Los Angeles, CA Neighborhood guides

Sawtelle – A Walkable, Culture-Filled Enclave Bustling with L.A. Charm

Sawtelle offers all the pleasures of living on Los Angeles’ Westside. Here you’ll find lovely tree-lined streets, top-rated schools and an endless variety of shopping and dining choices, including some of the best-kept secret spots west of the I-405 freeway. With apartments and housing options every bit as elegant as those in neighboring Brentwood and Santa Monica, this diverse district promises plenty of choices for every renter.

Where is Sawtelle?

Reaching west from the I-405, Sawtelle is bounded by Santa Monica on the west, by Mar Vista and Palms to the south, by Brentwood to the north and by Century City to the east. Beverly Hills and Culver City are just a fifteen-minute drive away – and with nearby access to the 10 freeway, Hollywood and Downtown are reachable within a half hour.

History

The area began as a quiet independent town just west of Los Angeles, but was incorporated into the city in 1922. Even today, it’s still known for its small-town feel; a charming middle-class neighborhood nestled among some of the Westside’s most affluent areas. Sawtelle is also distinguished by its above-average Asian population – in fact, one particularly charming stretch of Sawtelle Blvd. is officially recognized as Sawtelle Japantown.

Lifestyle

What to Do

It’s easy to spend a whole day at the Brentwood Place Shopping Center, which boasts a dazzling variety of high-end designer stores and a selection of international gourmet dining options.

On Sawtelle Blvd. boutiques like Black Market offer unique takes on contemporary and vintage fashion, while the Giant Robot Store and Tokyo Japanese Outlet are bursting with toys and games fresh from the other side of the world.

On a hot summer day, there’s no better place to cool off than Stoner Park Pool – which is actually much more of a full-fledged kid-friendly water complex than an ordinary swimming pool. The surrounding Stoner Park also offers a skate plaza, a baseball field, a set of tennis courts and a full selection of other recreational facilities.

You’ll also find delightful little stores dotted all along Sawtelle, dedicated to Japanese cultural products like anime, hand-crafts and bonsai. You’ll even see Japanese grocery stores, hair salons and holistic health offices.

Where to Eat & Drink

When it comes to shopping, dining and entertainment, you can’t go wrong with Sawtelle Blvd., also officially known as Sawtelle Japantown. In this vibrant area, you can explore Japanese culture to your heart’s content – from curry and ramen restaurants to upscale sushi bars and boba tea shops.

Whatever you do, don’t skip Quicksand, whose turkey banh-mi sandwich and salmon burger are both guaranteed to make your mouth water. If you’re in the mood for dessert, top off your trip with some cruncy, cinnamony churros from Churros Calientes.

 

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Also, Plan Check Kitchen & Bar serves comfort food and custom cocktails; they specialize in whiskey drinks and this location has a unique selection of Japanese whiskey.

 

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By night, Sawtelle is every bit as enchanting as it is in daylight hours. Mom’s Bar brings together an eclectic mix of DJs for their dance floor, and The Arsenal provides a cutting-edge list of cocktails.

Moving to Sawtelle

Real Estate Snapshot

When it comes to apartments in the area, the sheer range of choices available can be dizzying. Secluded garden retreats, airy lofts and sleek modern penthouses are all here for the taking – along with more affordable options. Whichever you choose, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the peaceful natural charm that distinguishes this delightful bit of the Westside.

Apartments for rent in Sawtelle tend to run higher than those of some other L.A. neighborhoods – though it’s often more affordable than rent in Santa Monica or Brentwood. According to RENTCafé data, average asking rent for Sawtelle apartments is approximately $2,593.

Sawtelle residents consider the neighborhood safe, peaceful, and community-oriented. With its mix of quiet streets, vibrant shopping areas and office complexes, it’s often described as one of the safest areas in all of L.A.

Transportation

From its position next to the I-405 and I-10 freeways, Sawtelle achieves a perfect balance between easy access to the great Santa Monica beaches, LA’s thriving Downtown and distance from the city’s busiest traffic hubs. Santa Monica Boulevard – otherwise known as the CA-2 highway – runs along the north edge of the neighborhood, and Olympic and Pico Boulevards run along the south edge. The area also offers plenty of stops for the L.A. Metro bus system, as well as the Big Blue Bus system that serves Santa Monica.

Schools & Employment

The Sawtelle neighborhood’s public, private, and charter schools are known for holding their students to high standards, and for providing highly rated education to children from a diverse variety of backgrounds. Clover Avenue Elementary is one of the top-performing schools in all Los Angeles, outperforming the city averages by a significant margin. New West Charter Middle also earns high marks from education advocates.

Unlike nearby Santa Monica and Brentwood, Sawtelle caters mainly to young professionals so there’s a plethora of job opportunities around.

In the midst of the L.A. Westside’s hustle and bustle, Sawtelle stands out as a surprisingly peaceful, secluded neighborhood with a diverse and fascinating culture. Renters who feel the pull of this alluring neighborhood can find a wide range of options at www.rentcafe.com.

Check out more Los Angeles neighborhood guides:

Koreatown – The Little City That Never Sleeps
Westwood – Live Large in the Center of It All
Sherman Oaks – Timeless Elegance in the Heart of the Valley
Hollywood – a Vibrant LA Neighborhood with Celebrity Status

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About the author

Florentina Sarac

Florentina Sarac is a creative writer, editor, and researcher for RENTCafé. She covers a variety of topics, from real estate trends, demographic shifts, housing industry news and multifamily construction to homeownership, smart-home technology, personal finance and business. With a 7-year background in the real estate industry, Florentina has also penned articles for publications such as Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive and the National Apartment Association Magazine. You can connect with Florentina via email.

Florentina’s work and expertise have been featured in several major U.S. and international publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bisnow, The Mercury News, Curbed, The NY Post, CBS News, Business Insider and Realtor.com. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish, as well as an M.A. in Multilingual and Multicultural Communication, which serve as a testament to her love of literature and language.

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