8.8 out of 10

Mid-City West

Ranked 2nd best neighborhood in Los Angeles
34.0757607963454 -118.3678202455
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Shopping Options
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
Not great for
  • Lack of Traffic
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Retirees

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"My favorite part of LA"

Truly this area offers the best that LA has to offer. Whether it's the Farmer's Market, the Grove, La Brea Tar Pits, museum row, parks, movie theatres, amazing restaurants or just the fact that you can actually walk...on foot...and get to cool places without a car all make this neighborhood worth the price of admission. The physical location is a huge advantage because you can easily get to Santa Monica and the other parts of the West Side, but you can also pretty easily get to the valley. The people here are standard LA city folk. All the entertainment and entertainment wanna bes are here trying to make it happen. For a prime city location, it's very safe and in the residential areas it's pretty quiet. This area really is the true LA experience.
Pros
  • Great Hospital
  • Great Museum
  • Great Shopping and Nightlife
Cons
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
farliem
farliem You say Expensive under cons, since most of LA is expensive, can you give a degree of expensive?
2yrs+
sjl304
sjl304 Well, In terms of rent it really depends on how picky you are with amenities etc. But for an average 1 bedroom apartment I'd say you're looking at $1300 and up. And probably on the higher side since rent is in demand right now. Of course add amenities like pools, gym, etc....and you're looking at more like $1600+. But some food for thought...a few years back when my wife and I were living in this neighborhood we managed to find an older 2 bedroom in a great part of this area for $1600. Of course now it's probably renting for around $1800 or closer to $2000 but there are some deals to be had if you are willing to do some leg work and live in an older apartment. Of course that was not too long after the crash so people were willing to make deals on renting. Now as far as buying a house in this area...You're looking at about at least 850K and over. But realistically speaking you'd be lucky to buy a 1600 sq Foot house for less then 1 Mil. That's were it gets pricy. And overall any decent house in the area is 1.5mil and up. Where as in the valley, buying that same 1600K house would be closer to the mid 5 figures....450K-650K again depending on the area. Hope this info helps!
2yrs+
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5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Cedars, Melrose, Renoirs and a Trip Down Amnesia Lane"

Apologies for yet another monster size review, but there is just so much here.

Mid-City West is actually what most Los Angelinos call a number of neighborhoods with several other names: Beverly Grove (sometimes called Beverly Center), La Brea, and Melrose, Fairfax, Hancock Park, Fairfax village etc. Grouping them into one neighborhood is not actually that bad of an idea since they are in many ways similar and since there is little agreement about what this area should be called even among those who live here, but it may white wash some of the more distinct aspects of these neighborhoods. So in an effort to keep some what of a distinction I’ve divided my review into two sections: Beverly Grove on the west and Fairfax on the east.

Beverly Grove

Beverly Grove (sometimes called Beverly Center) is the neighborhood to the far west end of Mid-City West. The most significant feature of this neighborhood is Cedars-Sinai Medical Center—one of the premier hospitals in So Cal. I know because my mom worked there for about fifteen years in the NICU. It is really a great facility—the place where hospitals feed their most challenging cases.

Despite having the word “Beverly” in it, this neighborhood is actually not as highly affluent as you might expect. It is just an average, middle-class neighborhood for the most part. There are lots of college graduates here but they are not bringing in the bank like in other hillside neighborhoods.

The other big attraction for this neighborhood is the Beverly Grove Shopping Center, another reason that this neighborhood is sometimes mistakenly believed to be an affluent neighborhood. The shopping center brings in a lot of well-heeled shoppers from the nearby hills like Bel Aire and Brentwood. In addition, restaurants and pubs abound in the neighborhood, thriving as satellites to the hospital and shopping center. Notable, is the 3rd Stop gastro pub, a watering hole just across the street from the hospital that caters to medical staff and shoppers.

In terms of property crime, the Beverly Grove neighborhood is one of the worst with lots of break-ins to cars near the shopping center. Crime is only average when it comes to violence, however. Much of it has to do with the nightspots in the area. In a recent case, for example, an up and coming Atlanta rapper that went by the name of Dolla was shot outside of a local bar by a rival. This is relatively atypical for the neighborhood, however, with few similar cases occurring here.

Fairfax

On the eastern end of the neighborhood is the Fairfax area. You could easily break this down into three (maybe four) distinct neighborhoods, with Melrose in the north, La Brea on its eastern side, and Fairfax on the western side (around Fairfax Blvd.).

