:: Neighborhoods :: Brentwood


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Brentwood is a district in  West Los Angeles.

Located at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, Brentwood is bordered by Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Santa Monica on the west, West Los Angeles on the south, Bel-Air on the northeast, and Sawtelle and Westwood on the east. The district is bounded by the San Diego Freeway on the east, Wilshire Boulevard on the south, the Santa Monica city limits on the west, and the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains on the north. The area's ZIP code is 90049.

The area that is now Brentwood was part of the Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica, a Spanish land-grant ranch sold off in pieces to Anglos after Mexico's defeat in the Mexican-American War. An agricultural district (soybeans, avocados, et al.) at the time of its annexation by Los Angeles in 1916, Brentwood is now one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and one of the prominent districts of the Westside. It has prosperous commercial districts along each of its major east-west thoroughfares (Wilshire, San Vicente and Sunset).
Local traditions include the Maypole erected each year on the lawn of the Eastern Star Home, and the annual decoration of the coral trees with holiday lights. Inspired by the adjacent Los Angeles National Cemetery and the community of veterans resident at the nearby Veterans Admininistration center, Brentwood once regularly hosted a Memorial Day parade, complete with a flotilla of classic cars and an elephant named Tiny; the tradition is now only sporadically practiced due to funding problems.


Brentwood, like nearby Santa Monica, is kept fairly cool by marine breezes off the Pacific Ocean and frequently wakes to the so-called "marine layer," a cover of clouds brought in at night and burned off by mid-morning. The topography of the area is generally split into two, broadly divided by Sunset Boulevard. North of Sunset, the area is defined by the ridges and canyons created by the Santa Monica Mountains; south of Sunset (exceptions include Franklin Hill), the area is relatively flat. The southern district (and the neighboring Westgate-Sawtelle areas) feature underground springs which bubble up into a small creek along "the Gully" in south Brentwood near the golf course, and in the "Indian Springs" (the springs were formerly the site of a Tongva campsite) portion of the University High School campus.

San Vicente Boulevard, considered the "Main Street" of Brentwood, is divided by a wide median on which stand many large coral trees. The median and the trees replaced the derelict Pacific Electric track, and the trees have become a Historic-Cultural Monument (#148) for the city of Los Angeles. (Brentwood boosters have adopted the silhouette of a coral tree as a de facto town logo.) Bundy Drive is lined with extremely tall date palms, likely planted by the district's original developer.


Important residential subdistricts (some defined by original developers, some defined by present-day local realtors) include Brentwood Park, Brentwood Flats, Brentwood Heights, Brentwood Highlands, Brentwood Circle, South Brentwood, Westgate, Mandeville Canyon, Bundy Canyon, Kenter Canyon, Crestwood Hills and Westridge Hills. Brentwood Park is notable for its layout, having been designed around several large traffic circles, a handful of which remain. There is also a cluster of architecturally significant mid-century modern residences in the subdivision of Crestwood Hills.

As of 2000, there were just over 22,000 housing units in Brentwood. There are many spectacular mansions and multi-million-dollar estates located in the hilly areas north of Sunset. There are also large, modern apartment complexes and condominiums located on most of district's primary and secondary thoroughfares, many of which are home to young professionals and students attending nearby UCLA. According to the Los Angeles Almanac, the median value of a single-family home in Brentwood as of 2004 was $1.4 million.


Popular recreational attractions include the Brentwood Country Mart, an early farmer's market complex built in 1947; the Brentwood Village, a small shopping district near the intersection of Sunset and Barrington; and more recently, Brentwood Green, a "village commons" created from the playground at Brentwood Science Magnet Elementary School.  There is also a tented farmer's market held each Sunday on a strip of Gretna Green Way between Brentwood Elementary and the Brentwood Country Club. The 2.7-mile-long  boundary of the private Brentwood Country Club is a popular local jogging route. The internationally renowned Getty Museum is located in the hills high above Brentwood, near the 405 freeway and the Sepulveda Pass. Dutton's Brentwood Books is a longtime local landmark, and an institution Sunset magazine calls the "last of the truly independent bookstores." Public open space is limited in the area, but green space with occasional or partial free public use can be found at the VA and on Brentwood Common. Local public parks are Crestwood Hills Park and Barrington Recreation Center, the latter of which features a community center, tennis courts, soccer fields, baseball diamonds and a dog park. Fire roads in the Santa Monica Mountains, good for mountain biking and hiking, can be accessed at the top of Sullivan Canyon and Westridge.


In addition to Brentwood Science Magnet Elementary, the area is served by Kenter Canyon Elementary School and Brockton Elementary School, all three of which are part of Los Angeles Unified School District. Locals attending public school usually go to either Emerson Middle School or Paul Revere Middle School; the local public high schools are University High School (named for nearby UCLA, formerly Warren G. Harding High), just outside the neighborhood's boundaries in West Los Angeles and often thought to be located in Brentwood, and Pacific Palisades High School, in the nearby neighborhood of Pacific Palisades.

Brentwood is also home to several private schools, including Brentwood School, St. Martin of Tours Catholic School, and the Archer School for Girls, located in what was once the historic Eastern Star Home. The old Eastern Star Home can be seen as the setting of the "Mar Vista Rest Home" in the movie Chinatown (1974).

Notable Residents

Bundy Drive in Brentwood was the site of the notorious murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, and O.J. Simpson's ensuing slow-speed freeway chase began and ended at his Brentwood mansion.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lives in the hills above Mandeville Canyon in Brentwood, and other entertainment industry notables and local politicos live nearby, including Steven Spielberg, Jim Carrey, Cindy Crawford, Steven Seagal, Phyllis Diller, Angela Lansbury, Cloris Leachman, former mayor Richard Riordan, and Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White.