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Discussion Starter #1
hi, we are moving to the los angeles area in june and i was wondering if i could get some suggestions/advice/tips for finding a place to live. some info about our situation that may help: my husband will be working in downtown LA; we have a 5 yo and a 9mo old; we are planning to rent for the first 6-12 months until we get a feel for the area and decide where we want to buy a house.<br><br>
i have read up on different areas surrounding LA and LA itself to get ideas of where to start. i know traffic can be brutal certain times of the day so we haven't decided if we want to rent closer to work, or figure out how to avoid the traffic and live farther away from the city.<br><br>
my children are not in school yet so school districts are not a priority yet, and even then we are planning to home school so i am not sure if that will ever be a huge priority. i've been scouring craigslist and other websites for rentals in places like Glendale, West Hollywood, Burbank, Alhambra, So Pasedena etc.--are these good places to look in and are they family friendly?<br><br>
i've also been looking in the South Bay area in Torrance and Rancho Palos Verdes. it has been quite overwhelming b/c there are so many choices and we are not familiar at all with LA! if you have any ideas for us on where a great place to find a home would be for a family with young children i would greatly appreciate it! or any other tips that would make moving to such a large city easier with two kids, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
thank you so much!<br>
amanda
 

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Since you are already looking at the South Bay I would also check out Redondo Beach. The great thing about living close to the ocean is that you avoid LA's brutal heat in the summer, and the brutal smog. Plus Redondo Beach has an awesome public beachfront, and a pretty good farmer's market (although RPV's is better). Redondo is also very family friendly.<br><br>
The commute to downtown can be brutal, but if your husband can find a carpool partner its not bad as there are carpool lanes all the way there. This is especially essential for driving on the 110 into downtown, which is a parking lot during rush hour. I used to drive to USC from Redondo every day so its certainly do-able...but people who live in LA have a much higher toleration for commuting time than most folks.<br><br>
I have always found all my housing through Craigslist, but places go fast and you should really check out any place you plan to rent in person.<br><br>
Again, I must emphasize that living by the beach is AWESOME!
 

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I second the South Bay. I grew up in Palos Verdes and the quality of life is wonderful. It is kind of it's own little bubble though and the commute downtown is brutal. I now live in Torrance, it is very nice and for the most part is a nice community. Both areas are pretty conservative. Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa and even El Segundo are all nice and being more beach communities have more of a laid back vibe.<br><br>
If you want to live closer to downtown La Canada-Flintridge is a wonderful community, it is a short drive to the mountains and downtown alike. It is also close to Pasadena and Glendale, I prefer it because it has a kind of "small town" feel, but it is so close to the action! Also, Sliverlake is a VERY AP friendly town, great vegan eateries and eco-friendly shopping.<br><br>
There are really so many options, but make sure to do your research because in the LA area one street up or down can make a huge difference.<br><br>
...and I agree, living by the beach IS awesome! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Well, I guess it's all South Bay-ers on here tonight! I'm in Redondo, too, and we really like the beach cities. I think you are smart to come out here and rent for a while, you kind of don't "get" LA, until you are here.<br><br>
Rancho Palos Verdes is very lovely, but I don't recommend it at all for someone commuting to downtown. Just getting to the highway would be half of your drive! I had a friend who moved there from out of state (because she had heard it was so nice). She did find it beautiful, but also kind of isolating, and a big drag that she had to drive so far to get to anywhere.
 

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Another south bay vote! I lived in Manhattan Beach for a long time about 3 blocks up from the beach. We walked everywhere. I worked from a home office so didn't have to worry about commute and my niece lived with me and went to school across the street. I've also lived in Culver City and it's got a great community feel too even though it's full of movie studios. I would always run into people I knew at Trader Joe's or Balian's. I even joined a rowing club in Marina del Rey after I graduated from college and the son of the grocery store owner that I shopped at as a child was in the club. The closest beaches to Culver City are usually Marina del Rey and Venice Beach. Less than 10 miles away. I don't know much about going east or north of downtown except that you can see the smog sitting over that area. I only know North Hollywood and Burbank because I had friends who lived there but it was when I was a young, single, child-free adult.<br>
I also like Santa Monica. I spent a lot of time when I was 11-13 riding my bike from Culver City to Venice and even Santa Monica. I don't know why my mom thought it was ok! But I never had any problems either.<br>
I probably wouldn't choose to move my family to any neighborhoods immediately surrounding downtown. You'll probably want to search in about a 10 mile radius from downtown.<br>
One good thing is that although LA has parking lots for freeways, there's almost always a way around it using surface streets and when you live there for a while you'll learn the surface streets.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thank you so much for all of your replies! this is really helpful and i am getting so excited to get there! i have always wanted to live near the beach so this opportunity is just amazing to me. if i could find a place where i could walk everywhere that would be so great.<br><br>
so when i look at the map el segundo seems really close to LAX. does that mean that you will have planes flying over all the time or is it really loud or undesirable because of being so close to an airport? i guess if we can spend a little time there looking around we would find out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br>
thanks again!
 

