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Lake Balboa

Tell us what Lake Balboa means to you

  • What makes this a good place to live? What are the downsides?


My wife and I moved to Lake Balboa -- the same quadrant defined by Petra -- in 1985. We have always felt safe in the neighborhood and have had few problems. Although our closest neighbors have lived here longer than us, in general the area seems to be getting younger, and that's good. There were very few young kids for children to play with in the 90's -- there seem to be a lot more now.

The vast amount of park land in the Sepulveda basin gives Lake Balboa a nice recreational vibe, and all the greenery is good for the spirits. The Orange Line busway is very popular. I don't use it much, but I ride on the adjacent bike path nearly every weekend. I can ride to Ikea in Burbank riding mostly on dedicated bike trail, which is great. If you work in either Westwood/Century City or the LAX area you can catch a Commuter Express bus that comes down Balboa.

I like being able to go over the hill to Santa Monica for a weekend breakfast in just 15 or 20 minutes.

There is a nice farmer's market on Sunday mornings near Louise & Victory.

Ok, don't laugh, but here is my blue sky, if you could wave a wand and make LB a better place, idea. At the corner of Victory and Louise, just to the East of the National Guard Armory, is an empty field that used to be a baseball field. What would really improve the ambience of LB would be for Rick Caruso to build a mini, slightly less pretentious version of the Calabasas Commons where that field is. An outpost of Odyssey (used) Bookstore and a Peet's and a funky little bakery cafe and a bicycle rental shop would be great. And maybe a shuffleboard or bocce area. Here's dreamin!

— PaulD
June 7, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.

I live in the Lake Balboa area near White Oak and Victory, Louise and Vanowen. It's mostly a post WWII suburban neighborhood of houses built and bought with VA loans. Lots of people look down on the area because it's not a celebrity rich people zone like South of the Blvd Encino nor does it have an arty name like NoHo.

It's a residential neighborhood. Quiet except some airport flyover noise on weekends. There is a fire station on Louise. Schools close. Some property crime like any big city but not any violent crime to speak of. You do have to go someplace else though if you want to see a movie, eat sushi, go to an organic market (though I highly suggest which delivers organic produce to your home if you are too tired to drive all the hell over town.)

The area is filled with an interesting mix of people. Lots of young families and couples starting out. Older families who have lived in the area for years. Young professionals, people in the entertainment industry (support persons, grips, editors, production, etc), some law enforcement types and artists. Because the cost of an older 50's home that hasn't been improved is relatively inexpensive and the lot sizes are large with decent garages, a number of working artists, craftspeople and photographers have moved into this area as well. They exhibit their work elsewhere since there are NOT any galleries in the area but cost per sq ft of space to buy is very economical given the quality of life in the area.

What else? Well there is a lot of rec area close by. Main arteries to get to other places (405, 101). People definitely keep to themselves because most are pretty busy with life, but every block seems to have a neighborhood watch organized or not and neighbors in this area tend to keep an eye out for outsiders and troublemakers.

So that's basically it. Safe, kinda boring, middle class, suburban, solid, affordable, centrally located.

— Petra
July 12, 2012 at 11:05 a.m.

Moved here in 2011 and love it! It is one of the few communities in all of Los Angeles that you can walk or bike to a HUGE park...Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area/Lake Balboa/Woodley Park. Try to find that in Sherman Oaks, West LA or even Beverly Hills. Did I mention it's next to two 18 hole golf courses, a lighted 9 hole course, wildlife refuge, remote control airplane airport and more grass for picnics than you could possibly use. Oh ya, and jump on the 405 North or South and you are quickly on the go. Anyone who complains about the traffic obviously has never been to West LA or Santa Monica. This is LA....traffic comes with the territory. The southern part of Lake Balboa near Victory is definitely better than the northern part up past Sherman Way. Great place to buy an affordable home !

— mg
May 21, 2012 at 12:47 p.m.

i move to this comunity in 2008, i ve been watching my street ever since and one thing i can say is that those new gang signs on our sidewalks are a bad sign, they are warning us, we need police to pay attention to that. also vehicles at evening and night are speeding about 75 mph on Balboa blvd who is watching that ?? this is a residential area with many kids and pets thanks

— wg
November 27, 2011 at 4:53 p.m.

