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Bel Air

Adjacent to Beverly Hills and immediately northwest of Holmby Hills, Bel Air is one-third of what is popularly referred to as the “Platinum Triangle” of ultra-expensive real estate. Established in 1926, the enclave traditionally has been home to entertainment and business elite. An exclusively residential community of just under 8,000 residents, it offers no commercial businesses other than the world-class Hotel Bel Air and Bel Air Country Club, and hosts no multi-family units. Most of its homes rest on large lots lining winding streets and nestled behind lush landscaping, walls, fences and gates. The neighborhood and many of its residences have been the settings of numerous films and television shows, and it has always been known as the home of Hollywood celebrities and other notables, including President Ronald Reagan. Approximately two-thirds of the community’s residents hold university degrees, with over one-quarter having graduate degrees.

There are three sub-divisions within the neighborhood: East Gate Old Bel Air, West Gate Bel Air and Upper Bel Air. The community is within the Los Angeles Unified School District and has two public schools, four private schools and the American Jewish University. The Bel Air Homeowners Alliance and Bel Air Association are two of the most outspoken neighborhood associations in the Los Angeles area.

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Beverly Hills

Internationally known as the home of the well-heeled and well-known, Beverly Hills is a quintessential mecca of luxurious residential living, elite retail emporiums, gourmet dining and world-class hotels and spas. It is unquestionably a city with many of the most lavish homes and estates on the entire globe. Originally bean farms and ranchland, the enclave was first subdivided for residential development in 1906, incorporated in 1914, and named after Beverly Farms in Massachusetts. Its first roads were created during a brief oil boom, however it quickly evolved into the community of choice for celebrities and the most influential movers and shakers of the entertainment and international business worlds. Perhaps a little known fact is there are still a handful of producing oil wells discreetly tucked away within the city’s boundaries.

Beverly Hills and two of its neighboring communities, Holmby Hills and Bel Air, form a “Platinum Triangle” of what has been touted as the most expensive residential and commercial real estate in the United States. Most of the approximately 35,000 privileged residents of Beverly Hills reside on a broad plain known as “The Flats,” while the community’s most luxurious and pricey estates are in its hills.

Services, Social and Cultural Activities

There are 6 public schools in Beverly Hills, all part of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, and 5 private schools. Although most neighborhoods of the city are not conducive to block parties and pick-up basketball games, there are 8 public parks and 7 public “mini-parks” offering a wide variety of walking, biking, sports and other activities. Perhaps the most versatile park location in LA is Greystone Mansion. The historic 55-room 1920s-era home and its sprawling grounds are open to the public for various social and cultural activities and functions. When one thinks of shopping in Beverly Hills, that now famous line in the film “Pretty Woman” comes to mind: “Rodeo Drive, baby.” The epitome of luxury shopping, the three-block stretch of retail heaven between Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards is lined with establishments representing many of the most elite names in fashion, jewelry, art and more.

There is much more to Beverly Hills than luxury estates and glamorous shopping, however, and to discover it all check out the official Beverly Hills website, and the website of the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce.

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Nestled at the eastern foot of the Santa Monica Mountains, LA’s Brentwood also borders the prestigious neighborhood of Bel Air and cities of Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. Brentwood is not only one of the Los Angeles area’s most affluent neighborhoods, its residents are some of the city’s most highly educated. Of its approximately 33,000 population, more than two-thirds hold college degrees while over half have graduate or professional degrees. Its academic, business and professional residents share their privileged corner of LA with students from nearby St. Mary’s College and UCLA, as well as with a “Who’s Who” of celebrities and power-brokers from the entertainment industry.

Brentwood’s bustling commercial district — lined with luxury multi-story condominium structures as well as luxury boutiques, fine dining establishments and salons — spans San Vicente, Wilshire and Sunset Boulevards. Beyond the business core are upscale neighborhoods and gated enclaves offering a variety of single-family homes and world-class estates.

Services, Cultural and Social Activities

Brentwood offers a plethora of schools, cultural and social activities. Nine public schools and 15 private schools are either in the neighborhood, or are nearby and serve the community. The internationally-renowned Getty Center, one of the world’s major museums, rests on a hill overlooking Brentwood and the entire LA Basin. Its sister location, the Getty Villa, is located in nearby Pacific Palisades. The Skirball Museum, a part of the Skirball Cultural Center and dedicated to the accomplishments, culture and history of the Jewish people in the United States, is also located in the community. Brentwood Country Mart, Brentwood Village, and the Brentwood Green are popular shopping and socializing spots, as is a much-loved Sunday Farmers’ Market. The public Crestwood Hills Park offers a community room, basketball courts, a children’s play area and picnic tables, while the larger Barrington Recreation Center provides a community center, tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds and a dog park. Mountain bikers and hikers have access to the nearby fire roads in the Santa Monica Mountains.


Over the years, developers, Realtors and local residents have defined several residential neighborhoods within the approximate boundaries of Brentwood. They range in size from just a few blocks, to many acres.

