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Curbed Cup Elite Eight: (12) downtown Long Beach vs. (13) Westlake

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Vote now to help pick the winner!

Downtown Long Beach.

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, is kicking off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (fake) trophy. We’ll reveal each of the neighborhoods this week, and polls will be open for 24 hours so you can cast your vote as to which ones should advance. Let the eliminations commence!

Downtown Long Beach

The past few years have been busy for downtown Long Beach, where well over a dozen new developments are now in the works.

Among the highlights: an enormous entertainment complex planned beside the Queen Mary, a total overhaul of the city’s civic center, a pair of mixed use developments with nearly 1,000 units of housing for students between them, and an apartment tower set to be the largest building in town.

But Long Beach’s downtown already has plenty to offer beyond the expected amenities for convention center guests. There’s an eclectic mix of residential architecture, from modern to moderne; there’s a growing list of quality restaurants (most of which don’t serve recycled Popeye’s chicken tenders); there’s easy access to the beach; and the area is plenty walkable.

Now if only the Blue Line could arrive on time.


Aerial view of Westlake, looking toward Downtown.

Westlake is the second most densely populated area in LA, a largely immigrant neighborhood, a melting pot where “families from entire apartment complexes gather for services under pop-up tents at Christmas, and mariachi music emanates from central courtyards in the summer nights.”

Long resistant to the forces of gentrification that overtook Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake is on the cusp of big change, for better or worse. We recently mapped nearly two dozen high-profile projects headed to the neighborhood, including the sale of the Westlake Theater, plans for a 41-story apartment tower, a makeover for MacArthur Park, and renovations for an old theater that will reopen as a comedy venue.