Chances are, if you’re trying to navigate the congested streets of Los Angeles city, it’s stuck in gridlock, inching along at a pace that makes a slug look like a Lamborghini. Not so in Glendale, where residents average a meager 23-minute trek to work each morning. Local bus lines connect Glendale to the rest of the L.A. area, and the newly-constructed Highway 2 provides a direct link to the city.
Still, especially on the frequently crowded streets of south Glendale, the occasional traffic jam is inevitable. Most neighborhoods have plenty of sidewalks, but the majority of Glendale’s residents (nearly 90 percent) still prefer good ole’ gas guzzlers to get around. Downtown and South Glendale renters especially should give themselves extra time for their morning commute.
The Peeps of Glendale
Southern California is a melting pot of ethnicities, and Glendale is no different. Roughly a quarter of the city’s population consists of Armenian-Americans, and you’ll notice plenty of Armenian eateries, bars, and shops throughout the downtown area. Other ethnic groups who populate Glendale include Asians (18 percent), Hispanics (23 percent), and non-Armenian Caucasians (32 percent), making Glendale as racially diverse as any SoCal suburb.
Renters who happen to be the creative types, meanwhile, will find themselves right at home. More artists, filmmakers, designers, and media professionals live in Glendale than 90 percent of U.S. cities.
You Pay For What You Get … And Pay You Shall!
We’re betting this place is sounding mighty fine so far, but we have some unfortunate news. The downside is that the cost of living in Glendale is higher than much of California. The average rental unit costs between $1200 and $1300 monthly, and premium 1 BR and 2 BR units approach the $2500 range. Thankfully, the amenities tend to be terrific. Many units include washers and dryers and feature granite counter tops, hardwood floors, modern kitchens, and ample living space (you can expect to get 1100-plus square feet out of most units). Even studio apartments in Glendale (which can be found in the $700 range sometimes) are more spacious than a typical studio pad. In Glendale, you really do get what you pay for, and a nice, spacious, amenity-laden pad is just what you’ll get for your hard-earned cash.
Glendale is predominantly a city of renters, with leaseholders accounting for more than 60 percent of occupants. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean apartments are always available, and renters may sometimes find themselves on waiting lists for 6 months or longer. The good news is that many complexes are similar in layout and offer comparable amenities, so if you fall in love with an apartment that doesn’t have vacancies, don’t fret: You should be able to find something similar pretty easily.
Also, remember that in California, people like to change things up on you (why, you ask? well, why the hell not?), so be aware that apartment prices are likely to fluctuate based on availability and demand. Just because you scouted out a great deal one month doesn’t mean it will be there later on down the road.
Many properties offer short-term, month-to-month leases, but they are considerably pricier ($500 or more) than 12-month deals. Also, be prepared to buck up for a hefty deposit at most locations before moving in. As long as you don’t treat your apartment like a rock star’s hotel room, you should get your money back at the end, although sometimes deposits are non-refundable. Inquire about deposit amounts at individual properties, and also ask about parking, which can be a hassle at apartments that don’t have an on-site lot for tenants.
Finally, you might want to look into the multi-level townhouses and single-family detached homes and cottages that are frequently available to rent in places like Montrose and North Glendale (where apartment options are slimmer).
The Lay of the Land
Generally speaking, the southern neighborhoods like City Center and Adams Square are the most renter-friendly areas of Glendale. Most of the inhabitants are young urban sophisticates, and renters can often find move-in specials. Renters typically spend in the $1200 range, but lucky leasers can land quality lodgings for under a grand. A great option for singles, students, and trendy types, south Glendale is also where you will find most of the city’s nightlife.
North Glendale, on the other hand, caters mostly to families and property owners (the number of freestanding houses outnumbers apartments considerably). Houses are often available to rent in north Glendale, but the price is steep. Don’t expect to come across many properties with less than a $1500 price tag on them.
