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San Fernando Valley

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The San Fernando Valley is a region of Los Angeles County in Southern California, nestled to the northwest of the Los Angeles Basin.

Weather

The weather is very dry in the valley, and extremely hot in the summer and fall months, when the sun is out in full force, and the days are anywhere from 90-100F, nights cooling down to anywhere from 55-63F. Fog and rain bring cooler winter and spring weather, with days around 60F, and nights anywhere from 35-50F.

Cities

Most of the following communities are actually neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles.

Understand

Burbank, Glendale, San Fernando, Calabasas, and Hidden Hills are all independent cities lying 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".

Talk

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, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hindi, and many other languages being common besides English.

Get in

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 (California), Van Nuys, and Burbank. Metrolink commuter trains stop in Chatsworth (California), Northridge, Van Nuys, San Fernando, Sun Valley (California), Burbank Airport, and downtown Burbank. The Metro Red Line can get you into Universal City and North Hollywood from points south.

Get around

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.

See

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 Wild Parrots of... the Valley?
In an area where odd sightings are the norm, one of the oddest sightings may be huge flocks of exotic parrots loudly squawking outside of your window. While seldom seen, there are over a thousand wild parrots living in the Valley, many of them descended from escapees of shipments to pet stores and parks. Other birds are believed to trace to the now-closed Busch Gardens that was once located in Van Nuys. While small, the populations are healthy; sightings can be reported to the California Parrot Project [1], which tracks wild parrot populations throughout California.


Do

  • Studio Tours. Warner Brothers, NBC and Disney studios are all headquartered in Burbank, and all (except Disney) offer some kind of public tour. Universal Studios is in Universal City. CBS studios is in Studio City but does not offer public tours.
  • Shopping. For sheer length and diversity, Ventura Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley would satiate any shopping need in its 10-mile stretch. The Metro Rapid 750 bus is the best way to explore the boulevard if you choose not to drive.

Eat

The Valley is known particularly for Indian and Mexican food and for dozens of sushi joints (especially along Ventura Boulevard). Mexican restaurants range from the simplest take out taco trucks to expensive and elaborate, and everything in between. 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.

Drink

Nightlife in the valley ranges from dive bars to long-established hotspots. Universal City and the Citywalk provide a touristy, upscale atmosphere while towns like Glendale have a more local scene. Ventura Boulevard is home to a variety of bars suitable to almost any taste.

Stay safe

The Valley isn't always the sweet little suburban haven it is frequently portrayed as 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, and parts of Van Nuys, Sylmar, North Hollywood, Canoga Park, San Fernando and Sun Valley. They were always working-class areas to begin with, then deteriorated into slums when many manufacturing jobs were lost to outsourcing during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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 and Lankershim Boulevards). Law enforcement is provided by the Los Angeles Police Department within Los Angeles city limits. The other cities have their own police departments. The Los Angeles County Sheriff provides supplemental coverage in certain areas, such as around the Metro stations.

Get out

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.

  • For travel to the Getty Center from the Valley, take the 405 Freeway south and exit Getty Center Drive (the Getty is also accessible by Metro Rapid 761, with bus stops in front).
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain is located adjacent to the 5 Freeway, north of the Valley. An alternative to driving is to take the Metrolink to the Santa Clarita Train Station and then a connecting bus to the amusement park.
  • Santa Monica beach is acccessible by heading south on the 405 freeway. Malibu can be reached by the 101 north to Las Virgenes. Signs direct drivers to the coast.
  • The Presidential Library & Air Force One Pavillion are located in Simi Valley, near the 118 Freeway.
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