Westside Real Estate with Molly Bennett


My friend Molly is a recovered entertainment lawyer who now works in real estate in West LA. I posed a number of questions regarding neighborhoods in the Westside, and she offered the following conclusions:

Favorite 5 neighborhoods to live in LA and why.

  1. Larchmont — it’s adorable, walkable, and they have the best farmer’s market.  If you want to live closer to downtown or even Century City, this is a great option. The median price of current Active 3bed/2bath homes is $1,244,000.
  2. Playa del Rey — it’s close to the beach and you get a lot for your money.  I love the vibe of Playa.  It’s just the right amount of quaint, untouched, old-school beach shanty town mixed with some new, upscale bars and restaurants.  And you can’t beat the $2.25 pints of PBR and free appetizers at Prince o’ Whales! The only current listing for a 3 bed condo is at $629,000.
  3. Ocean Park in Santa Monica — I lived there for three years and still miss it.  You can walk to all the bars and restaurants that Main Street and Abbot Kinney have to offer, you’re blocks from the beach, and it’s easy enough to tune out the occasional drunk bar patron making a scene at 2:00 in the morning. The median price of a 3 bed condo is currently $2,400,000.
  4. Pacific Palisades — if you can afford it, it’s amazing.  Great schools, ocean views, and a brand new downtown development in The Village created by Rick Caruso, who also did The Grove. The median price of a 3 bed/2 bath house (with one $25 million outlier removed) is $1,936,000.
  5. Venice Canals — this is one of my absolute favorite neighborhoods in LA because there’s nothing else like it (well, not here anyway).  It’s beautiful, everyone is always outside playing games, walking, grilling, or even boating, and you are centrally located to everything on the westside (and walkable to Venice and Marina del Rey). The median price of 3-bedroom homes sold within the last 6 months is $3,400,000.

Best neighborhood for walkability. 

Playa Vista is really the best neighborhood for walkability because it’s completely self-contained.  You never have to leave to go to the gym, dog park, pool, restaurants, or even Whole Foods.  If a master-planned oasis isn’t quite your style, then Santa Monica is also a great bet.

Best neighborhood for having a baby.

I actually love Culver City for new parents.  The schools are great, downtown Culver City is totally trendy right now and there are tons of family-friendly restaurants, and Culver City boasts lots of great parks for playtime.

Best neighborhood for entertainment.

I’m biased toward the westside because it’s where I’ve lived and worked the entire time I’ve been in LA, so I’m sure others will think I’m crazy for not saying Hollywood.  I’ve gotta say Venice, though!  Even people-watching on the boardwalk is entertaining, not to mention to awesome food scene, rooftop bars, and great local vibe.

Best neighborhood for commuting downtown.

This one’s tough for me.  Nowhere on the westside has a great commute to downtown, so Larchmont/Hancock Park would be my go-to areas.  Koreatown is also super hot right now, and you can still get in for a reasonable price before all the new high-rises are completed.  There are some great areas farther east, like Silverlake and Echo Park, but they’re just a little too hipster for my personal taste.

Best neighborhood for commuting to the Westside.

There are a lot of good ones depending on where you commute on the westside.  You can’t go wrong with West LA because it has easy freeway access, but I also love Brentwood if you’re able to be a little farther from the 405.