Yet Another "Where Should I Live?"
August 24, 2017 6:25 PM   Subscribe

What neighborhoods should my girlfriend and I (and our two cats) look at renting in, in West Los Angeles / Southbay? She just got an offer in Long Beach, and I work in Playa Vista.

When I moved to LA four years ago, AskMe helped me figure out a great 1br in Mar Vista. Today, I'm in a happy long-term, "medium distance" relationship with a woman from Orange County who just scored a great new job in Long Beach. We want to move in together. I love my place and my <20 min commute / close proximity to Santa Monica, but compromise is how life happens.

What I love about Mar Vista: There's a bit of green space, I'm in walking distance to two grocery stores and a bunch of little restaurants, parking is do-able, and I can drive to work in less than 20 min on surface streets, and bike in half an hour if I want to.

What areas should we look at? Traffic is heavier commuting north, so we're so far looking around either Westchester or El Segundo. I'm pretty sure where LAX is, is exactly where I'd want to live, but hey, there's an airport there. I'm open to going further south for significant quality-of-life increases, but in general we'd like to aim for <30 min commute each, which puts us relatively close to the 405 in Weschester, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, or Redondo Beach.

Are there any areas we should seek out or avoid, in that area?

We're mid-30s, no kids or plans for kids. We're both car commuters, so ability to consistently find parking for two cars (either reserved or on the street) is critical. Two reserved parking spots or a garage would be ideal but this is LA, so I'm pretty sure that's Fantasy Land. Neither of us is very beach-y but I have enjoyed being relatively coastal.
posted by Alterscape to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I lived in Westchester for over a decade--right up the hill and across the street from the 405--and have been back periodically. You will indeed be under the LAX flight path (then again, if you need to catch a plane, you'll be near LAX, so it evens out...). In comparison to where you're living, that part of Westchester will not be as nice; there are some ongoing improvements to La Tijera Blvd., and there's a Vons in walking distance, but it's not going to have the Mar Vista "little restaurants" vibe. Perhaps not surprisingly, Westchester gets spiffier as you get further away from the 405, especially in some of the neighborhoods closer to Orville Wright Junior High (you'll also find more greenery out there and better shopping). I'm assuming you don't actually want to be in one of the developments on the 405...
posted by thomas j wise at 7:25 PM on August 24, 2017

There is a neighborhood right by the El Segundo metro station (gmaps suggests it's 90245) that actually looks to have apartment rents at/under 2500, and I spent several months cutting through that neighborhood while working at a customer in the area. It seemed nice. And it's pretty close to all the shopping you could want on Sepulveda.

I also have a customer by the courthouse on La Cienega (courthouse: 11701 La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045) that is basically underneath the 405/105 exchange. There's a fresh outcropping of those Southwestern-colored luxury apartment dwelling compounds, and a creeping-in of restaurants and stuff that's probably largely serving the business/industrial/court lunch crowd. You might just go do drive-arounds this weekend in both areas, in the middle of the day to see what the vibe is like.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:35 PM on August 24, 2017

Alternately, you might look at Hawthorne, North Redondo/Redondo, and Torrance, which among people I know has the best reputation for still being a pretty good deal.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:43 PM on August 24, 2017

Torrance is still a great deal with a fair amount of street parking if you select carefully. Community feel, extremely walkable, access to beach and freeways.
posted by Temeraria at 7:54 PM on August 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

What about Playa del Rey? If you're close to Vista del Mar that is.
posted by jeb at 8:05 PM on August 24, 2017

+1 Torrance, parts of Torrance are super cute.
posted by potrzebie at 10:13 PM on August 24, 2017

I have lived in Hawthorne, on the border with Gardena, for over a decade and I love it. You can definitely find reasonable rents and there are still back streets to get up the coast.
posted by amapolaroja at 11:01 PM on August 24, 2017

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