Mapping LA Neighborhoods
MAPPING L.A. > Westside

Mar Vista

Tell us what Mar Vista means to you

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


Mar Vista is a quaint place to live. Everything is within walking distance. The only downside is living off of Venice and Beethoven, I hear fire trucks pass often. But I'm not complaining... It's generally quiet.

— Andrea
July 18, 2011 at 12:38 a.m.

We lived in the Grandview Apartments until 1971 before we moved next door to Culver City and I entered the First Grade.

I have vague memories of Hell's Angels taking over Venice Blvd. during the late 60's early 70's. Used needles, biker babes, drugs everywhere (but hey. it was the 60's)... lots of scary stuff littered the streets but then again, my Mother was afraid of Hippies.

The mid 70's through the 80's Mar Vista was every part of "Dogtown" as Venice and Santa Monica. On Venice Blvd and Grandview the former biker bar had turned into Billiard Inn.

By Y2K Billiard Inn turned into some nightclub that serves "Naughty Cocktails" **sigh**

There's some retro-Mar Vista still visible. At the same intersection there is a tattoo parlor and a few doors down, although a trendy coffee house, "Venice Grind" is hand painted on a impressive sign (tribal-ish); is decorated with works by several local artists; and a few hand signed autographed skateboards by an OG Dogtown founder.

Mar Vista is definitely a unique slice of West-Angelino life and culture even to this day. You have to keep on your toes at times but it's nothing worse than being a little street-wise or practicing a little common sense. Just like anywhere period. [i.e. Metropolitan rule - if you do not see people walking around then you shouldn't be]

— Devo-san
May 29, 2011 at 6:28 a.m.

fka Ocean Park Heights and home to the Mar Vista Philharmonic. Mar Vista's Gregory Ain Mar Vista Tract is my favorite spot on the Westside. Other neighborhoods within Mar Vista include Culver West, McLaughlin, Mar Vista Hill and Westdale. Some people consider Westside Village part of Mar Vista as well... for all interested, I administer the Mar Vista Facebook page:

— Eric Brightwell
April 6, 2011 at 2:09 p.m.

Dave, what you are seeing is a sign that was put up quite a while ago and was at the beginning of the Balkanization of LA. What is interesting is that "Mar Vista" used to be considered by some as a less than desirable neighborhood to say that you lived in. Westdale, on the other hand was considered more acceptable. National and Barrington has been called Mar Vista, Westdale, and West LA. Sort of humorous in a "how can I impress people" sort of way. BTW, I moved to "Mar Vista" in 1956.

— Neal
June 16, 2010 at 5:04 a.m.

I always thought I lived in Westdale... at least that is what the City of LA signs indicate (near National and Barrington). What gives?

— Dave Mathews
June 11, 2010 at 5:46 p.m.

I always thought I lived in Westdale... at least that is what the City of LA signs indicate (near National and Barrington). What gives?

— Dave Mathews
June 11, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.

I have lived in Mar Vista, near Washington Bl and Inglewood Bl, since 2005 when I moved to CA from the midwest. I live in a mid century courtyard apartment on a quiet dead end street that I really love. I am convenient to the beach, shopping, freeways, public transportation, and the walking/bike path that runs along Culver Blvd. It is a very diverse area and has a certain charm you don't find in newer developments or other areas of the city. In fact, I tend to forget that I live in one of the nation's largest cities when here. We also have the wonderful beach climate that stays comfortable year round. It reminds me a lot of the postwar suburbs in Minneapolis with much better weather. Whenever I visit other areas of LA, I feel very much "home" when I return and I know that I made the right choice for me.

— Scott
April 7, 2010 at 3:49 a.m.

I lived in Mar Vista from 1956 to 1973. Our house was directly across the street from Mar Vista Elementary school. This was a great neighborhood in which to be a kid and to grow up. Traffic jams were something that we only heard about and the only thing "tony" about the area was my friend three doors down whose name was... Tony. If there was a place to "be seen", it was either K's Deli or Okum's Rexall Drug store. No one was pretentious. The term "Westside" was only used by transplants from Chicago. I lament that my old neighborhood has become so "upscale".

