Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier 15Glamorously casual, subtly metro, with ridiculously fab weather, Santa Monica is some of the best of Los Angeles.

Literally nestled between beach communities Venice (to the south) and Pacific Palisades and Malibu (to the north), Santa Monica is somewhere between those cities in vibe: it can be both boho and young professional, cleanly chic and polished executive. You can find comfy studio apartments and million dollar homes, cheap vegan eats and Californian fusion fare, you can shop Third Street Promenade – a popular outdoor center with mall standards Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic, Guess, and more – or browse Montana Avenue’s boutiquey designer offerings of Dries van Noten platforms and Commes des Garcons clothes. You can play away at an indie movie theater and art galleries, or get your wine bar and mindbodyspa on. And whether you prefer living in the Santa Monica closer to Venice or residing nearer to Malibu, you’re only minutes away from enjoying Los Angeles beaches.

Santa Monica’s Location in Los Angeles

Santa Monica Pier 18

Most Angelenos will tell you any two points in Los Angeles are about 30 minutes apart, and Santa Monica makes the urban myth reality: without traffic, Santa Monica is about 30 minutes from Hollywood’s Sunset strip (14 miles), from mid Wilshire’s business district (10 miles), from downtown Los Angeles (15 miles), and 15 minutes away from Venice and Malibu and Century City. If you’re in Santa Monica, you’re usually a five minute drive away from major freeways the 405, the 10, and the Pacific Coast Highway.


Los Angeles at large has a reputation for fabulous weather, and Santa Monica’s reputation is even better and more deserved. Santa Monica averages 60°F during the winter, 65°F in spring, and 70-80°F summer time. Santa Monica typically enjoys 325 days of sunshine a year, and less smog than the rest of Los Angeles due to its beach breezes.

Living in Santa Monica

Whether you’re a college student, working your first real 9-5, or managing a young family, you can live more than comfortably in Santa Monica. Santa Monica offers as much variety in rentals as its local cafes do in lattes: think everything from $800 per month bachelors to $1,500 luxe 2 bedrooms to $4,000 town homes.


Santa Monica runs its own award-winning bus line, Big Blue, throughout the city and parts of Los Angeles’ west side. Santa Monica is also served by Los Angeles’s MTA bus. There are currently no rail lines in Santa Monica, though LA County’s Metro subway is being extended to Santa Monica.

The 10 – or Santa Monica Freeway – runs between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles, and east through LA County. Along Santa Monica’s coast runs the California Highway 1 – or the Pacific Coast Highway – from Santa Monica and north to Malibu and beyond. On Santa Monica’s eastern boundary is Interstate-405 – or the San Diego Freeway – a major north-south freeway in Los Angeles. The 405 is paralleled by Sepulveda Blvd., a major street often used as a 405 alternative.

Santa Monica Schools

Public elementary and high schools are part of Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Santa Monica also has its own community college, Santa Monica College (SMC), which is largely attended by students who want to transfer into the Univesity of California system. Other colleges and universities within 15 miles of Santa Monica include UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, West Los Angeles College, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Valley College, and Los Angeles Southwest College.

Aug 2006

Hancock Park

Hancock ParkNestled between Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and downtown Los Angeles, Hancock Park is quiet, glammy, convenience in LA. Sometimes called “Old Beverly Hills,” Hancock Park first began thriving in the 1920’s and 30’s, when many of Hancock Park’s classic Spanish- and Mediterranean-style homes were built by some of the most prominent architects of the time. Conservative in comparison to the rest of Los Angeles, Hancock Park’s tree-lined neighborhoods surrounding the Wilshire Country Club are complemented by Larchmont Blvd., a strip of boutique shopping and star-sprinkled al fresco dining.

Hancock Park’s Location in Los Angeles

Hancock Park from 4th Street bikeway

Hancock Park is bounded by Melrose Ave. at its north, Wilshire Blvd. to its south, Rossmore Ave. at its east, and Highland Ave. to its west. Hancock Park lies between the Miracle Mile (at its west), Korea Town (at its east), Hollywood (at its north), and Wilshire Park (to its south).


Hancock Park warms up to 85°F on average (August-September) and Hancock Park chills lowest at about 48°F (December-January).

Aug 2006


Hollywood SignMade famous as the center of the entertainment industry, made famous through the entertainment industry, Hollywood the city is synonomous with the Hollywood industry: movies and music.

The core of Los Angeles’ star business, Hollywood is more the downtown of Los Angeles than downtown LA; Hollywood is more the central business and culture district of Los Angeles than any other neighborhood in the city, or county.

Sunset Blvd. plays home to a strip of clubs and restaurants frequented by celebutantes and other A-list, Melrose is famed for its shopping, and the hills feature some of Los Angeles most notable homes.

Hollywood isn’t all uniform glitz – you can find a neighborhood to help style your life. The hills are winding roads to houses with million-dollar views, Los Feliz is late-night French cafes and boutique shopping, Silverlake plays artsy and independent, Melrose is charmingly stuffed with Spanish-style homes and popular shopping, and West Hollywood is decidedly gay and comfortably glam.

