Article updated September 2020.
Once called North Los Angeles, the neighborhood known as Northridge is a jewel of the San Fernando Valley, home to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and some of the best public and private schools in the region.
Near the northwest edge of the San Fernando Valley, nestled between Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, the Granada Hills, and Reseda, Northridge combines urban living with access to the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside, including the nearby Chatsworth Reservoir and Lake Balboa.
The region that became Northridge was originally settled by the native Gabrielino or Tongva people, who built their dome-shaped houses in the area where Northridge is now located. When Spanish explorers came to the region in the 1700s, it was called Zelzah, and was home to fresh water fed by underground streams that still run beneath the neighborhood. Renamed North Los Angeles in 1929, the name was later changed to Northridge in 1938 to avoid confusion with nearby North Hollywood.
Who Lives Here?
With a population of more than 60,000 people according to L.A. Department of City Planning estimates, Northridge is still one of the least densely populated areas of Los Angeles. The neighborhood is also considered highly diverse for the area, with a higher-than-usual percentage of Asian residents. The median household income is around $68,000, and over the years Northridge has been home to its share of celebrities, including Barbara Stanwyck, Brian Grazer, and several professional athletes.
Why Move Here?
Areavibes.com ranks Northridge among the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, where Northridge receives an A or A+ grade in Housing, Weather, and Amenities, and has a total Livability score of 80, putting it 8% above the national average. Alongside some of the best public and private schools in the region, Northridge is also home to the Northridge Fashion Center, the largest shopping mall in the area, and one of only two hospitals in the San Fernando Valley certified for treating life-threatening injuries.
The California State University, Northridge is home to the CSUN Botanic Garden, as well as the Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium. Residents of Northridge can also enjoy the local Recreation Center – complete with outdoor heated pool on the grounds – as well as easy access to nearby parks and protected natural areas such as the Chatsworth Reservoir or the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park to the north and Lake Balboa to the south.
The neighborhood is home to dozens of restaurants, many of them concentrated along Reseda Blvd., and there are plenty of coffee shops near the CSUN campus, including half-a-dozen locations of the Freudian Sip coffee house on the University campus itself. The recently opened Gen Korean BBQ House at 10151 Reseda Blvd is ranked by Yelp as one of the best places to eat in Northridge, with more than 500 five-star reviews.
How Safe is Norhtridge?
With a crime rate that is 26% lower than the national average, Northridge is one of the safest areas in Los Angeles County, and is considered safer than 60% of the cities in California. Your odds of being a victim of a crime in Northridge are 1 in 46.
Cost of Living
One of the only areas where Northridge is not habitually ranked better than the majority of its neighbors is cost of living. With an average cost of living that is 5% higher than the rest of Los Angeles and 47% higher than the national average – with rent averaging at $1,894 according to RentCafe – Northridge can be an expensive place to live.
Bordered on almost all four sides by freeways, Northridge is a short drive away from downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood Hills, or the rest of the San Fernando Valley. It’s also only a few minutes away from the Bob Hope Airport, located just on the other side of North Hollywood, so it’s easy to get to Northridge, yet the neighborhood is also secluded enough from major traffic that it feels like a suburb rather than a big city.
Besides the CSUN campus, Northridge is also home to eleven public and eight private schools, including some of the best-ranked schools in the region, such as the Alfred Bernhard Nobel Middle School, which was the first air-conditioned school in the Los Angeles School District, and the Northridge Academy High School, which operates as a partnership between the School District and CSUN.
With a nearly 50/50 split between renters and home-owners, there are plenty of housing options in Northridge, from affordable university apartments near the CSUN campus to luxury condo living and beautiful houses.
What You Can Rent in Northridge
At $1,894/mo. on average, renting in Northridge is not cheap; yet compared to the LA average of $2,524, the neighborhood provides quite a few reasonably priced housing options. There’s something for everyone here, from relatively affordable university housing to luxury lofts and condos, all within a few blocks of CSUN campus.
Parc Ridge Apartments
Looking for luxury and a convenient location? Look no further than Parc Ridge Apartments, located just between the CSUN campus and the Northridge Fashion Center. From their ultra-modern design, you can tell right away that you’re in for a unique apartment experience that still maintains all the amenities you’ve come to expect, including on-site spa, hot tub, fitness center, swimming pool, and recreation room, as well as subterranean parking and controlled community access. With floor plans ranging from studios to two-bedroom townhouses and three-bedroom apartments, and rental prices starting at $1,700, Parc Ridge Apartments offers an option to fit every lifestyle.
Citronia Luxe Towers
New York-style living in the heart of the San Fernando Valley! Situated on a quiet residential side-street but still close to CSUN campus, Northridge Fashion Center, restaurants, shopping, and the post office, the Citronia Luxe Towers offer the best of urban living in a quiet and secluded space. Built in 1985 to emulate New York apartment buildings, the three-story Citronia Luxe Towers has a front lobby, subterranean parking, and enclosed interior hallways for maximum privacy. Each of the two-bedroom, two-bath units that make up the Citronia Luxe Towers are at least 1,100 square feet, with rental prices starting at $1,930.
What You Can Buy in Northridge
While rental prices in Northridge are relatively affordable for LA, home prices tend to be extremely high, even for Los Angeles County, being as much as 157% higher than the national average. For those who’re looking to buy a house in Northridge, there are many townhouses and condominiums available that make more affordable choices than their neighbors, while still maintaining the charm and style of the neighborhood.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you’re ready to live in one of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles – in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, with some of the top-ranked schools in the area, close to shopping and restaurants, but still quiet and close to nature – then look no further than Northridge. To learn more about this jewel of the San Fernando Valley or pursue housing options in Northridge, visit www.rentcafe.com.
Check out more Los Angeles neighborhood guides:
Living in North Hollywood: An Eclectic Mix of Culture, History, and Fun
Living in East Hollywood: A Hidden Gem that’s Convenient, More Affordable than You Might Think
Beverly Grove, Los Angeles: Convenient and Upscale Living that’s also a Shopper’s Paradise
Living in Encino, a Quiet, Upscale Urban Retreat Overflowing with L.A. Charm
Downtown Los Angeles: Cutting Edge Living in LA’s Historic Core
Living in Van Nuys, Los Angeles: Where You can Enjoy the Glitzy LA Life on a Budget
Wilshire – Montana, Santa Monica: Beach Living with a Touch of Class
Westlake, Los Angeles: A Low Cost Alternative to Downtown Living
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