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El Segundo is kind of an odd, secluded little place. It is sandwitched between the airport and an oil refinery, and doesn't have great beach access. Its got a kind of small town feel...some folks I know have loved this some have hated it. Don't rent there unless you check it out first.<br><br>
Eta: For what its worth I don't think any of the beach cities are directly in the flight path. Flights tend to go out over the ocean, and come in over the 405 freeway.<br><br>
ETA #2: Of the other South Beach cities: Manhattan Beach is the most expensive and froofy. Has a great little downtown area with coffee shops etc. Hermosa Beach is the party beach...college students getting drunk at the pier. Loud. Lots of beach volleyball. Redondo Beach is the family beach. Has a cute little downtown and a pier/marina with fresh fish, seafood restaurants and an arcade. Not as much volleyball but lots of surfing. GREAT beach.
 

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Are you dead set on this? Having grown up and lived in LA for 30 years no way would I raise my kids there. We left when dd was a toddler and I never regretted it.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cherryblossom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15401990"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">thank you so much for all of your replies! this is really helpful and i am getting so excited to get there! i have always wanted to live near the beach so this opportunity is just amazing to me. if i could find a place where i could walk everywhere that would be so great.<br><br>
so when i look at the map el segundo seems really close to LAX. does that mean that you will have planes flying over all the time or is it really loud or undesirable because of being so close to an airport? i guess if we can spend a little time there looking around we would find out. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br>
thanks again!</div>
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NO el segundo! You really can hear the planes and it also stinks from the water treatment plants on the ocean there. Skip it. Playa del Rey is nice though.<br>
LA is not much of a walking place though. You might stumble upon a small neighborhood that has a lot of places within walking distance, but in general, everyone drives. I was thinking that your husband might like to take public transportation to downtown, if possible. I took metrolink a few times and it was easy and fast but that was a while ago so I don't know what it's like now. When I lived in Manhattan Beach we walked to the beach or park and corner store and the Keg for brunch or lunch or to Peet's for coffee, but we drove to the grocery store.
 

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I vote stick with your original places on the northeast side of LA - much closer to downtown and many lovely neighborhoods. The beach would be a horrible commute for your husband. I'd focus really close - Mt. Washington (terrific hillside community and great elementary school), Eagle Rock (family friendly and "happening"), South Pasadena (gorgeous and top schools), Pasadena (historic and tons to do), Atwater Village (family friendly and hip), Silver Lake (hipster central) and get to know the neighborhoods better.<br><br>
I've lived in many parts of town and am very happy owning a home in Burbank with a family. It has good schools K-12, is extremely family oriented, and relatively close to lots of things. Burbank also is an excellent value for the money when buying. But as a renter, I'd stick closer to work and the center of everything to see what you feel is the best place to settle in. Burbank is a little more suburban than the northeast (not sure which you prefer).<br><br>
I'd also recommend using <a href="http://www.westsiderentals.com" target="_blank">www.westsiderentals.com</a> to find a place. It's under $100 to use for something like 3 months, and I've found the rentals to be less expensive and it has more information. Good luck!
 

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You could join <a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoCalAPFamilies" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SoCalAPFamilies</a> and ask there too<br><br>
I live in Ventura County so can't shed loads of light on LA neighborhoods. I do know that if I lived in Manhattan Beach I would have wanted to go to Manhattan Beach Nursery School, a co-op/parent-participation, Bev-Bos-style preschool!<br><a href="http://www.manhattanbeachnurseryschool.org/" target="_blank">http://www.manhattanbeachnurseryschool.org/</a><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Rainbow.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rainbow peace">
 

