Santa Monica is one of the premier beach communities to live in Southern California.
Here is detailed information on the great neighborhoods in Santa Monica
Santa Monica Canyon
Not part of the city of Santa Monica itself, Santa Monica Canyon is a misleadingly named adjacent neighborhood, facing out upon the Pacific Ocean. With winding roads and steep canyon walls this small enclave shares more with wooded Topanga Canyon than the city of Santa Monica. Home to musicians, movie stars, and aging beach bums, Santa Monica Canyon is part of the city of Los Angeles, and its Canyon Charter Elementary School is one of the most prestigious elementary schools in the LAUSD. The border between Santa Monica Canyon and the Palisades is Chautauqua Blvd.
North of San Vicente
North of Montana
South of San Vicente and north of Montana Avenue consist of larger family homes and lots. The streets in this portion of Santa Monica are Georgina, Marguerita, Alta, Carlyle, Brentwood Terrace and the “numbered streets” 4th, 7th, Lincoln, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, Euclid (which is where 13th would have been), 14th, 15th (the dividing line for Franklin versus Roosevelt Elementary schools), 16th, 17th (Which is where Gillettes’s Regent Square tract begins) 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st St, 21st Place (where Gillette’s tract ends), 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th.
Along with the area north of San Vicente and Santa Monica Canyon, this area constitutes the 90402 zip code. Houses are expensive here, among the most expensive in Los Angeles County and the country. The most expensive homes are located just north of San Vicente on La Mesa Drive. Most of the lot sizes are 7,500 square feet (700 m2) on 50′ X 150′ lots. The Gillette’s Regent Square tract, developed by King Gillette – the razor blade manufacturer, are 60′ wide lots.
North of San Vicente and north of Montana Avenue the streets are La Mesa Drive, La Mesa Way, Gale Place (Developed by one of the original area developers, Cecil Gale), Woodacres Road, Esparta Way, Ermont Place, Foxtail Drive, Larkin Place, Winnett Place and Adelaide Place.
West of 7th and East of Ocean Ave is the neighbor hood noted by 100′ x 220′ foot lots, some of which have been subdivided into 50X 220. Many of Santa Monica’s historically significant land marked home are located here, some of which are designated as such in National Registry.
North of Montana is served by 2 highly regarded public elementary schools – Franklin School for the residents on 15th through the west side of 26th and Roosevelt for the families on 14th Street down to Ocean Ave.
During Halloween, the streets near 16th Street and Georgina Avenue are famous for their prevalence of trick or treaters, parties, and sheer amount of people.
Montana Avenue is home to two elementary schools, a public library, and hundreds of upscale stores. There are three Starbucks (one inside Pavilions) two of which are located between 7th St. and 9th St., and one Peet’s Coffee and Tea among several independently owned cafes and coffee shops, including Caffe Luxxe. The businesses on this street are generally boutiques with a few national markets and banks. Montana Ave. is also home to The Aero Theater which is a repertory theater operated by The American Cinematheque. Every December and June the Montana Ave. Association hosts a neighborhood wide sale and festival where stores give holiday discounts, give free samples of food, or have clearance sales to make room for a new season of clothing. North of Montana (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.) is also the title of the first book in the FBI Special Agent Ana Grey mystery series, written by Santa Monica resident, April Smith. Continuously in print since 1994, North of Montana became notorious for being a fast-paced thriller that also examines complex relationships between upper-class white women and the Hispanic caretakers of their children.
North of Wilshire
North of Wilshire, but South of Montana Avenue, is a primarily residential neighborhood. Laid out on a consistent grid of numbered streets, there are many mid-sized homes and condominiums. On its westernmost end this neighborhood includes a number of well preserved Victorian duplex houses otherwise unique in the city. Smaller Craftsman era bungalows line the east-west avenues like Idaho, Washington, and California. Lincoln Middle School is on 14th Street and California Ave. At the corner of Washington Avenue and 22nd is the original Gehry House, a deconstructivist masterpiece that signaled a dramatic shift in Frank Gehry’s architectural style. Real estate is exceptionally expensive in this neighborhood, albeit slightly less expensive than the more stately properties north of Montana.
