Where can a YP live and commute to Simi Valley? (Thousand Oaks: section 8, apartment complex)
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Where can a young professional live that's within commuting distance to Simi Valley?
I'm a 20 somethings female moving from the DC area for a job. My job is going to be in Simi Valley, which I've read is more family-oriented and suburban. I had really hoped to live by the beach, but it sounds like that might not be possible.
I'm looking for places with other 20 something singles / young professionals. Would like places with some culture and other weekend activities. I'm not really a huge partier, but I'd like some interesting things to do and people to meet in the evenings and weekends.
After doing a little research, it sounds like Studio City might be a decent option? Or what about Ventura going the other way?
Not looking to buy a place, I'm just looking to rent a place, and willing to spend about $1500/mo. Maybe more if the location is really good.
there's a decent number of things to do in the thousank oaks area for a 20 something and the beach isn't too far from there. it's definitely the burbs though with miles of beige stucco in every direction. it's nice though with lots of outdoor activities available nearby like hiking and cycling. if you decide to live in the valley, try to stay as close to the 405 as possible to keep your commute down. the 101 is no fun! sherman oaks and encino are nice areas to consider.
Ventura is cool but its about 45 minutes to an hour from Simi and a little isolated. I'd recommend Sherman Oaks. You'll get to simi in 30 minutes . It's a reverse commute. Studio City is similar to Sherman Oaks but will take longer cuz of the 101 and/or street driving to get to the 405
I'm going to give you a rundown on potential neighborhoods:
The Beach: Malibu is technically the closest, but it is tough to find apartment rentals and is not a good YP area. The commute would be difficult because you have to drive on windy mountain roads up to Simi. Santa Monica is an option, particularly if you live near the 405 freeway, IF you are willing to drive. It is about 40 miles each way and about an hour without traffic, 90 minutes each way with traffic.
My guess is you don't want to do that, so here is a rundown on Valley neighborhoods:
Studio City: A pretty good option. There is a lot of activities, nightlife, restaurants, particularly along Ventura. A lot of YPs there, particularly those who work in entertainment because it is close to NBC in Burbank and near Universal. If you live near Universal, you can walk to the subway that takes you into Hollywood and downtown. Personally, I had thought about it, but I realized I wasn't going to be going into Hollywood enough to justify moving there for that.
Sherman Oaks: I personally think Sherman Oaks is the best young professional neighborhood in the Valley. It is becoming younger and is definitely up and coming. It is highly walkable providing you live between Ventura and the Freeway for shopping, restaurants, and bars/clubs. You coming from DC might want to consider that as LA tends to be very car centric for most activities. Sherman Oaks is definitely on an upswing. Plus, there has been an increase in the Hollywood scene, meaning celebrities hanging out in SO to eat and play.
North Hollywood: NoHo has an Arts District that is really nice. The apartments are mostly highrises and pretty new, which means lots of amenities. They are priced high for the area though. NoHo Arts District is walkable and has stores, restaurants, and bars/clubs. Plus, you also have the subway into Hollywood and downtown. Just keep in mind that outside the Arts District, particularly north and west of it, is pretty rough.
Woodland Hills: Woodland Hills has resort style apartment complexes. WH is a bit more suburban, but the buildings have a lot of YPs. The buildings are reasonably priced and are really nice. Contrast to Sherman Oaks and Studio City where most of the complexes are smaller and without amenities like full gyms, concierge service, and tennis courts. There are lots of shopping options and 2 huge malls right there, plus a ton of upscale chain restaurants in the malls. The tradeoff with WH compared to Sherman Oaks and Studio City is having to drive to Sherman Oaks/Studio City for nightlife. There are some bars/clubs in WH, but not many.
My take on the commute: Of the options in the Valley, Woodland Hills is closest to Simi. West Valley particularly going north in the morning and south in the evening doesn't have a lot of traffic by LA standards. You can take Topanga Canyon the entire way to the Reagan Freeway and hop on that for a bit, depending on where you work in Simi. Studio City is about 40 minutes without traffic and an hour tops with traffic. Sherman Oaks is 30 minutes without traffic and probably 50 with traffic. NoHo is likely closer to Studio City timewise.
I should add: I wouldn't live in Thousand Oaks. It is really suburban. A lot of the people who hang out there as a YP tended to grow up there. I concede I don't know much about Ventura, but if you are going to do the 45 minute commute, may as well live in Sherman Oaks/Studio City. Ventura has some nightlife, but it is not a large city, despite being on the beach as an advantage. A lot of the YPs there are into beach activities like surfing, etc. Santa Monica is much more YP traditional like DC.
I think I'd be willing to sacrifice a little more on the commute if it means a good area to live and meet people my age. I'm a little scared about moving to California and leaving my network in the mid-atlantic behind, so one of the big things on my mind is making friends.
Would you describe Sherman Oaks and Studio City area as more "laid back" or "pretentious"? I know LA has a stereotype for being pretentious, which I am a little nervous about. I'm originally from the midwest, so my personality is more "down-to-earth". I remember visiting Hermosa Beach when I was on vacation once, and I liked the laid back, easy to meet people feel of hanging out on the beaches there. Do you think the valley towns have that sort of vibe?
Also, I can't get away from trying to live on the beach - Is living in Santa Monica out of the question as far as the commute goes?
Sorry, I'm rambling now. So many question and so much to think about, thanks for all your help!
Santa Monica is doable, but providing you are willing to do a hefty commute. SM traffic bad between the beach and the 405, especially in the morning. If you live close to the 405 almost in West LA, you are looking at an hour to 90 min. I think the same holds true for the afternoon commute. Plenty of people do make those kinds of commutes in LA and longer, you just have to weigh your priorities.
Hermosa Beach typical SoCal surfer beach mentality. When people think of Southern Californians, that is the epitome of what they think. Most people in Hermosa are really laid back. It is removed from the "LA/Hollywood" scene so that might help.
The Valley is pretentious in some ways, but not in others. I think Santa Monica YPs are far more pretentious, but SM natives are pretty down to earth. Studio City was where a lot of middle aged Hollywood industry types went after they settled down because it was still close enough to Hollywood and the studios to remain in the scene. Now that the "Hollywood scene" has shifted west to WeHo, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Santa Monica, Brentwood, etc. it has become more YP oriented.
Sherman Oaks is pretty down to earth. I mean, you will have some people who espouse pretentious qualities, though Sherman Oaks is also not celeb obsessed. It is off the radar of most tourists and local Hollywood groupies, so I think the reason a lot more celebrities and industry types are hanging out there is simply because residents will not bother them. There are plenty of normal YPs living in Sherman Oaks.
Actually, when I was in DC, I found the people there very pretentious because everyone knows someone and everyone claims to be more important than you. There is a reason we referred to DC as the Hollywood for ugly people (joking!).
Sherman Oaks is a decent area; I've lived here for 14 years. However, there are pockets that aren't so nice, so try to stay south of Magnolia. This advice goes for anywhere you might move: Be careful about what apartment complex you move into. A year can be a very long time if you move into the wrong building! Try to talk to some of the other tenants if you can, and please avoid buildings that accept Section 8.
Due to what happened in the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, you might want to avoid any of the apartments on Willis just north of Ventura Blvd., or along Dickens St. (this street is south of and runs parallel to Ventura).
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