Article updated January 2021.
If your idea of California living involves sunny skies and an ocean breeze, Wilshire – Montana is a neighborhood built to satisfy your day dreams. It is a wealthy neighborhood in Santa Monica that caters to young professionals and established families with higher incomes. Residents enjoy access to ample shopping, high-class dinning, and top-notch schools.
Where is Wilshire – Montana?
Wilshire Montana, generally referred to simply as “North of Wilshire,” is located north of Wilshire Boulevard, one of the main roads that runs from the Pacific Ocean all the way to Downtown Los Angeles. The Western edge of the neighborhood traces right along the edge of the Santa Monica Palisades, which overlooks the ocean. The commercial district of Santa Monica, with ample shopping and dining options, is located immediately south of Wilshire Montana.
Santa Monica was established as a city in the 1880s and quickly became a popular resort area, complete with oceanfront hotels and amusement parks. One such popular hotel, The Arcadia Hotel was a luxurious oceanfront attraction. The Santa Monica Pier was also built in the early days of settlement of the area. As fun as the boardwalk is now, it’s original purpose was purely functional: it was designed to cover a sewage pipe that drained directly into the ocean. It served this purpose from 1909 until 1920.
Despite the wealthy beginnings of the city, it suffered during the Great Depression and on until the economic boom brought on by World War II which helped Santa Monica’s economy considerably. Also key in the growth of the area was the construction of the Santa Monica Freeway in the 1950s.
Wilshire-Montana is generally an area that allows residents to invest in themselves; yoga studios, fitness clubs, and areas to go jogging are everywhere. The salt air from the ocean drifts through the atmosphere as visitors make their way to art events, performances, and book stores. Coffee shops seem to be on every corner and there is always something new to discover about yourself and the creative people around you just by walking the lively streets.
The population of the Wilshire – Montana area generally consists of well-educated, well-established, working professionals with families.
What to Do
Directly across from the Northern boundary of Wilshire – Montana is the Third Street Promenade, an open air mall featuring three blocks of retail stores, a movie theater, and high-end dining.
Montana Avenue features smaller shops, cafes, art galleries, and high-end boutiques. On warm nights, visitors casually stroll the block as they window shop and people watch and enjoy musicians performing outdoors. The Santa Monica Farmers Market is the perfect spot for fresh produce, hosted on Second Street every Wednesday and Saturday. Wilshire Montana’s arts area is home to the Aero Theatre on Montana Avenue; restored and operated by the American Cinematheque, this historic landmark hosts special screenings of classic films, film festivals and a year long speaker series.
Where to Eat & Drink
Foodies will love it here. Chic French cuisine can be found at the Michelin rated restaurant Citrin and Melisse, complete with an impressive wine list. However, for much less money you can feast on Indian cuisine at Chandni. They are known for their vegetarian menu; make sure to ask for their Paneer Tikka Masala with garlic Naan, it does not disappoint.
Moving to Wilshire – Montana
Real Estate Snapshot
The majority of residents in Wilshire – Montana live in single-family homes but there are also a substantial number of apartments and condos, especially located close to the ocean. The average rent for Wilshire – Montana apartments is $3,000, which is lower than Santa Monica’s $3,590.
Houses are generally small, Craftsman-style residences that have been remodeled. Most homes may not be as massive as the estates found further north in Santa Monica, but they are generally pretty expensive. Such is the cost of perfect weather, ocean views, and high-level amenities within walking distance.
Like most of Los Angelinos, the residents of Wilshire – Montana primarily rely on cars for daily transportation; however Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus line crosses through the neighborhood connecting to the surrounding areas. Regular bus lines connect to Beverly Hills, Downtown Los Angeles, and east L.A. Otherwise, travel by taxi or Uber are always options. The Santa Monica Freeway connects to the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as the “PCH”, a direct route to Malibu.
Parking in Santa Monica is a hassle, unless you live in an area with designated parking. Street parking is often confusing, and if you don’t read the signs correctly expect to rack up some parking tickets. Bike lanes are ample, located on almost every street, and bike racks are located outside most shops. Often residents simply walk, because most destinations are located fairly close and the sun is usually shining.
Compared to the rest of Los Angeles, there are not a ton of schools located in Wilshire – Montana, only sixteen public schools in the Santa Monica School District. They are, however, known to be high-quality schools rated very well by parents. Class sizes are small so students receive quality, individualized attention.
If you dream of biking to yoga along the beach as the sun washes over you, and you are not averse to spending a healthy amount of money on your lifestyle, Wilshire-Montana is possibly one of the greatest locations to live the California dream. Sip a latte and browse rental listings on RentCafe, you may just end up finding home.