Melrose up on the north, is—as you probably already know—a hip, shopping district filled with boutique shops like Original Penguin, Kiki de Montparnesse, Foley and Corinna, Miss Sixty and Xin. It also is a magnet for modeling agencies, acting studios and upscale hair salons.

During the day, Melrose is a great place to go for walk, window shop, or just stand around, jaw agape, gawking at the freaks of nature that are the currency of the entertainment industry.

A plethora of restaurants and nightspots make their homes here as well. Good choices are Xooro, the Improv Club for some laughs, or Red O.

The epicenter of all the action is at Fairfax and Melrose where Fairfax High sits right across the street from an Ed Hardy. (Can you imagine what it is like to go to high school just off Melrose? What would that do to your sense of perspective when every day you feel like you are walking through the latest issue of Cosmo and Vogue? So much for a healthy sense of body image.)

Fairfax has some really great restaurants in the Melrose area as well. The famous Kanter’s Deli is here (everyone who visits or lives in LA should be required to visit this deli at least once in their lives). You can also find the Silent Movie Theatre (an eccentric Indie movie theater that movies lovers like me cherish) and Animal restaurant, an equally eccentric culinary adventure where you can eat things like pigs ears—totally the place to go if you want break out of a dietary rut.

Farther south is the area that is indisputably called Fairfax. The dominant feature of this area is CBS, whose studios are located here. This partly account for the high density celebrity eye candy decorating the streets on any given day. Beverly Blvd. in the middle of this area is kind of a minor Melrose Blvd. onto itself with its own set of boutiques and eateries.

The area of the neighborhood that I know best however is La Brea, which stretches down along the eastern edge of what we are calling Mid-City West. At the southern corner of the neighborhood you will find part of Miracle Mile—the really cool, Art Deco area of Wilshire that a lot of people think of for its shopping. For me, personally though, this area is about the LA County Museum of Art (and to a lesser extent, the La Brea Tar Pits—which is more for little kids). When I first came here on a high school field trip, a whole new world opened up for me. It was the first time really that I had left the Valley and explored a place on my own (it roughly coincided with getting my driver’s license). Up until then I had thought that LA was just lots of Ranch style houses broken up by strip malls and Chuck E. Cheeses. The L.A. County is a monster four story museum that has examples of every period of European art, an entire floor of Eastern art, a movie theater for truly rare films, and regularly rotating exhibitions of both modern and classic art. I probably would never have stayed in LA had it not been for more cultured areas like this.

By my senior year of high school, I was driving over the hill to this area with my best friend regularly. We would spend the day at the museum or checking out some cool old Hollywood film or foreign flick, getting something to eat at one of the restaurants, and then, at night checking out the coffee houses in the area. The coffee house wave was just beginning to crest back then (around 1989) and they offered teens like us the perfect hang out spot. We were too young to drink and wouldn’t much have liked the bar scene, but coffee shops were perfect because they were a place you could sit and pretend to read or study while you just sat around.

There was this place on La Brea that I particularly loved—The Pick-Me-Up (a little hole in the wall now completely gone). It was just some tables and some couches in a little room with a formica bar. It would get packed, even on a Tuesday night, and we would get high on coffee (our new found mind-altering drug of choice) and just sit and joke and check out the teens and college kids. I actually did get picked up at The Pick-Me-Up once (or maybe twice). I remember once with this guy I met there we left our friends and went for a walk on the abandoned night streets of Fairfax. It was all foggy, and the street lamps made these hallows of light where we stopped and smooched a bit in the public sort of way that only teenagers can—it all seemed wonderfully romantic at the time. I guess it still does.
Pros
  • Great Museum
  • Great Hospital
  • Great Shopping and Nightlife
Cons
  • Property Crime
  • Super Busy
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
2yrs+

"Broad range of people and aesthetics"

