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Where to live in LA with a family?!

Where to live in LA with a family?!

Old Mar 19th 2014, 4:13 pm
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Default Where to live in LA with a family?!

I've noticed a few threads on 'where to live in CA' but we're a bit more specific so hopefully it's ok i've started a new thread on this general topic!!

My husband is in the process of getting is 01 visa. He is self employed and will be working from home or a studio near to where we live.

We will be relocating from North London - We have two children aged 3 and 11, we want to be in a good school district for middle schools, It would be great to be near the beach. We'd also love a community feel. Our budget is $3500 for a 2/3 bed to rent.

A few of our friends live in Los Feliz or Silverlake, but my husbands business partner (his family is relocating too) has family in brentwood and he wants to be near them. So we're thinking of Santa Monica, but is it really touristy and over priced? Is there any other area of LA that we could be looking into?
We're also thinking Pacific Palisades area, but if we are in the Santa Monica school district, is it far to drive into Santa Monica from the Palisades for schools every day?

it would be great to hear anyone's opinions!!

Thank you
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Old Mar 19th 2014, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

There have been a few threads on specifics, but I don't know if the search is working or not. Nicky, has posted lots of useful info though if you can find it.
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Old Mar 19th 2014, 5:01 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Santa Monica's nice, it can be very touristy in the summer - I'm not sure about the school district though, I've heard its gone down hill, but I could be off-base on that. There's lots of other Brit's in Santa Monica - and it is close to Brentwood. Note sure on the budget though - whether $3500 will cut it, possibly. Might depend on if you want a house, or if a townhouse/condo is ok. A house might be tough.

I don't think you could do a Brentwood house on that budget, possibly a condo. If you really want a house, and given schools are important, you might also want to consider Culver City. It's a bit further from Brentwood - around a 20-25 minute drive in traffic, but your money will likely go a bit further then Santa Monica/Brentwood, and it has a good school district.

If it were me, I'd start with the schools. Private schools run $26k-$35k per year, so being somewhere with good public schools saves a fortune. Find some good school prospects in 'the Westside', see where you have to live to attend them, and work backwards from that.

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Old Mar 19th 2014, 5:14 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

I live in Los Feliz.

We have good old friends who live in West LA and one who works at a major law firm on the west side. The biggest downside is that it has the worst traffic in Los Angeles.

To get a better idea of the rental market, I suggest subscribing to WestsideRentals.Com. Despite the name, it is not limited to the West Side -- I see their signs all over Los Feliz/Silver Lake. West Side Rentals is free to the landlords but charges the prospective tenants. The landlords love it because they get prospective tenants who are less likely to be a problem.
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Old Mar 19th 2014, 6:05 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Thank you! I'll also look into Culver City, is it in the LA school district?

We are looking at John Adams and Lincoln middle school for Santa Monica. I don't know if anyone knows of those schools at all?

We're also on West side rentals so have been looking there pretty much every day! Sometimes we see an ok house for our budget but I guess you don't know until you view it in real life!
When you say the traffic is the worst in LA, you mean santa monica traffic? Going from SM to Hollywood?

Thanks so much for all your replies, i'll try search the other threads too!
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Old Mar 19th 2014, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Culver City has its own school district that's highly regarded. From what I've heard 'off-cuff', a couple of their schools are average, and a couple are outstanding, so drill down and make sure you're in the right part of town.

I don't know the specifics on the schools, I have a 3yr old so we're just starting our research now. Hopefully someone else can give you more info on those you mentioned.

When looking at places, check out where they are on maps, there are homes in LA a block from the freeway, or that have a front door the open 20feet from a major street - and a major street out here can make the A1 look like footpath. Obviously avoid those. Noise from the freeway can be a big factor.

West LA traffic is rough. When not commuting, you just get use to timing trips outside the worst travel times. Obviously as you get use to things here, you find back roads and alternative routes etc. To give you an idea, I work at the top of West LA on the border of Santa Monica and Brentwood - I live 0.5miles south-east of Culver City - I have a commute of 8miles, 30-35minutes in the morning, and 45-50minutes going home. Every so often, Obama comes to town, or there's a big accident etc. and it'll take me 75 minutes to get home. I don't consider my commutes bad - many many people here commute 25-65 miles each way, and spend 3-4hrs a day in the car each day. Personally, I couldn't handle that. If you can keep under 10miles for your main commute, it may be depressing to figure out the MPH you're going, but ultimately your commute times will be manageable.

Driving Santa Monica to Hollywood does take a long time, because its a busy route across town, and the 10 (the freeway that runs east from Santa Monica) runs too far south from Hollywood. That said, no-one goes to Hollywood, especially not on a Thursday afternoon. In a year or so, you'll get that.

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Old Mar 19th 2014, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Thanks Matt

My husband will be working from home, so that's fine. But I am a makeup artist looking to get my own 01 visa and I'm assuming the shoots I will be doing/working on will be all over town (after speaking to other makeup artists and models etc). When I work I don't work every day but locations are spread everywhere, so I guess I'll just have to deal with the commute when I get there.

Very helpful info from everyone - thank you so much.
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Old Mar 19th 2014, 6:53 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

yep, might actually be another +1 for Culver City.

