Studio City is an affluent Los Angeles neighborhood that sits at the gate of the San Fernando Valley, just northwest of Hollywood. Named after a Hollywood studio built there in the 1920s, the area is home to many people working in the entertainment industry and provides a high level of luxurious amenities to meet their needs. Residents, who typically have a high median income, tend to be a bit older here than in surrounding neighborhoods. Although public and private schools in the neighborhood are excellent, fewer children live here than in nearby communities.
Restaurants & Nightlife
As a culinary destination, Studio City has become known for its many sushi bars, and an increasing number of upscale burger joints, Italian restaurants and new-American restaurants are also located here. Restaurants tend to be clustered up and down Ventura Boulevard, the neighborhood's main drag.
Among the amazing sushi bars in Studio City, many consider Sugarfish one of the standouts. Order your favorites à la carte, or choose one of the three "Trust Me" menus that gives you up to 16 pieces of the chef's choice. Either way, you won't forget the buttery fish anytime soon after sampling it.
Asanebo also offers an omakase menu, in which diners trust the chef to choose. Locals save their pennies for this high-end, Michelin-star sushi bar to enjoy specialties such as corn custard with sea urchin and miso soup with sea bass.
Other popular sushi bars in Studio City include Katsuya, Iroha Sushi of Tokyo and Kiwami. Beloved restaurants where you can find world-class burgers include The Counter, Laurel Tavern, Carney's and especially Umami Burger. The signature burger at Umami Burger focuses on concentrating as much umami, or savory, taste into one burger as possible, combining shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, crispy Parmesan and caramelized onions to create a burger that delivers a jolt of flavor with every bite.
Nightlife in Studio City tends toward the quiet and sophisticated. Head to The Baked Potato, the premier jazz venue in Los Angeles, to see some of the top names in jazz performing every evening. The Ceremony Bar and the Black Market Liquor Bar both attract foodies with their innovative tapas plates, signature cocktails and relaxed lounge vibe. If you want to step it up a notch, head to La Maison Lounge for a classy atmosphere with a DJ spinning EDM and hip hop, with a hookah lounge on the patio.
History & Culture
Although the Studio City area was part of one of the great ranchos of early California history, it came into its own once the California Aqueduct brought water to the area in the early 1900s. Early filmmaker Mack Sennett established his film studio in this area in the 1920s, giving rise to the neighborhood's name. That studio still exists, now known as CBS Studio Center, and many popular TV shows continue to be taped there.
While no museums make their home in Studio City, the entertainment industry infuses its presence throughout the neighborhood, with many residents working in "the biz." Nearby North Hollywood teems with small theaters putting on everything from the classics to experimental theater every night of the week. The Hollywood Bowl is just south of Studio City, with its yearly line-up of big names in classical, pop and jazz music.
While public transportation can be found on the major thoroughfares of Studio City, most residents rely on their cars for commuting and errands. The Metro bus system runs buses down Studio City's most vital street, Ventura Boulevard, with connections to north-south bus routes as well. Just outside the borders of Studio City, the Metro Rail subway system's stations in North Hollywood and Universal City connect residents to downtown Los Angeles and the west San Fernando Valley. In addition, the local DASH bus system shuttles locals around the central Valley, from Studio City to Van Nuys and back, for only 50 cents a ride, and the FlyAway bus service connects people to Los Angeles International Airport.
Locals use Uber when they want an evening out without worrying about parking, but taxis are available on an on-call basis only.
If you plan to drive in Studio City, parking around your home and in local shopping centers tends to be free, though Ventura Boulevard only provides metered parking. Interstate 101 runs right through the city, leading south into Hollywood and downtown L.A. or north to Ventura County, and state routes 170 and 134 also touch the edge of the neighborhood.
While most people consider many sections of Studio City too hilly for walking and biking, once you've reached the flat section of town, both are fairly common, especially in the more residential sections.
Many consider Studio City to be one of the most livable and enjoyable neighborhoods in Los Angeles, but that livability comes at a price. The cost of living in Studio City runs 28 percent higher than that of L.A. as a whole, mostly due to the high cost of housing. Expect to spend about $2,045 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
If you plan to get around town by car, expect to pay about 12 percent higher than the national average for a gallon of gas. Should you decide to brave the streets of L.A. without your own wheels, the base fares for bus and light rail begin at $1.50, or pay $5 for a one-day pass so you don't have to be concerned about transfers. Stopping at a local pub for a beer after your commute runs about $5 on tap.
Studio City's main shopping drag centers at the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Laurel Canyon, with popular fashion-forward choices such as Brandy Melville, Free People and Urban Outfitters, not to mention the area's main bookstore, Bookstar. Keep searching up and down Ventura Boulevard, however, to find unique shopping gems.
DJ's Universal Comics knows how to take care of customers, with an online pre-pull service that lets you select your weekly choices electronically, then pick them up at a discount a couple of days later. The comic shop keeps a good supply of back issues on hand as well as a great selection of geek-friendly toys.
Mimi & Hy is a women's boutique that provides personal service to customers looking for stylish tees, beautiful jewelry and scarves, and comfy pajamas. Drop in when you need to buy a gift or just want to treat yourself.
Studio City locals head to Ralphs, Gelson's or Trader Joe's when they want to stock their pantries. The Grain and the Greens has become a hit with those looking for gluten-free, organic and preservative-free food, and they hand out complimentary coffee to their customers. The Studio City Farmers Market sets up shop every Sunday morning with offerings from local farmers, many of them organic. Bring the kids along to enjoy the petting zoo and train rides down the block.
Locals head to Wilacre Park in the Studio City hills for hiking and exercise, though they typically call it Fryman Canyon rather than by its official name. The 3-mile loop leads to the top of the Hollywood Hills and provides dog-friendly amenities such as doggie bags and water bowls. Although you can see hikers of all shapes and sizes there, prepare to feel the burn in the steep first section of the path.
Studio City features several other small neighborhood parks, including Woodbridge and Moorpark Park. Head to Beeman Park, though, when you want to take advantage of facilities such as tennis courts, basketball courts, a running track, workout equipment, soccer fields and softball diamonds. Updated playgrounds make this park a destination for young families.
While the municipal parks are all free, many Studio City residents consider the famous theme park Universal Studios Hollywood part of the neighborhood, since it's just across the freeway from them. Although entrance to the park can be pricey, the Citywalk area outside the gates has no entry fee and features restaurants, unique shops, glow-in-the-dark bowling, music clubs and a large movie theater. Locals head to Universal Studios in droves for the Halloween Horror Nights each October.