5.5 out of 10


Ranked 46th best neighborhood in Los Angeles
34.0391002623072 -118.451080386807
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Pest Free
  • Childcare
  • Public Transport
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"A Mixed Middle-Class Neighborhood"

Sawtelle is a diverse middle class neighborhood ensconced between Santa Monica and the 405 forming its eastern edge and National its southern—roughly. It used to be called Westdale, but with Westwood and West LA, I guess it was one too many “wests” in one area. Most of the people who live in the area call it West LA.

The demographics of the area bear out its diversity. About half of the people in Sawtelle are white, a quarter are Latino and about one in five are Asian, with a big Persian and Japanese community. The high number of Japanese in the area have lead some to call it Little Osaka (as a variation on Little Tokyo) since many of the those who moved here were from that city.

It’s a pretty well educated area with about half having college degrees and there are a fair number of old-timers—members of the Greatest Generation—who bought houses with the GI bill just after WWII when it was just a lot of tract housing. The lower property prices also bring in lots of UCLA students looking for slightly cheaper rents. Most residents of Sawtelle are renters.

Many areas of Sawtelle feel safe to residents though there is some gang activity towards its southeastern borders. There is only about one murder in Sawtelle per year so dangers are only moderate. Many residents also complain about the dirtiness of the streets, and the noise from what seems like daily trash collection.

University High School is a bit of a mixed bag. It doesn’t rank well when you consider overall rankings, but when you look at the offerings at the school, you find that the college track students do tend to do well and have a lot of choices when it comes to electives and AP courses.

Public transportation is very good and you can take the bus all the way to the beach in Santa Monica. Traffic, however, especially on Wilshire during rush hour, can turn into a parking lot since much of the Santa Monica traffic goes through the area on its way to the 405.

Lots of ethnic restaurants and a somewhat friendly atmosphere, make this a good, affordable choice for those who give it a chance. The proximity to the beach also means that you get the cooling beach effect, while it is just far enough where you don’t get the sort of fog that socks in many coastal environments.
  • Ethnic Diversity
  • Affordable Living
  • Close to Everything
  • Gangs
  • Property Crime
  • Average Schools
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5

"Not exactly a neighborhood"

I didn't even quite realize that Sawtelle was its own district; I thought it was just sort of the scuzzy part of Westwood. Apparently, it was its own city until 1922 and it was somewhat of an aggressive takeover on LA's part. Driving around Sawtelle, I can only wonder what the appeal was back then. When I was in college, we used to drive into the area pretty frequently but for three things and three things alone: Penguins, the mall and the car wash. Penguins was the must-go-to joint for frozen yogurt. But, now that there are so many fro-yo places all over the city, the place is pretty obsolete. Westside Pavilion is the closest mall to UCLA but it's not a great mall. Century City is a much better mall but if you have to go pick up something quick, Westside is the one to go to.
The area is really congested with traffic because it's all major streets that connect the west to the east side. And, what little there is of a residential area isn't really all that pretty. There aren't any parks around and it's always a nightmare to get in and out of this area.
If you're into government stuff, the federal building and the veteran's cemetery are in the Sawtelle District. The Veteran's cemetery is huge and it's just rows and rows of the same graves so as far as "pretty" cemeteries go, it's not the one. The Federal building is, for me, just a headache. There are always protests there which makes traffic on Wilshire even more of a problem than it already is.
Restaurants and nightlife are also a bust in this area. There are a few little ones like Dante. But, neighboring Westwood and Brentwood have much more to offer and a better ambience.
  • Affordable Living
  • Close to Everything
  • Ethnic Diversity
  • Gangs
  • Property Crime

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Best Streets in Sawtelle


Amherst Ave

"small street in the heart of west l.a."
34.0365126582042 -118.460217687142

Unranked Streets in Sawtelle

Barry Ave

"quiet street with many local amenities close by"
34.0395945818172 -118.451015788036

Beloit Ave

"Noisy street parallel to 405"
34.0446321513855 -118.445375858126

Colby Ave

"Neighborly and suburban"
34.040244155512 -118.448679453437
"Nice Neighborhood where Nobody Lives"
34.0340673632319 -118.448147629223

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