4.3 out of 10

Westlake

Ranked 49th best neighborhood in Los Angeles
34.0638683353816 -118.269366470479
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Cost of Living
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Eating Out
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping Options
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
2yrs+

"Not a bad place for students"

I'm on the Koreatown/Westlake border, and it's not a terrible place, but if I were a mother or living with family members, this wouldn't be my first choice. I'm a working college student, so this price range is right up my alley. There's a lot of markets on/around Vermont and 8th, so if you're carless this is a definite plus. Parking is atrocious. If you don't have a dedicated parking space in your apartment complex, good luck finding a place to park after 7pm.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Historical
Cons
  • Parking
  • Dangerous
  • Dead at night
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Students
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"A Cake Left in the Rain"

This area is definitely not to be confused with Westlake Village to the far west of the San Fernando Valley. In fact, you might say that this is the exact opposite of that area. Whereas Westlake Village is filled with the rich and the affluent, Westlake near Downtown LA is poor; where the Village is filled with home owners who have, in many cases, paid off their homes, 19 of 20 residents of Westlake are renters; where as the average age in Westlake Village is close to 40, Westlake is much younger, averaging 27. So it is definitely a study in contrasts.

Those familiar with the much maligned song, MacArthur Park, will be interested to know that this is also the neighborhood that is home to the park that gave inspiration to that song. For those of you have forgotten the lyrics, here’s the part you must know about:

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again

Ahh! Wonderful aren’t they? No wonder so many artists have chosen to cover it. It is always good to put cakes in songs, makes them sweeter. Like when Sting rewrote the ending of his famous Police song, “Every Step you Take,” and ended with “Every cake you bake/Every leg you break.” But I digress.

Unfortunately Westlake, and the MacArthur Park area (which was once known as the Champs-Elysees of Los Angeles) have taken a turn for the worse. There have been 50 murders in this neighborhood in the last four years. That’s 12.5 per year. In the last six months there have been 6 murders, so they are right on pace to meet their sad average. In the past six months, there have also been two dozen reported rapes, and hundreds of assaults, and just in the last week there have been warnings about spikes in violence in this neighborhood. Even if we take into account the large population of this neighborhood—120,000, making it as big as Pasadena, though all crammed together—we still have to consider 50 murders as an extreme number.

The neighborhood is basically still a gang epicenter. Several of these gangs use the suffix, “Locos” at the end of their location name, as their gang name. So, for example one of the granddaddies of the modern gangs was known as the Macarthur Street Locos.

If that hasn’t scared you away yet, then you should also consider that the local public schools—outside of the magnets—simply aren’t cutting it in this area. Belmont High, for example, misses Federal and state assessments on the order of 20 every year with virtually no sign of progress.

That said, I have met Westlake residents who say that this whole view of the area as dangerous is overblown—that it is perfectly fine place to live and that they have not had any problems. Some even say that it is the fault of police and clanking down on them too strongly. I am more than a little dubious of these claims, especially since they will follow this up by talking about prostitutes they saw near their homes or how the sound of gunfire woke them in the night. Sometimes we just don’t want to admit what is obvious to everyone else.

Given all these problems, no one in their right mind would want to live in this neighborhood. Put simply, you would have to be a “loco” to want to live in this neighborhood.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • The park
Cons
  • Dangerous
  • Dead at night
  • Remote
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"Scary hood"

Westlake is a part of Central Los Angeles that borders Koreatown. It used to be a very affluent neighborhood (in the 1920's) and it was modeled after the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When the freeways came about in the 1950's, all of the white, affluent population of Westlake moved further west and the transient workers came into the area and filled it up. A huge population of Salvadorans came into the area when they fled their country's civil war. While the area was definitely eclectic and interesting, it wasn't pretty or safe.
It has remained a major destination for illegal immigrants. There are about as many places to get a fake driver's license and social security card as there are gas stations. MacArthur Park has been long renowned for being a crack haven and there is still a lot of crime in the area.
Gentrification has been slowly happening over the last 10 years; but, it's not fast enough. A lot of Koreans have moved in because of price increases in Koreatown. But, the neighborhood isn't picking up like the neighboring areas.
I would pretty much avoid this area unless you have to drive through it. But, there are a couple of things worth seeing if you, for some reason, have to be around. Langer's Deli is one of the oldest Deli's in the city -- and, it is still standing despite the fact that nearly all of the "UES" jewish population has left the area.
Macarthur Park is a really beautiful park and a historic landmark. It has been synonymous with gang violence and drug use for years now. But, has turned around a bit. There is a large fountain where you can paddle boat in the afternoon. And, it is a lovely escape from all of the surrounding filth and noise. Although, I still wouldn't go there after dark.
There is pretty much no other reason to go there; and, it's still not safe, so I wouldn't recommend Westlake.
Pros
  • The park
  • Historical
Cons
  • Dangerous
  • Remote
  • Dead at night
Recommended for
  • Students

Travelling to Westlake?

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Unranked Streets in Westlake

Leeward Ave

1.5/5
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Rosemont Ave

3.5/5
"a normal neighbor"
34.0711874134104 -118.270116153502
"Quiet street with light traffic"
34.0674000148696 -118.28707760531

Shatto Pl

2.5/5
"Quiet Residential Road"
34.062850412665 -118.289906860747

Victor St

2.5/5
"Great residential road"
34.0643235003166 -118.251722500877

West 6th St

1.5/5
"rafaelg1991"
34.0608001318395 -118.277691248991
"Very busy side street runs parallel to the Hollywood Freeway 101."
34.0705721793764 -118.268947041037
"Someone left a park out in the rain..."
34.0595978044004 -118.279408029509

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