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Fun, nightclubs, celebrities, LGBTQ, single’s playground, creativity and more – all these are words that have been used to describe West Hollywood and it is easy to see why. This small city – it stands on only 1.9 square miles – is home to come of the most vibrant communities in the world and it is a place where you can do practically anything without being judged by anyone – so long as it is within the law of course. Life never stops in West Hollywood – as soon as the day ends the nightclubs open and the fun goes on throughout the night. It is a great place to be single, but there are families that live there too.
Was West Hollywood always like this? As a matter of fact it is one of the youngest cities in California since it was incorporated only in 1984. It is home to about 35,000 people and it is located in Los Angeles. It is considered one of the biggest gay communities in America and the fight for gay rights and same sex marriage were started by members of this community. Many gay people from the US and around the world go to live in West Hollywood because they feel safe there. West Hollywood is very compact – the small size means that space has to be used very carefully and it is one of the most walkable cities in the US. In fact, you can get to all of West Hollywood and it is recommended because of the heavy traffic. As you can imagine, with such a vibrant population people prefer to spend most of their time out of doors. In fact, it is very unusual to find someone having a lunch sandwich at their desk – the culture is to head out and meet a friend at an eatery or visit the gym for a quick midday workout.
West Hollywood has an old history. The first European to arrive there was a Portuguese Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho in the late 18th century. By this time Spain had already claimed the area, and when this first settler arrived, the Tongva, who are the native tribe that occupied the area were transported to meet his ship. The Europeans brought with them diseases that very quickly decimated the Tongva population, but that did not stop the area from developing rather rapidly.
Wikipedia explains how it eventually became modern day West Hollywood: “During the final decade years of the nineteenth century, the first large land development in what would later become West Hollywood-the town of “Sherman”-was established by Moses Sherman and his partners of the Los Angeles Pacific Railroad, an interurban railroad line which later became part of the Pacific Electric Railway system. Sherman became the location of the railroad’s main shops, railroad yards, and car barns. Many working-class employees of the railroad settled in this town. It was during this time that the city began to earn its reputation as a loosely regulated, liquor-friendly (during Prohibition) place for eccentric people wary of government interference. Despite several annexation attempts, the town elected not to become part of the City of Los Angeles. In a controversial decision, in 1925 Sherman adopted “West Hollywood”, “…a moniker pioneered earlier in the decade by the West Hollywood Realty Board” as its informal name, though it remained under the governance of Los Angeles County.”
Many people were attracted to the gambling houses in Sunset Boulevard because they were not governed by the strict laws that were crippling gambling in Los Angeles. Over time, however, man y of these nightclubs ceased to be popular and gambling was slowly replaced by out of town tourists who were looking for a place to let lose. West Hollywood was also one of the most prominent locations for the hippie movement – free thought, radicalism and drug use were encouraged among believers, and because the city didn’t crack down on these things the community thrived. The Russian community is prominent in North Hollywood. Wikipedia explains that “The most recent migration to West Hollywood came about after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when thousands of Russian Jews immigrated to the city. A majority of the 5,000 to 6,000 Russian Jews settled in two major immigration waves, 1978-79 and 1988-92. Other than New York, West Hollywood’s Russian-speaking community is the most concentrated single Russian-speaking region in United States.” Today, there are many Russian restaurants in the area and many businesses are managed and owned by Russians.
Rent in West Hollywood has almost always been an issue. Since the city was incorporated, the kind of people who lived there could not keep up with rising property costs and they elected to enact rent control. Today, they have one of the strictest rent control laws in America. Unfortunately, this has resulted in landlords doing the bare minimum to maintain properties. While you can get a rent controlled apartment, you will not find it in the best condition. Because most renters are long-term they opt to upgrade their apartments themselves.
This is not to mean that there is a shortage of properties to buy. They are available, but you should be prepared to spend quite some money. The cost of the average home in West Hollywood is 182% higher than the national average. According to https://lifequalityexaminer.com/whats-it-like-to-live-in-west-hollywood/, “The highest price obtained for a single family residence in WeHo during the first half of 2016 was $3,987,000 and the highest price paid for a condo was $4,150,000. The lowest price paid in the same period for a single family home was $650,000 and the lowest price paid for a condo was $266,000.” Homes come in many different architectural styles and if you have the kind of money it takes you can be certain that you will find something to suit your taste.