  • Brentwood Circle
  • Brentwood Country Estates
  • Brentwood Flats
  • Brentwood Glen
  • Brentwood Heights
  • Brentwood Highlands
  • Brentwood Hills (Home to Mount St. Mary’s College and the Getty Center.)
  • Brentwood Park
  • Brentwood Terrace
  • Bundy Canyon
  • Crestwood Hills
  • Kenter Canyon
  • Mandeville Canyon
  • Mountaingate
  • Museum Heights
  • South Brentwood
  • Westgate
  • Westridge Hills
  • Westridge Heights

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Century City

Technically a neighborhood or district rather than a city, Century City was developed on just over 170 acres that once belonged to early-day cowboy actor Tom Mix who used it as a ranch. It later became a back lot for 20th Century Fox Studios, which still has its headquarters in the community. A relatively new business and residential district by Los Angeles standards, it saw its first commercial structure completed in 1963. Today, several high-rise towers contribute to its landscape. It is bordered by Beverly Hills, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles and Westwood. Its population of approximately 6,000 residents swells to around 50,000 during the week as business and professional commuters arrive to fill offices and the retail establishments of the Century City Shopping Mall, also known as Westfield Century City.

Residents, Residences and Education

Century City hosts one of LA’s most educated populations with more than 50 percent of its residents over 25 years of age having university degrees. While there are many good public schools in surrounding communities, there are none in Century City, although there are 3 private schools there. Residents occupy a fairly wide range of accommodations; from relatively modest single-family homes, to multi-million-dollar high-rise condominiums.

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The word “Malibu” conjures visions of beautiful beaches, beautiful people and many of the most luxurious beach homes on the entire West Coast of the United States, and including those in the exclusive gated enclave, “Malibu Colony,” best-known for its high-profile residents in the entertainment industry. In fact, the City of Malibu is world-renowned for its population of surfers, celebrities, eccentrics and otherwise notable people. It’s a more than 20-mile-long stretch of spectacular coastline paralleled by an equally well-known ribbon of road called the Pacific Coast Highway. “PCH” in local parlance. Its high-rises are 2-story beach bungalows and traditional business attire often means bathing suits and flip-flops, or jodhpurs and riding boots. If it’s an ambiance of relaxed luxury and the quintessential indoor-outdoor lifestyle you’re after, then Malibu is a great choice.

Most of Malibu’s nearly 13,000 residents live within a quarter-mile or so of the beach, with some residing in canyons up to a mile away from PCH. The community is bordered by Topanga on the east, Ventura County on the west, and is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean to its south and the Santa Monica Mountains to its north. There are 7 beaches and 4 parks within the town’s boundaries; with several others in close proximity. The 4 public schools are overseen by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and there are 6 private schools, including Pepperdine University.

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Pacific Palisades

Known by locals and referred to by the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce as “The Palisades,” this affluent section of Los Angeles shares borders with Malibu, Santa Monica and Brentwood, and counts the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains as its playground and Santa Monica Bay as its front door. Most of its approximately 27,000 residents have a strong affection for their community and a vibrant community spirit. The downtown core – known by locals as “the village” – hosts an array of restaurants and cafes, boutiques and a popular Sunday Farmer’s Market. Living accommodations include apartments and condominiums, vintage bungalows and other single-family homes, and multi-million dollar estates. The more pricey properties often provide dramatic ocean and mountain views, and many are owned by celebrities as well as successful professionals and business moguls.

The community’s modern history began in 1911 Thomas Ince one of Hollywood’s pioneer film directors, built a production facility that came to be known as “Inceville.” In its relatively brief heyday, it employed as many as 600 people. A decade later, the land was purchased with the intent to form an elaborate religious commune. Pacific Palisades was officially founded in 1922.

Schools, Culture and Recreation

The 5 public schools in Pacific Palisades are under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Unified School District. The community also has 6 private schools. Recreation and a generally active lifestyle are important to residents who can enjoy Palisades Park and the Palisades Recreation Center, Rustic Canyon Park, Temescal Canyon Park, and popular Will Rogers State Historic Park & Polo Club.

Pacific Palisades Neighborhoods

  • The Village
  • The Via Mesa
  • The Huntington Palisades
  • The Alphabet Streets
  • The El Medio Mesa
  • Marquez Knolls
  • Castellammare
  • Palisades Highlands
  • Rustic Canyon
  • The Riviera

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Santa Monica

A thriving beachfront community by the time it reached its 10th birthday in 1885, Santa Monica was scoring accolades all the way to the East Coast. During the following two decades, the town gained attention for its expansive entertainment pier and several popular hotels. Today, the City of Santa Monica is known for its unsurpassed beachfront location, nearly endless social, cultural and recreational opportunities, and its upscale, well-designed and ultra-hip downtown boasting a car-free promenade that is within strolling distance from the beach. More than one-quarter of its 90,000 or so residents hold graduate degrees and its Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is one of the best in California. In addition to its public schools, 10 private schools serve the city in addition to Santa Monica College,  Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School and The Art Institute of California — Los Angeles.