If you’ve got the right sized bankroll, value a more secluded atmosphere, and want to experience some of the most stunning mountain views in all of California, Montrose is the area for you. Situated at Glendale’s northernmost point, just beyond the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, Montrose is (for good reasons) one of the city’s costliest regions (average cost to rent is around $1800). Prospective renters should keep their eyes open for special move-in deals that pop up frequently at the handful of Montrose apartments.
Plenty of other neighborhoods have their pros and cons as well (i.e. Rossmoyne is a great neighborhood for walkers but the speed bumps frustrate commuters; Verdugo Woodlands claims some of the city’s finest architecture but you’ll have to drive to get anywhere). Picking the right ‘hood depends on your tastes, your budget, and your transportation situation, but we’re sure somewhere in Glendale lies the perfect pad for you.
Hope this helps, and happy hunting!
-By Kera Zacuto
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM RENT ADVISOR:
Glendale is one of many in a series of cities along the San Gabriel Mountains that make living in Southern California great. Offering a great view from almost any part, with easy access to the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, Glendale is the city for those that enjoy quiet weekends and a slower pace of life. Glendale is not for the person seeking a party in the street; there are plenty of cities elsewhere that will give you that. Glendale is for those that enjoy beautiful scenery, the outdoors, but don't want to go so far as a log cabin in the woods. Glendale is very much like any other city in Southern California but, because of it's close proximity to the mountains, makes you feel like you don't live in L.A., just near it. With all the same amenities of every other major city, but with the added feature of peacefulness and tranquility. If blue skies, nice homes, and quiet life are what you have in mind, then Glendale is the city you've been looking for.
•Great view of Southern California.
•Peaceful and tranquil. For the easy-goer.
•More expensive than other cities.
•Somewhat separated from the rest of Los Angeles.
The People - Who Lives Here?
The real question is, "Who doesn't live here?". Like many cities of Los Angeles, Glendale has become home to many different kinds of peoples and cultures that make Glendale a great place to live. Backed up against the San Gabriel Mountains, Glendale offers those that choose to live there a great backdrop for that Sunday barbecue or quick trip to the mall. The people of Glendale are of all ages and lifestyles, mainly families that commute to work in Los Angeles or to the San Bernardino valley. Southern Glendale tends to house younger couples, where access to the very large Glendale mall is located, whereas the northern part of Glendale is home to those that have lived in Glendale all their lives. Mostly a typical suburban town, Glendale has it's own community college that adds to the flavor of the city. Glendale is also somewhat of a quiet town and the people that live there like to keep it that way. Maybe it's the close proximity to the mountains and big blue sky, but there seems to be a sense of peace that adds to the quietness of Glendale, or perhaps it's the other way around. In either case, you'll find that living in Glendale is relatively simple and relaxing, while still offering easy access to Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas
Social Scene - Bars, clubs, restaurants
One of the biggest social scenes in Glendale is the Glendale Galleria, one of the biggest malls in Southern California. Shopping at the Glendale Galleria is not for the faint of heart, the mall offering some of the most exquisite items that you can think of. Of course, if you're looking for a corn dog and some running shoes, you can find that as well. But if you're looking for very rare jewelery or enjoy wearing designer clothes, you'll find it in Glendale.
Although Glendale has it's fair share of bars and clubs, Glendale itself is not what I would consider a place to hang for social scenes and such. If you're looking to kit some of the big clubs and bars, you want to head toward Los Angeles and the West Hollywood areas. But Glendale does offers those that want some excitement, but without the Hollywood hassle. You can check out The Sidebar on N. Pacific Ave, a great place for drinks, couchin' it, and live DJ music. Another place is Beyond the Stars Palace which is supposed to be a lot of fun, right off Brand Ave. Or maybe you're looking for a comedy club? YMMB's Comedy Club, also on Brand Ave., will do the trick.
The Value - Rental prices vs. quality of living
Glendale has 3 very distinct parts of town, 2 divided by North and South, and a 3rd section all by itself. If cheaper housing is what you are looking for, the southern part of Glendale will have what you need. Lots of condos and apartments, with still plenty of houses to choose from, southern Glendale has it's own old town area and is where you can find many of the students and younger couples living there. Lots of great deals on rent and considered more of a trendy place to live.
