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Old 09-15-2009, 11:01 AM
 
16 posts, read 34,370 times
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My wife and I are moving to LA from Charleston, SC. We are in our early 30's and have a 2 yr old son. We also have 2 dogs. What are some of the best areas/neighborhoods for us to consider? I'll be working in Westwood and would like to keep the commute under an hour. Interested in safe neighborhoods, good for walking, dog friendly, parks. We'll probably rent for the 1st year and looking to spend $3,500 or less per month. A house would be ideal, but would consider a townhome. We'd like to have a yard for the dogs. Thanks so much for any help!
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:43 AM
 
Location: South Bay
7,091 posts, read 18,414,084 times
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since your son isn't old enough for school, i would take advantage of city life until he is school aged. there are plenty of parents of very young kids on the westside, they just all seem to move when their kids get old enough for school since LAUSD is notoriously bad. as far as places to consider, you might look into santa monica, you should be able to find a nice little house or townhome within your budget. the area around the santa monica airport is good for families with parks, including an off-leash dog park. if you're looking for a community you can stay in more long term, you may consider el segundo, a very nice city with coastal access. i would guess you'd have about a 45 minute commute each way to/from westwood.
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:51 AM
 
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Thanks, I'll definitely start checking those areas. From what I have read, South Pasadena sounds nice, but probably too long of a commute. How is the traffic on the 405? Is it any better coming from south (South Bay) or from the north (Encino area)?
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:37 PM
 
Location: West Los Angeles
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Stay away from the Rancho Park area because they're cracking down on dogs off their leashes.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:39 PM
 
Location: South Bay
7,091 posts, read 18,414,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchamlee View Post
Thanks, I'll definitely start checking those areas. From what I have read, South Pasadena sounds nice, but probably too long of a commute. How is the traffic on the 405? Is it any better coming from south (South Bay) or from the north (Encino area)?
neither, it is miserable in both directions.
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Old 09-17-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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Check out Mar Vista, Palms, and Culver City. The Marina and Venice are a little more expensive. Santa Monica is nice but probably more pricey still.

Any of the South Bay communities could work, but the commute is going to be worse.

There's a big ideological divide between the Westside and the Eastside. On the Eastside, check out Silverlake, Los Feliz (expensive) and Echo Park (cheaper). Your commute is going to be bad with surface streets only, but still under an hour. I have lived on both sides of town and both have their charms.

The Valley is a good option for reasonably priced housing. Encino and Sherman Oaks can be nice, Van Nuys and Studio City are a little more "industrial". Friends of ours are expecting twins next month and they just moved into the house you describe in Valley Village fo $2800 a month. Downside to the Valley is the commute on the 405. You can probably still make it in less than a hour from Encino to Westwood during rush hour but you're going to hate it.

The Westside is cooler with lots of marine-layer-haziness and higher humidity. The Eastside is noticeably more polluted and a few degrees hotter, the Valley is hotter still - up to 15 degrees sometimes.

Good luck,

-R.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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Thanks so much! Being from the southeast, I don't think the humidity will be a problem. I love to surf, so I'd prefer to be near the beach. What are approximate cummute times up the 405 to westwood from Del Rey, El Segundo, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo? Unfortunately, I'm not a morning guy that can get up and be on the road at 6am. Thanks so much!
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:33 PM
 
11 posts, read 49,270 times
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Del Rey (not to be confused with Marina Del Rey), though they're right next to each other) is nice, it's very close to everything yet it hasn't really been "discovered" yet. I bought my first house there when I couldn't afford Venice in the early 2000s.

From Del Rey you would take the 90 to the 405 north and get off on either Wilshire or Sunset. The commute shouldn't take you longer than 20 minutes. When I lived there I could make it to the north side of Burbank in 45 minutes or less during rush hour traffic because I was going against the flow.

From Hermosa, etc. it would take you a bit longer because you'd have to go past the airport. I would do my best to stay north of El Segundo. If you like the beach, check out Playa Del Rey south of the Marina but just north of the airport/ El Segundo.

-R.
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Old 09-17-2009, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
5,132 posts, read 11,725,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchamlee View Post
My wife and I are moving to LA from Charleston, SC. We are in our early 30's and have a 2 yr old son. We also have 2 dogs. What are some of the best areas/neighborhoods for us to consider? I'll be working in Westwood and would like to keep the commute under an hour. Interested in safe neighborhoods, good for walking, dog friendly, parks. We'll probably rent for the 1st year and looking to spend $3,500 or less per month. A house would be ideal, but would consider a townhome. We'd like to have a yard for the dogs. Thanks so much for any help!
I grew up in Hermosa and Manhattan Beach and for the best surfing beaches these are hard to beat. The other good option if you don't mind huge crowds would be to live closer to Santa Monica and from there you could surf Sunset and Malibu. Unfortunately like any over advertised surf spot next to a large urban area Malibu point is a real Zoo with a lot of bad attitudes and grumpy ppl! And The South Bay has more consistent surf year round.

The other big consideration is the drive. So Santa Monica would definately be better in that regard. However I never really liked the westside as much as the southbay. Of course this is a preference thing. A Good alternative would be to look somewhere more in the middle like Playa Del Rey or El Segundo.

Now we come to the other important consideration: quality schools. This really starts to divide things as you go into the LAUSD - something to avoid. Have a look here and zoom into to the areas in question: California School Performance Maps

Yes your child is still young so you could of course move again in a couple of years. But wouldn't it be good to get into an area where you may want to stay potenitially longer term.

So with that in mind I would consider El Segundo - great schools, great family community and closer to Westwood than say Manhattan or Hermosa Beach. And you would still be very close to El Porto which is a great surfing area to the north of Manhattan.

Otherwise checkout Santa Monica which is Malibu School District.

Each of these areas has there own distinct vibe - the Westside has more of an I'm in the business vibe. But since you are working in Westwood you may also be or at least not mind that. The South Bay is a bit more layed back IMO as it is further from LA and Hollywood. Although that makes the drive more of a bare. So its a definate tradeoff.

I would recommend Torrance, Hermosa or Manhattan. But they are all further and hit 405 rush hour nightmare traffic approaching the airport.

One last thing, no matter where you end up, you will probably have to learn to wake up earlier because of the mass of ppl in and around Westwood/UCLA/Westside at all times of the day - but especially during rush hour. Its not a pretty site unfortunately. And it has been a commuters mess for a very long time. There is just too much going on with too many ppl right there for it not to be.

Derek

Last edited by MtnSurfer; 09-17-2009 at 06:39 PM..
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:27 PM
 
Location: california
46 posts, read 132,725 times
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Arcadia was voted the best place to raise a family by Money Magazine this year, however, it would be more than an hour commute
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