San Fernando Valley
The San Fernando Valley is a region of Los Angeles County in Southern California, nestled to the northwest of the Los Angeles Basin.
- Burbank - the "Media Capital of the World", home to the primary studios of Warner Brothers and Disney.
- Calabasas - in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains and home to one of the oldest buildings in the LA area.
- Chatsworth - a suburb in the hills northwest of the valley.
- Glendale - a well-known city at the very southeastern corner of the valley, home to many Hollywood production facilities and a famous celebrity cemetery.
- North Hollywood - holds an arts district with many small theaters and shops.
- North Valley - the northern portion of the valley, mostly residential and home to a couple of scattered attractions such as the Mission San Fernando and the Nethercutt Collection automotive museum.
- Sherman Oaks - a local center for business and shopping within the valley.
- South Valley - the southwestern portion of the valley, made up of the prominent neighborhood of Encino and the western hills of the valley.
- Studio City - trendy, upscale neighborhood that is home to CBS studios and many stars.
- Universal City - home to the NBC Universal Studios and the associated Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, with its famous backlot tram and thrill rides, as well as the shopping and entertainment complex of Universal CityWalk.
- Van Nuys - a neighborhood in the heart of the valley, home to a noted Japanese garden and Van Nuys Airport.
- San Fernando - a suburban city in the northern part of the valley with a Latin American cultural presence, known for its high quality of life, safety, and community values.
The Wild Parrots of... the Valley?
In an area where odd sightings are the norm, one of the oddest sightings may be huge flocks of exotic parrots loudly squawking outside of your window. While seldom seen, there are over a thousand wild parrots living in the Valley, many of them descended from escapees of shipments to pet stores and parks. Other birds are believed to trace to the now-closed Busch Gardens that was once located in Van Nuys. While small, the populations are healthy; sightings can be reported to the California Parrot Project, which tracks wild parrot populations throughout California.
The San Fernando Valley, northwest of LA proper, is surrounded primarily by mountains. To the north is Santa Clarita, to the east are the Verdugos, to the south is LA proper (including Hollywood) and Beverly Hills, and to the west is Ventura County. Locals refer to the San Fernando Valley simply as "the Valley".
The stereotypical "Valley Girl" speak is actually prevalent among most teenage girls influenced by pop culture all over the USA, and not just limited to the San Fernando Valley. San Fernando Valley residents are diverse with Spanish, Korean, Thai, Armenian, Hebrew, Persian, Russian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hindi, and many other languages being common besides English.
The CA-118 Freeway enters the San Fernando Valley from Simi Valley and Ventura County. The US-101 runs through from Thousand Oaks in Ventura County to Hollywood and the Los Angeles Basin. The I-405 runs north south from the I-5 to the basin, connecting with the 101 in Sherman Oaks. The I-5 runs along the eastern edge of the Valley serving Burbank and other eastern communities.
Hollywood Burbank Airport offers domestic flights.
Amtrak stops in the Valley at Chatsworth, Van Nuys, Burbank, and Glendale. Metrolink commuter trains stop in Chatsworth, Northridge, Van Nuys, San Fernando, Sun Valley, Burbank Airport, Downtown Burbank, and Glendale. The Metro Red Line can get you into Universal City and North Hollywood from points south.
The majority of streets are arranged in a grid with streets running east-west and north-south. The car is the main method of transportation but Metro buses and Metro Rail, Metrolink commuter trains, and Amtrak will all get you around. The Metro Orange Line is a busway that runs east-west from the North Hollywood Metro Rail station to the Warner Center business district in Woodland Hills and to Chatsworth. Many bike paths and bike lanes can be found. Flyaway buses connect Van Nuys to LA International Airport and run every half hour. Free parking is available at the station and tickets usually cost around 3 dollars each way. Walking can be an option in denser neighborhoods such as Downtown Burbank, the NoHo Arts District, and along Ventura Boulevard. Most taxis are regulated by the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation and can be ordered by phone or picked up at taxi stands such as at the Van Nuys Airport Flyaway Station. Another easier and cheaper way to get around the San Fernando Valley is by Uber and Lyft ridesharing service with the use of a smartphone.
The Valley is known particularly for Indian and Mexican food and for dozens of sushi joints (especially along Ventura Boulevard). Mexican restaurants range from the simplest take out taco trucks to expensive and elaborate, and everything in between. Several Korean BBQ restaurants can be found in the West Valley, especially Northridge and Reseda. Sherman Way west of the 170 freeway is home to a strip of several popular Thai restaurants. Expensive restaurants of all types of food can be found along Ventura Boulevard. Chains abound, but an authentic old '50s Valley experience can be had at Bob's Big Boy (the original location) in Toluca Lake, Beep's in Van Nuys, as well as at one of several In 'n' Out Burger locations. The Valley also includes a substantial number of Jewish delis, especially in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and Encino. Many fast food restaurants dot the cross intersections of major streets throughout the valley from west to east.
Nightlife in the valley ranges from dive bars to long-established hotspots. Universal City and the Citywalk provide a touristy, upscale atmosphere; while towns like Glendale and Burbank have a more local middle-class scene. Ventura Boulevard is home to a variety of bars suitable to almost any taste at an affluent upscale atmosphere. North Hollywood Arts District have some sort of nightlife in the hippie atmosphere.
The Valley isn't always the sweet little suburban haven it is made out to be in popular culture; it is now more urbanized than suburban. It still retains a largely middle class existence but has shed the Brady Bunch-esque lifestyle long ago. Certain areas are best avoided at night such as Panorama City, Pacoima, North Hills, and parts of Van Nuys, Sylmar, North Hollywood, Canoga Park, and Sun Valley. The rest of the Valley is mostly safe, though dauntingly devoid of foot traffic after sunset (the exception is nightlife hotspots such as along Ventura Boulevard and in the city of Burbank). Law enforcement is provided by the Los Angeles Police Department in most areas. San Fernando, Burbank, and Glendale have their own police departments. The Los Angeles County Sheriff supplements service at three local community colleges in the valley, along with Calabasas, Universal City and Hidden Hills.
The San Fernando Valley is a centralized location providing easy access to attractions such as the Getty Center Museum, Six Flags Magic Mountain, the beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu, and The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
- Malibu - Malibu can be reached by the 101 north to Las Virgenes. Signs direct drivers to the coast.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain - Located adjacent to the I-5 Freeway, north of the Valley. An alternative to driving is to take the Metrolink to the Santa Clarita Train Station and then a connecting bus to the amusement park.
- Santa Monica - The famous beach town is accessible by heading south on the 405 freeway.
- Simi Valley - Home to the Reagan Presidential Library & Air Force One Pavilion, near the 118 Freeway.
- The Westside - The Westside is home to the Getty Center and can be reached by taking the 405 Freeway south and exiting at Getty Center Drive (the Getty is also accessible by Metro Rapid 761, with bus stops in front).