San Fernando Valley
Cities & Neighborhoods
Most of the following communities are actually neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles.
Burbank, Glendale, San Fernando, Calabasas, and Hidden Hills are all independent cities within the San Fernando Valley. All others are districts of the city of Los Angeles. Locals refer to the San Fernando Valley simply as "the Valley".
The stereotypical "Valley Girl" speak is actually prevelant among most teenage girls influenced by pop culture all over the USA, and not just limited to the San Fernando Valley. San Fernando Valley residents are diverse with Spanish, Korean, Thai, Armenian, Farsi, Russian, Hindi, and many other languages being common besides English.
The CA-118 Freeway enters the San Fernando Valley from Simi Valley and Ventura County. The US-101 runs through from Thousand Oaks in Ventura County to Hollywood and the Los Angeles Basin. The I-405 runs north south from the I-5 to the basin, connecting with the 101 in Sherman Oaks. The I-5 runs along the eastern edge of the Valley serving Burbank and other eastern communities. Burbank airport offers domestic flights. Amtrak stops in the Valley at Chatsworth, Van Nuys, and Burbank. Metrolink commuter trains stop in Chatsworth, Northridge, Van Nuys, San Fernando, Sun Valley, Burbank Airport, and downtown Burbank. The Metro Red Line can get you into Universal City and North Hollywood from points south.
The majority of streets are arranged in a grid with streets running east-west and north-south. The car is the main method of transportation but Metro buses and Metro Rail, Metrolink commuter trains, and Amtrak will all get you around. The Metro Orange Line is a busway that runs east-west from the North Hollywood Metro Rail station to the Warner Center business district in Woodland Hills. Many bike paths and bike lanes can be found. Flyaway buses connect Van Nuys to LA International Airport and run every half hour. Free parking is available at the station and tickets usually cost around 3 dollars each way. Walking can be an option in denser neighborhoods such as Downtown Burbank, the NoHo Arts District, and along Ventura Boulevard. Most taxis are regulated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation and can be ordered by phone or picked up at taxi stands such as at the Van Nuys Airport Flyaway Station.
Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Citywalk, Mission San Fernando, NoHo Arts District, Van Nuys Japanese Garden, O'Melveny Park. There are also many places to hike in the mountains that surround the Valley.
The Valley is known particularly for Indian and Mexican food and for dozens of sushi joints (especially along Ventura Boulevard). For a cheap but delicious authentic Indian experience, try India Sweets and Spice in its Northridge location or Canoga Park location. Mexican restaurants range from the simplest take out taco trucks to expensive and elaborate, and everything in between. For a great Mexican meal, try La Fogata on Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. Several Korean BBQ restaurants can be found in the West Valley, especially Northridge and Reseda. Sherman Way west of the 170 freeway is home to a strip of several popular Thai restaurants. Expensive restaurants of all types of food can be found along Ventura Boulevard. Chains abound, but an authentic old '50s Valley experience can be had at Bob's Big Boy (the original location) in Toluca Lake, Beep's in Van Nuys, as well as at one of several In 'n' Out Burger locations. The Valley also includes a substantial number of Jewish delis, especially in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and Encino ; Art's Deli in Studio City, which goes back to the 1950s, is highly recommended.
The Valley isn't always the sweet little suburban haven it is made out to be in popular culture. It still retains a largely middle class existence but has shed the Brady Bunch-esque lifestyle long ago. Certain areas are best avoided at night such as Panorama City, Pacoima, North Hills, San Fernando, and parts of Van Nuys, Sylmar, North Hollywood, Canoga Park, and Sun Valley. The rest of the Valley is mostly safe, though dauntingly devoid of foot traffic after sunset (the exception is nightlife hotspots such as along Ventura Boulevard). Law enforcement is mostly provided by the Los Angeles Police Department, except in independent cities such as Burbank. The Los Angeles County Sheriff supplements service.
The San Fernando Valley has a centralized location for attractions such as the Getty Center Museum, Six Flags Magic Mountain, the beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu, and The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.