The San Fernando Valley

The San Fernando Valley

June 26, 2013

Overview of the communities in the San Fernando Valley north of UCLA campus

UCLA's location near the 405 Freeway makes parts of the San Fernando Valley a viable alternative to more expensive and densely crowded neighborhoods near campus. About ten percent of UCLA students live in the Valley. The freeway can be a nightmare during rush hour, but at other times it is surprisingly efficient. Furthermore, there are alternative routes to the 405: Sepulveda Boulevard, Beverly Glen Boulevard, and Roscomare Road.

Despite its reputation as unending suburbia, parts of the Valley are surprisingly country-like. Lacking the coastal breezes found south of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Valley tends to get warmer and smoggier than West Los Angeles, especially in the summer.

South & West Valley 

Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys (91401-23) 

The closest Valley communities to UCLA are eight miles away, a 20-minute drive without traffic. Located east of the 405, they have many apartments along the major north-south avenues. There are also house and condo shares, guest houses, and rooms for rent. Carpools and the Metro line 761 are alternatives to driving your own car to campus. Ventura Boulevard is not only the commercial lifeline of the neighborhood - it's the main thoroughfare of the entire south valley.

Transportation options direct to UCLA: Metro line 761.

Encino (91316/91436)

This exclusive community is west of the 405 Freeway about 11 miles from campus. Many of L.A.'s rich and famous live here, and apartments or condos tend to be expensive. Sometimes students can find a guest house or room for rent. Here, Ventura Boulevard is the Valley version of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It's fun to window shop even if you can't touch the prices. Just north of Encino is the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area, with an eight-mile bike path, golf, tennis and other recreational facilities.

Transportation options direct to UCLA: LADOT Commuter Express 573. Additionally, Metro line 740 (Ventura Boulevard) connects with Metro line 761 traveling directly to UCLA.

Tarzana (91356) 

Tarzana is west of Encino, and a 30-60 minute drive with traffic, to/from campus. Primarily suburban, most apartments in Tarzana are near Lindley Avenue and Ventura Boulevard. As in most of the Valley, groceries and services are plentiful.

Transportation options direct to UCLA: none. Metro line 740 (Ventura Boulevard) connects with Metro line 761.

Woodland Hills (91364/91367) 

Woodland Hills is an aptly-named upscale suburban neighborhood 18 miles from UCLA (35-60 minutes via the 101 and 405 Freeways). Single family homes predominate. Most condominiums and apartments are near Warner Center, a residential business park north of Ventura Freeway.

This neighborhood will more likely appeal to staff and faculty than to students. The 101 Freeway—the only viable route to campus—is typically jammed during rush hour. You can soften the commute by avoiding rush hour or carpooling.

Transportation options direct to UCLA: none. Metro line 740 and the Metro Orange Line connect with Metro line 761.

Canoga Park (91304) 

North of the Ventura Freeway and Woodland Hills, Canoga Park is a large suburban neighborhood 20 miles from campus. It has affluent as well as run-down areas, so drive around to get a sense of the neighborhood. Restaurants and services are adequate in this part of the Valley, but if you want something fancier, try nearby Woodland Hills.

Transportation options direct to UCLA: none. Metro Orange Line connects with Metro line 761.

East Valley

The commute to campus from Studio City or North Hollywood can be as little as 25 minutes via Laurel Canyon or Beverly Glen Boulevards, but it takes about an hour in traffic. The 405 Freeway, Sepulveda Boulevard and Roscomare Road are alternative routes but will not shorten travel time much.

Studio City (91604) 

About eight miles from campus, Studio City lies against the hills at the southern edge of the Valley. Single family homes of TV and movie industry employees predominate, but there are many apartment complexes and some UCLA students live here. Small, inexpensive restaurants and shops line Ventura Boulevard.

Transportation options direct to UCLA: none. Metro line 740 (Ventura Boulevard) connects with Metro line 761.

North Hollywood (91605-06-07) 

North Hollywood stretches onto the Valley floor a mile north of Studio City. Students who live here usually own a condo or live with relatives. Along Magnolia Boulevard there are some older, well-kept apartments with large windows and courtyards. Drive through this neighborhood to find housing advertised by signs outside the apartments. There has been a recent revival of the “NoHo Arts District” along Lankershim Boulevard near the Metro Red/Orange Line station.

Transportation options direct to UCLA: none. Metro Orange Line connects with Metro line 761 or the Metro Red Line connects with Metro line 2.