From Hollywood-chic style to down-to-earth food trucks and farmers markets, Los Angeles' draws are myriad. Topping the list is the city's diverse population and big-city energy mixed with an overall laidback lifestyle. The sprawling Southern California city is bursting with a wide range of notable neighborhoods with a unique and distinctive vibe – from eclectic and artsy to upscale and iconic. LA is a massive melting pot of people, cultures and lifestyles, so it should be no surprise that its neighborhoods reflect and attract certain demographics and personalities, as well. 

No matter what it is that you might be looking for, there’s bound to be a charming LA neighborhood that makes you feel right at home. Here are a few of our favorite neighborhoods in the City of Angels. 

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Organic Strawberries for sale at Farmer's Market, Culver City, Los Angeles, California, USA
Culver City has a wonderful farmer's market to check out © Education Images / Universal Images Group /Getty

Culver City

Best neighborhood for food and film 

Originally dubbed the “Heart of Screenland,” Culver City is home to cinematic and television magic. Metro Goldwyn Mayer built their studios there in the 1920s, which we know as Sony Pictures Studios today, and where legendary greats like "The Wizard of Oz," "Gone with the Wind," and a portion of "Grease" were filmed. Today, Culver City is gaining significant traction as a hotspot in town, with its bustling weekly farmer’s market, long list of cool restaurants and bars, and a new-ish outdoor mall named Platform, where you can find of-the-moment retailers like Reformation and Janessa Leone, as well as Insta-worthy restaurants like Bondi Harvest, Margot, Roberta’s and Boba Guys. 

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Take a walk down Rodeo Drive or a drive down a palm-lined street in this land of indulgence and celebrity ©ESB Professional/Shutterstock

Beverly Hills/Bel-Air

Best upscale neighborhood for living your best life

Beverly Hills is one of the richest areas in the country, and is famously home to celebrities, upscale shopping, gastronomic restaurants and world-famous hotels. Cruise down any one of the picturesque palm tree–lined streets to admire the grandiose homes and blooming rose gardens, or snap a photo on cobblestoned Rodeo Drive and catch a show at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. Just west of Beverly Hills is ritzy residential neighborhood Bel Air, where you can find even more stunning estates, the legendary 5-star Hotel Bel-Air (with its very own dreamy swan lake at the luxury hideaway’s grand entrance), and the ultra-exclusive Bel Air Country Club. 

Find all the pride and all the best parties in West Hollywood © David McNew / AFP via Getty Images

West Hollywood

Best neighborhood for LGBTIQ+ community and nightlife scene

Trendy, creative and welcoming of all walks of life, this neighborhood is lined with rainbow flags and is world famous for its bustling scene of buzzworthy restaurants, bars, dance clubs, boutiques, comedy clubs, chic hotels and live music venues. There’s never a dull moment in West Hollywood (WeHo). The neighborhood is fairly walkable, very densely populated and attracts a predominantly young, creative crowd. WeHo is the place to be in times of celebration, like on Halloween, where it hosts the largest street party in the country; or in June, otherwise known as Pride month. Today, more than forty percent of the population identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and the city has become a leader of communities in showcasing how to protect and advocate for equal rights for the LGBTIQ+ community.

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Hispanic woman riding skateboard at beach
Manhattan Beach and the other beach cities are chilled-out LA cool © Peathegee Inc. / Getty Images

Beach Cities (Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach)

Best laid-back beach neighborhoods

A trip to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach, and there are countless coastal neighborhoods to consider. The Beach Cities is a nickname given to the charming towns of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, known collectively as the South Bay. These areas are nestled right next to each other, and each one has a slightly different vibe than the other.

Manhattan Beach has a more upscale beachy ambiance, with nice restaurants and shopping, nearly 100 sand volleyball courts, and the Manhattan Pier, which draws tourists all year round. Hermosa Beach has bragging rights as one of the original birthplaces of California surfing; and Redondo Beach attracts families and tourists of all ages with its wealth of fresh seafood options on the Redondo Beach Pier, plus ample outdoor parks and favorable surf conditions. 

