7.6 out of 10

Hollywood

Ranked 11th best neighborhood in Los Angeles
34.1185916477953 -118.3560234803
Great for
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Eating Out
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Internet Access
  • Cost of Living
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Pest Free
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Safe & Sound
  • Lack of Traffic
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"The Dream Machine"

I apologize in advance for the monster review, but this area is at least two distinct sections—the Hills and the Flats. The Flats is the part everyone knows about—the Hills are the part that people hear less about. But actually, the Hills could easily be broken down into a series of fairly distinct neighborhoods: Beachwood, Whitley, and the Outpost Estates. And Hollywood Flats is a galaxy onto itself, not just because it is filled with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but because there is so much there that it is hard to mention anything without missing a hundred other things.

Up in the Hollywood Hills you have one of the many affluent hill areas—though not as wealthy as Bel Aire or Beverly Glen. This is definitely hillside living, with homes dropping down the hill on one side of curving lanes and perching up above on the other. This means great views and good privacy, but also rock slides, erosion and wild fire threats in a lot of spots. Its not particularly woodsy on its western end, more of a chaparral but at night the twinkling lights of Tinsel Town make for lovely views.

There is a general feeling here of “you stay out of my business and I’ll stay out of yours.” Many of the people who live here are involved in the entertainment industry and put a high premium on their privacy.

Traffic here can be a bit of hassle both because many people use Laurel Canyon as an alternate to the freeway and because everyone thinks their time is more important than safety, so despite the narrow, winding roads the latest model luxury cars will zoom down it like they are filming the latest 007 film. Watch out if you are driving here.

A couple of the truly historic LA neighborhoods are perched up in the Hollywood Hills: Outpost Estates and Whitley Heights. In much leafier Outpost Estates area, you can feel at times as if you have jumped back to classic Hollywood. The narrow roads lead you by what look like small Mission Revivals pushed up right against the street, but which are actually sprawling estates that slide down the hill behind these humble outer facades. Tree cover and ivy-curtained walls hide the residents from view, making it a favorite for celebrities looking for privacy and an exotic feel right in the USA.

Even more exotic feeling is the Whitley and Hightower area of the hills. You are more likely to feel as if you are in Tuscany than in Los Angeles, not only because of the many Mediterranean Revival style villas but also because of the tight curves and floral décor. In addition, there are quaint steps between the homes that make for a wonderful place for a stroll for tourists and locals alike. Here is good website to check out if you are interested in this area:

http://www.la-la-land.net/2008/11/hidden-hollywood-hightower-and-whitley.html

If you have a poetic heart, like me, you will especially love the hills when it rains and low laying clouds hang along the twisting roads like boas off show girls (okay, maybe a bit much in the metaphor department—but it is beautiful).

Of course, I barely need to tell you about the Flats—everyone knows about it already: the Hollywood sign, the Chinese Theatre, Sunset Blvd. and that whole scene. But here goes anyway.

As far as things to do there is the obvious: the Hollywood Bowl, the great movie theaters and a vast assortment of cool lounges and bars and dance places. Here are some you might want to try: Bo Ho (a great gastro-pub), the Room, the Parlour Room and Scorpion just to name a few.

Here are some restaurants: Arclight, Magnolia, Hungry Cat, Les Balcones de Peru, Ivan Kane’s, Tender Greens, La Poubele, Birds, Musso, Kitchen 24, and I could go on and on like this but, you get the drift. If you are a culinary connoisseur, Hollywood is definitely the place to be. (Oh yeah, and the ever popular Café 101 by the freeway for breakfast—if you can find a table.)

If you are a country lover than here is a great place to be a Hollwyood Hillybilly with Runyon Canyon and its great hiking and views (also great for staring at the gorgeous wannabe actors who come here to stay in shape and walk their designer doggies) and Griffith Park just to the east. If you’re into organic veggies, there is the great Selma St. Farmer’s Market on Sundays.

Hollywood, of course, is known for its gay friendly community—but actually it isn’t gay friendly, its everyone friendly, except for those that are closed minded or bigoted. If there is one thing that Hollywood doesn’t tolerate, its intolerance. But whether you are a transvestite or a cellist of LA Phil (or even a transvestite cellist for the LA Phil) you can find acceptance here. One sign is the great racial and economic diversity of the neighborhood—there is no majority culture here, everyone is represented in substantial numbers. The Hills are where the upper middle-class and wealthy live while down in the Flats you get the struggling rockers and actors with night jobs as waiters and go-go dancers.

The Flats is definitely a place for the young and young at heart. With the many gastronomic and social temptations down on Sunset and Hollywood Blvd., you would be hard pressed to cozy up with a good book on a Tuesday night, much less a Friday or Saturday. It’s a place that people come for a while and then move on from as they get older and want to downshift into the slower lanes of life. Nine of ten residents here are renters and most of them here for the short term fun of it. About half of those who live here were born in another country.

I don’t want to over romanticize things—Hollywood—especially the Flats—is far from perfect. It is first of all one of the more dangerous places in LA—ranked 28 out of 208 in terms of violent crime—this is pretty bad when you consider that most places that are more dangerous than it are basically gangland type places. It’s even worse when it come property crime where it is one of the top twenty worst neighborhood in LA. In the last four years there have been more than thirty murders—three in the last six months. (And 23 reported rapes since July 1, 2010, so its not the sort of place you feel safe alone at night as a woman.)

In addition, you would not want to raise a family here not only because of the violence but also because the local schools are pretty bad and there are just too many ways that teens can get in serious trouble around here. (There is a good grammar school up in the Hills and you can, of course, send you kids to private school if you can afford it, but overall it’s a bit of problem in the Flats.)

That said, Hollywood—in all its complicated contradictions—is like the movies of the industry it is known for: at times it’s a real horror show, but it can also be an exciting adventure, a beautiful love story, or a charming parable about freedom and the American spirit. To paraphrase that wide fool and chocolate expert: “You never know what you gonna get.”
Pros
  • Great Hillside Living
  • Where the Action Is
  • Nightlife
Cons
  • Crowded all the time
  • Dangerous late at night
  • Loud
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish

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Best Streets in Hollywood

"Great Residential Street"
34.1197018428585 -118.321061152719
2

Franklin Ave

4/5
"Big soft spot for this street"
34.0990114907114 -118.372603177627
3

Selma Ave

3.5/5
"A smaller vein through the heart of a quite Hollywood neighborhood"
34.0992992171726 -118.366532601349

Unranked Streets in Hollywood

Argyle Ave

1.5/5
"Affordable and Safe (for Hollywood at least)...But Good Luck Parking"
34.1072911439469 -118.325221194216

Barham Blvd

3.5/5
"Great access to any thing you need"
34.1369964166724 -118.341926127959
"Dirty but quick"
34.1247564335976 -118.344076458543
"A wide residential street that can quickly become a parking nightmare"
34.1133167168261 -118.320599096564
"A fascinating street in an incredible neighborhood"
34.107240977747 -118.355358694047
"A Hollywood Staple"
34.1130608329033 -118.322407916211
"Quiet Street with Views"
34.1170870000083 -118.337846999994

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