On the northern part of Glendale, it's mainly houses. But don't let that stop you. Many homes are available for rent in this area, and is generally considered more of the relaxed part of Glendale. Closer to the mountains, northern Glendale is a great place for families to move into and have easy access to stores and schools.
The last part of Glendale is the Montrose area. This is the northern-most tip of Glendale, centered mainly around Foothill Ave. Montrose is located slightly behind the San Gabriel Mountains and sits like a valley among the mountain range. Montrose is a much more expensive place to live in Glendale, mainly due to the location of the area, but has some really great deals on townhouses and apartments if you can get your hands on them. Montrose is generally considered the place in Glendale to move to if you really value your privacy and love mountain living. Personally, I recommend this area over any other part of Glendale.
Transportation & Traffic
Like many of the other Los Angeles cities, Glendale has it's own community bus line, as well as bus lines that connect it to the rest of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Getting around Glendale requires a car for most things, but walking is very possible. Depending how far away from the main streets you are moving to, walking to get groceries and take care of most basic errands is very possible. Walking is safer in the northern parts of Glendale and Montrose, where car congestion is lighter and you're less likely to be plowed over by a car. On the southern side of Glendale, there tends to be more cars and businesses, making travel around this area a bit difficult, but only during peak hours.
Unfortunately, because Glendale is located so far to the north, it is not in close proximity to the Metrolink system that connects most of Southern California together. The closest access to trains is at the very southern area of Glendale, where the line parallels the 210 freeway heading west toward Burbank and east toward San Bernardino. One major advantage of living in Glendale is the easy access to Hwy 2, which was recently constructed to connect Glendale to the the Los Angeles area. It's a highway that is not used very often and usually never has traffic, but is a direct link to L.A. Otherwise, getting there is a long way around use of the freeways. Hwy 2 runs right through the southern part of Glendale so, if getting to Los Angeles in a hurry comes up, you have an advantage over the rest of Southern California. The bad part is that there tends to be accidents on the ramp connecting Hwy 2 from Montrose to the 210 freeway west, for reasons I have no idea why. It just always seem to happen. So drive cautiously.
Rental Advice & Tips
It's always easier to find apartments to rent than it is to find homes. For that reason, finding rental areas in the northeast part of Glendale, closest to the mountains, tends to be a bit harder to do. Not impossible, just harder. Mostly homes inhabit this area, and most of the people that own those homes have no intention of leaving them empty. Lots of apartments for rent and smaller real estate purchases on townhouses and condos exist in the southern half, where rent is relatively cheaper. The drawback is that the south Glendale is a bit more congested and not as aesthetically pleasing, since you're farther away from the mountain view.
Personally, I would recommend moving into the Montrose area of Glendale. It's a newer section of Glendale, with many of the strip mall areas and restaurants being built within the last 15 to 20 years. Some of the housing is expensive, but it is also more modern. Plus, you not only have a great view of the mountains, you're in them! The downside is that you're somewhat separated from the rest of the city, which can be both good and bed, depending how you look at it. I like privacy and, if I'm gonna pay a bit more, I expect to get privacy and more modern options for living. If that sounds like you, move into Montrose.
Entertainment & Recreation - Things to do
The Glendale Galleria, as mentioned before, is the one-stop-fun-shop area in Glendale. Everything you could think of is there. Eating, shopping, arcades, the Galleria has it all. It's pretty cut and dry and far as entertainment goes. Glendale also has a bunch of small parks that you can find almost anywhere while driving. It's the untouched areas of Glendale that developers decided to leave alone so, needless to say, the parks are very natural-forest like. For bars and restaurants, check out the related section above.
