There are over 100 definable neighborhoods/cities in the L.A. area and even more if you include Orange County (some people do commute from Orange County to L.A. or vice versa). So finding an apartment can be overwhelming, but here are some good tips:

  • West of Fairfax (a major street which runs north/south) is good, while east of Fairfax is bad. This is generally a good rule, subject to the following exceptions: (1) north of Beverly Boulevard, you can go much further east before it becomes foul, and (2) in Hollywood itself, there is no strict eastern boundary on the "nice" area.

  • A lot of college/just-out-of-college students live in Westwood.

  • West Hollywood is considered to be the hip/trendy/gay area.

  • Santa Monica is a pricey and touristy but beautiful and fun area near the beach.

  • Brentwood is rather expensive, but has nice restaurants and is centrally located.

  • With regard to the San Fernando Valley (universally referred to as simply "the Valley"), a lot of people who work in L.A. live there, with good reason. It's very pretty there, there are lots of good restaurants, it's very safe, and the rents are cheaper. The other side of the coin is that the Valley is hot, smoggy, and boring. It's really kinda like one big suburb. Cities located in the Valley include: Burbank, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Reseda, Tarzana, Van Nuys, Northridge, Granada Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Woodland Hills.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW find an apartment in LA?