Consider Moving to These 5 Cool Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city that people have been trying to define for years. Most think LA is just made up of Hollywood, palm trees, sunshine, and celebrities. While all of that is true and a deep part of the city vibe, Los Angeles is also the second most populous city in the country, per the U.S. Census Bureau, so getting a definitive read on its identity is almost impossible.

Los Angeles County is spread across over 4,000 square miles with a population over 10 million, creating a collection of neighborhoods with thousands of residents from all walks of life.

Within that collection, though, there are several neighborhoods that are definitely cooler than others. These “cool” neighborhoods are still affordable (by Los Angeles standards) and blend old-school neighborhood attractions with trendy coffee bars, nightclubs, and watering holes.

If you’re considering moving to Los Angeles, check out these five cool neighborhoods.

Atwater Village

The 3100 block of Glendale Blvd featuring a variety of shops.
The 3100 block of Glendale Blvd featuring a variety of shops. 

Located in the northeast corner of LA, Atwater is adjacent to Griffith Park as well as the hip neighborhoods of Silver Lake and Los Feliz. With a collection of neat little bungalow homes and a thriving commercial district, Atwater Village has an energetic vibe made up of first-time homeowners and newcomers who join the neighborhood’s long-standing residents to create a unique community chemistry.

Because Atwater has so many different home styles, ranging from bungalows to modern condos, its home prices vary. The median sale price here is in the high $900s, but you can find a condo or small attached home in the low $500s, or spend over $1 million on a larger single-family home. For all of it, though, you’ll generally get a tree-lined, walkable neighborhood where the residents all know each other.

If you buy in this neighborhood, you get easy access to Griffith Park’s recreational opportunities, including horseback riding, golfing, picnicking, and hiking. You can enjoy dining at the Tam ‘O Shanter on Los Feliz Boulevard, one of the oldest pubs in Los Angeles. You can also socialize with friends at the lively bars along Los Feliz Boulevard or Glendale Boulevard like the Bigfoot Lodge or Club Tee Gee, both neighborhood anchors for many years.

Boyle Heights

The intersection of First and Bailey St. in Boyle Heights.
The intersection of First and Bailey St. in Boyle Heights. 

Boyle Heights has an urban setting with a tight-knit community. Its close proximity to Downtown Los Angeles is one of the reasons the neighborhood attracts homebuyers who are looking to work or play close to the city. Boyle Heights itself also has a rich and vibrant culture, which is best represented by the string of authentic and local Mexican restaurants along Cesar Chavez Boulevard, the bustling main shopping district.

Some of the community staples include El Tepeyac Café, which has been around for more than 60 years. It’s known for “Manuel’s Burrito,” a massive torpedo of flavor weighing in at more than five pounds; it was once a challenge on the “Man vs. Food” television show.

With a median home price in the mid $400s, real estate in Boyle Heights is still somewhat affordable (at least by Los Angeles standards). Homebuyers can find a small two-bed, one-bath home priced in the low $400s as well as rehabbed single-family homes priced in the high $900s. The neighborhood is also home to warehouses and lofts, which offer gallery space for emerging artists.

Glassell Park

The Glassellland sign in the outfield of the baseball field in Glassell Park.
The Glassellland sign in the outfield of the baseball field in Glassell Park. 

Glassell Park is definitely a neighborhood on the rise, thanks to its proximity to the trendy neighborhood Eagle Rock and the suburban enclave Glendale. This ever-evolving neighborhood is diverse and welcoming, and many homebuyers are drawn to the community’s historic Craftsman-style homes and beautiful landscape.

In the process of developing a strong identity, this hilly neighborhood features many homes with views looking out over Los Angeles. A local artist installed a “Glassellland” sign on a hillside—a take on the famous “Hollywoodland” sign. But living in this neighborhood isn’t cheap. With a median home price in the low $800s, homebuyers will be lucky to find a charming and cozy single-family home priced in the low $600s.

Besides the views and homes, the spacious Glassell Park Recreation Center is the community’s main attraction, where residents gather with friends and family over the weekend. This well-appointed recreational facility features a gym, an outdoor community pool, and baseball and softball diamonds.

When residents aren’t at the rec center, you may find them at new hotspots like the Lemon Poppy Kitchen for brunch. If you’re looking for something different and authentic, Polka offers tasty Polish cuisine such as schnitzel, stuffed cabbage, and roast pork.

Koreatown

Solair, a large residential/commericial building in Koreatown.
Solair, a large residential/commericial building in Koreatown. 

Koreatown is another rich and cultural neighborhood that’s extremely walkable. If you enjoy discovering new and exotic things, this is the place to be. Koreatown offers a mix of single family homes and spacious, pre-World War II residential units. With a median home price in the low $600s, this rapidly growing and centrally located neighborhood is definitely set to see home prices skyrocket in the next few years.

Koreatown is also known for its energetic nightlife scene. Many of the bars and restaurants stay open late, so you can enjoy authentic Korean cuisine no matter what time it is. Some places to check out include Soot Bull Jeep which offers authentic Korean barbecue over traditional charcoal. Expect your clothes to be smoky upon your exit, but it’s well worth the dry cleaning. There’s also Park’s BBQ and the 24-hour Sun Nong Dan that are also worth a visit.

Echo Park

Victorian homes in Echo Park

Echo Park is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Los Angeles, as the spillover of residents from nearby Los Feliz and Silver Lake moved down the block in search of more affordable housing. The neighborhood’s current median sale price is in the low $900s, but that will probably change soon as this is one of the hottest neighborhoods in LA.

The main drag of Echo Park is Sunset Boulevard where you’ll see new and trendy businesses, ranging from coffee shops and vegan restaurants to hip bars and indie music venues.

Despite the indie vibe of the neighborhood, there’s no need to be a starving artist while living in Echo Park. There’s every kind of restaurant and bar to satisfy a variety of appetites along Sunset Boulevard, including Ostrich Farm, an intimate restaurant offering classic American fare, and Masa, a local eatery that specializes in bringing authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza to Los Angeles.

In addition to a prime location within the city, Echo Park is also has some great attractions such as Elysian Park, which offers numerous picnic and play areas for kids and families, and Dodger Stadium, which, in addition to hosting baseball games, also offers concerts and special events like Cirque du Soleil.

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