South & Southwest of Campus
Palms (zip code 90034)
About five miles south of UCLA, Palms is a neighborhood bristling with apartments that are more affordable than housing closer to UCLA. A walk around Palms will reveal vacancy signs for investigation.
If you are near the Santa Monica #12/Super 12 bus route, which traverses Palms, or the Culver City #6 bus on Sepulveda, your transportation directly to campus is assured. Many students live in Palms, including those in UCLA’s Family and Single Graduate apartments, so carpooling is also a possibility. The eastern reaches of Palms are not the best or most convenient for students to live in, although the area around Venice Blvd/Robertson Ave may see a revival due to the Metro Expo Light Rail line opening in early 2012.
Palms has supermarkets and retail along Sepulveda, a couple of laundromats, and several ethnic restaurants, particularly along Venice Boulevard. There are supermarkets all around the periphery of the neighborhood. No movies here, but Palms is not far from the movies of Century City, Westwood, or Culver City.
Transportation options direct to UCLA: Big Blue Bus #8 and #12/Super 12, Culver City Bus #6; Big Blue Bus #6 and Culver City Bus #3 connect to the Big Blue Bus #12.
Mar Vista (90066)
West of Palms, and four to six miles southwest of campus, Mar Vista is another neighborhood rich in affordable housing options for students. Single family houses still outnumber apartments, but apartment construction is widespread. UCLA family and single graduate apartments are also located in Mar Vista. One drawback is that parts of Mar Vista are poorly served by bus routes to campus. If you do not have a car, find an apartment near the Santa Monica #8 bus (National Blvd.), the #14 bus (Centinela), or #6 bus (Venice Blvd). This will make your commute much easier.
The Mar Vista business center at Grand View and Venice is anchored by the Mar Vista Market. Whole Foods market is at the northern end of Mar Vista at National and Barrington, and there are other supermarkets close by in Palms. Fix-it shops and small ethnic restaurants complement standard fast food restaurants on main streets. Like Palms, Mar Vista does not have any theaters, but there are plenty in nearby neighborhoods. Also, Mar Vista has a large park and recreation center at Sawtelle and Palms, and it is not far from the beach.
Transportation options direct to UCLA: Big Blue Bus #8 and #12/Super 12, Culver City Bus #6; Big Blue Bus #6 connects to the #12, while the Big Blue Bus #14 (Centinela) connects to the #1 and #8.
Culver City (90230)
Culver City is an incorporated city five to seven miles south of UCLA and just south of Palms and Mar Vista. Rental prices tend to be affordable and the neighborhood pleasant, but travel to campus can consume at least 30 minutes at rush hour.
There are apartments between Venice and Washington Boulevards and in the area off Culver Boulevard, south of MGM Studios. Further south, toward Jefferson Boulevard, luxury apartments and condos are common.
If you do not have a car, you may desire to live near the Culver City #6 bus (Sepulveda) direct to UCLA, or one of the lines that connect with it, such as the #1 bus (Washington Blvd.) or #7 bus (Culver Blvd.). Culver City is freeway friendly and has shopping, services and good recreation facilities. The main retail centers are near the Westfield Culver City towards the southern part of Culver City, throughout the city along Sepulveda Boulevard, and in the trendy northeast part where Washington Boulevard and Culver Boulevard intersect. Additionally, the northeastern area around Venice Blvd/Robertson Ave may see a revival due to the Metro Expo Light Rail line opening in early 2012.
Transportation options direct to UCLA: Culver City Bus #6; Culver City Bus #1 and #7 connect to line #6.
Venice is a beach community six to seven miles southwest of campus. Modeled after the Italian original (complete with canals), it has always attracted artists and social activists. In the 1980s, parts of Venice were gentrified, and the community reflects a mixture of trendy and neglected, pricey and rundown. You've probably heard about the Venice Boardwalk: bargains, roller-skaters, jugglers and "Muscle Beach." (If you have never visited, experience a Sunday afternoon along the Boardwalk.)
Venice has some bargain housing left, but you need to look for it. Be careful not to settle for something that should be condemned just because the rent sounds cheap. High density, weekend tourists and almost impossible parking are tradeoffs for having sand and waves just footsteps from your door.
As in all the beach communities, the weather in Venice can be cool; morning and evening fog is common. While much of Venice is peaceful, stay away from the beachfront after dark. Retail and restaurants are located along Venice Boulevard, Washington Boulevard, Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and Rose Avenue, which are the main streets through Venice.
Transportation options direct to UCLA: Big Blue Bus #1, #2, and #3; Metro lines 33/733 and Culver City line #1 connect with Big Blue Bus #3 and Culver City Bus #6.