WHERE is Brentwood?
For our purposes, Brentwood, CA, is a prominent area in West Los Angeles not to be confused with Brentwood, CA in Northern California located in Contra Costa County. The LA Brentwood district is located at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains directly west of the San Diego Freeway also known as “the 405.” Who could forget 2012’s Carmegeddon?! Wilshire Boulevard is at Brentwood’s southern end and both the city of Santa Monica and Topanga State Park are its western neighbors. Brentwood is 14 miles from LAX and accordingly should make it a 22-minute drive most times of day – no, not at 6 PM.
WHAT characterizes Brentwood?
Brentwood today, and even then, is one of the most coveted neighborhoods in all of Los Angeles. It is not so thickly populated allowing residents a feeling of privilege with their spaciousness. Generally speaking, Brentwood is less diverse than many Los Angeles communities. According to Wikipedia, it is “84.2% white,” and considered to be the home of some of the highest incomes in Los Angeles. Statistics report that the residents of Brentwood are more highly educated than all other Los Angeles neighborhoods, and nationally more educated than average communities in the U.S. I guess it’s no wonder that Brentwood contains seven private schools and two public schools.
There is one main shopping district that runs through Brentwood, along San Vicente Boulevard. The community’s meeting place would be the charming Country Mart, and it marks the dividing line between Brentwood and Santa Monica. There are no highly commercialized malls in Brentwood; nevertheless there is no shortage of shopping options. The Country Mart is a circular center of shops and foodstuffs. Its architectural frame presents a feeling evocative of a time gone by, a period of penny candies and a town shoemaker. Lately, however, the Country Mart has undergone a middle-aged facelift causing some traditionalists to grimace. But there’s no denying that the chic new stores (e.g. James Pearse, Intermix, Jenni Kayne) and new eateries (e.g. Farmshop and the Sweet Rose Ice Creamery) have brought the Country Mart into its new day. Die-hards will never let anybody push out Reddi Chick though! At the other end of San Vicente Blvd. is a modern strip mall where Sugarfish (Sushi) is a huge draw. Right in the middle of the San Vicente shopping district, you’ll find Brentwood Gardens but don’t expect much greenery unless you’re shopping for an emerald! Filled with high-end stores and chain-like restaurants, the chic crowds flock to shop there.
Between the Country Mart and the sidewalk shops on San Vicente Blvd. lies the venerable Brentwood Country Club whose manicured grounds face the boulevard, giving Brentwood’s flatlands a view of lux greenery. Along here, residents ride bikes, jog and walk from early morn through the dark of evening, often with dogs in tow. Such quiet suburban civility had previously led me to believe that Brentwood’s residences were all expensive condos and resplendent homes. As it turned out, when my niece moved to Los Angeles at 24 years old, her first rental apartment was in Brentwood and she loved it. There is a vibrant section of rentals for the young and single, mostly southeast of the country club. However, my preconception was not far off the mark. The homes set above the club, and particularly north
of Sunset Boulevard are simply breathtaking! But the exteriors are only half of the story, which hopefully you’ll see if someone is kind enough to invite you inside!
However, no interior will take your breath away like the collection of art and antiquities living in splendor at the Getty Center. And while all of Los Angeles would proudly claim this cultural mecca as its own, the zip code of the Getty Museum address, off of the 405 freeway is definitely 90049. Only one neighborhood in Southern California has that zip code; yep it’s Brentwood!
WHO is in Brentwood?
When measuring the median age of its populace, Brentwood’s population seems to be more suburban than urban. This is a scary statistic (to me) based on the fact that it’s considered to have an “older” population because the average age is 35! Yikes! As noted earlier, Brentwood had not developed its true potential for ethnic diversity as many Los Angeles neighborhoods have. The young singles of Brentwood have settled in the aforementioned apartments. But abundantly, Brentwood’s homes are filled with families who have room to grow. In fact, one of the reasons that the community is homogeneous is that parents who raise families in Brentwood stay there from the time that their children are babies until they’re long grown. One friend has had her 20-something-year-old kids return after college to move back in! Brentwood’s families, especially those in the single-family residences, represent a wide variety of industries, from the world of entertainment to businesses and professions of all kinds.
DINE AT THE TOP:
DINE IN THE MID:
Brentwood Bar and Grill
DINE ON A BUDGET:
Coral Tree Café
New York Bagel Co.
Sweet Rose Creamery
DRINK RESPONSIBLY AT:
Q’s Billiard Club
(I searched high and low and could not find another bar in Brentwood – many nearby but not IN Brentwood! Guess it’s the family vibe!)
SHOP TIL YOU DROP:
(Divided by shopping areas not individual stores)
Brentwood Place Shopping Center
The Country Mart
San Vicente Blvd. shops
LIVE (and thrive) HERE:
Condos average $747,000
Single Family Residences average $2,345,000
A one-bedroom apartments average $2,540/month
Brentwood is a largely residential community with happy walkers. On a six-block stretch of San Vicente Boulevard, you can shop and dine to your heart’s content and find the conveniences of groceries, gas stations, doctors, dentists and pharmacies, all by leaving your car in one spot! On Sundays at the sublime Brentwood Village Farmer’s Market, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for either Mark Peel or Arnold Schwarzenegger where both have been spotted!
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