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Mar Vista

Affordable ocean views have helped Mar Vista evolve into one of L.A.’s most desirable Westside neighborhoods, with skyrocketing property values to prove it. From its safe neighborhoods, shopping and dining are easily accessible due to the area’s walkability, as well as its close proximity to major transportation routes and larger urban centers. Surrounded by bustling neighborhoods like Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City and Playa Vista, Mar Vista has traditionally been one of the best kept secrets on the Westside. Larger lots, tree­-lined streets, and manicured yards provide a private retreat without sacrificing accessibility or amenities. While Mar Vista has exploded in popularity in recent years, it still remains one of the more affordable neighborhoods near the beach.

The neighborhood can thank the storied Venice Short Line trolley for its rise, which shuttled passengers from downtown Los Angeles and bisected what was then called Ocean Park Heights. The rapid development of Santa Monica and Venice Beach helped launch the first wave of housing tracts to rise up from the agricultural fields. By 1927, the thirsty little farming community had been annexed by water­-rich Los Angeles and rebranded as Mar Vista, named after the name of a nearby trolley stop.

Mar Vista has a few distinct neighborhoods of note:

Midcentury Mar Vista Tract: Designed by Midcentury Modern architect Gregory Ain, this 52­ home development aimed to infuse post-war housing for the new middle class with modern design elements. Remarkably, all of the homes still stand, and entering into the well-­preserved neighborhood is like turning back the clock to the boom years of the late 1940s. You’ll feel like you’re in an episode of Mad Men while you stroll through this neighborhood.

Mar Vista Hill: Towering 200 feet above the basin, this historic mesa boasts panoramic ocean, city and mountain views. The hill also plays host to the North Venice Little League park and Ocean View Community Garden, which occupy a site that has been — in succession — farmland, city dump, antiaircraft artillery battery and the proposed site of an L.A. Department of Water and Power reservoir. Some of the oldest and most beautiful homes in Mar Vista line Grand View Avenue above Venice Boulevard.

The Venice/Grand View Historic Commercial District: Mar Vista’s historic “downtown” contains buildings built between 1924 and 1960 (including the original Mar Vista Library) in a wide variety of styles. You can find art galleries, hand­-brewed coffee and the weekly farmers market, considered one of the very best in Los Angeles.  In 2014, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Venice Boulevard between Beethoven Street and Inglewood Boulevard was one of the first 15 streets to be a part of the “Great Streets” Initiative. Since the initiative was enacted, this stretch of Venice Boulevard has become a bustling commercial and arts center, hosting many activities such as the quarterly Mar Vista Art Walks that includes art, vendors, and live music.

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