Welcome to the Los Angeles Chapter of the Vanderbilt Alumni Association! The LA leadership committee strives to enrich your lives by reconnecting you with old friends, introducing you to new friends and supporting your career path. Please join us at one of our many events in the area-we have an exciting calendar shaping up.
As the saying goes, "a rising tide lifts all boats." The more support you are able to offer your fellow alumni, the better off we all are. Come out and get involved! If you have any ideas for future events or comments on past events, please feel free to contact us at any time.
We look forward to seeing you very soon. Anchor down!
Life After Vanderbilt Guide - Los Angeles
Where to Live
As far as finding a place to live, LA is very spread out-and there are a huge variety of neighborhoods to choose from in terms of ambiance, what kind of housing you want, urban or natural surroundings, and even climate.
The important tip about finding a place to live is to avoid a long commute if you can. Even if your office is only 15 miles from your home, you will be looking at a long ride in traffic every day, so definitely consider location relative to your job.
The Valley is way better than people make it sound. My favorite area is Ventura and Laurel Canyon. And make friends with people in the movie business. I haven't paid to see a movie in years, and I usually see them before they're out to the general public. Or sign up to be in a test audience. '11
Things are very spread out in LA and traffic is a nightmare every single day so plan ahead for gas and time if you are going to live far from work. Also, unlike most cities, downtown is NOT where nightlife is, so don't move there expecting to be in the trendy spot. '14
This city is different than many of my friends assume. There is way more to Los Angeles than Hollywood and the beach. There is great food, beautiful hikes and fun festivals.
People forget that LA is the second largest city in America and that a diversity of people and industry exists here. The weather is wonderful and if you like to get outdoors, you can take advantage of a lot, here. It is definitely spread out and there is traffic, so I find that my friends in more central locations are able to see and do more. Unlike most cities, the center is not downtown. People who live in and around West Hollywood have equal access to Santa Monica, Downtown and Burbank. However, depending on your personality it also helps to choose a part of town that reflects your interests and is somewhat near to where you work. If you are unsure, I recommend subletting for a few months to give you time to explore the city. '11
The areas highlighted below are where most young professionals (in both creative and traditional fields) choose to live.
- Downtown - Downtown has experienced a huge revitalization, which has included the construction of numerous new apartment and condo buildings as well as restaurants, bars and other entertainment facilities like L.A. Live. Neighborhoods nearby include Hollywood, Koreatown and Silverlake.
- Hollywood/Los Feliz/Larchmont - Most people who say they live in Hollywood actually live in one of the surrounding neighborhoods such as Los Feliz or Larchmont Village. True Hollywood can be very seedy, but these surrounding neighborhoods offer all the access as well as safer living. Larchmont Village has a wide variety of places to eat and hang out. Hancock Park, while very nice, is the more upscale area that is more expensive and geared towards families and couples. If you are interested in moving some place with an energetic, young and urban vibe, this may be the place.
- La Brea/Mid City - The area has many apartments at more reasonable prices than other areas of the Westside. It also boasts numerous attractions like the Grove Mall (an outdoor shopping mall with a farmer's market), LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits and countless shopping and food options.
- Culver City - Downtown Culver City has also gone through a transformation. There are great restaurants and a movie theater all around the Sony Studios.
- West Hollywood - This area is conveniently located and provides easy access to Century City, Downtown and Santa Monica. It also has some of the best food and nightlife in the city. West Hollywood is very safe and apartments and houses here are more expensive than in the La Brea or Hollywood area.
- Santa Monica/Venice/Marina del Rey/Playa - South of Montana in Santa Monica there are a variety of apartment options, and Montana Street offers a mix of restaurants, shops and other amenities. North of Montana is most single-family homes. As you move south towards Venice and Marina Del Rey, both prices become more affordable and options are more eclectic. While Venice is certainly a lower cost option than Santa Monica be careful where you live as the area differs greatly block by block. Marina del Rey and Playa Vista are a lower cost options than Santa Monica, but do not have as many amenities as Venice.
- South Bay (Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach & Redondo Beach) - The South Bay communities are more reasonably priced than Santa Monica but offer many of the same amenities beach living have to offer. It is the perfect place for those who enjoy an active lifestyle and social life.
- Studio City/Sherman Oaks - If you are going to be working in the valley - Sherman Oaks and Studio City are affordable and great places to live. They have a more "neighborhoody" feel than other parts of LA. It is also a quick 15-minute drive over the hill from West Hollywood, and 10 minutes down the freeway from Hollywood makes for a central location. Sherman Oaks is just down the road and also has a variety of cute shops and restaurants and is centrally located.
- The Grove in LA is a wonderful outdoor mall that has everything from Barneys to Nordstrom, all sorts of cafes, and a huge movie theater.
- 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica is a street blocked off to traffic that is packed with shopping and dining.
- The Beverly Center in LA is probably the best shopping mall in the area. It is multiple floors of very high end-Louis Vuitton, etc.-to anchor stores like Macy's and Bloomingdales to Bebe, Forever 21, H&M, etc. It has pretty much anything you would like to buy.
- Melrose Avenue is also a neat place to shop-the funky vintage stores have cool finds at cheap prices, and a bit further west on Melrose you will find Marc Jacobs, Fred Segal, Miss 60 and other high-end boutiques.
- Hollywood and Highland has a fun outdoor mall.
- The Country Mart in Brentwood is also a popular place for shopping and fun cafes.
- Malibu - Planet Blue, etc.-you are guaranteed a celeb-spotting if you spend enough time shopping and going to the Coffee Bean in Malibu!
- Santee Alley - If you are looking for REAL bargains, and all sorts of fake designer stuff, Santee Alley in downtown LA is the place to be. It's a cash-only spot-be prepared to bargain with the vendors.
Things to Do
- The Getty Center in West LA
- Getty Villa in Malibu
- Museum of Contemporary Art
- La Brea Tar Pits
- The Petersen Automotive Museum
- Pacific Design Center (a huge design center that provides any fabric, furniture, appliances, etc. for the home-it mainly sells only to designers.)
- Runyon Canyon and the Santa Monica Mountains for hiking
- Huntington Gardens for beautiful gardens