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Best LA Neighborhoods for New Yorkers

By Jamie Richardson | February 23, 2021

New York is a great place, but it's not for everyone. If you wish to escape the pollution, overcrowded subways, and most importantly, the ballooning cost of living, you might want to consider L.A. The best part of the deal? You're not entirely sacrificing entertainment, recreation, and job opportunities. That's why a lot of people are moving from NYC to Los Angeles. In addition, to be slightly cheaper in terms of cost of living, Los Angeles offers plenty of places you can call home. That said, here are the city's top neighborhoods worth checking out, whether you're a single professional or someone who wants to raise a happy family.

  1. Downtown

Median home sale price (as of Feb 2021): $493,000

If you're looking for an area with the most New Yorkish vibe, Downtown is your go-to. Don't assume it’s exactly like Manhattan, though. It features a classic but distinct appeal with budget-friendly shopping centers, cozy restaurants, fashion brand chains, lovely parks, and neat spots you've only seen in movies. Finding a house in such a heavily metro area can be expensive, yet there's a wide array of apartments and condos from which to choose. Real estate in Downtown is also far more affordable than in other corners of the city, and the current market is not very competitive, which makes it ideal for buyers. Overall, home prices have dropped by about 15% over the past year.

Are you looking for fun locales to explore? Like most of NYC, Downtown L.A. is a walker and rider’s paradise, with walkable streets and top-tier public transportation. It’s also very bikeable for those who wish to get around on two wheels. Make sure you visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall and admire its architectural beauty. Grand Central Market houses L.A.'s largest food court offering hundreds of unique flavors. And if you're a fan of novels, The Last Bookstore features a 2-story collection of stories awaiting your discovery.

  1. Chinatown

Home value index (as of Feb 2021): $664,653

Though small in area, Chinatown, which is just north of Downtown L.A., is a great place to put down roots. This neighborhood's generally accepted boundaries are the 101 to the south, 110 to the west, the L.A. State Historic Park to the north, and the Lincoln Heights neighborhood and Los Angeles River to the east. Besides being a popular tourist destination, it's also home to many families and professionals who enjoy interaction and culture. Like Downtown, you might have to settle for a condo or apartment as multi-family buildings dominate this neighborhood. On occasion, you may be able to find a contemporary home or townhouse.

The 32-acre L.A. State Historic Park is within walking distance, where you can spend relaxing weekends walking, biking, or having a picnic. As expected, you’ll find Chinese influence throughout this neighborhood, from art galleries to restaurants that serve excellent chow mien. Lastly, there is no need to stress about traffic when grocery shopping since you'll find the Far East Center, Yue Wa Market, and Lian Li Hong all walkable and within a few hundred meters of each other.

  1. Los Feliz

Median home sale price (as of Feb 2021): $1.62M

Had enough of chaotic urban living? Give Los Feliz a try! This hillside neighborhood offers a more suburban vibe without losing access to city amenities. Just nine miles north of Downtown, the area boasts tree-lined streets, colonial homes, bungalows with well-kept lawns, and eye-catching mansions. Living here, you'll enjoy friendly neighbors and a remarkable view of the L.A. skyline.

The 4,000-acre Griffith Park borders the northern edge of this neighborhood. Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, this expansive urban park features dozens of hiking trails, including the famed Griffith Park Hike, which takes hikers to the iconic Hollywood sign. The park also boasts the Los Angeles Zoo and the Griffith Observatory, among other attractions. After an afternoon immersed in this playground (which some compare to NYC’s Central Park, though it is far more rugged and wild), you can enjoy the neighborhood’s thriving culinary scene at popular restaurants, including HomeState and The Spots.

  1. Playa Del Rey

Median sale price (as of Feb 2021): $791,000

Imagine waking up then opening your windows to feel a fresh sea breeze caressing your face. Slowly opening your eyes, you witness the sun peeking above the beautiful Pacific horizon. Sounds like a dream? Make it a reality by settling in Playa Del Ray. This charming neighborhood isn't only about looks. It's also safer than 85% of California. Dotted with modern homes and clean-cut subdivisions, you'll find plenty of opportunities here, thanks to it being at the heart of Silicon Beach. Imagine getting a stable tech job while chilling at the beach on weekends and having access to multiple restaurants featuring fresh seafood.

Playa Del Ray Beach, a broad sandy public beach with sweeping ocean views, borders its namesake neighborhood, while a 600-acre ecological reserve borders the northern side of the community. Just across Westchester Parkway, at the southern edge of Playa Del Rey, sits LAX, which makes this neighborhood perfect for frequent flyers looking for fast, easy commutes to the airport.

  1. Lancaster

Median sale price (as of Feb 2021): $377,500

Sick of living in apartments? Tired of condos? Want more space? Itching to mow your own lawn or plant a garden? Want to dwell someplace you can call your own? Say no more. Lancaster is the answer.

Almost 60 miles north of L.A.'s center, Lancaster is part of the greater L.A. metro area but a world away in terms of affordability. Here, prices for 2- to 3-bedroom homes are less than half of the real estate costs in Downtown L.A. In addition to affordable homes, the city of just over 150,000 has access to incredible recreational opportunities. Destinations like Castaic Lake State Recreation Area, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and the San Gabriel Mountains are just a short drive away. An ideal place to raise children, Lancaster has three elementary school districts and one high school district, Antelope Valley Union High School District. This district offers six career academies (for tracks ranging from pre-engineering and business to agriculture and environmental science) and a dual-enrollment high school at Antelope Valley College.

  1. Norwalk

Median sale price (as of Feb 2021): $584,500

Fifteen miles southeast of Downtown, Norwalk is equidistant from L.A., Anaheim, and Long Beach. This city of just over 100,000 residents was the filming location for numerous Hollywood hits, including Speed and The Karate Kid.

The Norwalk Shopping Center is the neighborhood's most prominent landmark featuring known retail shops, salons, fantastic dining, and flashy arcades. Fitness enthusiasts can gather at Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex. Not the physical type? You can also admire the art displays at Mary Paxon Gallery, tour the D.D. Johnston- Hargitt House, and chill at Vista Verde Park. All in all, it's a great place with plenty of fun for people of all ages.

For a New Yorker making the leap to the West Coast, Los Angeles has plenty of wonderful neighborhoods and communities to call home. From the urban Downtown to more affordable suburban areas on the city's outskirts, you’re sure to find a place that suits you

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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