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Neighborhood Guide: Sherman Oaks, LA

By: Davina Ward
February 25, 2021

Ah, Los Angeles. The City of Angels is home to warm weather, palm tree-lined beaches, Hollywood, and more. It’s no wonder people flock to the city by the millions every year.

As the second-most-populous metropolitan city in the US with over 13.1 million residents, LA can be overwhelming based on sheer size alone. If you're considering moving to Los Angeles, choosing which neighborhood to call home is a crucial decision.

As a growing neighborhood with lots to offer any prospective resident, Sherman Oaks should be high on your list of options. However, when compared to other more popular LA neighborhoods, Sherman Oaks can get pushed to the background.

That’s why we’re bringing Sherman Oaks and all its offerings to center stage. Here’s everything you need to know about Sherman Oaks. Find out whether it’s the right LA neighborhood for you!

Sherman Oaks History

Founded in 1927, Sherman Oaks is a relatively new neighborhood that won’t be celebrating its centennial founding anniversary for about six more years.

That said, there’s a distinct lack of history felt throughout the neighborhood, especially compared to neighborhoods in other major cities like Washington DC and Boston. However, that’s not to say Sherman Oaks doesn’t have its own checkered past.

General M.H. Sherman was the developer behind the original Sherman Oaks neighborhood, which consisted of just 1,000 acres total. Each acre was eventually sold for $780. That would be around $11,500 today when accounting for inflation. The deeds to these homes would be the pivotal evidence provided by residents in the fight to expand Sherman Oaks’ boundaries.

With the numerous neighborhoods sprouting up at that time, some boundaries were drawn and redrawn. Somewhere along the line, Sherman Oaks lost some acreage.

In 1991, residents petitioned to have the boundary lines redrawn to expand Sherman Oaks’ boundaries. After producing house deeds that showed the houses were originally a part of their neighborhood, they won.

So, the history of Sherman Oaks is one of perseverance and poorly organized boundary lines.

What's Sherman Oaks Like Today?

Although the neighborhood struggled to maintain clear boundaries, by 2009, Sherman Oaks’ boundaries were redrawn to include just under 2,000 homes that were previously included in the Van Nuys neighborhood. Thus, the Sherman Oaks we know and love today was born.

Sherman Oaks retains a bit of vintage LA style, both in architecture and feel. There’s much less bustle in this neighborhood compared to downtown LA. However, the slowed-down vibe of the neighborhood is welcome to its residents who love the feeling of a little city within a city.

High-end boutiques sit on corners, fancy bistros and cafes are dotted along the streets, and modern homes are clustered within the mountainous locale.

The area is on the homogenous side. Most residents are among the upper echelon of earners and the neighborhood can’t quite shake its reputation for being an affluent suburb. However, that’s exactly why it’s a highly sought-after location. The subtle class, calm, and high-end feel of the city is a dream for many prospective residents.

Sherman Oaks Demographics

Sherman Oaks has earned its reputation for being an affluent suburb. According to the Los Angeles Almanac, the average rent price for a residential unit in Sherman Oaks was $2,521 in 2020. Los Angeles rents are expensive across the board, and Sherman Oaks is no exception. However, that's not surprising as Sherman Oaks hosts one of the largest percentages of $125,000 and up income earners in the city.

The neighborhood's population is primarily made up of high-earning young professionals and single families. Over 50% of residents have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and crime is low compared to other parts of the city. Although Los Angeles is celebrated for its diversity, Sherman Oaks is not known for being a very diverse neighborhood.

Sherman Oaks Location

Sherman Oaks is located in the southwest quadrant of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. It’s bounded by and includes a portion of the Santa Monica Mountains. Van Nuys, Valley Glen, and North Hollywood are nearby neighborhoods.

Sherman Oaks is relatively close to LA’s hotspots. The drive from Sherman Oaks to Staples Center, home of the LA Lakers, is around half an hour. If you’re headed to Hollywood from Sherman Oaks, you should only be in for a short, less than 20-minute ride.

However, if you’re looking to head down to Orange County, you’ll be in for an hour-long commute. Not to mention, LA traffic is notoriously awful. So, be sure to tack on an additional 15 to 30 minutes if you’re planning a commute during rush hour or the early morning.