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I TOTALLY agree with monkeybars on this one. I've lived in LA for over 10 years and commuting from the beach cities is THE WORST!!! There are tons of great places to live further inland...Pasadena, etc. and you can make easy day trips to the beach. Monkeybars' list is great to get you started and there are many other neighborhoods out there that a lot of people don't even know about, including myself since I'm a WeHo snob, so keep looking.<br><br>
Westsiderentals is ESSENTIAL. If nothing else, it will help you figure out where you can afford to rent/live and find some hidden gems.<br><br>
In an ideal world we'd all live on the beach, but if you're husband is working downtown and you want him to ever be happy again, please don't make him suffer. A long commute in LA is hell on relationships. I know from experience.<br><br>
And as for the LA-haters out there, I have lived in many great cities around the country (Seattle, Boston, etc.), but LA is by far my favorite! Yes, I have plenty of friends who disagree with me, but give it a chance and explore what's out there; you may just fall in love with it! :) Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i totally appreciate the descriptions of different areas--very helpful! and i of course love personal experiences. the way i have experienced this situation is that there are two kinds of people: the ones who say LA is the worst place in the world, and those that absolutely love it. so thank you, sara125 for being one of the latter! it's completely relative and there are many reasons why people chose to move anywhere.<br><br>
we don't really want a long commute. i was going to say that Ventura County was recommended by someone, as well. probably won't live that far from the city until my husband has the option of telecommuting several days a week in a couple of years.<br><br>
i may just break down and join westsiderentals even though husband thinks it's nutty to pay someone to find a rental for us. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"> the problem might come when we are only able to spend 3 maybe 4 days looking for a place and esp. if this company needs us there by the beginning of june.
 

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Ventura county would be a very very long commute to downtown. I don't know, I don't find the Redondo to downtown commute that long (there are surface street short cuts, or with a carpool buddy it's 20 minutes. But everyone has a different tolerance for traffic, so it is good to know your personal one!)<br><br>
The thing about Westside Rentals is that there are a lot of rentals that are ONLY listed thru them. Those places may not also be listed in the paper/Craigslist etc. So it really is worth it. For the rental owner, I think it kind of sorts out the serious renters ahead of time, so they are not wasting their time. They figure if you are willing to pay the fee, you are really serious about finding a good place, and fast. I know it isn't a thing that happens in a lot of other cities! (Also, a lot of rentals don't come with a fridge, and some without a stove, so don't be turned off if you see those listed! It is normal! When I first moved out here I would see listings with "comes with stove!" prominently featured and I was thinking "if that's the best they can say about the place, then no thanks!!")
 

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Discussion Starter #15
caemommy, ha-yes, i see a lot of ads for places with no fridge and i am wondering how a person even gets a fridge thru some of those doors up two flights of stairs! every time i find a place i like with the exact address listed i punch it into google maps along with husband's work address to see what the commute would be. from redondo it's average 25 min/50 in traffic. not that 50 is good, but if he could figure out how to get on the road before everyone else then it might be okay. are the carpool lanes a lot faster than the regular lanes?<br><br>
what about torrance? anyone from there?<br><br>
also, i notice that a lot of places have a fenced front yard or a complex will say it is gated. is that an indication of an unsafe area?
 

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When I've been in LA recently and when I was growing up, most apartment complexes were gated. It's just how it is. I think that people perceive the non-gates ones as less desireable.
 

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Most of Torrance is great, I would say the most desirable zipcode there is 90505. Very nice, great schools, 5-10 minutes to the beach and 10-15 minutes to the freeway. There are some less than great areas as well, stay away from 90501. That is what is known as the Harbor Strip, it is Torrance, but LA Unified school district, not good. Also, anywhere too close to the freeway or too close to El Camino College I would stay away from personally.<br><br>
I like Torrance a lot, there is a great Farmers Market, Wilson Park is wonderful, it has a decent mall and it is still close to the beach. It is very suburban and if you enjoy good restaurants you will not find them here, but it is a huge city with a lot to offer. It is also a little more affordable then the beach cities. It is pretty safe, I feel complety safe waking the babe around the neighborhood at night.<br><br>
Good luck, and if you have any addresses you are un-sure of (in the Torrance area) feel free to PM me and I will give you my opinion. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Another L.A. lover here! We moved here ten years ago from the East Coast and I was prepared to hate it. Told DH we'd have to move in two years. Who would've guessed??<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">but if he could figure out how to get on the road before everyone else then it might be okay.</td>
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Be careful with this. Rush hour is from, like 6:30 to 9:30, and then 3 to 8. Seriously, it's the craziest thing I've ever seen. Even after ten years I'm amazed at how crowded the highways ALWAYS are.<br><br>
We live in Burbank and my DH works at one of the studios here, so luckily traffic isn't a quality of life thing for us right now.<br><br>
Hope you find the right place!<br>
-e
 

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Discussion Starter #19
luckymommatoo, thanks for the heads up on the traffic! it's definitely proving to be a challenge to find a place that meets all of our criteria.<br><br>
does anyone have an opinion about Temple City, by any chance?
 
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