- Holmby Hills in the North
- Brentwood in the West
- Century City in the East
- Cheviot Hills in the South East
Westwood: A Brief History
Westwood sits on the land of the 3,300 acre Wolfskill Ranch parcel owned by Arthur Letts (who founded Bullock's and The Broadway department stores).
Westwood Village was developed and built in the 1927 by Letts' son-in-law Harold Janss. Intended predominantly as a retail village, it opened with 1,000 residential and business lots.
The neighborhood's history is tightly entwined with UCLA which broke ground on its campus there the same year. The university had existed since 1919 at a location in Hollywood which it was outgrowing. So it expanded into Westwood. Its four original buildings were the library, Royce Hall, the Physics-Biology Building and the Chemistry Building.
Beyond UCLA, Westwood became home to many architecturally important structures from the '30s and '40s ranging in styles from Mediterranean, French Regency and Classical Revival to Spanish Colonial Revival, Post War Modern and Period Revival.
Some of its crowning landmarks are its movie theaters. The Spanish mission style Village Theater--which was appropriated by Regency Theatres in 2009--first opened in 1931. It was remodeled in the late '40s and early '50s.
The Bruin Theatre was opened in 1937 with 670 seats. It is a famously recognizable theatre that has seen many a movie premiere with its signature wraparound marquis. Regency Theatres also took over its lease in 2009.
During the '80s and part of the '90s, Westwood Village was a popular hot spot for local and neighboring youth--from school kids to youth gangs like the Westwood Locals and the West Side Crazies. Starkey's Arcade was the meeting point for many young skateboarding scenesters.
Westwood's Theatres continued to appear as backdrops for Hollywood premieres but were also captured and immortalized in the annals of pop culture when director Spike Jonz shot the Fatboy Slim video Praise You in front of the Bruin Theatre on Broxton. In it, a team of spontaneous 'dancers' put on an offbeat show while puzzled Westwood bystanders are caught on film reacting to the impromptu piece of street performance.
Westwood has always been and will probably always be known as a 'student area,' simply by virtue of its adjacency to UCLA (and the related student traffic that brings in). It is one of the few neighborhoods in LA that people navigate by foot. Its small village atmosphere is partly responsible for that. But it is also conveniently located to Wilshire Blvd.'s many bus lines.
Westwood's Federal Building on Wilshire Blvd. is another commonly seen backdrop in TV and film. This is one of the more popular locations in LA to protest or promote a political cause or agenda. Everyone from Iranian-Americans to war protestors have marched in front of it.
Today Westwood is a highly affluent area that is also home to large pockets of LA's Middle Eastern community--as is evidenced by its Lebanese and Persian restaurants and businesses.
Westwood Restaurants and Bars
- Falafel King
- Gypsy Cafe
- La Bruschetta
- The Glendon Bar & Kitchen
- Native Foods
- Novel Cafe
- Stan's Donuts
- Sunnin Lebanese Cafe
- Westside Tavern
- Westwood Brewing Company
- Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel
Local Businesses and Organizations
- The Billy Wilder Theatre (at UCLA Film & Television Archive)
- The Federal Building
- The Geffen Playhouse
- The Hammer Museum
- Los Angeles Public Library Westwood
- Los Angeles Animal Services West LA Shelter
- Salvation Army Westwood Village
- Sinai Temple
- Westwood Homeowners Association
- Westwood Presbyterian Church
- Westwood Recreation Center
Westwood Historical Sites and Buildings
- Bruin Theatre
- Elkay Apartments (Richard Neutra, architect)
- Regency Village Theater
- Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery (resting place of Marilyn Monroe)
Schools in the Westwood Vicinity
- Global Montessori School of Westwood
- Harvard-Westlake Middle School (Holmby Hills)
- Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles
- Marymount High School (Brentwood)
- Notre Dame Academy
- Ralph Waldo Emerson Middle School
- Saint Sebastian School
- St. Timothy School
- University High School
- University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
- Warner Avenue Elementary School
- Westwood Charter School
- Westwood Elementary School
- Windward School (Palms)
Real Estate Facts
- Population: 234,701
- Overall school district performance: 763 (close to meeting the statewide target of 800)
- 95% of other LA area houses are less expensive
- House prices: $601 per square foot
- Crime index (measures violent crime reported - lower number is better): 10, approximately 44% lower than the LA County average
Facts pulled from: LA Life: Westwood