The 4 Best LA Suburbs for SAHMs
Embrace the SAHM Life in the Suburbs in these Hotspots!
Face it—you’ve got the SAHM scene in LA down to a science. From the meetups to the playdates to the creative endeavors you and your fellow LA mamas are pursuing, there’s never a dull moment whether the kids are home all day or not.
But now? Now you’re kicking around the idea of suburban living. And whether that means you’ll continue on your SAHM path or, maybe, will be staying home for the first time, there’s a lot to learn. Because, let’s face it, life in the ‘burbs is very different than life in the city. But, in these four suburban SAHM hotspots, that’s a great thing.
Right off the bat, Irvine is a go-to for LA families craving suburban living. Niche gives this Orange County suburb an A+ for both its schools and for being “Good for Families,” while Money consistently ranks the town among the top 20 best places to live nationwide. “It’s no wonder people flock to ,” they write, “it boasts high-paying jobs, stellar public schools and a quick 10-mile drive to the coast. Plus, for 11 years running, the FBI has named this family-oriented Orange County city one of the safest in the country.”
Neighborhoods in Irvine are called “villages” and “designed with families in mind.” Homes are oriented around a neighborhood park, playground and pool where, in most areas, families flock when the temperature rises. The town also has tons to do for the active-adventure family—think jam-packed bike paths and 350-plus miles of bike lanes that connect the city.
While you won’t find SAHMs in a central downtown area—Irvine doesn’t have on, per se—you will find them heading to Irvine Spectrum Center for shopping, dining and, maybe, to catch a quick flick. The Orange County Great Park is another hotspot, complete with a farmers market and loads of family-friendly activities throughout the year. Other go-tos? Coffeebar Byul complete with its organic single origin drinks and “Gangnam Style” espresso—that’ll ensure you’ve got the energy to keep up with the kiddies. Wine more your style? Check out The Bacchus Bar & Bistro for more than 350 local and imported wines and amazing cheese pairings.
#2. SHERMAN OAKS
Thrillist dubs Sherman Oaks the area to head to “when you are getting ready to send your kids to school”—no surprise, then, that so many city families and, even, celebs do just that. The general vibe of Sherman Oaks is decidedly family—“It’s a really nice place to raise a family,” says one resident. “People are very close with their neighbors here, and I like that.”
The area itself is a “quiet retreat right in the heart of the San Fernando Valley.” The neighborhoods are pretty peaceful and perfect for SAHMs looking for a little calm during the school day—or, maybe, a little calm to ensure their little ones can make it through a nap uninterrupted.
And when the kids are up and out of school? Sherman Oaks has it all, from ample green spaces to tons of restaurants and shops—recognize the Sherman Oaks Galleria from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? The area also has an incredible “Old LA” feel to it, thanks to broad boulevards and classic architecture—it’s an amazing backdrop to raise a family and to really soak up the best the area has to offer.
Another plus for SAHMs? You’re close to everything—literally. Sherman Oaks is surrounded by Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Studio City, Encino and Bel Air—in other words, smack in the middle of Valley living. And because you’re not far from the 101, you can easily get to Hollywood and downtown LA anytime you want. Bonus.
#3. SAN MARINO
Right out of the gate, it’s clear San Marino is a good spot for SAHMs. A+ public schools? Check. A+ “Good for Families” rating? Check. Small town feel right here in Los Angeles County. Double check. In short, this suburb is a lux oasis, close enough to the hustle and bustle but still plenty far away to feel away. Really, what more could you want, especially if you’re going the SAHM route post-move.
With just 14,000 residents and amazing amenities, San Marino is a sought-after suburb for LA families. During the recession, housing prices in San Marino actually rose, when the rest of Southern California dropped—that should tell you something about the desirability of this community.
The city itself is incredibly affluent—a big reason San Marino has such impressive offerings for parents and kids alike. Nearly three in four properties in the ‘burb are worth at least $1 million, and the city has an HHI 86% higher than Beverly Hills. With that comes high ratings for safety and a great neighborhood vibe residents love—many mamas share that their kids can play outside anytime, taking advantage of the quiet streets and loads of young families flooding to this impressive community.
#4. MAR VISTA
For LA SAHMs who aren’t quite ready to give up city living, Mar Vista could be the perfect choice. The area has a definite urban feel but, still, consistently ranks in high on the “best neighborhoods to raise a family in LA” and “best neighborhoods for millennials” list—it’s a one-two punch that makes Mar Vista particularly attractive to SAHMs looking for culture, nightlife and lots to do. Because, hands down, this area’s got it, all paired with a friendly, down-to-earth feel that makes it easy for moms to mix, mingle and make connections.
During the day, Mar Vista’s historic downtown area is bustling, with coffee bars, shops, cafes and a weekly farmers market drawing residents from all corners of the city—it is, after all, considered one of the best in LA. And if you want to kick back or get a little work done at home? This suburb is considered, “the land of large yards, beautiful tree lined streets, neighbors who have known each other for generations, and a whole lot of village pride.” And don’t forget, it’s just three miles to the beach.
Overall, Mar Vista is a gem in the LA landscape. It’s got a “rare old school California charm, along with a very exciting, unexplored feeling,” that residents love. It’s also got a palpable creative energy, many say, and “the most interesting people live in Mar Vista.” To get the real scoop, check out local blogger Mira Ramesh Babu’s Mar Vista Mom. She dishes on everything from local events to what’s happening at the farmer’s market (fall veggies, people!) to community celebrations, school events and more.
Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and find the place your family truly fits in visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.
How we compiled our round up: We tapped our Suburban Jungle Strategists and Locals to share their “best of” rankings. From here, we layered in rankings, reviews and reports from Niche, NerdWallet, Berkeley Parents Network and Storage Talk.
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