West Los Angeles is the area between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, bordered by Brentwood in the northwest, Westwood in the northeast, the Sawtelle Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in the north, Rancho Park in the east, and Mar Vista in the south. Generally, anything north of the Santa Monica Freeway and west of the San Diego Freeway but east of Santa Monica and south of Brentwood is considered part of West Los Angeles. West Los Angeles is also not to be confused with the “Westside”, a vague amorphous term used to describe the region of Los Angeles County west of La Cienega Boulevard (i.e. west of West Hollywood and Inglewood), north of LAX, and south of the Santa Monica Mountains.
West Los Angeles is generally a wealthy area of LA with a low crime rate. Its schools are among the city’s best. There are also a large number of Japanese-owned businesses, and small pockets of Hispanic communities. Because of its central location in LA, there are many high-rise office buildings that line the Wilshire, Olympic, and Santa Monica Boulevards in West Los Angeles. You’ll also find a growing number of apartment buildings and residential towers in the north side of West Los Angeles, which is home to many young professionals.
West Los Angeles is not really a touristy area of LA. There aren’t many attractions. The University Senior High School, nicknamed Uni, is perhaps one of them. The school is a California historic landmark, encompassing a sacred site of the Tongva native people who lived on the site dating back to 400 BC. The school was opened in 1924 and remains one of the few high schools in LA built prior to WWII that has remained largely intact and spared of destruction from post-WWII earthquakes. Underneath the school are the Serra Springs, which were used by the Tongva people as a natural fresh water source and continue to pump about 25,000 gallons of water a day. Excavations have uncovered an Indian village on the site as well as an Indian burial graveyard. Each year, there is an event held on campus to celebrate the Tongva people and its history just before Columbus Day. The event features tours of the old Kuruvunga Village and springs as well as performances and storytelling from Tongva and Aztec tribes.
Because of the school’s original architecture, it is also one of the most popular schools in LA for use in film shoots. Some of the movies featuring shots of the school include Billie, Pretty Maids All in a Row, Bruce Almighty, and The Hot Chick. The school also served as the Glen Oak High School for the TV show, 7th Heaven, which aired from 1995 to 2007.
West Los Angeles was part of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica parcel of land granted by the Mexican government after LA became a part of Mexico. The land was originally granted to Francisco Sepulveda who sold much of it to the Japanese, who were prohibited by discriminatory laws in place at the time from purchasing within incorporated LA. Many orchards and nurseries were established during these early days of Japanese settlement, while the rest of the area was harvested as wheat and bean fields.
“University High School, Los Angeles, California.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_High_School_%28Los_Angeles%2C_California%29>
“West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Los_Angeles%2C_Los_Angeles%2C_California>