What area of LA to choose for a young family moving from London

Ella Dorrell's picture
By Ella Dorrell - Posted on
21 August 2012
Hi there - we are looking into moving to SoCal. I am American and my husband is from London. We are a family of 5 (7yr old boy, 5 yr old girl, 3 yr old boy) and live in North London (on the borders of zone 3/4 on the tube map)so used to being close to the buzz of a city but with lots of green space. How do you choose what area of LA? My husband is an interior architect - where does that industry lie in LA? I am an executive assistant at a large international advertising agency - again what part of LA has these types of companies? In London if you work in the media/creative industry most of the companies are in Shoreditch/West End. Does LA have the same centres or is it varied? Re housing We are looking for a safe neighborhood, drive to a beach ideal (15 min or a tad more) close to where the work would be and most importantly - has good public schools (I am guessing charted - NOT LA unified school district). Having lived in London since I was 21 I know the "neighbourhoods" but haven't a clue with a LA. We would also like an area where other Brits are - I want my children/husband settle in as best as they can. What are everyone's thoughts on Manhattan Beach, Culver City (Santa Monica too expensive for us) - or any other ideas? Any advice/tips would be great.
Shantalie's picture
Last seen: 1 year 15 weeks ago
Joined: 01/08/2012

Living in:
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London, England

Hi Ella,

Culver City is a great part of LA especially if you are on tight budget. Its very diverse and cosmopolitan - something you'll be used to as you are coming from London. The San Fernando Valley and Pasadena are very family friendly areas which are close to good schools. Take a look at the Expat Arrivals page on Areas and Suburbs of Los Angeles for more details.

LA has a great public transport network, so you'll find it easy to get about and commute to work.

Good luck with your move to the USA!
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Anonymous's picture

I grew up in LA but haven't been back there for eight years or so. Just some speculation:

There are a lot of decent public (state) schools outside of LA proper, Calabasas High where I went for a short while was very good, and the whole surrounds I've been told are pretty good too. The area is also pretty green as far as LA goes, particularly Thousand Oaks, Topanga Canyon, Woodland Hills etc and Malibu (coast) isn't very far. Nonetheless the area is very expensive, though maybe with the housing bubble burst property is more affordable. Personally, I found the area a pretty insipid, gentrified area, but I was also an angsty kid. I also don't know how the area would relate to your husband's professional requirements, but I'm guessing it would be too far. There are also a lot of good private schools closer to the metropolitan centre, even where not-so-great LA Unified schools prevail (and not every public school is bad).

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Ella Dorrell's picture
Last seen: 7 years 25 weeks ago
Joined: 21/08/2012

Thanks for your replies

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Anonymous's picture

Be very careful where you live because of your children. I taught in LA area for many years.
Have the school district be independent of LA Unified. It is a difficult process, check out Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, spend a lot of time ...... even years before you buy. It is tricky....

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