For decades, the San Fernando Valley has been one of the most desirable places in the country to live. People from all over the world flock here for the beautiful weather, amazing food, proximity to beaches, and the diversity and attractions that make L.A. so famous.
Over the past year, as more companies change and jobs have more flexibility, we’ve seen a migration of people. Folks are choosing lifestyle more often, and they want to live somewhere that reflects what they want out of life.
The San Fernando Valley is located just north of the L.A. basin. It’s home to around 2 million people and has a plethora of parks and other green spaces. It’s a perfect mix of access to urban restaurants, jobs, and entertainment while also providing the comfort of suburban living.
There are a lot of choices on where to move, and making the right decision on where to land is one of the most important parts of enjoying your new life in a new place. Thankfully, there is more information than ever on neighborhoods, school districts, and home values that make finding the right place easier.
Let’s take a look at 7 of the best neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley to help you decide which one might be for you.
1. Van Nuys
To kick things off, we’re starting with Van Nuys. A sleeper neighborhood for years, Van Nuys residents swear by it. They love living there, and enjoy the quiet compared to some other areas in the valley.
Living in Van Nuys gets you close to Balboa Park and Lake, and it’s right by the 101 and 405 freeways, making commutes into the city or other places in the valley convenient. That’s a huge plus once you learn a bit about L.A. traffic.
Van Nuys is benefitting, like so many other L.A. neighborhoods before it, from working-class families and young professionals looking to get more housing for their money.
People living in Van Nuys call it the heart of the valley, and there’s still a small community feel in a lot of neighborhoods there. It’s an up and comer for sure!
2. Studio City
Studio City is, right now, one of the most popular neighborhoods in the greater L.A. area. It’s a safe place great for families with good schools. You’re going to pay for that when it comes to housing prices, though, so be prepared for expensive homes.
In Studio City, you’ve got fast commutes to downtown and plenty of outdoor activities for people who want to hike and spend time outside. Even people who don’t live in Studio City eventually find their way there. They come for Universal Studios Hollywood, Walt Disney Studios, and some of the other major film studios. There are fantastic restaurants and Ventura Boulevard is always a great time on the weekends.
3. Playa Vista
Playa Vista is one of the best places in the valley to live if you want to be near a beach. Located on the western side of the valley, Playa Vista residents can get to the beach in under 20 minutes on a good day. Living here makes surfing before or after work possible.
It’s a great college town as well, with Loyola Marymount University there. You get the laid-back vibe of a college town but all of the amenities of L.A. living.
If you’re someone who has to travel for work a lot, Playa Vista is a terrific choice. It’s only ten minutes from LAX, so you never have to worry about missing a flight because of traffic.
Encino offers all of the advantages of your upscale suburban neighborhood. It’s a good mix of safety and homes that are affordable, making it ideal for families.
Encino has some great outdoor spaces like the Japanese Garden and other parks like Westridge-Canyon back Wilderness Park for people to get out to exercise.
There is a wide range of restaurants at different price points for people who love dining out.
5. Los Feliz
Los Feliz is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the valley. If you move there, expect to pay higher real estate or rental prices. What you get in return, though, is one of the safest neighborhoods in greater L.A. that is known for its cool, eclectic group of artists and musicians that call it home.
Most of the houses there are bungalows or Spanish villas, with many of them turned into studios where artists can show off their work. It’s the prototypical L.A. art scene with tons of unique restaurants and hip cafes.
Living in Los Feliz gets you close to shows at the Greek Theater and the L.A. Zoo. You can hike or drive up to get your picture taken by the famous Hollywood sign or look at the stars at Griffith Observatory.
6. Sherman Oaks
Sherman Oaks is located right in the heart of San Fernando Valley, and it’s known as a quiet neighborhood full of charm. There are great shopping options at malls, but there is also a wide selection of independently-owned stores to give it a unique vibe.
The Sherman Oaks neighborhood is near the 101 and the 405, so commuting downtown or to other parts of the city is easy.
The local real estate market in Sherman Oaks is hot right now, and listings don’t last long. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking to buy. New listings are usually picked up in a week or less. Still, there is a lot of development going on in Sherman Oaks that keeps it a relatively affordable place with excellent quality of life.
7. North Hollywood
The last neighborhood in the valley on our list is North Hollywood. This area is not really for people looking to get out of the city and into a quiet neighborhood. Now there’s a metro station there and the NoHo Arts District has made it a regional attraction.
As a result of all of the attention North Hollywood is getting, a lot of development dollars are finding their way there. Expect a lot of construction and changes if you’re living there.
But, some people love change and the excitement of new buildings and restaurants popping up all of the time. If that’s you, then North Hollywood has your name on it. At the pace things are going, there’s an interesting mix of old and new there that gives it a one-of-a-kind feel.
These are just some of the best neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley. As always, distance to things like work, your friends, a favorite restaurant, etc. is going to play a big part in deciding where you live. Traffic can be a killer, and no one wants to spend hours in their car every day.
Your budget and what you’re looking for also matter a great deal. A single young professional isn’t going to be looking for a quiet suburban life most of the time, and young families are less concerned with proximity to the hottest clubs in town.
Do some more research online to find out where will be the best fit for you due to your lifestyle and make the move! The valley has a lot to offer no matter where you end up. Everywhere is beautiful, and it’s hard to be upset when you’re enjoying that famous L.A. weather all year.
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