Mid-city west or "midtown" encompasses a huge span of many different neighborhoods. It's really diverse. Much of it reaches into what people consider part of West Hollywood. This area, around Melrose and Martel is a really young and hip part of town. There are tons of restaurants and shops. I used to live right there and it is one of my favorite neighborhoods. You can walk to just about anything, it's really green and the houses and apartment buildings are darling. Many of the houses are quaint, Spanish bungalows and young people usually live in them.
Heading over to the Fairfax district, it is quite different. This is a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. The houses are still in the Spanish bungalow style, but the residents are predominantly Jewish families. The famous Canter's Deli is on Fairfax and Melrose-ish. The deli really is great; and, the adjacent Kibbitz Room is good for a weekday evening. The Fairfax District is slightly desolate, however. I guess it just lacks the green that the Melrose area has. It just seems dirtier and more industrial. The famouse Grove mall and Farmer's Market are in the Fairfax District. The Grove is always a complete zoo but it is a beautiful outdoor shopping space. And, I love the Farmer's Market. I go there for lunch and a few beers all the time.
The Melrose Trading Post is, arguably, the best Flea Market in LA (it is located at the Fairfax high school every Sunday).
Park La Brea is a really interesting part of Midtown. It is a self-contained neighborhood right by the Grove. They have their own movie theatre, park, tennis courts, dry cleaners . . you name it. The apartments, however, are expensive and some of them are new and beautiful and some of them are god awful and haven't been redone for thirty years. It's kind of a weird place but it's definitely becoming a landmark. We often refer to new places as being "by Park La Brea."
Heading into Carthay Square, the demographic changes a bit. It's definitely more apartment than houses in makeup and the area just isn't as nice or hip. I'm sure that will change as the younger people get priced out of the Melrose and Beverly area; but, for now, Carthay is probably the least desirable part of midtown.
Some of my favorite restaurants and shops in the city are in this neighborhood. Third Street, Beverly and La Cienega (known as restaurant row) all have tremendous dining options as well as shopping. If you are young, have a decent income and aren't going to live on the beach, I'd say this is the place to be.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
2yrs+

"Don't miss the original Los Angeles Farmers Market - not where you would expect it!"

Mid-City West encompasses some well-known L.A. landmarks, including the original Farmers Market with its iconic Clock Tower at Fairfax and 3rd. It was created in 1934, when farmers started bringing their produce to the spot. It quickly became a place to buy and sell just about anything you might want to eat. Du-Pars Restaurant has been open for more than 70 years – don’t miss the pot pie.

You can take a trolley to the Grove right next door. This is an upscale mall which boasts everything from designer stores in Nordstrom’s (Jimmy Choo and Stella McCartney) to live performances and high-end movie theaters.

Canter’s, north of Farmers Market on Fairfax has been serving authentic Jewish deli since 1953. Fairfax has traditionally been a Jewish area, and still has a very high percentage of orthodox Jews.
CBS studio is up the street from Canter’s. The Price is Right (Drew Carey), and other shows are taped there in front of a live audience.

If you head south on Fairfax to Wilshire, you will see the art deco building that used to be the flagship store of May Company. This building is now part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

LACMA boasts excellent collections of Asian, Latin American and Islamic art, and much more. LACMA sponsors public music and film programs and hosts many travelling exhibits.

You cannot miss the large, concrete towers of Park La Brea, which house many area residents. It also has some two story buildings with central courtyard-type areas where children can play. While there used to be a lot of older, retired people living in Park La Brea (and there still are those residents), there are also families. It has become very multicultural; tenants come from all over the world.

Nearby are a couple of newish, large condomium complexes. It took some time for these to sell and/or rent, but they seem occupied now.

A bit further north, above Beverly, much of the area is residential with a lot of mostly small homes.
If you are considering moving to the area, you have a choice between the apartments/condos in the southern part of this area, or the homes toward the north.

If you only have a few hours to vist, go to Farmer’s Market and the Grove. You can still catch celebrities there,
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
Justgroovy
Justgroovy Hello. I'm relocating to LA in a few months and I'm having a hard time figuring out what the best place to live is for a family of 2 adults and 1 teenager, 1 toddler. Good Schools are very high on the list! Also I prefer new development vs older homes. My husband will be working downtown but is willing to travel. What area(s) do you suggest? Also, we have been offered a home in Mid City @ Pico and Rimpau. How is this area??? Thanks in advance.
2yrs+
JS18
JS18 You've probably moved by now, but Pico and Rimpau is an older neighborhood, with many houses with lots of character, however, some streets are shady (some good streets, some bad streets...typical of the older LA neighborhoods). However, even these older neighborhoods are now out of reach for some people, with prices for a 3 bedroom setting you back over $1MM. If you want newer e.g., mid-century + you should look at anything Westchester or towards the South Bay, or in the Palisades ($$$$). However, your husband is looking at a commute of likely up to an hour or more each way. There's always the metro, which will eventually connect Santa Monica to DTLA. Good luck.
2yrs+
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