Mid-City – Santa Monica, CA

Mid-City sits equidistant from Santa Monica to the west and Downtown to the east. Its character lies in the middle of the spectrum as well: urban but calm and conveniently located yet not overcrowded. The neighborhood offers quiet living, local favorites, and urban culture. You can drive down one its palm-tree-lined streets to explore historic homes, unexpected landmarks, and proximity to Los Angeles' best corners.

Schools in Mid-City

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

You can count on Mid-City to serve up a mess of comfort food at diners, stands, trucks, pubs, and delis along Pico Blvd. Many eateries showcase just how diverse the community is -- find Jamaican, Korean, Scandinavian, and any other fare you crave. The neighborhood also feeds locals with a dose of healthy choices, like the Grain Cafe. This food stop folds together vegan and vegetarian sandwiches and tosses salads filled with fresh, organic produce and grains. Don't miss it tucked in a small shopping center next to a liquor store. Mid-City houses the famous breakfast soul food joint Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. This chain is a must when visiting Los Angeles. The place truly lives up to the hype, and locals often cite the Mid-City one as the best branch of the empire. Another comfort food favorite calls itself Oki's Dog. It gets its fame from the greasy tastiness of the chili cheese dogs, fries, and pastrami burrito. Come here for inexpensive, simple fare that has kept locals full for decades. Mid-City's nightlife consists of relaxed lounges and a few comedy clubs. A more bustling party can be found just a few minutes east in downtown. Nonetheless, the neighborhood's hideaways keep locals lively and satiated. Check out the Mandrake Bar for a dark and cozy atmosphere and a DJ that inspires dancing. Patrons love the drinks, the cute patio, and the quirky art gallery. An intimate setting and live music can be found at the Mint. Welcoming with great quality sound, come here with friends to witness the artistry of up-and-coming musicians, American pub fare, and great drinks.

History & Culture

In its heyday, Mid-City was a bustling area with streetcars whisking residents to nearby shops and restaurants. When residents chose to move farther out from the city center, the neighborhood languished for a while. Today, with its location just south of Mid Wilshire and Miracle Mile, and its short five miles to Downtown LA, Mid-City is attracting new residents. It is convenient to I-10, the University of Southern California, and the Staples Center. It is a picturesque, diverse community defined by palm trees and stucco houses with tile roofs. The neighborhood contains the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, home of the Ebony rep theater. Also, Ray Charles' recording studio sits on Western and Washington, now a national historic landmark. Many of Mid-City's walls stand out with colorful murals creatively covered by local street artists. The neighborhood doesn't house an official museum, but LACMA and others are nearby.

Transportation

The neighborhood stretches to I-10, making it convenient for traveling the city and state. The main roads of Pico, La Cienega, and Venice can get congested during the commute home, but Mid City generally benefits from less traffic than other areas. This also means more available street parking and a nice layout of public lots. You can walk to complete some errands or take advantage of the convenient public transit. LADOT serves the area and you can use it to connect to the nearest Metro station in Culver City. Quiet streets invite biking, but the main roads are best for other modes of travel. You can't hail a cab, but Uber is always an option.

Cost

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Mid-City costs $1,300. The average price for gas sits at 10 percent higher than the national average but somewhat lower than the state average. Beer will set you back around $6, and it will cost around $3 to get downtown, both typical prices for the city. With the same cost of living index as the Los Angeles average, Mid-City is a great option.

Shopping

Mid-City can't claim to be Los Angeles' shopping mecca, but it hosts some notably cute and friendly boutiques and shops along Pico and La Cienega Blvd. Stop in Pinky Rose for women's threads you won't find in a mall. Don't see what you're looking for? The owner, Pinky, will find it or her seamstress will make it for you. Mostly Angels and Other Magical Beings is where you can find stones, candles, and other collectables. Come for gifts or just great conversation. HD Buttercup is the place to go for one-of-a-kind furniture pieces for your home. It can be a bit pricey, but it's worth the investment. The shop also runs half yearly sales and other deals. The neighborhood's main shopping center, Mid-Town Crossing, has typical chains like Ulta, Lowe's, and Smart & Final, all reliable places for your household needs. Grocery shopping is convenient, with standards like Ralph's and Fresh n Easy, but also ethnic groceries with items of the kosher, African, and Mexican variety. Mid-City also benefits from two farmers markets: La Cienega on Thursday mornings and Wellington Square on Sundays, both smaller but well-stocked.

Parks

Reynier Park sits on the edge of the neighborhood, surrounded by a quiet residential area. Although small, the park offers facilities for leisure and exercise. You can throw around a football, jog with Fido, have a barbecue, or let your children enjoy the jungle gym. Parking is ample and locals are always friendly. Mid City's central location means that the Baldwin Heights Overlook, Pan Pacific Park, and Hancock Park are all close by.
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