When it comes to public transportation, there aren’t a ton of options as Sherman Oaks is a more suburban neighborhood. However, the Valley Westside Express line of the LA Metro serves the area with a one-way fare rate of $1.75. That said, if you are looking to save time, you might do well using a ride-share service such as Lyft or Uber.

Is Sherman Oaks Safe?

Sherman Oaks is in a unique position due to its physical location and geography. As it is partially bounded by mountains, the neighborhood has a much lower population density than other areas throughout Los Angeles. Moreover, its distance from the city center makes it a less popular target for crime. Compared to other parts of the city, Sherman Oaks is one of the safer neighborhoods.

As with any neighborhood in a major city, it’s essential to take precautions to ensure your safety. A proactive approach is always better than a reactive one.

Take the time to learn about what kinds of crime are common in your area. Crime statistics for Sherman Oaks show few violent crimes, but a decent number of property crimes.

Protect yourself in Sherman Oaks by keeping your home secure. You may want to invest in a security system that can alert you and the police in the event of a break-in or burglary. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Things to Do in Sherman Oaks

Despite being deemed a suburban neighborhood, Sherman Oaks plenty to offer. You can live your best life within the confines of this neighborhood’s borders without having to venture past Ventura Boulevard.

Here are some of the top things to do in Sherman Oaks.

Grab a Bite to Eat

Sherman Oaks is home to both chain and local restaurants. So, there’s no shortage of options available to you.

Crave Cafe is a local favorite and serves up some of the best brunch in the neighborhood. Check out The Sherman for a delectable dining option, cocktails and American cuisine abound in this rustic upscale eatery.

For delicious coffee and even better ambiance, swing by M Street Coffee. This quaint coffee shop is a popular workspace for remote workers.

Head to the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park

One of the biggest perks of living in California is the warm weather. There's no snow to trek through in the winter, and the weather rarely dips below 50 degrees. You may as well take advantage of it!

In short, it's an area where outdoor recreation thrives. That's why the Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Park and Recreation Center is one of the most popular locations in the neighborhood.

With baseball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer and football fields, a pool and a jogging path, there’s literally something for everyone. Whether you are getting an outdoor workout in or just walking your dog, you'll want to take advantage of this outdoor space.

The park is also home to several youth sports teams. So, you can enroll your budding star athlete on a team near home.

Bring the Family to Sherman Oaks Castle Park

Young or old, Sherman Oaks Castle Park has something for you to enjoy during the warm summer days. A full-on miniature golf course serves as the perfect way to spend a date or family outing. If you’re a fan of baseball, head over to the batting cages to practice your swing.

The neighborhood is a popular choice for young families, and Castle Park is a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon. The park is owned and operated by the city and is a staple of the community.

Visit the Sherman Oaks Library

It’s one thing to crawl in bed and get cozy with a good book. But it’s another thing completely to get involved with your local library. They are truly the unsung heroes of any neighborhood. This is especially true for the Sherman Oaks Martin Pollard Branch Library.

Teen council meetings and film clubs are just a few of the upcoming events to be hosted by the library. The library is currently closed due to the pandemic. However, it offers a Library to Go service that allows you to place holds online and pick the books up in person. It’s efficient and safe in COVID times.

Explore the City

Living in Sherman Oaks puts you within striking distance of the best that Los Angeles has to offer.

Spend your weekend eating your way through Downtown LA, hiking the trails around Griffith Park, or soaking up the sun at one of the many nearby beaches. One of the top perks about Sherman Oaks is its location, so don't lose sight of that!

Is Sherman Oaks Right For You?

Sherman Oaks is one of the most unique neighborhoods in Los Angeles. That’s primarily because it stands in direct contrast to the most sought-after characteristics of Los Angeles itself.

With little bustle and lots of wealth, Sherman Oaks is the perfect destination for a high-earning young family or professional. If you fit the bill and are looking for a quiet suburb within the LA jungle scape, then Sherman Oaks is right for you.

If not, there are dozens of other LA neighborhoods to consider. If you’re ready to start apartment hunting in Sherman Oaks or another LA neighborhood, Apartment List can help.

Take our quiz to help you find your dream apartment. Get started today!

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AUTHOR
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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