Hollywood is the reference name for the entertainment industry in LA - rarely is it the actual location of anything connected with the entertainment industry. Culver City is home to a couple of big studio lots, movies and tv filming locations. If you watch the credits fly on a lot of stuff, you'll see Culver City mentioned.
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Old Mar 19th 2014, 7:24 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Santa Monica seems quite buzzy, I did catch something on the news with local residents complaining they are hemmed in by the traffic. You have picked nice areas in your list, although as others have said, Brentwood might go over that budget.
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Old Mar 19th 2014, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Originally Posted by Lilly77 View Post
Thanks Matt

My husband will be working from home, so that's fine. But I am a makeup artist looking to get my own 01 visa and I'm assuming the shoots I will be doing/working on will be all over town (after speaking to other makeup artists and models etc). When I work I don't work every day but locations are spread everywhere, so I guess I'll just have to deal with the commute when I get there.

Very helpful info from everyone - thank you so much.
I'm "of counsel" to a law office located in the "Arts District" to the immediate east of Little Tokyo. There are a LOT of film shoots going on in the area.

I'm about an 18 minute drive from Los Feliz to the Arts District.
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Old Mar 20th 2014, 12:40 am
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Originally Posted by Lilly77 View Post
My husband is in the process of getting is 01 visa. He is self employed and will be working from home or a studio near to where we live.

We will be relocating from North London - We have two children aged 3 and 11, we want to be in a good school district for middle schools, It would be great to be near the beach. We'd also love a community feel. Our budget is $3500 for a 2/3 bed to rent.

my husbands business partner has family in brentwood and he wants to be near them. So we're thinking of Santa Monica, but is it really touristy and over priced? Is there any other area of LA that we could be looking into?
We're also thinking Pacific Palisades area, but if we are in the Santa Monica school district, is it far to drive into Santa Monica from the Palisades for schools every day?
So it looks like, although your husband will be working from home - his business partner will be in Brentwood.
If, as you say, he prefers to live near his partner ( depending on how he defines "near") you probably want to at least live on, what's referred to as, the "Westside".
If you do, depending on the time of day (and where exactly his partner is in Brentwood), he should never find he has more than a 20 minute drive to his place - and it could easily be half that....

I love Santa Monica - and NO, the residential areas are not touristy - but you might have a hard (if not impossible) time, finding something within your budget.
You certainly can rule out the "best" parts of Santa Monica - areas such as Santa Monica Canyon or the numbered streets south of Montana Ave. etc. - but you might try to see if you can find something in Ocean Park.
Ocean Park is part of Santa Monica (North of Venice). It's very family oriented - definitely has a neighborhood feeling - and extends right down to the beach. Fact that you might be looking for a year's (or longer?) rental (rather than short term), is helpful.
It has a great organic farmer's market every Sunday, Main Street is choc-a-bloc with restauants, bars, cafes, etc.
Can't comment on the public schools - as friends who live there sent their kids to private schools
Fact that you might be looking to start a rental at the beginning of summer (?) might be a distinct disadvantage however.

You might take a look online at Mar Vista - it's adjacent to Santa Monica - less upscale, less $$$y and worth at least exploring.
BTW - Be aware of the location of Santa Monica Airport. Doubtful you'd enjoy life beneath it's flight paths.

You ask about Pacific Palisades.
That's definitely NOT going to be within your price range. If it were - it would be great. Ideal, in fact - but barring some fluke opportunity - probably out of the question.
As for the commute to Santa Monica schools from the Palisades (which you inquire about):
If you're talking about public schools (meaning "free") - you would not be living within the Santa Monica School district if you were in the Palisades....but a moot point probably for reason already given ($$$)

Finally - with regard to traffic and your work commute - since your calls will most likely be extremely early .....7:00AM (?) - you should beat the rush hour traffic no matter where the shoot.
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Old Mar 20th 2014, 3:24 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

You might want to add Westwood to the list of where to look to live in LA.
It's on Westside, borders Brentwood where your husband's partner will be, is 15 min. drive to beach and if you look at streets south of Wilshire Blvd. - you may find something.
It's also good for freeway access (the 405) for you - for going to wherever your film shoot might be - if it's not convenient by surface streets
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Old Mar 20th 2014, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

I think Santa Monica is very touristy. I like to eat out, a lot, and mainly spur of the moment. It would drive me nuts to have to wait an hour for a table, regardless of the time or day, during the summer.
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Old Mar 20th 2014, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Originally Posted by N1cky View Post
I think Santa Monica is very touristy.
It is, for you, if you're a fellow tourist around other fellow tourists on the 3rd St. Promenade or along Main St.
It isn't, for you, when you live there - tourists just don't wander it's residential neighborhoods. Why would they?
To the contrary - Residential areas in LA - and Santa Monica - are distressingly empty of pedestrians
Everyone is in their pools ()/back yards, houses, schools, gyms, offices
Everyone else is in their cars.

A majority of my friends live in Santa Monica.
I've never heard any gripe about it being "very touristy"
And some of them are 1st class gripers!
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Old Mar 20th 2014, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Where to live in LA with a family?!

Originally Posted by MMcD View Post
It is, for you, if you're a fellow tourist around other fellow tourists on the 3rd St. Promenade or along Main St.
It isn't, for you, when you live there - tourists just don't wander it's residential neighborhoods. Why would they?
To the contrary - Residential areas in LA - and Santa Monica - are distressingly empty of pedestrians
Everyone is in their pools ()/back yards, houses, schools, gyms, offices
Everyone else is in their cars.

A majority of my friends live in Santa Monica.
I've never heard any gripe about it being "very touristy"
And some of them are 1st class gripers!
Where do they eat and shop then? Do the residential areas all have restaurants and clothes shops?
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