Housing in L.A.


Hi all you USC/UCLA/AFI/LMU/other L.A. schools that I'm forgetting people!

I'm by no means an expert on housing in L.A., but I've lived here for four and a half years, and I spend more time than I should reading Curbed, so I figured I'd start a thread for people who are looking for more information about housing here! My apologies in advance for this being more-oriented towards USC—that's where I went to undergrad, so I know that campus area best.

For USC people:
In terms of housing by campus, it seems like most USC housing options are like $800-1000/month for a shared room. They come fully furnished, which is nice, and I think they may have someone come every once in a while to clean the bathrooms, but I'm not sure about that.

In the USC area, there are a bunch of options for non-university owned housing. I rented from Trojan Villas (who were fine, if not the most responsive when something needed fixing), and Southern Cal Student Housing (who were great, but also kept WAY too much of my security deposit for themselves). There are a bunch of other companies that own properties in the area, like StuHo (which I think is ok), First Choice, and CDI. One of them is supposed to be just awful, but I can't remember which it is—maybe CDI? There are also some really fancy, overpriced buildings like the Lorenzo, Tuscany, Gateway, 27th Place, etc. I think those come furnished also.

North of campus (between Vermont & Figueroa and south of Adams) has the reputation of being the safest place to live, but lots of grad students (and undergrads) also live directly west of campus, which is a bit cheaper typically I think. There are a few Facebook groups devoted to finding housing, so you can always request to join one and see what people have posted in there.

If you're looking for a place to stay this summer, there are a bunch of people who sublease their spots from mid-May to August, usually at a significantly discounted price. I think this goes for pretty much every school in L.A.

For USC folks & people attending other schools:
Culver City/Palms is a great area that's probably about $900-$1000 per room in a two bedroom. In that price range is also Echo Park, parts of downtown, and parts of Hollywood I think. I live in Chinatown, just north of downtown, which has the trifecta of being affordable (a 2BR is less than $1600 in my building), safe, and close to four major freeways (110, 101, 5, and 10). But places here are a bit more old school—you have to physically come by and see if there are vacancies, I don't think they're usually posted online (on places like Craigslist and rent.com and all those websites) as much as some of the other neighborhoods I mentioned are.

Other affordable places grad students live (less that $900/room in a 2BR) include Highland Park (up the 110, between downtown and Pasadena), Koreatown (a few miles up Vermont), and MacArthur Park, but those are considered slightly less safe neighborhoods.

I don't know how many grad students live there, but there are parts of Hollywood (up near Franklin especially) that are about $850/room in a 2BR. People post about these all the time in the Upright Citizens' Brigade Facebook groups! There are also parts of downtown L.A. (like on Spring St., which is a beautiful and pretty hip street) that are around that price point as well.

I think Mid-City (by The Grove and CBS Television City) is about $1000/room a month, but I don't find that to be a very convenient neighborhood. It's very convenient to The Grove and that CBS lot, but most times of day, it's a pain trying to get to there from anywhere else, and vice versa.

A great tool to check out when you're trying to figure out where to live is the LA Times' Mapping LA feature, which shows you the crime rates & other information for every neighborhood in LA (and also where every neighborhood in LA is, which isn't always intuitive, because there are a bajillion neighborhoods here).

Another less expensive option is the Valley, especially the NoHo/Burbank/Sherman Oaks areas. They're fairly affordable and safe, but they are farther away and you'll want to calculate your daily commuting road rage vs. money saved to see if that's worth it for you. NoHo is also on the Red line of the Metro, if commuting by train is your style.

That's another point in favor of living in Culver City/Palms—you can take the Expo Line right to USC, and it takes about 20 minutes once you're on the train (they run every 12 minutes I think). I believe that USC offers grad students a semester-long pass for the LA Metro system for something like $40 for the whole semester, but I'm not sure about that. I know that there are also a few buses that run from Culver/Palms to UCLA—one of my best friends lives in Palms and goes to UCLA for grad school.

TL;DR list of resources to check out:
Feel free to chime in with any other tips on good neighborhoods to questions you'd like to ask! :)

Johnny Cee

@kb5 , this is very great information to have -- I saw your post in the other thread and followed you over here actually. I myself am struggling between living in LA or NY. I think the main thing about LA is that I can't really stand is the traffic (like most people). But otherwise there's so much I love about it. I really would love to live in an area that is walkable though, do you have any recommendations for something like that? What area are you in now?


@kb5, thank you so much! This is super helpful. I am have never been to LA so trying to figure out a place to live from Texas is a little stressful.

Patrick Clement

Active Member
Supporting Member
I want to throw my two cents in here as well. I lived in LA, did my community college and worked in production for about five years. I'm originally from Boston.

The Valley is a great alternative to living over the hill. It is more residential (for the most part), so if you are not a fan of drunk idiots smashing bottles outside your windows at 2am (WEHO) or a shopping cart parade everyday (downtown) or crowds of prostitutes servicing johns behind your trash cans (HWood), the Valley is a good choice.

There are some great neighborhoods to choose from.

I live in North Hollywood for nearly my entire five years. It's the south valley with access to freeways and there is a train station if you are into that sort of thing (I am). It was more of a transitional neighborhood then (about 4 years ago). I went back from an interview and its in full transition mode. New buildings, a new theater and a nice shopping area. Rents are about the same in NOHO now, but you'll get more bang for your buck. You can get a really nice 2BR for $1700-1900. It'll be bigger and nicer than it would over the hill.

Also, Valley Village and parts of Sherman Oaks are also affordable.
If you want to spend up, Toluca Lake, Burbank and Universal City are great choices.

Also, if you live in the Valley you have Chandler Blvd. The best way to drive across the Valley!
I recommend you DEFINITELY stay south of Victory and if possible, try to stay south of Burbank Blvd. North of Magnolia Blvd and south of Burbank Blvd is the sweet spot.

Good luck everyone!


@kb5 , this is very great information to have -- I saw your post in the other thread and followed you over here actually. I myself am struggling between living in LA or NY. I think the main thing about LA is that I can't really stand is the traffic (like most people). But otherwise there's so much I love about it. I really would love to live in an area that is walkable though, do you have any recommendations for something like that? What area are you in now?
I live in Chinatown, which is just north of downtown, but a lot less expensive, a little bit quieter, and a lot less congested. :) It's somewhat walkable, and incredibly convenient by car to everything except parts of the Westside (Beverly Hills/Marina del Ray/Westwood/Brentwood). Echo Park, downtown, and the Arts District are all about 3 miles away or closer, and Silver Lake, USC, Hollywood, and Los Feliz aren't too far either. Depending on traffic (of course, haha), it's not too hard to get to Burbank/North Hollywood/Glendale/the rest of the "lower Valley" as I call it, Culver City/Santa Monica, and Long Beach/San Pedro.

I think downtown and Santa Monica are probably the most walkable areas, and there are probably some other parts of the Westside that are nice and walkable too. If I were to live in downtown, I'd probably pick somewhere in the area bounded by Figueroa, Olympic, Grand, and Wilshire-ish—there are a lot of cool places concentrated in that area. It's a bit out of my price range though.

I quite like North Hollywood, it's a very nice place! I just like being south of the mountains, though that's a bit irrational. I feel like I'm closer to stuff being south of the mountains, even if that's not technically true.

Chris W

Willem was robbed
Staff member
I lived in Palms for 8 years. right by the Versailles Cuban restaurant. Great area... right next to downtown Culver city. Right smack dab in between SM and Hollywood. Rents are decent. And there's now a train station right there although there wasn't when I was living there. It's right in between UCLA and USC too.


New Member
@kb5 Thank you so much!

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