Best Los Angeles Neighborhoods – My Personal Favorites

When many people think of Los Angeles, they have a specific picture in their head relating to a particular neighborhood, whether it’s the celebrity culture of Hollywood or the hot beaches of Venice or Santa Monica.

But the cool thing about L.A. is that it’s a diverse place with lots of interesting places to see. The best Los Angeles neighborhoods, for me at least, include places that have a lot of culture and hipster energy. These are eight of my favorite LA areas.

Silver Lake

Silver Lake is the hipster capital of the city, which means I will most likely live there if and when I eventually move to LA. Some of the LA hipsters will say Echo Park fits the bill more, but Echo Park still hasn’t quite reached the same level of cool Silver Lake has obtained. Silver Lake has everything you’d expect from such a neighborhood: Dive bars, vegan restaurants, art galleries and novelty stores with photo booths.

Beverly Hills

Kitson Beverly Hills

I shouldn’t like Beverly Hills, since I’m all about being budget-conscious and I can’t stand pretentious people. Yet, perhaps because I stayed near Beverly Hills twice when visiting LA, I actually enjoy the area. I like the upscale shopping district and the fact that the richest celebs in town can be seen walking around. It’s fun to wander around this part of town and take in the sights.

Koreatown

Koreatown favorite hipster LA neighborhoods

Ethnic hoods are always cool because you can (to some degree) experience the culture of a people without leaving the U.S. Koreatown has a number of great restaurants and holds an annual festival and parade. Plus, there are lots of establishments offering private karaoke studios for as little as $5/hour during weekdays. Score!

West Hollywood

Hamburger Marys West Hollywood - los angeles cool hipster best neighborhoods

WeHo is a vibrant neighborhood with lots of opportunities for sidewalk dining and people watching, two of my favorite activities, plus plenty of shopping and restaurants. It’s one the largest gay communities in the nation and is always bursting with energy. West Hollywood is also a fantastic place to stalk celebrities in L.A.! I’ve seen lots of famous people walking the streets and dining at restaurants in the area.

Hollywood Hills

best los angeles neighborhoods: Hollywood Hills

The Hollywood Hills is one of the best Los Angeles neighborhoods if you’re into celebrity culture.

Pretty much every successful celeb has a million-dollar house up here. Stalking celebs is fun, but you can be more discreet about it by going to Runyon Canyon Park. Besides keeping an eye out for Jason Bateman, Jessica Biel, Lauren Conrad, Jake Gyllenhaal and countless other big names, you can hike on hilly walking trails, including several that allow off-leash dogs. It’s a fun workout and provides a nice view of the city (though not quite as nice as the Griffith Observatory.)

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Los Feliz

When I first put together a personal list of the best Los Angeles neighborhoods, Los Feliz wasn’t even on it. But the ‘hood keeps getting cooler as the years go by, and now it’s one of my favorite neighborhoods to visit when I’m in LA. The street art, bookstores, coffee shops, and trendy shops have made Los Feliz a go-to destination. And its location near the Griffith Observatory and Silver Lake put it right in the heart of L.A.’s coolest areas.

Santa Monica

santa monica route 66

Santa Monica is technically its own city, but culturally it’s a big part of LA. Any first-time tourist to the city will want to check out Santa Monica Pier and the nearby beach. Also, Santa Monica appears again and again in some of the best songs about Los Angeles, like Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” and Everclear’s “Santa Monica (Watch the World Die).”

Downtown Los Angeles

No L.A. neighborhood has changed as quickly in recent years as the downtown core. Downtown L.A. has all the usual hipster spots – coffee shops, tattoo parlors, bike shops. It also has some major attractions, like the Staples Center and the Grammy Museum, which ensure that it will see a steady stream of tourists and regular local visitors.

If this best Los Angeles neighborhoods article just doesn’t do it for you, check out the LA Times map with info about all 100+ neighborhoods in the entire city!

Which are the best Los Angeles neighborhoods in your opinion? What’s your favorite part of the city?

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SEE MORE LOS ANGELES ARTICLES:

How to Visit Los Angeles Without a Car

Hiking in the Hollywood Hills

Hang With Wax Celebs at Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Visiting Westwood Cemetery to See Marilyn Monroe’s Grave

Visiting Venice Beach Was a Bust

About Quirky Travel Guy

Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Looking for a hotel? I always recommend Booking.com where you can easily compare hotel rooms, prices, and availability. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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18 Comments

  1. I have been to L.A. only once. I know I would have hated it if I hadn’t been visiting someone who lives there that knows the best parts of the city. Good tips for those who don’t have the luxury of a personal tour guide.

  2. I haven’t been to LA in ages! Nice information about the neighborhoods. I’d like to check them all out when I get down there. Hiking Runyon Canyon Park also sounds like fun.

  3. I love Griffith Park, Los Feliz area too. Hiking is something that Bob and I try to do a lot and this area has some really great hikes.

    Other areas I like are Pasadena and Venice Beach.

  4. Ironic hipsters live in K-Town (Koreatown), fyi.

    And not one mention of anything in the Valley(s) or East LA?! For shame! You really must venture outside the “tourist triangle” next time you are out this way.

  5. We were in LA in January just for one day and discovered an area called Manhattan Beach which was very nice. And, unusually for California (I think) you didn’t need a car to get there. There was a little tram running back and forth between Manhattan beach and the airport.

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