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Living in Van Nuys, Los Angeles: Where You can Enjoy the Glitzy LA Life on a Budget

Want to experience the sunny LA life without the hefty price tags that go with renting in Los Angeles? Van Nuys will give you that and more with its large variety of housing options, diverse dining and shopping venues, and vibrant outdoors.


Van Nuys is bordered by North Hills, Panorama City, Valley Glen, Sherman Oaks, Lake Balboa, Northridge, and the Sepulveda Basin.

Map of Van Nuys Los Angeles CA
Map of Van Nuys

Van Nuys was founded in 1911 and was named after one of the developers who conceived the project. In 1915, it became part of Los Angeles. Notable landmarks include the Art-Deco style Valley Municipal Building (Van Nuys City Hall), the Van Nuys Branch Library, and the Van Nuys Woman’s Club at 14836 Sylvan St.

The area is primarily a residential suburb with houses and apartments. More than half the people who live here are married with children, according to the LA Times, but the area is also popular with singles, and apartments for rent in Van Nuys are popular with young adults setting up home for the first time. The residents of Van Nuys commonly have incomes ranging from $35,000 to $75,000 and typically some college education.

Local Attractions

Sky Zone Trampoline Park offers an active, fun time for kids of all ages – including the young at heart. For those seeking a calmer activity, the Japanese Garden provides a serene and tranquil space to relax. Lake Balboa Park offers waterside relaxation, a range of water sport activities and jogging and cycle tracks for those who enjoy outdoor fitness activities. And for those in search of fresh farm produce, farmers’ markets are a regular fixture in the area.

Japanese Garden in Van Nuys
The Japanese Garden in Van Nuys via official Facebook page

Dining out and shopping in Van Nuys

There are restaurants in Van Nuys catering to a variety of tastes. LA Weekly made special mention of the Chilean food served at El Parron and the good Cuban cuisine at El Criollo. For something different, or a touch of nostalgia for expats from South Africa, the Springbok Bar & Grill makes an interesting selection of curries, and if BBQ is what your taste buds crave then pop into Dr Hogly Wogly’s. From British pubs to Lebanese food, you won’t run out of options. Van Nuys boasts everything from malls to thrift shops, and Van Nuys Boulevard is recognized as a great shopping street.

Van Nuys Boulevard in Los Angeles
Van Nuys Boulevard courtesy of Al Pavangkanan via Flickr


The area is centrally located within the San Fernando Valley, and the average commute time for residents to Downtown LA is 30 minutes. A program for road infrastructure improvement was first announced in 2014 and is underway. Van Nuys is located on the LA Metro Orange Line, giving easy access to rail transportation, and all stations are linked to LA Metro bus lines, making for easy commuting around LA. The Van Nuys Airport can be reached using shuttle services or LAX buses.

Schools in Van Nuys

There are no less than 33 public schools in Van Nuys serving 27,195 students. With such a wide selection of schools to choose from, finding the right school for your kids conveniently near home shouldn’t be hard to do!

Cost of Living in Van Nuys

The cost of living in Van Nuys is below the average cost of living in greater Los Angeles but somewhat higher than the national average. If you’re moving to LA, Van Nuys is a great area to start out, as you’ll save on rentals while still getting great accommodation.

Vanowen Plaza Apartments in Van Nuys
Rents at the Vanowen Plaza in Van Nuys start at $850 for studio apartments.

Safety and Security

Van Nuys is a relatively high-density community, and as such, does experience crime. According to the Los Angeles Times, 162.2 crimes occur per 10,000 people per year. Most of these are ‘property crimes’, i.e. theft or burglary.

The Local Atmosphere

Van Nuys is a large area, and while most Van Nuys rentals are apartments, there are also some lovely palm-fringed streets featuring lower-density living.

Home for sale at 14216 Haynes Street
Single-family residence for sale at 14216 Haynes Street

On the whole, locals feel that they live in a friendly area, but they agree that certain parts of Van Nuys are better maintained than others. If you are planning to rent in Van Nuys, it would be important to explore what the specific street or area you are considering is like in this regard.

Housing stock in Van Nuys

Despite having its fair share of shops and businesses, Van Nuys is primarily a residential area. New developments in the mid-priced bracket are rare, with most development focusing on high-end homes. However main roads and building facades are being renovated in a bid to freshen up Van Nuys.

Most properties to let in Van Nuys are 1-3 bedroom apartments, but the full range of property types including houses and townhouses is available. Despite there being some really attractive housing and apartment options (often with access to a pool), RENTCafe calculates average rentals in Van Nuys as being around $1,400, placing it below the average rental price of $2,015 asked in the greater LA area.

What you can rent in Van Nuys

Park Manor Apartments is a great example of the kind of housing a single person or a couple can expect in Van Nuys. The one-bedroom and studio apartments feature balconies, and residents have access to a range of amenities. Gated access provides extra security for both the building and its parking.

Park Manor Apartments in Van Nuys
Park Manor Apartments

Chateau Woodly Hart Apartments is located conveniently for freeway access and offers both one- and two-bedroom apartments. The facilities are fantastic and include a pool, spa and Jacuzzi! Gated parking and intercom-connected access control provide security for residents.

Chateau Woodley Hart Apartments in Van Nuys CA
Chateau Woodley Hart Apartments

This home at 7052 Cantaloupe Avenue is a typical example of a spacious, 3-bedroom family home for rent in Van Nuys. The newly renovated abode features plenty of built-in closet space, wooden and tiled floors, and a double garage.

House for rent at 7052 Cantaloupe Avenue in Van Nuys CA
House for rent at 7052 Cantaloupe Avenue

What you can buy in Van Nuys

Van Nuys offers a variety of houses and apartments for sale, including this 6-bedroom, 4 bath duplex at 6171 and 6173 Cedros Avenue. It’s ideal for multi-family housing or for a buyer seeking to make rental income and is divided into two independent units.

Duplex for sale at 6171 Cedros Ave in Van Nuys CA.
Duplex for sale at 6171 Cedros Ave. Image via Google Maps.

Living it up in style in Van Nuys

For a diverse, high density area, you can still get some really stylish housing and at a lower than average cost for LA. Find all the latest Van Nuys rentals and browse apartments for rent in Van Nuys with RENTCafe.

Check out more Los Angeles neighborhood guides:

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

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About the author

Ama Otet

Ama Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time. You can connect with Ama on Twitter or via email.

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