Once you get to Lake Balboa it is not bad. Getting there is a whole other story. Congestion, traffic, junk on the streets, aggressive drivers and people who feel they are entitled to be jerks. the neighbor we live in is extremely anti social compared to towns in OC where I spend much of my time. The upside of this area is the quiet neighborhood, the proximity to Ventura Blvd shops and cafes and the park. It's also fairly easy to get to Malibu via the Canyons and if you leave early enough on weekends you can make it to Santa Monica in less than 20 minutes. On a weekday the same drive takes you 1.5 hours. That is the very down side of Lake Baloa. Nothing pretentious and certainly nothing to write home about unless of course your parents also live in Lake Balboa or San Fernando Valley.

— Brian Carrillo
November 22, 2011 at 3:01 p.m.

I live in the vicinity and my car has been broken into and neighbors car ..2 houses were burglarized within 1 month.

High Crime neighborhood. Be aware lock everything...everything. Get a metal gate for the front of your property..and keep it closed 24/7...barking dog out front does not hurt

— Resident
April 9, 2011 at 8:46 p.m.

L.A. Times got this one so wrong...their map doesn't even include Lake Balboa Park!

The neighborhood council has the accurate boundaries posted on their website:

— Lake Balboa Resident
September 11, 2010 at 2:12 p.m.

This was based on the 2000 census, and those were probably the borders at that time. I'd be surprised if the stats were a lot less impressive now that they've expanded the boundaries.

— Theo
August 21, 2009 at 10:45 a.m.

The Times is using the original borders set in the 1990s. It used to not include its namesake lake. I guess the other posters are saying that now it does?

— Chris
August 15, 2009 at 9:24 a.m.

Yeah guys--the boundries to Lake Balboa are way off--not even close to the real shape of the official area.

July 15, 2009 at 9:24 p.m.

What does it take to get the Times to realize what the boundaries of Lake Balboa are? Check with the City of Los Angeles!! Your map includes a piece of Northridge in Lake Balboa, and leaves out a large part of Lake Balboa that you label as Van Nuys and a part that you label as Encino. Check our website,, check the City Clerks records for the motion that expanded Lake Balboa at This isn't rocket science!!

— Steve Leffert
July 13, 2009 at 12:34 p.m.

I purchased a home in Lake Balboa in December 2006. There has been much debate about the renaming of West Van Nuys to Lake Balboa since then, but as of this past year the City of Los Angeles has officially recognized this community in its city charter. Lake Balboa itself, a key factor in the selection of the neighborhood renaming, is now officially within the areas boundaries. The community leaders are very friendly and want to gather as much support for the neighborhood as they can from all stakeholders. Primarily a residential district, it is bordered by Encino, Van Nuys, Northridge, and Reseda. There is easy freeway access to the 101 and 405. Once the real estate market turns itself around, I suspect many buyers will see the benefits of living in Lake Balboa.

— Robert Baggani
June 3, 2009 at 11:40 a.m.

I lived in this neighborhood from age 8 to 13, two blocks southeast of the intersection of White Oak and Sherman Way on Shoshone, and before that on Valerio just west of the White Oak dividing line in Reseda. I attended Anatola Ave. and Lemay St. Schools and Birmingham Jr-Sr High School (grades 7 to 12; still using the old Army hospital buildings, with chapel for music -the organ was fun- and three gymnasiums and a small farm where all 7th graders had to grow radishes). We called it West Van Nuys. Certainly no one thought of it as connected in any way with Lake Balboa, which is not even within the boundaries you have drawn. I am not even sure there was a Lake Balboa, as the LA River still had a sandy bottom and banks instead of concrete. We used to catch tadpoles and frogs to scare our sisters in the river. Jesse Owens Park was just a vacant lot where we could play sandlot baseball and dig forts. Maybe Lake Balboa sounds higher class, but it was West Van Nuys then.

— Tim O'Connell
June 3, 2009 at 11:17 a.m.

Lake Balboa

is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County.
The neighboring communities are Encino, North Hills, Northridge, Reseda, Sepulveda Basin and Van Nuys.
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About This Project
Lake Balboa is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
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This page was created by the Data Desk, a team of reporters and Web developers in downtown L.A.