Spread out over 468.67 square miles of land, Los Angeles County has around 196 distinct districts, neighborhoods and “zones" depending on who's drawing the map. (City mapping enthusiasts have debated some smaller territories for decades.)
That said, every neighborhood in Los Angeles has its own personality, its own culture and its own pace.
Downtown has its skyscrapers, Hollywood is peppered with film studios and the sand-covered coast has a unique pulse all of its own.
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We scoured Los Angeles County for some of the city's most renowned and eclectic regions to create this list of five fun facts about 10 of Los Angeles's most popular neighborhoods.
1. Beverly Grove
Editorial credit: Alex Millauer / Shutterstock.com
When you're looking for a slight touch of noir in Los Angeles, you go to Beverly Grove. The town has been relatively well preserved so walking down Fairfax is like going back to the '70s. Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love liked the quiet residential neighborhood so much, they rented their first L.A. apartment together on 448 N Spaulding Ave.
Five Fun Facts about Beverly Grove:
The term "Beverly Grove" was first used in 2006 to unofficially refer to the area that was proposed to be subject to an “anti-mansionization" ordinance
When the Improv opened on Melrose in 1975, a young Jay Leno helped build the club and even painted the entire ceiling himself
The site where the Beverly Center stands was originally "Beverly Park and Kiddyland," which featured a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, roller-coaster and a horse ride called "Ponyland"
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was established as the Kaspare Cohn Hospital on Sept. 21, 1902, with just 12 beds when it opened, and its services were initially free
The world-famous Canter's Deli serves more than 4,900 pounds of pastrami per month and more than 1,500 U.S. gallons of chicken soup and 4,000 knishes per week
2. Downtown Los Angeles
This is the neighborhood most people think of when they hear the name Downtown Los Angeles. It's also unique in that it's the county's central business district, yet it supports a diverse residential neighborhood of some 58,000 people. Within its borders of the 10, 110 and 101 Freeways, it houses 15 sub-neighborhoods, including the Jewelry District, the Toy District and the Arts District.
Five Fun Facts about Downtown Los Angeles:
Its Fashion District began in the Santee Alley, an alley where businesses would open retail outlets out their back doors for one or two days a week
The Pershing Square park is home to the oldest public artwork in DTLA, a memorial to California's 20 victims of Spanish–American War, installed in 1900
Grand Park will be one of the venues for 2028 Olympic Games, hosting several running and biking races
DTLA's Public Library has the country's third-largest book collection and has been honored with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service
Grand Central Market is the city's largest public market spanning 30,000 square feet — it's also 102-years old
If you rent in Hollywood, you either work in the area, or you're a very patient human because it's a must if you live here. The gridlock, TMZ tour busses and constant flood of pedestrians on the main roads — it's enough to drive anyone to the suburbs. But those who can hang enjoy the old-school bustle and grit of the town.
Five Fun Facts about Hollywood:
In the early 1900s, most film patents were held by Thomas Edison's patents in New Jersey, and filmmakers were always sued to stop filming. To avoid this, filmmakers moved here, where attempts to enforce Edison's patents were difficult.
In 1923, the Hollywood sign was erected in the Hollywood Hills to advertise new land development. It spelled out Hollywoodland until 1949.
In 1994, Hollywood, AL and 10 other American cities named Hollywood successfully fought Hollywood, CA's attempt to trademark its name and force same-named towns to pay royalties
Renters occupy more than 90 percent of the area's housing units
Months before the Walk of Fame broke ground, Charlie Chaplin, Jr., demanded $400,000 in damages from Hollywood because his father was not chosen as one of its eight initial honorees
As the most densely populated district by population in Los Angeles, with around 120,000 residents in its 2.7 square miles, Koreatown still has that rustic charm it was built upon in the 1930s when approximately 650 Koreans settled here. Those with a keen eye can point out the historic Art deco buildings that first populated the area.
Five Fun Facts about Koreatown:
It has the only natural hot spring in Los Angeles, Beverly Hot Springs, which has its own well that pumps in water from more than 2,000 feet underground
With an estimated 124,281 people in the 2.7-square-mile neighborhood, that works out to 42,611 people per square mile
Before it was demolished in 2005, the neighborhood's Ambassador Hotel hosted the first four Academy Awards from 1930 through 1934
As K-town's premier concert venue, the Wiltern opened on Oct. 7, 1931, as the Warner Theatre — part of Warner Bros.' chain of first-run movie houses
The Brown Derby (with its iconic domed roof) may be gone, but it's the restaurant where the Cobb Salad was born, thanks to the restaurant owner, Robert Howard Cobb
5. Little Tokyo
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Coming in at four square acres, Little Tokyo is small enough for you to be able to take a walking tour of the district and have lunch at Sushi Gen (one of the '80s O.G. sushi hotspots) all in under two hours. If you can find a coveted rental apartment here, you're one of very few.
Five Fun Facts about Little Tokyo:
Little Tokyo was founded during the 1880s, the era of a surge of immigration in Southern California, and it's one of three official “Japantowns" in the U.S.
You know those California Rolls you see on every sushi menu? They were invented here.
