Situated just inland from the shoreline community of Playa del Rey, the Westchester neighborhood was not developed until the late ‘20s, when then-Loyola University built there in 1928. This created a housing demand that began to transform the agricultural area. In the late ’30s, a new tract of inexpensive local single-family homes was constructed and named Westchester. Residential development grew by leaps and bounds as the aerospace industry boomed during and after World War II and returning GIs flocked to the community. The southwest portion of Westchester is occupied by Los Angeles International Airport. In addition to Loyola Marymount University, the community is also home to the Otis College of Art and Design. The Westchester Town Center, also known as Old Town Sepulveda, originally developed in the 1940s, is home to a wide variety of local merchants.
Once the site of Hughes Aircraft Company, Playa Vista was developed as one of six communities in the country selected by President Clinton as National Pilot Projects of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH). One of the most technologically advanced communities ever planned, it is fully connected via telecommunications and broadband capabilities and serves as a model for green development. The area features a mix of luxury and affordable housing, office and commercial space, including many high-end tech offices, along with an array of parks, recreational amenities and the Ballona Wetlands wildlife preserve. Its latest development is Runway at Playa Vista, a large-scale, mixed-use lifestyle center on the site of the old Hughes Airport runway.
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Marina del Rey (90292)
For those captivated by waterfront views, ocean breezes and an active lifestyle, Marina del Rey is an ideal location. Built in the 1950s on the wetlands of Ballona Creek, it is the largest small boat harbor in the country. This oceanside community offers both spectacular beach homes with sweeping views of the magnificent harbor and sea and charming mid-century suburban neighborhoods. Seaside condos are plentiful and sought after as primary or weekend homes. Just minutes from LAX and convenient to freeways linking it to Downtown, the northern and southern beach communities and the valley, this resort-like location is surprisingly accessible.The abundant sunshine, cool sea breezes, and surrounding beaches beckon visitors and residents to get out and enjoy the parks and activities this community treasures. From the restaurants and shopping in the Villa Marina Marketplace to the beautiful ten-acre Burton Chace park jutting into the Marina’s main channel (the best view and walking area for sunset gazing and fresh ocean air) and the bike paths that extend to Venice Beach and Santa Monica, Marina del Rey offers many exquisite opportunities to enjoy this jewel of the Pacific.
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Playa del Rey (90293)
The coastal neighborhood of Playa del Rey (Spanish for Beach of the King) is a district between the ocean and Westchester, just ten minutes from Los Angeles International Airport. Its rolling hills, which are actually ancient windblown, compacted sand dunes, rise up to 125 feet above sea level, paralleling the coastline all the way south to Palos Verdes. Real estate includes a mix of 1920s houses, 1940s beach cottages and new multimillion-dollar homes. Playa Del Rey Lagoon, now a regional public park, was created during the first unsuccessful attempt to dredge a harbor in Santa Monica Bay in the 1870s. The area is also home to Dockweiler Beach Park.
Silicon Beach is the LA technology corridor that follows the coast from Santa Monica south through Venice, Culver City, Playa Vista and El Segundo. This rapidly growing community is now reportedly home to 631 Tech Start-ups, 28 Incubators, 15 Accelerators, 50 Investors, 28 Coworking spaces, 75 Start-up Services and 3 Hackerspaces. The region is considered the second or third largest tech hub in the world. According to the LA Economic Development Council, LA has more people employed in high-tech jobs (368,500) than any other metro region in the U.S. Major technology companies have opened offices in the region including Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, BuzzFeed, Facebook, Salesforce, AOL, Electronic Arts, EdgeCast Networks and MySpace. Many Fortune 500 companies based outside of Los Angeles have also established a presence in Silicon Beach.
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Ladera Heights / Baldwin Hills
Park Hills Heights is the collective name for a group of neighborhoods in southwest Los Angeles. They include Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Village, Leimert Park, Ladera Heights, Jefferson Park and the affluent View Park-Windsor Hills enclave. This area is home to the Kenneth Hahn State Park, with hiking, fishing and breathtaking views of Los Angeles. The area will soon be served by the Metro Crenshaw/LAX Transit line for fast, easy access to the airport.
With its galleries, shops, cafes and small businesses, Culver City offers a combination of urban living and small-town charm. The area has been a significant center for motion picture and later television production for decades. The first film studio here was built by Thomas Ince in 1918. In 1919, silent film comedy producer Hal Roach built his studios there, and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) followed in the 20s. Iconic films like Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane and classic TV shows like The Andy Griffith Show were filmed on the lots of Culver City. Today the former MGM site is the home of Sony Pictures Entertainment. In the early ‘90s, the city launched a downtown revitalization. Today, it’s a pedestrian-friendly destination with upscale restaurants, gastropubs and a thriving art scene. The Kirk Douglas Theatre performing arts venue, dance and photography studios like Smashbox (where LA Fashion Week takes place), wine bars, cooking schools, architecture and design firms and trendy eateries are everywhere. At the heart of the new Culver City is the Helms Furniture District — a block-long Moderne monolith, once the famous Helms bakery.