Housing runs the gamut, from modest and high-end condos and apartments, to single family bungalows and luxury homes. Its citizenry is eclectic as well. Prominent professionals, executives and celebrities mingle with students and surfers. With the Pacific Ocean as its front yard, Santa Monica shares its remaining borders with several LA neighborhoods, including Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, West Los Angeles, Mar Vista and Venice.

Culture and Recreation

Santa Monica enjoys a colorful and rich history, beginning with its original inhabitants, the Tongva people, and its subsequent discovery by explorer Gaspar de Portolàin in 1769, and on to it becoming a destination for the railroad and a major player in aircraft production during World War II.

The city’s many attractions include the historically-significant and wildly popular Santa Monica Pier, built in 1909; three museums; an equal number of shopping districts; music, film and stage venues; large and small parks and recreation facilities; and numerous special events including the Santa Monica International Film Festival.


  • Santa Monica Canyon
  • La Mesa Drive / North of San Vicente
  • North of Montana Avenue
  • Montana Avenue
  • North of Wilshire
  • Ocean Avenue
  • Downtown Santa Monica
  • Midtown Santa Monica
  • Pico District
  • Ocean Park Neighborhood
  • Sunset Park

There is a significant amount of additional information about Santa Monica online, in the press, and in popular books and periodicals.

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The community we now known as Westwood had its modern-day beginning as the 3,300 acre ranch of Arthur Letts, founder of the Broadway and Bullock’s department stores. Residential development began in 1922. Now surrounded by other exclusive communities including Bel Air, Brentwood and Beverly Hills, and incorporating ultra-affluent Holmby Hills, Westwood is a dynamic community hosting approximately 58,000 residents. The population swells daily with an influx of professionals and ancillary personnel headed to local high-rises, and with thousands of students attending classes at UCLA, the massive Los Angeles campus of the University of California. The community’s commercial center, Westwood Village, hosts a skyline often mistake for downtown LA due to its tall business buildings and upscale multi-story condominium and apartment complexes visible for miles. This 2-mile-long stretch of Wilshire Boulevard is often called “Millionaire’s Mile.”

Holmby Hills

Nestled within Westwood, the Holmby Hills section is sometimes referred to as the most affluent neighborhood in the United States, according to some publications and pundits. Until recently, when the enclave’s boundaries were revised to include some less pricey blocks, the mean annual household income of its residents was over $600,000, and closer to at least $800,000 in the “estates” section. The 400 acre neighborhood, originally part of what was the Wolfskill Ranch, and purchased by Arthur Letts for $100 an acre, was intended to be an enclave of “grand estates.” More interesting history can be found on the website of the Holmby Hills Homeowners Association. That group represents residents in the northern section, while the Holmby Westwood Property Owners Association serves those in the southern part of the area.

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Lake Sherwood

Resting serenely in the Santa Monica Mountains south of the city of Thousand Oaks and west of Westlake Village, the exclusive Lake Sherwood community consists of only approximately 660 homes in 3 gated neighborhoods and a guarded and gated golf club enclave. There are also homes around the namesake 165-acre Lake Sherwood, the oldest man-made lake in California, created in 1909. Sherwood Lake Club and the Sherwood Country Club are nearby. With its name originating from the area’s use as “Sherwood Forrest” in the early motion pictures Robin Hood, starring Douglas Fairbanks, and The Adventures of Robin Hood, featuring Errol Flynn, the upscale community has always counted among its residents celebrities in the entertainment and sports worlds. In fact, since the community’s population is only around 1,500, one could say the per capita presence of well-known individuals is relatively high. Close to 95 percent of the homes in Lake Sherwood are owner-occupied.

Since there are no retail establishments in Lake Sherwood, residents patronize those in nearby communities. Schools are also absent, although the area is served by the Conejo Valley Unified School District, with students attending classes in Westlake Village.

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Westlake Village

Westlake Village is actually part incorporated city and part planned community within the neighboring city of Thousand Oaks. It also straddles Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The City of Westlake Village partly surrounds Westlake Lake, a 125-acre man-made lake, and hosts a population of just over 8,000 residents. It is one of the wealthiest municipalities in the entire Los Angeles area. Nearly 60 percent of its residents over the age of 25 have college degrees, and more than a quarter of the population have earned graduate and professional degrees. There are 5 public and 5 private schools.

Following its occupation for hundreds of years by the Chumash people, and its subsequent assessment as Mexican and Spanish land grants, the area was purchased for cattle ranching in 1881, was owned for a time by William Randolph Hearst, then became a movie ranch where dozens of films and television shows were shot until the early 1960’s.

Business and Pleasure

Westlake Village plays a role as an exclusive and relatively secluded exclusive bedroom community for Los Angeles, although it is also home to numerous large corporations, including Dole Food Company, Anheuser-Busch, Jaffra Cosmetics, and J.D. Power and Associates. There are several golf courses and country clubs, as well as hiking and horseback riding in the vast open space surrounding the community. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is nearby.

Extensive additional information and statistics about Westlake Village are available on the website

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