Little Tokyo's First Street was recognized as a historic landmark in 1986. You've no doubt seen its streets lined with paper lanterns in at least one action movie.
Fugetsu-do, founded in 1903, is the oldest food establishment in the city and the bakery claims to be the inventor of the fortune cookie
6. Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile is one of Los Angeles County's jewels. Besides Museum Row, its Historic Preservation Zones and its beautifully-preserved architecture, the small chunk of neighborhood is flush with unassuming Spanish homes and small-unit rental buildings.
Five Fun Facts about Miracle Mile:
More than 3.5 million fossils have been found within La Brea Tar Pits' grounds and paleontologists still dig there every day
The Petersen Automotive Museum's “swirly" façade is made of 100 tons of steel and held together by 140,000 custom stainless-steel screws
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is located in the historic May Company Building, the most accurate example of Streamline Moderne in Los Angeles
LACMA is the largest art museum in the western U.S., attracting a million visitors every year. It holds more than 150,000 pieces spanning ancient times to the present.
The neighborhood was named Miracle Mile for its improbable rise to prominence. At one time, it was even referred to as "America's Champs-Élysées."
7. North Hollywood
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North Hollywood has always played second fiddle to its fancy neighbors, Hollywood and West Hollywood, but NoHo is making the transition Silver Lake and Echo Park made in the late '80s. The Arts District is quietly generating buzz, and it's still the land of affordable rentals.
Five Fun Facts about North Hollywood:
The Hollywood Burbank airport sees 5.2 million passengers every year and is ranked by Fodor's Travel as the best airport in America.
When Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone) was carjacked in "Clueless," she was in the parking lot of the iconic Circus Liquor on Vineland Ave.
The area was once part of the landholdings of the Mission San Fernando Rey de España, which was confiscated by the government during the Mexican period of rule
Ozzy Osbourne's iconic guitarist Randy Rhoades taught music at Burbank's Musonia Music school as a kid. His mother owned the conservatory, and it's still open.
The neighborhood's earliest known inhabitants of the area arrived as early as 13,000 years ago and were likely the ancestors of the modern Chumash people
8. Silver Lake
Silver Lake was a fairly quiet community made up of single-family homes and smaller apartment complexes, until the '90s. That's when the Beastie Boys set up their infamous Grand Royal studio a couple of miles away. Eventually, early hipsters flocked to Silver Lake for its cheap rent, cheap cafes and, of course, the music.
Five Fun Facts about Silver Lake:
Originally named Ivanhoe in the 1900s by a settler from Scotland, it was built around what was then a city reservoir
The lake does not provide water for the neighborhood, but to South Los Angeles communities, instead. The residents of Silver Lake get their water from nearby Eagle Rock.
Disney's first studio was on Hyperion Ave., and the name lives on in products like its Hyperion animation software and publishing imprint, Hyperion Books.
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers opened the Silverlake Conservatory of Music in 2001, and it still offers inexpensive lessons for all and scholarships to students in the area
Silver Lake has always been written out as two words, and longtime residents have no problem reminding you of that (yet, Flea spells it out as one word)
Westside proper is another one of those tucked-away communities of Los Angeles that still show signs of the silent era of Hollywood. Its unique place on the map (between MGM Studios in Culver City and the Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica) made the homes in the tract development desirable to employees of both facilities in the 1920s. Just don't confuse this community, and “Westside," the term most people call anything west of the 405.
Five Fun Facts about Westside:
Century City was developed on the former backlot of film studio 20th Century Fox, and its first proper building was opened in 1963
The Rancho Park neighborhood was named by its residents after World War II, to distinguish themselves from Westwood
Venice High School was built on its current location in 1921 after 10 years of classes that were held in an old bathhouse two blocks from the beach
On the TV show "Modern Family," the exterior of Claire and Phil Dunphy's home can be found on Dunleer Dr.
Due to its close proximity to movie studios, notable residents from “Hollywood royalty" included Lucille Ball, Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel and William Shatner
UCLA is so much a part of Westwood, it's surprising the college just hasn't taken over the little neighborhood. While it seems like everyone you bump into on the streets either goes to the school or is somehow affiliated with it, if you head north on Beverly Glen Blvd., apartments packed with students make way for old money mansions.
Five Fun Facts about Westwood:
In 2019, Westwood's 90024 area code was identified as the most expensive neighborhood to rent from in California
One of the very first Undie Runs on an American college campus took place in 2001 at UCLA started by student Eric Whitehead
The Hammer Museum was founded by Dr. Armand Hammer as a place to exhibit his massive art collection. Sadly, Dr. Hammer passed away less than a month after the museum opened in November of 1990.
Westwood was developed in 1919 on the land of the Wolfskill Ranch purchased by Arthur Letts, the founder of the Broadway, and Bullock's department stores
The Playboy Mansion was built in 1927 for Letts' son and bought by Hugh Hefner in 1974
Michael Alarcon has been a writer for over 23 years. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Long Beach's Press-Telegram, Citysearch, the Orange County Register, SPIN online, AOL News, Village Voice and Ranker, among other smaller regional publications. Raised in San Dimas, California, he has lived in Long Beach, California for the last 20 years.
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