Los Angeles is a giant city full of both terrible no-man's-lands and pleasant little communities, and all you have to do as a renter is sort out which is which, find the best of the latter for you and your situation, and pray to God you can afford to rent there. We can't tell you the best LA rental neighborhood for you—you'll have to take a facile internet quiz to figure that out—but we can tell you with perfect authority the overall best neighborhoods for renting in the city. We based this list on a combination of the Zillow Rent Index number (a type of median that factors in all rentals) for April 2015, Walk Score and Transit Score, geographic diversity, and various intangibles (how good are the tacos?).
April ZRI: $2,320
Walk Score: 93
Transit Score: 98
The deal: Downtown used to be dead after dark, and it still is in many places, but there are also lots of pockets of action these days. While the neighborhood is short on condos, it's got tons of apartments, many in converted historic buildings.
Attractions: It's Downtown Los Angeles. There's Disney Hall and the Music Center on one end of the neighborhood and LA Live on the other. In between: Grand Park, the shops and theaters of Broadway, Grand Central Market, about a million places to get oxtail and fancy cocktails, MOCA, and even a Ralphs.
April ZRI: $3,242
Walk Score: 86
Transit Score: 62
The deal: This little community on the Westside is known for its Japanese heritage, great eating, and proximity to the 405.
Attractions: Lots of excellent sushi and other food, including Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and plenty of Japanese, plus some boutique shopping (Giant Robot is a biggie) and a few amazing nurseries (fun for wandering through).
April ZRI: $1,911
Walk Score: 77
Transit Score: 66
The deal: Boyle Heights has been called LA's Ellis Island and is known for its historic Jewish population; today it's mostly a working class Latino community that has been lobbying hard against a whitewashing gentrification.
Attractions: Mariachi Plaza is a fun scene for music and shopping, but there's also Hollenbeck Park, great tacos everywhere (including at Guisados), Libros Schmibros and Espacio 1839 for books, and the community arts center Self-Help Graphics & Art. Plus the Gold Line.
April ZRI: $2,527
Walk Score: N/A
Transit Score: N/A
The deal: Resident/filmmaker John Singleton has called Leimert Park "the black Greenwich Village." It's a hub for black art and black politics.
Attractions: Leimert has one of the city's great art scenes: Degnan Boulevard is lined with galleries, community arts centers, local craft shops, and live music venues like the famous World Stage. To eat, there's plenty of delicious Southern and Caribbean food, including M&M Soul Food and Ackee Bamboo. The area is very walkable and will soon be served by the Crenshaw Line.
April ZRI: $2,457
Walk Score: 73
Transit Score: 51
The deal: If you can stomach the Valley, North Hollywood is a less suburban option that has the added bonus of being close to the basin. It's also a good place to see live theater or comedy ("good" meaning the opportunity exists; we won't vouch for quality) and it's on a rail line.
Attractions: The NoHo Arts District has a little of everything, including theaters like the El Portal and California Institute of Abnormal Arts, community art spaces, the Laemmle's NoHo 7 movie theater, galleries, comedy clubs, and a bunch of dance studios. The food in NoHo isn't generally mindblowing, but it's solid (Republic of Pie, Bow & Truss) and there are lots of places to drink, including the beloved Federal Bar and the Idle Hour, which is inside LA's last barrel-shaped building.
· Renters Week 2015 [Curbed LA]
· Quiz: What Los Angeles Neighborhood Should You Rent In? [Curbed LA]