Popular residential suburbs of Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for its sun, sea and stars. With all the glamour associated with the city, it’s not always easy for expats to find the right place to settle in and call home. For a start, it can be pricey – it’s the second most expensive city in the USA – particularly around the main Downtown area where young professionals are drawn, and, of course, Hollywood itself.
There are plenty of residential suburbs to choose from, however, so there is always the right one to suit every expat. Some areas are great for families, with good schools and quieter roads; whereas other areas are perfectly located for the vibrant nightlife and commuting.
Here we look at some of the most popular residential suburbs in Los Angeles for expatriates.

San Fernando Valley

Referred to by locals as simply ‘The Valley’, the San Fernando Valley region is made up of many smaller cities that are popular with families. Each area has its own blend of residential accommodation and commercial ventures, so everything is catered for within a smaller area. It can be more affordable than other areas of Los Angeles and the neighbourhoods are generally safe. There are some good schools in this area, and its proximity to the entertainment of Universal Studios means that the kids will be happy too.


Pasadena is relatively close to the commercial centre of Los Angeles, making it easy to commute from, which is why it is popular with expats. It offers a small-town, historical charm that feels far more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of the main city. It is a cultural gem, with plenty of festivals, entertainment venues and events to keep couples and families busy. There are some excellent schools in the area, though rental prices are higher due to the area’s proximity to the heart of LA.

Santa Monica

For those moving to Los Angeles for the beach lifestyle, then Santa Monica is definitely worthy of consideration. It is clean, safe and family friendly. There is plenty to do in this area of LA, with the famous Santa Monica pier as a great landmark to visit. It has all of the expected urban conveniences, including high-end shopping and world-class dining. There is a weekly farmers’ market with locally produced fruits and vegetables, as well as the popular Third Street Promenade and all of its entertainment.

San Marino

Not an area that immediately springs to mind, but San Marino is growing in popularity for expats, thanks to its reputation as one of the safest neighbourhoods in the country. It also has one of the top-performing school systems, which is why it is attracting more families to the areas. As such, it’s not a cheap place to live, but it does offer stunning scenic landscaping, wide, open roads and plenty of public green space. It is mainly houses rather than apartments, which is one reason that the area is mostly families rather than couples.

Culver City

For those who want to experience the cinematic side to Los Angeles, this is the place to be! Many famous films from the Hollywood Golden Age were shot here, and there are plenty of historic buildings that bestow a unique charm on the city. It has a vibrant, exciting nightlife, and there is a really diverse cultural mix. It is also more affordable than many areas of Los Angeles, and it is well placed to commute around the rest of the city. While it does attract a lot of young professionals and couples, it does cater to families to, with a good school system and lots to do.
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