10 Great Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

Dreaming of living in a high-rise condo overlooking a flashy beachside neighborhood? Or do you find living in a century-old Craftsman bungalow in a vibrant albeit slightly gritty urban neighborhood more your style? Or do you want to replicate your suburban childhood with a brand-new house in a safe, family-friendly community a short drive from the mall and playground? Well, you can find all this and more in Los Angeles. Explore the city's diverse regions:

CLASSIC L.A.

The central core of Los Angeles features the oldest, most urban, dense and ethnically diverse neighborhoods of the city as well as an adjacent ring of vintage suburbs. These were the neighborhoods that were abandoned as the residents embraced the shiny new suburbs of the post-war years. But a renewed interest in city living has attracted newcomers who can see past some of the graffiti and grime to take advantage of walkable neighborhoods rich in culture, architecture and history.

Flagship Neighborhood: Hollywood

Only one major movie studio is left in Hollywood. Many of the talent agents and the companies that supported movie and film production, from set builders to camera companies, have moved out. But the void left behind by the entertainment industry's shrinking presence has been rapidly filled by a wave of restaurants, stores, nightclubs and residents.

Much of the new energy and activity is located in the flats, far below the Hollywood sign. Here, once-dangerous streets that had become better known for drug dealing than moviemaking, including the infamous Yucca Corridor, have been substantially cleaned up after years of efforts by residents and police. The opening of two subway stations has made it even easier to commute to jobs in downtown Los Angeles or the San Fernando Valley.

Many residents leave Hollywood Boulevard to the tourists and club hoppers, preferring to head to Sunset Boulevard near Vine Street, where the landmark Cinerama Dome movie theater has become the hub of a cluster of new stores, including cavernous Amoeba Records, as well as hot new bars and restaurants.

Droves of star-struck tourists, however, still jam the nearby sidewalks, with their heads bowed as they look for familiar names on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But if they look up, they might be able to peek into the windows of hundreds of new luxury lofts carved from Hollywood's vintage office buildings. These are the new stars of Hollywood.

The Neighbors: Young singles and boho couples and actors in all stages of success or denial who don't mind the hassles of urban life in return for easy access to jobs, culture and historical attractions

Also Consider: Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park

Flagship Neighborhood: Pasadena

In fast-forward, new-is-better Los Angeles, Pasadena stands out as taking pride in its past. This love of the old once earned this leafy city a reputation as being stodgy. Remember the jokes about the Little Old Lady from Pasadena? Well, Pasadena's love of history and tradition, including the annual Rose Parade, has paid off handsomely, attracting droves of new residents and visitors to restored shopping districts and old neighborhoods.

The city's ethnically and racially diverse neighborhoods north of the 210 Freeway are home to block after block of Craftsman bungalows in different stages of renovation -- or dilapidation. Meanwhile, south of the 210 Freeway, newcomers in search of a more urban lifestyle are settling in thousands of new condominiums and apartments that have been built or are planned for Pasadena's downtown, Playhouse District and Old Pasadena. This new housing, located a short walk from stores, museums, markets, theaters and a light-rail line, have infused the city with young singles as well as affluent retirees.

A perfect place to watch new and old residents side-by-side is the Pasadena City College Flea Market, held the first Sunday of every month. It's a favorite spot to pick up a vintage lamp for that new bungalow or condo.

The Neighbors: A mix of young couples, singles, as well as affluent retirees who are active in civic affairs and attracted to the city's culture, history and clean surroundings

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