Moving to LA. Which neighborhood for a Hound?
- abijah May 23, 2010 12:17 PM
This summer, my partner and I are moving to LA from Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
I don't know LA that well, so I've been having fun learning about the neighborhoods, and trying to decide where to look for a home.
I realized that many of our preferences revolve around food, so I thought I would turn to all of you for suggestions.
Non-food requirements: Under 30 min commute to Westwood. Two-bedroom apartment under $2000/mo.
Here are the food-related desires:
- Friendly, good coffee shop in walking distance (comfortable for sitting and reading/working)
- A neighborhood watering hole or two -- we prefer the quiet and friendly to loud and overcrowded.
- Tasty, inexpensive takeout
- Nearby variety of groceries (Whole Foods or TJs?)
- At least one very good, interesting restaurant (tasty and good, but not fine dining/expensive) that we're excited to take guests to when they come to visit.
Your thoughts? Los Feliz, Ktown, MidWilshire, West LA...?
We used to live in WLA near Westwood (near Santa Monica and Westwood), a 15-20 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride from Westwood Village. We found a 2 br for about $1600-1700, and liked the area quite a bit more than we thought we would (we're mostly east-siders). Philly West is nearby as a neighborhood bar and for their sandwiches / burgers, and it's not too bad a bike ride to the Daily Pint. Not the greatest takeout; Sunnin for Lebanese food is pretty good, and there's some so-so Thai places nearby.
Coffee places... so-so. There's a Peets on Westwood just south of Santa Monica; maybe a couple of similar places. Up in Westwood Village there are some more relaxed places, but I imagine the coffee is only so-so. Funnel Mill (in Santa Monica) is worth a visit, but not quite walking distance. There's a Whole Foods in Westwood Village, and the little Middle Eastern markets nearby are actually very convenient, and sometimes have some great deals. Also, the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica Farmers Markets are probably two of the best in the city.
Aside from the Persian places along Westwood, there's nothing super exciting as far as somewhat nicer places, but there is some good food around. Also, that area is very close to both Santa Monica and Culver City; since Westwood is a huge pain to commute to, I'd recommend living closer to work / school and then driving a little more when you want to eat something special.
I think Los Feliz is a great, really walkable neighborhood with a lot of what you're looking for. The commute could be < 30 min on a good day, but I think you'd be looking at 45 min more of the time.
930 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA
2310 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
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In case you didn't know, Mitsuwa in Little Tokyo is gone. I think the Korean H-Mart chain took over the space.
In response to coffeebrownies:
For groceries, there is a Trader Joe's in Hollywood, 10 mins from DTLA on the red line subway (ultra convenient since you don't have to worry about parking). Not to mention the Little Tokyo Galleria Marketplace in Little Tokyo, which is excellent.
For movies theaters, the LA Live complex has movie theaters galore.
Regarding the statement that the "community shuts down" at night, here's an LATimes article that talks about downtown LA, which provides a different perspective about nightlife in DTLA:
I like both of these recommendations.
Literati is the coffee shop you want in West L.A. (Bundy/Wilshire). Bar Food is a fabulous hang for casual drinks. and 118 restaurants deliver to the area (90025)
The only two real problems with Westwood traffic are UCLA and the 3-year 405 fwy renovation. Your ability to stay OFF the freeway is key. And, traffic is always tolerable on Wilshire as long as UCLA is not in session (or god forbid, the president is in town. hah)
third the culver city area
less congested than westwood
FAR better traffic/air quality conditions than downtown
absolutely terrific choices for food locally and within EASY driving distance to all of the westside.
good freeway access (because, let's face it, if you are food adventurers you will be driving some of the time).
My vote is the Santa Monica/Venice area. A little more money but worth it and not just for the air quality.
Lots of Westsiders chiming in, which makes sense if you're commuting to Westwood. Agree that downtown, while great for all things food and culture, will be rush hour drag. I would allow 40 minutes for that trip. (of course on a Sunday morning it would be 15). Western Ktown would be a good eastside option. Definitely the most interesting food, especially if you love Korean. Loads of great Asian and Mexican food (taco trucks galore). But It may be more ethnic/urban than you're looking for if Whole Foods, TJ's, lattes, and martinis are your thing. Not sure what prices in West Hollywood are for 2-brs these days, but it would be close to Westwood and has loads of all that.
The problem I have with the general KoreaTown area is that traffic is a nightmare. If there were any part of town that I would implement a local mass transit program as well as levy stiff tolls on drivers, it would be this area. There is no easy way to get in and out of this area, if the Westside is the target. Relying on major boulevards around this neighborhood as pathways to and from is a date with insanity.