— Neal Rein
March 21, 2010 at 5:17 a.m.

If you want to learn about Mar Vista, don't miss the 2nd Annual Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase - a free, self guided walking and biking tour of 79 drought resistant and edible gardens that are opened to the public to celebrate Earth Day! April 25th from 2 to 6. Preview the gardens and get maps at

— Sherri
March 20, 2010 at 11:10 a.m.

I've lived in Mar Vista my entire life (over 50 years). I grew up in the Trousdale tract and now live on a quiet cul de sac on Mar Vista Hill. I love the many beautiful gardens I now see as I go on my long hilly walks. But the traffic, being generated by new developments south of us, is nearing on unbearable. I would love to see a community mini-bus, more bike lanes, and fewer cars....

March 16, 2010 at 11:11 p.m.

Mar Vista is the Westside of Los. The Brownside of Town. Inglewood Blvd & Washington is where im from. Nothing but Mexican culture bordered with Culver City. Inglewood Blvd from the intersections of Venice up to Jefferson is my neighborhood. Ice cream men rolling through Mexican moms & pops always feels like home to me. since '91... but they're starting to renivate and kicking people out which is not cool because this is ours.Even though things have changed since the '90's this is still home. West Los Angeles Mar Vista District, Culver City Area for Life!!

— West Los
March 12, 2010 at 10:12 p.m.

I lived in Mar Vista since '82, and recently moved out to Santa Clarita. My parents have lived in the same house since '78. I LOVED growing up there! Lots of kids on the block and it was MUCH safer then it is today. Mar Vista school is top- notch, the only thing is that we needed more space. As home prices went up and up, my husband and I had to move out. We could not afford a 1500 sq ft house for $1,000,000!! The park used to be a fun safe place but now I am some what hesitant to take my kids there because of the "sotel gang." Whole Foods is great. It replaced Westward Ho market a long time ago. There has never really been any "neighborhood" stores,but lots of things to do close by. Oh, and to answer the question as to why "Mar Vista Gardens" is not a part of Mar Vista, well just thank your lucky stars that it isn't!

— Michelle
February 28, 2010 at 1:03 a.m.

I grew up in Mar Vista in the 60's. Venice High graduate. I think it was an ideal place to grow up. Close to the beach, Mar Vista Pool (wonder if that is still there?), downtown LA, Marina del Rey, Santa Monica mall (now 3rd St Promenade), Beverly Hills, etc. Theaters, museums, restaurants, rock concerts at the Santa Monica Civic (is that still around?) Lots of culture, lots of fun. Those were the good old days!! Glad to see from comments of those living there now that it is still a great place for raising a family.

— Deedee
January 1, 2010 at 5:47 p.m.

The place for Ice Cream in MV has remained the same for 50 years--though Thrifty has changed to Rite Aid--at National and Sawtelle.

— Gary
December 3, 2009 at 8:52 a.m.

Lived there for 4 years between Venice and Inglewood. Cheap apartments, but paid for it by hearing chumps digging through trash every night. Very dense and compact. Library nearby as well as fire station next to the complex. Close to the freeways. Very mixed review.

— John
December 1, 2009 at 9:16 a.m.

I have been living in Mar Vista for 2 1/2 years with great satisfaction. However, I'd like to see more upscale commercial development on the intersection of Palms and Sepulveda for family friendly restaurants and stores. It will also be nice to have more wider sidewalks to encourage people to go about daily life on foot.

— Kathy
November 29, 2009 at 11:02 p.m.

