Lindsay Smith
A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods

More so than many other big cities, Los Angeles, California, is made up of such clearly defined neighborhoods that many say it's more an amalgamation of small towns than a single big city. But because Los Angeles neighborhoods are so diverse and plentiful, it can be tough to decide which one is best to move to— especially if you've never lived in the city before.


If you're making a big move to LA, we've tried to make it a little easier for you by putting together this guide of some of the most popular Los Angeles neighborhoods you should know about:


When many people hear "LA" they automatically think of Hollywood. But although those who aren't from the area sometimes believe the two to be synonymous, most people from Southern California  know Hollywood to be just one small neighborhood within a much more diverse city.

A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods - Hollywoods

In fact, locals often move away from Hollywood because of the thousands of tourists roaming the area and relatively high cost of living. Hollywood does feature some local art galleries and farmers markets, but it's more tourist-centric than many other parts of the city.

West Hollywood

West Hollywood is well-known for being gay friendly, and the parts of the neighborhood surrounding Santa Monica Boulevard have even been dubbed "Boy's Town."

A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods - West Hollywood

This area of LA is a pretty fun and glamorous place to be, with shops, galleries, cafes, and myriad nightlife options.

The Valley

The Valley is an encompassing term that includes several neighborhoods, such as North Hollywood, Studio City and Burbank, among others. Though each neighborhood within the Valley is slightly different, the area is known for being a good spot for people who'd rather save some money and live a bit outside of Downtown or Hollywood.

A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods - The Valley

The neighborhoods have plenty of restaurants and entertainment options, but they're a bit more of a commute to central LA than some other areas in the city.


Downtown LA is one of the most central Los Angeles neighborhoods, and it's a pretty good area for people who prefer walking to driving. The neighborhood has an almost New York-style vibe, with skyscrapers and a subway system, and it offers plenty of great restaurants and recreational opportunities.

A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods - Downtown

However, Downtown LA is also known for being somewhat dangerous at night, so it's worth a walk-through of the area before deciding to live there.

Silver Lake and Echo Park

Silver Lake and Echo Park are two eastside Los Angeles neighborhoods that are known for being some of the most indie and artsy (read: hipster) areas in the city.

A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods - Silver Lake and Echo Park

The neighboring communities are full of locally owned (and very hip) establishments, music venues, shops, and more. Another benefit of the area? It's beautiful– set in the hills and full of leafy trees and pretty views.


There's nothing inside or outside of LA quite like the Venice Boardwalk, on which you'll find a very diverse group of street performers, hippies, and other kooky people who love hanging out in one of LA's beachside neighborhoods.

A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods - Venice

Venice is the perfect spot for people who'd rather live a little outside of the city in a unique area with tons of nightlife.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is just north of Venice, and though it's often considered a neighborhood in Los Angeles, it's really its own incorporated city. Perfect for beach-lovers, Santa Monica is also easily walkable, full of entertainment and dining opportunities, and offers tons of shopping.

A Guide to Los Angeles Neighborhoods - Santa Monica

Santa Monica's one shortcoming is its infamous commute– because of where it's located, it's notoriously difficult to get in and out of LA if you live there, making it hard for people who work in the city. If you do commute to and from Santa Monica, just be prepared to spend a couple hours in the car both ways!




About The Author

Lindsay Smith is a Chicago-based freelance writer who uses her deadline-oriented writing skills for clients like Apartment Guide,, Womensforum Media Group and Brafton.