San Fernando Valley
The San Fernando Valley (sometimes called The Valley) is a region of Los Angeles County in Southern California, nestled to the northwest of the Los Angeles Basin. The San Fernando Valley includes the northern half of the city of Los Angeles; two-thirds of the Valley's area is within Los Angeles' city limits. Other cities in the Valley include Glendale, Burbank, San Fernando, Calabasas, and Hidden Hills.
These are actually communities within the city of Los Angeles.
Burbank, Glendale, San Fernando, Calabasas, and Hidden Hills are actually independent cities lying within the San Fernando Valley. All others are districts of the city of Los Angeles, although they are mistakenly perceived as independent cities on occasion.
The weather in the Valley is generally hotter in the summer than in the Los Angeles basin located to the southeast, however, the Valley summers are usually not as hot as the inland areas east of Los Angeles, such as in the Inland Empire. Winter days are pleasant, but as this is a valley, winter nights may be cooler than in the basin; again, not as chilly as eastern inland areas.
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.
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.
The majority of the Valley is laid out in a grid pattern with streets running east-west and north-south. There are a few diagonal roads. The car is the main method of transportation in the Valley, as well as all of the Los Angeles area, but Metro buses and Metro Rail, and Metrolink commuter trains can help you get around. The Metro Orange Line is actually a busway that runs east-west from the North Hollywood Metro Rail station to the Warner Center business district in Woodland Hills then north-south up to its terminus in Chatsworth. Several bike paths and bike lanes can be found.
Flyaway buses connect Van Nuys to LAX International Airport and run every half hour. Free parking is available at the station and tickets cost 7 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 must be called for by phone or picked up at taxi stands such as at the Van Nuys Airport Flyaway Station. Taxis cannot be hailed off the streets.
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). 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.