Westlake, Los Angeles: A Low Cost Alternative to Downtown Living

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Westlake is a community that is slowly becoming a location for artists and young families to live at a lower cost, while still having access to the downtown area. History, art and food lovers gravitate to this neighborhood, as well as a plethora of great restaurants and entertainment spots.

Where is Westlake?

Westlake, not to be confused with Westlake Village, is located in Central Los Angeles just to the west of Koreatown and south of the hipster neighborhoods of Silverlake and Echo Park. It is slightly north of Downtown with boundaries defined by some of LA’s oldest and most well-traveled roads — the Hollywood Freeway, the Harbor Freeway, West Olympic, Temple Street and Glendale Blvd.


Westlake was one of the first residential neighborhoods in Los Angeles; by the 1900s it was an area of affluence, similar to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Housing back then would have been mostly mansions and the population enjoyed a pristine MacArthur Park, an area that was once known as the Champs-Élysées of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Railway’s Yellow Line was the primary form of transportation, with 20 lines and 1,250 street cars. When the freeways were built in the 1950s, the streetcar lines began to loose popularity, and were abandoned in 1963, replaced with diesel buses.


What to Do

The culture is one of the most attractive aspects of Westlake; here you will find historic MacArthur Park, Filipinotown, Lafayette Park and Temple-Beaudry. While many of these historic landmarks were dilapidated for decades, the area has begun the process of a slow revitalization.

Artists from across LA have converted abandoned rail tunnels into public murals and recently MacArthur park was used as the location of a floating public art installation that consisted of 3,000 painted spheres.

Where to Eat and Drink

The food is one of the best reasons to come to Westlake, home to some of LA’s best known historic dining establishments as well as a bevy of newer up-and-coming restaurants. A taste of the area’s Jewish history can be found at Langer’s Deli on Alvarado St; their pastrami sandwich is a taste of salty goodness that hasn’t changed since the 1940s.

Westlake is also the location of the first Original Tommy’s Burger and the first American El Pollo Loco.

Moving to Westlake

Real Estate Snapshot

The options in Westlake are quite diverse – single-family homes, condos, apartments and investment/commercial properties. However, the majority of people who live here choose to rent. In terms of Los Angeles rent, this is one of the more affordable areas in the city; average Los Angeles rent is $2,375 while the average cost of renting Westlake apartments is $2,080. The cost of living in Westlake is fairly affordable for Los Angeles, which is why a lot of people move here.


Like most Los Angeles neighborhoods, travel by automobile is the most popular method of transportation throughout the city; the nearest freeways are the Hollywood Freeway and the Harbor Freeway. The Los Angeles Metro’s Red and Purple lines run through the area making it easy for commuters who work downtown.

Schools & Employment

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to education. Los Angeles School of Global Studies, Harold McAlister High School, Sal Castro Middle School or Union Avenue Elementary School are just some of them.

Available jobs can be found mostly in the food industry as there are many restaurants spread around the neighborhood.

Want an urban feel with lots of great entertainment spots and plenty of lush parks you can wander? Then Westlake would probably be right for you.

Check out more Los Angeles neighborhood guides:

Living in Palms, Los Angeles: A Historic Neighborhood, Populated by Millennials
Hollywood – a Vibrant LA Neighborhood with Celebrity Status
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
Sawtelle – A Walkable, Culture-Filled Enclave Bustling with L.A. Charm

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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 9-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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