In a city known for its horrific traffic, it’s no wonder why more and more people moving to LA want to live close to Los Angeles public transportation.
“A lot of clients ask us about listings close to the Metro,” said Julie Serber, a real estate agent with The Rental Girl. “Whenever we have listings near the Metro, we make sure to call that out first and foremost.”
The traffic may be bad in the City of Angels, the worst in country says the U.S. News and World Report, but it’s not deterring starry-eyed movers from relocating to the famous Southern California city. One of Realtor.com’s Top 10 cities for millennial movers, the growing city expects to host more residents who rely on public transportation. Because in a place where locals calculate distances by minutes – not miles – spending time with a book on a train may sound better than wearing down brake pads during rush hour.
If you’re ready to move to Los Angeles and want to leave your car behind, keep reading to find out which neighborhoods are some of the most popular areas for carless commuters in these four areas of the city: Central, East, West and the San Fernando Valley.
Car-Free Living in Downtown Los Angeles
The neighborhood within Los Angeles’s iconic skyline had been deteriorating for decades, but in recent years, millennial movers and others have brought life back to the once-dreary downtown area. It is now home to restaurants, entertainment and multiple sports teams. It’s also the perfect Los Angeles neighborhood for commuters since many of the Metro trains come through the area.
“Public transportation seems to be very popular for movers in this community,” said Kyle Mathews, a realtor and native Angeleno.
This may be because driving in Downtown Los Angeles is a nightmare, and many residential buildings have little-to-no free onsite parking.
This neighborhood has several sub-communities including the Arts District, Little Tokyo and South Park – all of which are walking distance from Metro train stations and bus stops. Each offers a different environment full of restaurants and entertainment.
Watch the Los Angeles Kings battle it out on the ice at Staples Center in the colder months then head to a pool party at the famous Ace Hotel Rooftop Bar when the temperature rises. Don’t forget to check out epic displays at The Last Bookstore and grab a bite at Grand Central Market. It’s hard to get bored in this neighborhood!
Rent prices for concrete-covered lofts and newly built apartments have risen along the neighborhoods popularity, but they are still nearly 20 percent lower than the average LA rental, according to Zillow.com. And the price of purchasing a loft or home in the area runs about average for the city.
“The renaissance in Downtown is really incredible,” said Mathews. “There’s a lot of Live/Work lofts, and they have all the amenities you’d want down there, too. Then of course, it connects with Metro Red Line. It’s just incredible what’s going on down there.”
Los Angeles Public Transportation from Highland Park
Highland Park, one of Los Angeles’s newest ‘hip’ neighborhoods is a great neighborhood for carless commuters and those who want to live in a walkable neighborhood. And many people move here for the beautiful views that come with homes that cascade down the nearby hillsides. A sight harder to find going west.
“Highland Park has this buzz and has been changing a lot in the last couple of years, and young people want to be part of the buzz and the change,” said Alison Gilbert, a TRG realtor who specializes in Northeast LA – aka NELA.
The Metro Gold Line stops in Highland Park and can take riders east to Pasadena or west to Downtown Los Angeles. Between train rides, residents can enjoy trendy organic, fair trade coffee on York Boulevard or check out the newly remodeled (and very hip!) Highland Park Bowl.
There’s lot of new restaurants and hipster shops in this neighborhood, but experts say as the neighborhood’s popularity rises, so do housing prices.
“The area is getting more and more expensive,” said Gilbert.
Still, renters and buyers can currently expect to pay a few percent less than the average Los Angeles prices, according to Zillow.com. But these properties are pretty far from the beach!
If you want the vibe of Northeast Los Angeles, but you can’t afford the Highland Park price tag, check out up-and-coming areas like Lincoln Heights and El Sereno. Both have plenty of Metro bus stops to get you to the train stations, or directly to your destination.
Easily Take the Metro from North Hollywood
The San Fernando Valley: Where the Los Angeles sun shines bright and new movers can find more options for affordable housing. For those moving to Los Angeles on a budget, North Hollywood is a great community that offers easy access to the rest of LA via Metro train.
“A lot of young people move to this area, and one of the main reasons is it’s a hub for transit,” said Mathews. “There’s been a lot of development in the area – especially the east end that is now called the NoHo Arts District.”
Both the Metro Orange and Red lines connect at North Hollywood’s trendy station (seen above), so it’s easy to get to the western part of the San Fernando Valley and into Downtown.
But for those days that residents want to stay local, there’s plenty to see and do in North Hollywood. Grab a Boba tea at the hip TeaPop before cruising over to ACME NoHo Theaters for high quality sketch comedy. Don’t forget to get some exercise during a jog down Chandler Parkway!
“It’s a great place for people who want to be a part of the entertainment industry, whether it’s dancing or acting,” said Mathews. “I think that is also why it seems to be a place for a lot of young people to move in.”
The average North Hollywood rental is going to run about $2,750, that’s nearly 25 percent cheaper than the average Los Angeles rent price, according to Zillow.com. And North Hollywood homes for sale, while in short supply, typically cost $639,000 – a good deal compared to $686,800 LA average.
Move to Culver City for Easy Westside Commutes
Many Angelenos have long considered the Westside to be the best side of Los Angeles, and it’s no surprise that movers who haven’t lived near the ocean would want to move close to it. Thankfully, the Metro system has been improving over the last couple of years to make carless commuting on the Westside a viable option.
“People love the Westside because it’s laid back, near the beach, the weather is great and it’s beautiful,” said Serber.
Culver City is near the popular 10 freeway, which goes all the way through LA and to the San Gabriel Valley, which makes it a great neighborhood for people who want to use public transportation to get to multiple areas of the city.
“Couples are a common example of the clients I’ve helped move to Culver City,” Serber said. “One person works in Santa Monica and the other works in Downtown, and they live here because they can both easily take the Metro to work.”
Culver City has been growing for several years, and a newer public-transit-friendly area dubbed “The Hub” was created with the public transit rider in mind.
Moving to Culver City will cost movers more in rent than the other neighborhoods mentioned above. The average Culver City home costs nearly 6 percent more than LA proper’s average, according to Zillow.com. And the average rental goes for a little over $4,000 is this chic neighborhood, a whopping 20 percent higher than the average in the city of Los Angeles.
But the beach is typically less than 30 minutes away! (See how we mentioned minutes, not miles?)
If you’re eyeing a specific community that isn’t mentioned in this list, make sure to check out the Metro website to see where stops are located and how easy it could be to get you where you need to be! And the City of Los Angeles is working on improving its public transportation system with some newly-approved tax money, so even if there’s not a Metro stop now that doesn’t mean there won’t be one in the future!