Westside (Los Angeles County)

The Westside of Los Angeles in Southern California is much of what the rest of the world thinks of when they think "California". Beautiful beaches, fancy homes, movie stars: it's all there.

The Westside comprises the neighborhoods of Los Angeles City and other cities (municipalities) running west of La Cienega Boulevard to the Pacific Ocean. To the east is Hollywood and Mid-Wilshire. The northern boundary is the Santa Monica Mountains. The southern boundary is less obvious - often LAX or the 105 freeway serve as a good marker, separating the Westside from the South Bay.

Cities

Westside map

Other destinations

Understand

Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier

The Westside is among the most prosperous, trendy, glamorous, and interesting locations in the world. Derided by social critics as life within the "Pleasure-Dome" for the opportunities to "live large", the Westside boasts fabulous food, homes, scenery, shopping, and people.

Get in

By plane

The closest airport to this area of Los Angeles is through Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX). From here you can either catch a cab, shuttle or bus. The LAX FlyAway shuttle offers service from the terminals to Santa Monica and Westwood. You can also take the Big Blue Bus Roue #3 to Santa Monica or the Culver City Bus Roue #6 to Culver City and West LA. The cabs and shuttles can be accessed immediately outside of the arrival terminals and the bus systems can be accessed from the LAX Transit Center, located adjacent to Parking Lot 'C' and accessed by taking the 'C' Shuttle from the terminals. Bus information is available in the baggage claim area of each terminal. As a general rule, it is not recommended or convenient to attempt to walk to most destinations in Los Angeles.

The Westside lies under the flight path of general aviation Santa Monica Airport (IATA: SMO), southwest of the 405/10 interchange; on clear days the view of the city on approach is amazing.

Get around

The Westside is fairly well covered by bus service, with three different providers in the area: LA Metro is the main bus system in the Los Angeles region, and runs several Metro Rapid routes through the area, as well as the Metro Rail Expo Line from Downtown L.A. to Culver City, with an expansion to Santa Monica set to open soon. Additionally, the Big Blue Bus is a very reliable and well-maintained bus service, which operates primarily in Santa Monica and West L.A. Lastly, the Culver City Bus has a system of routes radiating out of Culver City.

During the summer months, there are various beach shuttle services available during the weekends.

For ultimate convenience it is best to rent a vehicle. Most of the major rental companies are available at LAX airport.

Do

Eat

A wonderful by-product of all the ethnic diversity in this area is the multitude of authentic restaurants. There are also a number of Indian and Pakistani restaurants along Venice Boulevard in Palms and adjacent streets in Palms and Culver City. Most of these restaurants offer North Indian cuisine.

There is a small cluster of Japanese and Korean restaurants colloquially known as Little Osaka in West Los Angeles on Sawtelle Blvd (just west of 405), bounded by Santa Monica Blvd to the north and Olympic Blvd to the south. Culver City also has a collection of Korean restaurants. Thai and Chinese restaurants are ubiquitous throughout the area and vary greatly in price and quality.

Mexican food is common in this area as in the rest of Los Angeles County, albeit less so in some of the more affluent parts of the area. Mi Ranchito on Washington Boulevard in Culver City is the best in this area, although Lares in Santa Monica also has its admirers. This area tends to have a greater proportion of Oaxacan restaurants than other parts of greater Los Angeles, such as Guelaguetza in Palms and West Los Angeles and El Texate in Santa Monica. Garden of Taxco in West Hollywood offers an unforgettable experience, with the "menu" recited by colorful waiters.

There is a large cluster of Jewish delicatessens and restaurants on Pico Boulevard in Beverlywood, just south of Beverly Hills. Both Ashkenazic and Middle Eastern Jewish cuisines are represented here. Haifa is great for lunchtime Mediterranean food.

A small "Little Ethiopia" has developed along Washington Boulevard between National and La Cienega in Culver City.

Santa Monica and Venice have a huge population of British expats, and fish and chips are common. Most of Los Angeles' pubs are located west of the 405 in this area.

Westwood Boulevard between Pico and Wilshire is filled with Persian restaurants, serving the largest Iranian population outside of Iran (which is concentrated in Westwood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica).

Stay safe

Much of Venice demands some caution. The long-troubled Oakwood neighborhood of Venice (south of Rose Avenue, west of Abbot Kinney Street, north of California Avenue, and west of Lincoln Boulevard) has a long history of gang and drug activity and racial tensions and is best avoided except for major streets. However, there is very little of interest for tourists in this area.

Venice Beach, at night, demands caution; do not go on the sand at night as when the sun goes down, the beach becomes a giant swapmeet for drugs: it is often nicknamed "the meth capital of Los Angeles," complete with the violence that often accompanies open drug dealing. Such violence occasionally spills onto Ocean Front Walk, along with some prostitution activity involving both sexes so avoid walking the boardwalk at night.

In Santa Monica, the section of Pico Boulevard immediately to the east of Santa Monica College and extending to Cloverfield Avenue demands caution; residential side streets in this area are best avoided. The Del Rey neighborhood between Culver City and Marina Del Rey has some areas that should be avoided at night; however, it is unlikely that tourists would find anything of interest there. The South Robertson/Crestview neighborhood has a small gang-ridden pocket known alternately as Cadillac-Corning and La Cienega Heights but this tiny area is almost completely residential and tourists are unlikely to go there anyway.

As with Los Angeles in general and other California cities, the Westside has a large and very visible homeless problem (except for Beverly Hills and Culver City). This is most noticeable in Santa Monica, Venice, Pacific Palisades, and Brentwood. Most of these individuals are harmless but some are dangerous. Exercise some caution in dealing with them.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 25, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.