I lived in Mar Vista for about 3 1/2 years and I enjoyed my stay. Centinella and Venice Intersection is within walking distance of many cool areas (nice library branch, bowling, trendy bars etc.). Mar Vista is adjacent to the Marina, so its a quick drive away and close access to the 405/10 Freeways. Northern Mar Vista Hills (north of Venice blvd) is primarily upscale single family homes and south west Mar Vista is more dense including condos and multi-story apartment complexes. Compared to Palms, there are much less apartment rentals, so it can be quite difficult to find a desirable rental unit as turnover tends to be on the low side. Although it is noticeably nicer than Palms. Ethnically its about split with White and Latino. Southern Mar Vista gets dramatically worse as it is home to a major Lower Income Housing Project called 'Mar Vista Gardens'. This area in particular is known for gang and criminal activities. It is not uncommon for violent crime to be reported.

— Scotty
September 27, 2009 at 12:43 a.m.

Been in M.V. for close to 30 years, and love it! Although I wish that Culver City would take care of the empty lots and urban blight along the West Washington (west of Centinela) corridor!

It will be nice to see the 2010 census, as these stats above are very outdated. I love the fact that M.V. has become much more diverse in race and culture in the past 5 years. We really do need more restaurants, and affordable shopping.

— Susan
September 26, 2009 at 11:28 a.m.

My Mom has been living in the same apartment complex off Centinella and Venice Blvd since 1970. I still enjoy the down-to-earth vibe of the area that is within walking distance to a Japanese supermarket, bowling alley, couple of decent bars, library,and, of course, Sunday's farmers market.

— tenkai
September 24, 2009 at 11:11 a.m.

anybody know a good place for ice cream in mar vista? we're flummoxed. keep going to baskin robbins on sawtelle, thinking there's got to be someplace more neighborhoody.

— Mar Vista Pete
August 31, 2009 at 3:52 p.m.

Love living in Mar Vista, it’s a quaint community with a lot of diversity and history. There is a real sense of community living here, residents are friendly and neighborly. I look forward to the continued development of our small town but would like to see additional support for our small mom/pop shops. Great location with easy access to the beach and LA proper. Mar Vista is a great place to buy and settle down for young families, I hear that the public school system is good too. Love our local farmers market on Sundays.

— Trisha
August 27, 2009 at 12:33 p.m.

original homes built mostly in the 50s. great dovecote detailing on many.

— Anne M Bray
August 18, 2009 at 7:39 a.m.

Very eco community - solar initiatives, rain barrels, drought resistant garden tours. Mar Vista Farmers Market is great and the heart of the community.

Check out the local blogs -

Love living here!

— Sherri
August 15, 2009 at 7:55 a.m.

A nice neighborhood with lots of young families. It is great way to live near the beach without the snobby vibe of some of the other westside locations.

— Laurence Glasser
August 13, 2009 at 5:38 p.m.

A decent westside city, not as dumpy as Palms, but not as nice as Marina Del Rey. More 4 plex apartments and smaller buildings than Palms(according to Wikipedia) because of regulations in the 1950's.

— Dave
August 12, 2009 at 11:02 p.m.

My family lived on Purdue Avenue from 1940 - 1948 in a tract of homes on Butler, Purdue and Corinth. In those days we walked to Mar Vista to do our shopping.

— Laura
August 11, 2009 at 7:04 a.m.

So how come Mar Vista Gardens isn't a part of Mar Vista?

— Philip
June 4, 2009 at 10:27 p.m.

I thought this was about bike lanes? We need a bike lane that is safe all along Centinela from Jefferson to the south all the way into Santa Monica where it turns into Bundy. This would allow us to travel to and from work and schools safely. More bikes, less cars, less traffic, everyone wins. Put a bike lane in there now!

— Marty
June 3, 2009 at 10:14 p.m.

Mar Vista

is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the Westside region of Los Angeles County.
The neighboring communities are Culver City, Del Rey, Palms, Rancho Park, Santa Monica, Sawtelle and Venice.
Find Your Neighborhood

Search by address

Select a neighborhood

Select a region

Select a ranking

About This Project
Mar Vista is one of the 272 neighborhoods in Mapping L.A., The Times’ resource for crime, neighborhoods, demographics and schools.
About The Data Desk

This page was created by the Data Desk, a team of reporters and Web developers in downtown L.A.