Bustling downtown Los Angeles is skyscrapers and concrete, far removed from the beachy neighborhoods of the Westside. Still, there’s greenspace in the form of several lovely parks, and it’s extremely walkable, with many bus and train routes cutting throughout the area. It is a bit pricey to live in downtown L.A., especially in trendy areas such as Little Tokyo and the Arts District. It’s also worth noting that downtown varies a lot from block to block, as gentrification—which hasn’t always been a good thing—clashes with Los Angeles’s homelessness issues. Yet the growing number of coffeeshops, restaurants, museums, bars, gyms, and markets make downtown a convenient neighborhood for a curious, lively, and empathetic young person to call home.
Koreatown is a diverse, walkable neighborhood with the added bonus of being centrally located. It’s relatively rent-dense, meaning that the dedicated househunter can still find an affordable spot. Numerous restaurants, bars, shops, and coffeehouses pepper the neighborhood, many of them keeping night-owl hours. Opportunities for amazing food of all cultures as well as karaoke abound, and Koreatown is also home to L.A.’s historic venue, The Wiltern. Although parking in Koreatown can be difficult, the public transit is solid, making this a great neighborhood for anyone who opts out of owning a car—which isn’t as unheard of in L.A. as one might expect.
Diverse Atwater Village is south of Glendale and northeast of (and cheaper than) Los Feliz. Shops, bakeries, and restaurants line busy Glendale Boulevard, while other smaller streets have a more residential feel. The Los Angeles River Bike Path runs through Atwater Village, allowing a chance to exercise in nature. Beer lovers will enjoy the popular Golden Road Brewing Company.
Culver City is walkable, fairly quiet, and now, thanks to the Expo Line extension, just a short train ride from the beach. A downtown area offers both casual and upscale restaurants, a movie theater, busy bars, and the Kirk Douglas Theater. Culver City is also home to Sony Pictures Studios and what is perhaps L.A.’s strangest museum, The Museum of Jurassic Technology.
The Metro Red Line ends in North Hollywood. Here, renters enjoy more space for less of their paychecks in a neighborhood that still feels like a city, but with the charms of a quieter, more suburban area. NoHo offers plenty of culture and nightlife in the form of numerous theaters and bars with live entertainment, and quite a few new restaurants and neighborhood haunts have opened in recent years. NoHo also boasts a bar shaped like a giant barrel, the sometimes macabre California Institute of Abnormal Arts, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Living in Hollywood sounds exciting, but the reality is traffic, tourists, and loud noises. West Hollywood is posh and lovely, but can be pricy. East Hollywood is quieter, while still being close to Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Koreatown, and downtown. It’s also not far from Franklin Village, which is popular with locals looking for dinner or drinks, or those headed to a comedy show at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. It’s walkable, near public transit, and full of casual eats. It’s also home to Little Armenia and parts of Thai Town, as well as Barnsdall Art Park for great views and communing with nature.