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Fisherman's Village Marina Del Rey
Geared towards locals, Marina Del Rey and sister-city Play Vista make great, relaxed home-bases for your travels © Jonathan Androwsky / Getty Images

Marina del Rey/Playa Vista

Best neighborhood for tranquility close to the city 

Cheekily referred to as Silicon Beach for the tech companies that have set up shop here, Playa Vista is an up-and-coming, custom-planned luxury community that’s fairly new and perfectly manicured with plenty of outdoor space and walking trails, family-friendly features like playgrounds, parks, sports facilities and more. And it's mere minutes away from LAX.

The likes of Google, Facebook, YouTube, Belkin International and Samsung are just a few of many that have laid down roots within the neighborhood, attracting a diverse, highly educated, high-earning, young, professional demographic. There are plenty of new restaurants and cafes popping up among its many residential modern condo buildings and townhouses. Around the corner is the idyllic neighborhood of Marina del Rey, where you can catch fantastic sunsets and experience waterfront living. 

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People smelling roses in Rose Garden of the Huntington Museum and Gardens in Pasadena. ©David Peevers/Lonely Planet

Pasadena/San Marino

Best neighborhood for families

Charming in every possible way, the upscale areas of Pasadena and San Marino win major points when it comes to inviting and well-manicured neighborhoods with fantastic landscaping (think wide streets, beautiful gardens, tree-lined streets and lush greenery everywhere) that feel worlds apart from the rest of LA.

Located around 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and nestled below the San Gabriel Mountains, Pasadena is also home to the popular Rose Bowl Flea Market, and the annual Tournament of Roses each New Year’s Day, which also includes the internationally televised Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game. There’s no shortage of luxury hotels, cultural museums, tantalizing shopping or delicious restaurant options in this area; and The Huntington Library is a must-see for anyone passing through this pretty part of town. 

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Los Angeles skyline and Echo Park at Dusk
Silverlake and Echo Park attract a discerning crowd who love the trends before they are trends ©Devel5957 / Getty Images

Silverlake/Echo Park

Best cool neighborhood for singles

The usltra trendy Silver Lake is a wildly popular neighborhood in LA that is truly unlike anywhere else. It attracts an eclectic mix of celebrities, hipsters, creative professionals,and young families and boasts a far edgier vibe than any area you’d find on the westside. Its most famous feature is its massive namesake body of water, Silver Lake Reservoir, which offers a 2.25-mile loop for runners and walkers. The main hub of Silver Lake is Sunset Junction, a boisterous, walkable stretch along Sunset Boulevard with dozens of trendy shops, vintage stores and cool cafes that cater to its discerning demographic. 

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Happy Couple Exploring Chinatown in Downtown Los Angeles At Night
While downtown Los Angeles is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, the traditional haunts are still fun to explore © Ryan J Lane / Getty Images

Downtown Los Angeles

Best neighborhood for architecture

Rich in history and bursting with stunning landmarks and gorgeous architecture, downtown Los Angeles is currently experiencing a renaissance. An infiltration of new business and restaurants have been cropping up making DTLA buzz with activity, and no shortage of enticing attractions.

Crawl through the concrete jungle and enjoy everything from awe-inspiring rooftop bars and restaurants helmed by famous chefs, to stunning skyscrapers (check out the Wilshire Grand center, which is 73 stories tall), or the infamous Staples Center, where the Lakers hoop it up. Don’t miss Little Tokyo or Grand Central Market, a food hall with some of the best eats in town; and skip over to the east side of DTLA – where the very cool and creative Arts District is taking the town by storm. 

Friends walking down sunny street, Long Beach, California, US
Long Beach has great activities for youngsters, but is fun for adults too © Ashley Corbin-Teich / Getty Images

Long Beach 

Best neighborhood for kid-friendly attractions

Ranked as the 7th most populous city in California, Long Beach is also one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Southern California and has so much to offer. Long Beach is home to family-friendly world-class attractions like The Queen Mary, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden (situated on campus at California State-Long Beach) and the Aquarium of the Pacific, while also playing host to terrific golf courses and long, sandy beaches along the ocean and Alamitos Bay. 

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This article was first published June 2021 and updated August 2021

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