Set midway between Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean, Palms is the oldest neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles. Founded in 1886 and annexed in 1915, it was settled as an agricultural and vacation community. Today it is primarily made up of apartment buildings, with the upscale Westside Village district having the only significant concentration of single-family homes. In recent decades, Palms has benefited by the overflow from neighboring Culver City. Young professionals appreciate its diversity, affordability and distance from denser areas. Neighboring Mar Vista, named after the glorious views of the Pacific along its border with Santa Monica, touches the corners of Santa Monica, Venice and Culver City. A short drive from the ocean and UCLA, it’s a bucolic, family-friendly place with tree-lined suburban streets, well-cared-for postwar homes and a "block-party" feel. The MarVista Recreation Center is known for its outdoor roller hockey rink, among many amenities.
Venice Beach has a long and colorful reputation as a haven for artists, writers, musicians, architects and youthful trendsetters and stylemakers. It was born in 1905, when tobacco tycoon Abbott Kinney set out to recreate a resort and amusement center inspired by its Italian namesake. He built a series of canals, which were to become the signature of the neighborhood, and remain the site of some of the most interesting and eclectic architecture in Los Angeles. Many of the canals were filled in during the depression, but the six that remain today are loved by those who seek the quiet privacy of the pedestrian-only paths that lead to their homes. Kinney also built a lively, bustling amusement pier, considered the best on the West Coast in its time. Although the amusement park hasn’t survived, the town still retains an echo of the carnival feeling and exuberant energy of its past. Initially drawn to the area after the Depression to take advantage of its low rents and laid-back lifestyle, artists, writers, and musicians never stopped flocking to Venice. The early Beat Generation poets of the 1950s created the ultimate hip and happening atmosphere, which continued to attract the psychedelic movement of the 60s and still beckons to trendy and stylish celebrities and innovative businesses like animation, web design and architecture. Venice offers a diverse choice of living options and neighborhoods, each with a personality of its own: The Canals, Windward Circle, Oakwood and The Beach. Main Street is a major thoroughfare and gathering spot for shopping, dining, and nightlife; Abbott Kinney is a favorite stretch of antique shops, galleries and restaurants; and The Boardwalk is a daily hangout for beach lovers. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and local travel are easily accessed by surface streets, and the nearby 10 and 405 freeways make getting to LAX and Downtown LA relatively uncomplicated.
The area south of Brentwood and Westwood called West Los Angeles is bordered by Beverly Glen, Sepulveda, Santa Monica and Pico Boulevards. Neighboring communities include Century City, Cheviot Hills, Rancho Park, Sawtelle, and Veterans Administration. The area is surrounded by three country clubs: Brentwood, Los Angeles and Hillcrest. UCLA, Westwood and Beverly Hills are minutes away. With its central location between Los Angeles and the ocean, West LA has attracted a diverse range of commercial development with several high-rise office buildings along Olympic, Santa Monica, and Wilshire Boulevards. Housing is a mixture of low-rise apartment buildings and single-story homes with 1920s through mid-century and contemporary architecture styles.
Santa Monica is a fashionable community on the Pacific that combines the charm and relaxed style of an upscale beach town with the sophistication of a bustling city. Its history and architecture reflect the best of old and new Los Angeles. The famous Route 66 ends at The Santa Monica Pier, which also features a lively carnival and carousel loved for generations. Beautiful deco buildings line the boardwalk, and the mansion built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst for film star Marion Davies lies close to the Santa Monica Place mall, designed by Frank Gehry. The open-air Third Street Promenade has become a destination for people all over Los Angeles to stroll, shop, listen to music and take in the fresh ocean breezes. Bike trails and beaches are maintained immaculately, giving cyclists, runners, roller bladers and walkers long stretches of beachfront to enjoy during the 340 days of sunshine a year. The Mediterranean climate and evocative landscapes make Santa Monica a favorite backdrop for film, television, and artists.Located centrally between the northern and southern beach communities, the city enjoys easy access to Westwood, Beverly Hills, Melrose, LAX and freeways to Downtown. Some of Los Angeles' most prestigious private schools are located here, along with high-ranked public schools. Santa Monica Community College is one of the biggest employers in town and draws a diverse student population. Hiking and outdoor activities are minutes away in the local canyons, Malibu, and beyond. The music and art scene is renowned, with large and small venues, impressive public art and private galleries, and the Venice creative hub to the immediate south.
The home of UCLA, Westwood has the energy and international flavor of its youthful and diverse student population. It’s also a major center of commerce, with luxurious high rise apartments and office buildings running the length of Wilshire Boulevard. Some of the most opulent single-family homes in Los Angeles can be found in its Holmby Hills Estates neighborhood. At the heart of this community is Westwood Village, founded in 1929. Its shops, theaters and restaurants have kept the small-town feel of the original neighborhood, though glossy office towers and penthouses now surround it. The Wilshire Corridor, a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that houses some of the most luxurious condominiums in the city, appeals to empty nesters and well-to-do professionals. Both charter and public schools are well reviewed by the community, and there are many private schools within easy driving distance. The architecture is a pleasing retro blend of Art Deco, Mediterranean revival and modern. Close by are Brentwood, Beverly Hills/Bel-Air and Century City, all with their own vibrant shopping and dining centers. There is extensive local bus service to the area, along with plans to extend the new Purple Line subway through the area.