Recommended Neighborhoods & Areas
Glendale, as a whole, would be recommended as a great place to live. Within it, however, you have some variance in lifestyle options. Areas that are along Brand Ave. are very nice places to live, without having to be too far away from major freeways and such. On the western part of Glendale, closest to the Hwy 2, there are some wonderful homes with great views. True, you are closer to the highway, which can be annoying with the noise, but this also happens to be one of the higher elevation areas in Glendale so the view is amazing. You can really see all of Los Angles from your home. Montrose is another great area to live within Glendale. It's a bit pricier, but it offers some rare seclusion from the rest of Los Angeles, if getting away is what you have in mind. Truthfully, Montrose is very easily accessible from Los Angeles, but is very secluded from everyone. You don't have to travel 30 minutes into the hills to get away from the busy city life, just a quick trek up hwy 2 into Glendale. When you mention to people where you live, many will be unfamiliar with the area. And that's the way people in Montrose like it.
The Essentials - Groceries, gyms, banks
endale is a big enough city that the investment of markets, gyms, and banks has been done by all major companies. Bank of America, Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo are the major banks that have multiple branches in Glendale. As for gyms, you have your choice of Ballys, L.A. Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, and also some smaller gyms. Same with groceries; Ralphs, Vons, Food4Less, and Hastings are some of the options you have to shop. There is also a Target that sells groceries as well and a Costco in the next town over for the those that like to shop in bulk.
Living in Glendale in no way limits the opportunities of employment to just Glendale itself. Like any other city in Los Angeles, Glendale has easy access to freeways and the rest of Southern California, making the possibilities of finding a job almost limitless. However, if you want to stay close to home, there is plenty of job opportunities in Glendale as well.
In the southern part of Glendale, there are some industrial companies and textile manufacturers that employ those that have a working trade of some kind. On the northern end of Glendale, you have your typical mix of small stores and chain stores. All of these are open to part-time employment. And on the eastern end, there is always work at the Glendale Galleria. Of course, you can always find some kind of work in the private sector; business work in administration, accounting, and similar occupations are all available to those that quality. And you can always look for work outside Glendale too. Almost everyone in Southern California works in a different city than the one they live in.
ue to the size of Glendale, the city is divided into multiple districts, offering more than one elementary and high school for Glendale, and more than one within it's own district. Glendale, as a whole, is not considered a dangerous or rowdy city and it's inferred that the schools are not the same way. There tends to be more of a minority presence in the schools on the southern side of Glendale, but that's really the only difference. Education is even across all sides of Glendale.
In the northeast part of Glendale, the city has it's own community college. The school is located in a very natural setting, and many students that live in the area attend. Given that Glendale College is only a community college, it has a very strong academic curriculum and is a great stepping stone for any student looking to transfer into one of the other universities in Southern California.
For those that are looking to own a piece of Glendale, you may be surprised to find that the value of homes have remained steady in the last couple of years, despite our recent economic times. This may be both a good and bad thing, depending on which way you look at it. This isn't to say that the price of homes have not decreased at all, but you won't be able to buy into Glendale on a "steal". The quality of life and up-kept area have managed to keep the value of homes from falling into the red. Like many cities closer to the San Gabriel Mts, it's all about location. It's the location that keeps the home value from dropping, but is also of the primary reasons you'll be paying more for a house that is only 3 bedrooms and less than 1500 square feet. But making the investment now, if you have the capital to do so, will be a sure profit return when the market evens out in a few years.
Weather in Glendale tends to fall in the mid 70's to the mid 80's on most days. In the summer, the weather tends to reach a into the low 100's, but this is on extremely hot days. Because of the close proximity to the mountains, much of the heat is trapped right in Glendale, but so are the ocean breezes spreading over the mainland. There is an exception; some of Glendale is actually located in the mountains itself, so some of the heat is not as bad and, due to the surrounding foliage and trees, actually makes living quite comfortable. Winters are not any lower than 65 degrees, and the falls and a slight change in between. Nothing drastic any time of year; rainfall only lasts during the winter at a day's length and a bit into the spring.
I've been through Glendale many times on my way to work and it always seems so nice. It's like this relaxed town that seems out of place once you hit busy Burbank. Great drive on the way to Glendale since you get to see the San Gabriel Mountains so up close. Like using the 2 freeway, since no one else but people in Glendale use it; a great shortcut to L.A. instead of using the big freeways. - Victor H.