Living in L.A. is all about three things: location, location, location. Your choice of residence is one of the most important decisions you'll make. But what to do when you can't afford that cute $3,500-a-month house in Silver Lake? That tiny $1,850 Venice apartment 3 feet from the sand? Perhaps you ought to consider one of our fine discount neighborhoods: not as desirable, of course, but right next door.
Canoga Park, the poor man's Woodland Hills
Canoga Park has it all — an easy drive to Malibu, tons of affordable apartments ($800 one-bedrooms!), two Westfield malls, Indian food and the popular Orange Line, a busway lined by exotic plants, which could be called the poor man's public transit (much cheaper to build than light rail). And you don't have to earn porn-star money to live here.
Cypress Park, the poor man's Mount Washington
Nestled between Eagle Rock and Mount Washington, Cypress Park is, in many ways, the Eastside area gentrification passed over. It's all trees, hills, curvy streets and parks — and two-bedroom houses can be found for $1,650. But it's also home to the Avenues gang, which is responsible for just a bit of violence. Still, proximity to the 110, 5 and 2 place Cypress Park in the heart of the desirable triad of downtown, Pasadena and Glendale.
El Segundo, the poor man's Manhattan Beach
El Segundo is perhaps best known as the place where A Tribe Called Quest left its wallet. Con: It butts up against LAX, the Chevron refinery and the Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant. Pro: It's perhaps the cheapest neighborhood with an ocean breeze (a studio was going for $830 recently), there's zilch crime, and the area boasts tons of tech and aerospace jobs.
Historic Filipinotown, the poor man's Echo Park
Echo Park is beautiful, diverse — and a bit expensive. But just south, on the other side of the 101, is Historic Filipinotown, which doesn't appear particularly historic or Filipino but does have one-bedrooms for less than $1,000. Proximity to such hot spots as the Echo and the Short Stop should more than make up for the sporadic gunfire and police sirens.
Little Armenia, the poor man's Los Feliz
Affordable housing in Los Feliz, where hipsters go to settle down, is but a distant memory. Rents are $200 to $300 cheaper in Little Armenia, between Hollywood and Santa Monica boulevards just east of the 101. Los Feliz has Little Dom's and Skylight Books; Little Armenia has Zankou Chicken and a Church of Scientology. You'll barely notice the difference.
Mar Vista flats, the poor man's Venice
Mar Vista, or Burbank-by-the Sea, has pricey, low-water-garden, hilltop homes with views — but its flatlands contain bargains. Dotted with public schools and sober-living houses, the flats are not far from overheating Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Stay east of Lincoln Boulevard, however, and rents drop by at least $200 a month.
Northern Sherman Oaks, the poor man's South of the Boulevard
Some people sniff that it's really Van Nuys, but this sprawling, tree-lined grid of older ranch homes and inexpensive ($900 for a one-bedroom), boxy apartments north of the 101 has a Bloomingdale's, Mexican and Middle Eastern food joints, a park, loads of street parking — and it's minutes from the Galleria ArcLight!
Palms, the poor man's Culver City
Never heard of Palms? It's that neighborhood with … not much actually, other than massive apartment buildings with one-bedrooms priced at $1,000, or so. On the plus side, it's a hop, skip and a jump (but probably not a walk) from increasingly unaffordable Culver City, which — thanks to high-paid studio types working at Sony and Culver Studios — has more dining options than parking spaces.
Rampart Village, the poor man's Silver Lake
What's a little gang violence when you can walk to one of the hippest neighborhoods in America?
Sawtelle, the poor man's Santa Monica
Those towering new 405 sound walls make this Japanese-flavored neighborhood worth a look, especially since you can get a two-bedroom, 1.5-bath apartment for $1,700. And Sawtelle boasts a slew of great Asian restaurants, a Giant Robot store, Alias Books and the Nuart.
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