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Moving to LA

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Tampa, Florida
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Moving to LA

I might be moving to LA for work at the end of summer. I'm currently trying to find out what area to live in. I've never been to LA (or any other part of California, for that matter), so I have no idea where anything is. I'll need to be within about 30-45 minutes of LAX (I'll be doing a lot of traveling). I'd also prefer to be near the beach. How close (or far) is LAX from the beach? Is traffic really as horrible as they say? I feel like I'm used to traffic here: it takes me 45 minutes to get to work, even though distance-wise its really only 15 minutes away.

Thank you!!!

West Hollywood...
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1. Re: Moving to LA

Let's get you started with a map of the "neighborhoods" of Los Angeles:

http://www.laalmanac.com/LA/lamap2.htm

Here are the instructions for reading this map:

1. Scroll down so that the blue Pacific Ocean appears. Keep scrolling until the large title CITY OF LOS ANGELES appears. Position the title so that it is resting on the bottom edge of the window.

2. A quick lesson in geography. All of the areas whose names are IN BLACK are neighborhoods WITHIN the city of Los Angeles. All of the areas that have names written in RED are cities other than Los Angeles.

To the right of the giant CITY OF LOS ANGELES title is LAX and the L.A. neighborhood in which it resides: Westchester. As you can see LAX is very close to the ocean (less than 1/4 of a mile actually) and there are a number of communities to the north and south of LAX that are on the ocean. To the north, Santa Monica is a large city with high-rise buildings. South of Santa Monica is Venice (part of Los Angeles) which has shorter buildings (mostly 2 and 3 story) and is not, as a rule, as expensive (or desirable) as Santa Monica. South of Venice is the unincorporated area of Marina del Rey (which means that it's not a city at all -- just part of the county of Los Angeles with no city designation). Marina del Rey features, well, a marina with lots of sail and power boats. This is expensive living but there are adjacent inland areas like Playa Vista and Mar Vista that are less expensive.

To the south of LAX is the little town of El Segundo plus three "beach towns" to its south (not indicated on the map -- but occupying the gray area south of El Segundo. They are: Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.

As a rule, the farther south you go and the futher inland you go, the less expemsive it is to live). The traffic is as bad as you've heard and the airport area (for obvious reasons) gets some pretty terrible traffic.

Tell us what you'd like to pay per month for an apartment. I have a feeling that its' a lot more than you're paying in FL.

In terms of staying within 30-45 minutes of LAX, I wouldn't look further north than Santa Monica, further east than Culver City, or further south than Redondo Beach. , I wouldn't recommend.the areas just east of LAX, like Inglewood and Lennox.

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: Moving to LA

Wow, that's everything I needed to know. Thank you so much! Not too sure what my price range will be yet, though I know I won't be able to afford anything too spacious/grand. I'll probably have a roommate and will be looking for a 2 bedroom in the $1000-1400 range. Thanks again for the help!

Minneapolis
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3. Re: Moving to LA

This thread caught my eye because I'm planning on moving to LA in August. My husband will be attending SCI-Arc. The address is 960 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

Thanks for posting the link to the map above, HopSkipJump. In what area is the school? Any suggestions for a place to find apartments for rent near the school? Here in Mpls we pay $1200/month for a two bed/two bath. From what I've seen from browsing, it looks that could get a one bedroom in LA.

Topanga, California
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4. Re: Moving to LA

"I'll probably have a roommate and will be looking for a 2 bedroom in the $1000-1400 range. "

You expect to pay that each, right?

Rancho Santa...
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5. Re: Moving to LA

Sci-Arc is located on the eastern edge of downtown Los Angeles in an industrial area near the L.A. River. It is part of a neighborhood which is also known as The Artist District. The area is very gritty. I'm a long-time downtown resident and I've never warmed to this neighborhood.

Downtown is undergoing a residential boom. About 30,000 people have moved here in the past decade. So you'll have plenty of options if you decide to live here. There's been an enormous amount of development. Rents are getting pricey, but that's the case for most of the city. If you look, you can find good deals. Focus on price per square foot and don't compromise on parking.

Downtown is also the boogeyman in the SoCal psyche. So you'll get plenty of strong opinions about the place, plenty of it uninformed. It is not for everyone. Me, I wouldn't live anywhere else in the regiion. If you have more detailed questions, please send me a note.

Congratulations on your move. I hope SciArc works for you. It is a great school.

HTH

San Mateo...
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6. Re: Moving to LA

Your budget of 1000-1400 for a 2BR in a decent area will be kind of tough and, most likely, will be away from the coast a bit (unless you want to sacrifice safety or comfort).

The areas I'd recommend that are close to LAX : Culver City, Mar Vista, Venice, Westchester, El Segundo

Look on craigslist to get an idea of pricing ...

Minneapolis
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7. Re: Moving to LA

HitchKennedy,

I appreciate your response and description of the area.

"Downtown is also the boogeyman in the SoCal psyche. So you'll get plenty of strong opinions about the place, plenty of it uninformed. It is not for everyone. Me, I wouldn't live anywhere else in the regiion."

This description sounds similar to the neighborhood where we currently live and it's starting to gentrify as well.

Anyway, you mentioned if we look around we might find some decent prices. Do you have any specific suggestions or recommendations for places to check out?

Thanks.

Rancho Santa...
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8. Re: Moving to LA

In the past decade, downtown has gone from a place with very little residential to tons. Originally, there was a true artists district (near SciArc) with cheap rents. There was a scattering of other residential buildings. Around 2000, the city changed the law to encourage conversion of abandoned office buildings (of which there is a huge inventory). This was successful and spurned new construction. During this time, prices have increased enormously. There is a real hype factor at work. Sort of comical in mind, since the grit factor downtown is still very significant. At times the pricing doesn't seem rational.

You won't have trouble finding a place to live. There is plenty of inventory and more in the pipeline. I'd also point out that downtown is like the city. It is quite spreadout and consists of many neighborhoods. Getting oriented is probably your first priority. I've always lived on or near Broadway. But, there are plenty of other places to choose from.

Here are some useful links.

http://www.downtownla.com/

http://www.downtownnews.com/

http://www.fashiondistrict.org/

http://www.laorpheumlofts.com/

http://blogdowntown.com/

A good building to start in is the Grand Central Square Apartments. I believe you can still get a six-month lease. Location is good. Parking excellent. Management is low-key. I like the architect, Brenda Levin, who did the conversion. Small units, but lots of storage space. Good bathrooms and kitchens. I hated the carpeting. Zippo hype.

HTH. Good luck.

Minneapolis
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9. Re: Moving to LA

HTH,

What a helpful list of links! And thanks for the recommendation. It's nice to have some suggestions for where to start searching.

Much appreciated.

Rancho Santa...
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10. Re: Moving to LA

One more detail. The Downtown News publishes an excellent map of downtown in every issue. It is really good at giving you an overview of the entire area. I also like the overlay of the transit routes.

HTH