Hollywood’s Location in Los Angeles

Hollywood, CA

North of the Hollywood hills are Studio City, North Hollywood, and the rest of the San Fernando Valley. At Hollywood’s southern boundary is Los Angeles proper. Beverly Hills is west of West Hollywood, and to Hollywood’s east is Silverlake then downtown LA.


Like the rest of Los Angeles, Hollywood’s winter, fall, and summer play the part of a year-round spring – Hollywood warms up to 85°F on average (August-September) and Hollywood chills lowest at about 48°F (December-January).


Hollywood’s main streets are Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Blvd., which run east/west through most of Los Angeles. Coldwater Canyon Dr. and Laurel Canyon Blvd. run between the canyons of Hollywood hills, north to the San Fernando Valley. In most parts of Hollywood you’re a few minutes away from the 101 freeway, which runs north/south throughout Los Angeles County and intersects with other major freeways, including the 405, the 10, and 134. MTA buses run throughout Hollywood, and Metro rail subway runs from Wilshire Blvd. to North Hollywood.

Hollywood’s Schools

Hollywood’s kindergarten through eighth grade schools include Bancroft Middle, Cherimoya Grammar School, Gardner Elementary, Le Conte Junior High, Ramona Elementary, and Valley View Elementary School, and its high school is Hollywood High School. For years the movie industry ran the Hollywood Professional School, its own private institution for child actors.

Aug 2006

Studio City

Studio City Neighborhood SignVentura Blvd. winds through most of the San Fernando Valley, and plays as Studio City’s main street.

Cruise on Ventura Blvd. and see designer boutique shopping sprinkled between major chain stores, breeze by Starbucks and four-star sushi dives, glimpse multi-million dollar homes in Studio City’s hills to your side, keep driving southeast until Ventura Blvd. morphs into Cahuenga Blvd., and land in Hollywood’s heart and hustle, and understand Studio City:

Hollywood’s casual glam softened by suburban convenience.

Studio City’s Location in the Los Angeles

VENTURA blvd StudiO ciTY, Ca

Studio City is just north of Hollywood, and south of Van Nuys. To Studio City’s west is Sherman Oaks and the rest of the western San Fernando Valley, and to Studio City’s east is Burbank and Glendale.

Studio City’s Weather

On average, Studio City reaches highs of 89°F (July-August) and chills lowest at about 42°F (December-January).


Studio City keeps connected to Los Angeles’s major freeways – the San Diego 405, the Santa Monica 10, the Ventura 134, the Pasadena 110 – via the Hollywood 101, which runs north/south through Studio City. Ventura Blvd. runs alongside the 101, and, going south, turns into Cahuenga Blvd., which drops you off in Hollywood. From Ventura Blvd., you can take Laurel Canyon Blvd. or Coldwater Canyon Ave. through the Hollywood hills and canyons into Hollywood and Beverly Hills, respectively.


Studio City is served by the Los Angeles Unified School District, specifically schools such as Carpenter Avenue Elementary School, Walter Reed Middle School, and North Hollywood High School. Studio City is also home to a private junior high and high school for gifted students with learning disabilities, the Bridges Academy.

Aug 2006

South Bay

2.26.08The southwest corner of Los Angeles County, the South Bay includes all of Los Angeles’ Beach Cities – Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach – and all LA communities west of Long Beach, south of the 105 freeway.

The Beach Cities – or Bay Cities – are some of the best known cities in South Bay, mostly due to their renowned beaches – silky sands, clear waves, and pleasant piers – and the lifestyle the beaches create – think sunning, surfing, and skating the Strand, a paved path that runs along the beach from Redondo Beach north to Santa Monica. South Bay’s Beach Cities go metro, too – downtown Redondo Beach hosts wine-tasting galleries and boutique fashion.

South Bay’s Location in Los Angeles

South Bay is bordered by west Los Angeles at its north, the Gateway Cities – Long Beach, Compton, Huntington Park — at its east, south Los Angeles at its northeast, and the Pacific Ocean at its west.

South Bay’s Weather

Ocean breezes keep South Bay’s weather fresher than the rest of Los Angeles. On average, South Bay reaches highs of 77°F (August-September) and chills lowest at about 49°F (December-January).


Los Angeles’ MTA buses run throughout South Bay, throughout Los Angeles at large. Los Angeles Metro Green Line light rail runs mostly east-west, from Norwalk to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) to Redondo Beach, and connects to the Blue Line subway, which runs north-south from Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles. The Harbor 110 Freeway runs through South Bay and connects to major freeways the Ventura 134 Freeway, Hollywood 101 Freeway, the 5, and 210. The San Diego 405 Freeway, Gardena CA/SR-91 Freeway, and Century 105 Freeway also are traffic arteries throughout the South Bay.


South Bay’s kindergartners through high school seniors are served by various public unified school districts; Manhattan Beach Unified School District is especially notable as one of California’s best performing school districts. South Bay is also home to a handful of universities, such as California State University Dominguez Hills, the private Loyola Marymount University, and community colleges Los Angeles Harbor College and Torrance’s El Camino College.

Aug 2006