Ocean Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Santa Monica that runs along the Palisades Park, with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Ocean Avenue real estate is highly prized, as all residences have a full view of the beach and Pacific Ocean. South of California Ave are several hotels, restaurants, businesses, and homes. The Santa Monica Pier is located at Ocean Ave and Colorado Ave.
Downtown Santa Monica
Downtown Santa Monica is located south of California Avenue. The streets that make up downtown Santa Monica are Wilshire Boulevard, Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard, Broadway, and Colorado Avenue from 2nd street to 14th street. The Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place are located in the heart of downtown. Many restaurants, tourist sites, and hotels are in downtown Santa Monica. In particular, Santa Monica Boulevard has an abundance of car dealerships.
Midtown Santa Monica
Comprising most of the 90404 zip code Midtown Santa Monica stretches from 14th street to Centinela at its westernmost and easternmost extremities, and Wilshire Boulevard to Olympic Boulevard in its north and south. Alternating between major thoroughfares and quieter residential lanes, Midtown is less congested than many other parts of the city. Planned on a regular grid, Midtown Santa Monica was once home to a number of picturesque Craftsman houses and brightly painted Victorians, though only occasional examples of these can still be found. In the early 1940s the first wave of suburbanization overtook this part of the city and many preexisting structures were razed and replaced with tiny square California Bungalows with green lawns and small, private backyards. In the 1960s a large number of these increasingly dilapidated structures were demolished in favor of four and five unit condominium complexes and apartments. The easternmost edge of Midtown Santa Monica, often referred to as the “college streets” where Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley intersect with Wilshire Boulevard, represents one of the city’s primary gateways. Commemorating the spot where the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles (Brentwood neighborhood) share a border is the “Wave” a sculpture by Tony De Lap arching over Wilshire Boulevard near Franklin.
Before the 1960s, the neighborhood was much larger and was an important African-American enclave on the Westside, but when the Santa Monica Freeway opened in the 1960s, it resulted in the destruction of many residences and the relocation of a large number of families. Its boundaries are Lincoln Blvd to the west, Centinela Ave to the east, Colorado Ave to the north and Pico Blvd to the south. The Santa Monica Freeway runs through the area with access near both Lincoln Boulevard and Olympic Blvd. Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica College are both on Pico. Pico Blvd in Santa Monica has traffic lights at nearly every block, as well as local and middle class businesses. This is the most ethnically diverse area of Santa Monica, but this diversity is under threat as the area is rapidly becoming gentrified. While the city of Santa Monica has a very low crime rate compared to surrounding communities, this neighborhood is viewed by certain local activists as being the center of a modest, but growing, gang culture. The City of Santa Monica has been accused of ignoring the Pico District in the past, particularly when it came to issues regarding crime and gang activity.
Located in the southwest corner of Santa Monica is the Ocean Park neighborhood. This neighborhood has a mix of older smaller homes and apartment buildings and condos. Several housing towers are located along the beach. The area has a funky, artsy feel similar in manner to its neighbor Venice Beach. Many Santa Monica residents come to shop/browse on Main Street, home of many boutiques and restaurants. Main Street also hosts a weekly farmer’s market on Sundays. SMASH (an alternative school) and John Muir elementary schools are located in the neighborhood. Olympic High, an alternative high school, and Santa Monica High School are also located in the area.
Sunset Park is a residential neighborhood located between Pico Boulevard and the southern city limits and Lincoln Boulevard and eastern city limits. It is composed primarily of single-family housing. Most of the homes are small one-story houses built in the 1940s for workers at the Douglas Aircraft Factory. Remodeled or rebuilt homes are upscale.
Sunset Park is part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Will Rogers and Grant elementary schools and John Adams Middle School are located in the neighborhood. Santa Monica College, a two-year community college, is also located in Sunset Park.
Santa Monica Airport, one of the busiest single-runway airports in the nation, is located along the southern borders of the neighborhood.
Clover Park is a large park in the area with recreation facilities.