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In this week's post I'm going to be more matter-of-fact. I get asked about where to live in LA so I decided to briefly cover this topic based on my experiences (as usual haha). When I moved out to LA it was to begin my studies in acting for film and television at the New York Film Academy in Burbank. So I had no choice but to live close to school since I didn’t have a car (which saved on car insurance and gas). There are many ways to find the area that’s right for you but I’m going to share just my experiences and hopefully this will help you better think about and find what you’re looking for.
For those of you who’ve read my blog from the beginning you’ll see that I mentioned how I stayed with one of my best friends Gioya (to find out how that happened read my first blog post), and so my first home in LA was in…
Literally, I lived a minute walk away from the Hollywood Boulevard. It was great to have that as an initial experience. Getting around with public transport is really convenient when you live in Hollywood, the buses and subway are all right there, and there are too many restaurants to count so getting food wasn’t an issue. I would walk down La Brea if I wanted to go to the grocery store for a cheaper option. The downside is that there are tourists every single day so it’s always busy and you’re always being hassled to buy something, but I didn’t mind it so much, it’s the lifestyle, that’s Hollywood. The roads close occasionally for movie premieres and sadly the number of homeless people makes for a heart-breaking sight to see every day (occasionally their humour cheers you up though), so I guess you could say that this is the side to it outside of the lights camera and action. It’s alive though and that’s what I liked most, there was never ever a dull moment. I lived in Hollywood for about three weeks before I moved to my first apartment.
(Pictures: 1.The entrance to Gioya's Apartment block, taken on Halloween 2. After Gioya's final play at her school in La Brea just a ten minute walk away).
I needed to find a place close to where I was studying so this is how Oakwood (now changed to Toluca Hills Apartments) in Barham Boulevard became my second home in LA. It is literally on the other side of the road from where I went to school, it was a struggle but I finally had a place to live. I started out sharing a one bedroom apartment with two other students of the school, one from Brazil and the other from South Africa (like me) who was also one of my friends and classmates. This turned out to be a short term solution and I found a more suitable solution. I lived there for about three months before moving to my third home, another apartment (still in Oakwood). I shared a two bedroom apartment with a Swedish girl, her name is Ellie and she is one of my best friends now. I liked Oakwood for its amenities (gym, pools, jacuzzis etc) but it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere. After living in Hollywood I needed to be near a subway, buses and life again. Oakwood is in Burbank and getting to walk past Warner Bros studios at least once a week was a treat. I would always see the audience for the Ellen show waiting to go in. I liked Burbank but it wasn't exactly my kind of vibe, I liked it because it was convenient for school but besides easier access to transport I also couldn’t wait to save some money on my rent after graduating. Prices for accommodation in LA are generally high, it could cost anywhere from $900 to $1400 pm for a studio apartment or probably more in Studio City/Burbank.
North Hollywood (NOHO)
The fourth and by far the best place I lived. I really loved living here. Not only is it the home of so many great established and up and coming artists but the area just had a certain vibrancy/life to it that I didn’t find in Burbank. The subway and buses were only a ten minute walk away from where I lived so it was perfect. Ellie, Bambi (Ellie’s dog) and I moved to a cozy two bedroom apartment. In NOHO you can find a two bedroom apartment for anything from $1600 to $2800 pm or higher, it all depends on what you’re looking for. My only major concerns are convenient access to public transport, a balcony, my own room, my own bathroom, a new-ish kitchen, underground parking (for when I get a car) and a place for laundry to get done, which this apartment and location all had for $1650 pm (my share was $825), which is kind of a bargain in the area of NOHO that we were staying in. Still waaaaay too much in comparison to other parts of the world though haha. NOHO also had a good selection of restaurants and the grocery store wasn’t too far away from where I lived (about a 5 minute drive) so an uber didn’t cost too much but Ellie had a car, she and I would always go grocery shopping together (and pretty much went everywhere and did most things together lol).
(Picture: 1. Just outside my apartment before we went to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time. 2. The day we filmed a promo in my apartment (super focused face).
Where to next?? I’m in South Africa and heading out to LA to work in about two weeks and I would love to find a place in NOHO again, I quite like the area, but I wouldn’t mind staying in West Hollywood next. First I’ll be spending two months with Gioya again in Hollywood while I look for a new place.
I would say the smartest thing to do is to decide what matters most to you when looking for a place to live, what you’re not willing to compromise and what kind of area would make you happy. That’s what Ellie and I did. Whether you’re an artist or not, if you need any help or have any questions, reach out to me, I’m here for ya!
In my next blog post I will be covering the topics:
What I discovered from using public transport in LA
The next week - The day I hit the road and explored outside of LA.
The week after - My idea of a good night out in LA.
So much more to come!
PS: Don't forget to follow me on social media. :)