do best here in LA), WeHo and Park La Brea are not for you.
Another option would be Santa Monica. I used to live on 14th near Wilshire and could walk to the ocean (I assume as a New Yorker that 14 blocks is not a big deal to you), there were grocery stores nearby, there's plenty of restaurants (especially if you have a bike and can head down to Main Street, where it's a bit less touristy than Third Street), and the public transit in the form of the Big Blue Bus is actually pretty good. Again, though, not so much with the cheap ethnic joints, though you will find if you haven't already that eating in Los Angeles is MUCH easier on the wallet than eating in Manhattan. Just be aware that apartments in Santa Monica fall into two categories: un-Godly, usuriously expensive, fancy and new, or merely expensive and in various states of unremodelled-ness. Santa Monica still has modified rent control (where once you move in at market rates, the government sets the yearly rent increases) and this means that there is not a lot of money for capital improvements of apartments.
Honestly -- and please don't take this the wrong way -- it would be better to just embrace the Los Angeles way of living and accept that you're going to need a car. We don't have the central hubs and built-up places like New York, nor does our transit system work as efficiently as you are used to. Ethnic groups cluster in tightly-knit communities, the way it used to be in Manhattan eighty years ago, so for great Chinese you must go (which means drive) to the San Gabriel Valley; for great Korean you must go to Koreatown; for great Thai you must go to Thai Town or to North Hollywood, etc., etc.
Beverly/Fairfax a -South of Melrose between La Brea and Fairfax area is great for walking to food. Tons of great restaurants on Beverly, you can easily walk to the Farmers Market on Third/Fairfax. You can walk to Whole Foods. On Farifax there are a few groceries, and other places to eat there too. I'm originally from NY also, so chinese food, bagels, pizza... (with a few exceptions) are hard to come by the way I like it. But, LA does have Korea Town (try soot bull jeep!), great Thai, Sushi, and lots of Farmers Market based restaurants.
I live in this neighborhood as well (having moved from NYC 3 years ago) and I'd agree. The Farmer's Market is a great resource -- we walk there a lot, for brunch at Du-Pars, or dinner at Ulysses Voyage, and sometimes for grocery shopping (the butchers are actually great, and you can get fine imported cheeses, etc. at Monsieur Marcel. There are also a lot of apartments open in the neighborhood right now -- walk around and call the numbers on the for rent signs.
Spend some time getting to know the flavor of the communities before adopting these positions. All the neighborhoods are quite different, and all have their benefits. For instance, Echo Park is a good walking neighborhood and new businesses and restaurants are sprouting up all the time. Also, both Echo Park and Silverlake have an abundance of ethnic cuisine and are close to neighborhoods with dense non-American populations and accompanying restaurants and grocery store, in addition to being very freeway convenient. Think about things from more than one perspective.
Like everyone else is saying... get a car. LA is the one place in the world that people feel like they can come and ask for things they had back home. Sorry, we don't have NY-style bagels, St. Louis-style BBQ, New Orleans-style creole. This is LA. We use cars. We love tacos. And we have our own way of doing things out here.
I live by MacArthur Park which is kind of a crappy neighborhood, but it's close to everything. I'd recommend downtown. If you refuse to get a car, you can still take the metro to Hollywood for the farmer's market, Little Tokyo, Highland Park, Koreatown, and you're close enough to the SGV.
Or you can become a westsider and have no culture.
*edited to try to better convey my point.
There's really no need for that kind of talk. Anyone is entitled to search for the best of what LA has to offer, and Chowhound is here to help with the search. When people complain that the New York-style pizza here doesn't measure up to what's available in New York, or the Creole cuisine isn't as good as in New Orleans, then it's time to do some expectation management.
There are, of course, endless threads about the best of what's available, most of which contain at least 20% sniffing about "well, it's no Lou Malnati's" or "it's definitely not Totonno's" or "Commander's Palace it isn't".
Downtown's not a bad suggestion, and it is transit-friendly (even the buses mostly head downtown), but the grocery shopping is not good downtown -- there's just the one Ralphs.