Theres no question that WeHo has a distinctive personality, from the cannabis dispensaries (medical marijuana is legal in California) to the high-end designer clothing stores, West Hollywood most definitely has something for everyone--and often within feet of something else you’ve never even heard of before. This also means running into a wide variety of people: the obnoxious east coast transplant, the nave Midwest transplant, a homeless man peeing in the alley, the CEO of a startup (probably Grindr) or Zachary Quinto. And you can do it all on the same block. That’s pretty fantastic, right? You can also find some of the best food here, from authentic ethnic options, like Thai, Korean and Indian, to more homegrown fare, like burgers and sandwiches. Plus, everyone freakin delivers, which is important because the traffic is ungodly in these parts.
Drivers are aggressive like OMG. Though California has a reputation for road rage and traffic jams in many areas, they really don’t compare with the fury and non-sensical behavior that occurs on the mean streets of WeHo, and that’s before you even get on the freeway. Also, you can’t trust the make of car to tell you who’s behind the wheel. That sleek, brand new Porsche is just as likely to pull a crazy move as the rickety Volkswagen jalopy. Buckle up. You will still definitely need a car here because everyone drives. Entertainment and dining is just a short walk away, but work is somewhere else entirely. With that reality comes the fact that people don’t ever drive outside of their neighborhood to visit friends. Relationships spanning 20 years or more have quietly died a sad, unvisited death because one person moved to Santa Monica and no way in hell is that commute happening.
West Hollywood has a gorgeous climate, is relatively close to the beach (according to mileage, it will take a half-hour to drive those few miles) and enjoys some of the best amenities in the state that are within walking distance too. For those awesome attributes, you will pay through the nose. The cost of living hovers around 40 percent higher than the nation’s average, which doesn’t sound that terrible, but you’re not getting a slew of posh luxury upgrades to go with that. _ And with a piddling vacancy rate of about 4 percent, youll be searching for an appropriate spot for at least a month.
Enough of the sniping now. WeHo really is an amazing place to live, it just takes a certain kind to appreciate it. Social, outgoing, young, networking, drunk, happy, active, body-conscious, beautiful young people love it here. The city takes care of its own and offers better healthcare options, more bike lanes and just a more optimistic and open-minded perspective than many locales. There are tons of city-owned sites recommending travel guides, inexpensive things to do, great places to explore, programs to take advantage of, etc, etc. Theyre working on implementing greater public transit (which is already more robust than most of California) and moving toward a greener, more progressive and fully inclusive neighborhood where people feel welcome and where people can be themselves.
Oh, and movies film here all the time, so that’s really neat too. Count on having at least half your friends in "the biz." This means youll get to meet celebrities when youre not bumping into them anyway and see film screenings from time to time. You’ll be in the know.
Technically, WeHo is pretty small, but inhabitants still roughly compartmentalize further by describing districts according to compass direction. There are scads and scads of apartment buildings; some are massive complexes tricked out with underground parking and courtyards, while others are dinky little rundown buildings with fewer than 12 units. There are rental homes and properties too. Pretty much anything you can set your heart on is here, but you’ll have to hunt, and youll have to pay.
West Hollywood West: This is where Hollywood turns into Beverly Hills, so while it can be a mixed bag, it can also have some really gorgeous two-bedroom apartments with great character. Count on prices being commensurate with those amenities.
Norma Triangle: Directly above WeHo West is Norma Triangle, which is close to the mountains, Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. Its pretty much just as pricey as WHW.
Melrose: Both good and bad, Melrose is close to cute boutiques and shuttered scary businesses. I’ts a bit less expensive though, but with fewer restaurants around, and its less walkable. Try to skip it in favor of more sociable areas, or head south for rental homes and quieter living.
West Hollywood East:More apartment complexes than you can shake a stick at, plus single-family homes, townhouses and condos. The lower cost spots don’t advertise, so taking a walk around can make a huge difference in finding a sweet, yet affordable spot. You’ll do best if you don’t need parking (but you do, though) or a pool.
West Hollywood is nothing if not a mix of high and low, magical and traumatizing, but that’s what makes it such an exciting place to live. With mountains behind you and beach beside you, it’s hard not to love this place. It may be expensive, it may sometimes be scary, but it is never, ever boring. And, its always more good than bad.