Table Of Contents
- A brief and glamorous history of Beverly Hills
- Architectural splendor abounds
- The neighborhoods of Beverly Hills
- Life in Beverly Hills
- You’ve heard the pros; now what are the cons of Beverly Hills living?
- Real estate options in Beverly Hills
A brief and glamorous history of Beverly HillsBeverly Hills has come a long way from its early days as a Spanish ranch for growing lima beans. Back in 1914, investors led by Burton Green came and bought the ranch in the hopes of finding oil but they found water instead; the ranch benefited from legendary streams coursing through this piece of land. Green and company decided to convert the ranch into a subdivision and started selling lots. They named the property “Beverly Hills” after Beverly Farms in Beverly, Massachusetts and the hills that surround the development. Within five years, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks started the influx of movie stars into Beverly Hills. When the couple moved in from Hollywood, they built the iconic mansion, “Pickfair,” which Life Magazine described as “a gathering place only slightly less important than the White House… and much more fun.”
Architectural splendor aboundsBeverly Hills is home to some of the most stunning works of modern architecture you can find in the US and in the world. The city is replete with masterpieces of architectural styles, ranging from luxurious colonial era-style residences to sleek modern contemporary mansions. Among these architectural gems is The Greystone Mansion. It is not just prominent in Beverly Hills; it is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This 55-room, Tudor-style residence-turned-park is not only a location for numerous film shoots – it has a film-worthy story of its own as well. Greystone Mansion’s original owner, the oil tycoon Ned Doheny, was found dead with his secretary, Hugh Plunkett, in one of the guest bedrooms in what was deemed a case of murder-suicide. A subsequent owner of the mansion wanted to subdivide the property and demolish the house but the city bought it off in order to preserve it. On the other hand, The Gardenhouse in Wilshire Boulevard is a triumph of modernist design. It’s a complex of multiple residences designed to look like a village on top of the hill. The residences sit on top of what it boasts as the largest living wall in America – a three-story podium covered in plants.
The neighborhoods of Beverly HillsBeverly Hills is diverse and has a lot of character. It has four distinct areas:
- TROUSDALE ESTATES: One of the most rarefied addresses in the world
- You can find the aforementioned Greystone Mansion here, among other majestic and stunning residences that are architectural masterpieces in their own right. This hillside neighborhood boasts a beautiful unobstructed view of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that continues to draw celebrity A-listers. Some of the 20th century’s best architects like Lloyd Wright, son of renowned Frank Lloyd Wright, have designed homes here, homes to such stars as Frank Sinatra, Jennifer Aniston, and Ellen DeGeneres.
- SOUTH OF WILSHIRE: World-class dining experiences
- Here, grand mansions give way to single and multi-family residential spaces. This area is known for its top-tier dining experiences, from perky organic coffee at Urth Caffe to cozy cocktails at Honor Bar to months-in-advance reservation dining at Maude.
- GOLDEN TRIANGLE: The shopping mecca in Downtown Beverly Hills
- The “triangle” in its name refers to the three major roads that form this area: South Santa Monica Boulevard, Rodeo Drive, and Wilshire Boulevard. This is Downtown Beverly Hills, the shopper’s paradise, its glamorous and affluent beating heart. Fashion world movers have their flagship stores here as well as world-class jewelers. Its palm-lined streets have been filmed by every era of cinema, and its patrons include absolute icons like Barack Obama, Michael Jordan, and Beyoncé. Even if you aren’t keen on shopping, taking a stroll through the Golden Triangle is in itself an experience.
- THE FLATS: For that California vibe
- Wilbur David Cook, the urban planner who designed the master plan for Beverly Hills, made sure to have wide, wide roads for the main residential area. The Flats are ideal for runners, strollers, and pet walkers. If you’re looking to take in some of that California vibe, The Flats has it in spades.
Life in Beverly HillsFor tourists, all of Beverly Hills is an attraction unto itself. There are private commercial tours designed to take tourists through some of the sleek, stunning, and sprawling residences of the rich and famous. As mentioned, the shopping experience in Rodeo Drive is unparalleled. This is the foremost appeal of the Beverly Hills lifestyle for many people. But for those hoping to move their family to Beverly Hills and make it their permanent home, the city is bustling with cultural, entertainment, educational, and lifestyle experiences that can’t be found anywhere else.
- Small town feel. At its core, Beverly Hills is a small town. With only about 35,000 actual residents, most people know each other or are a mere acquaintance or two away. Relationships run deep in this tight-knit community. It’s the reason the city was able to fend off annexation to Los Angeles back in 1923 and it’s the reason it was able to save Greystone Mansion from being demolished. Moving to this city and setting down roots is about becoming part of a community that looks out for its residents.
- Responsive police. Beverly Hills has a proud police force. The Beverly Hills Police is reputed to be able to respond in less than a minute. This is testament to the community’s commitment to safety and order for its residents and visitors. With celebrities living in Beverly Hills or are visiting, the focus on security is, of course, of utmost priority.
- Quality schools. Beverly Hills has one middle school, three elementary schools and one high school, the same high school that was attended by Betty White, Nicolas Cage, and Lenny Kravitz, among other famous alumni. If you prefer to send the kids to a private school, there are six in the community catering to kids from preschool to high school.
- Beverly Hills also has a great public library. It has a quiet hall that’s ideally lit for studying and has an extensive collection of books for research and leisurely reading alike. There’s a children’s section, too, and a coffee and pastry shop inside. For adults, there are regular book discussion groups to further enrich their literary journey.
- Getting around is a breeze. Beverly Hills is not all that big. Most places are very walkable, but that also depends where you choose to take up residence. If, say, you settle on one of the luxury properties north of Sunset Boulevard, a car would be the most convenient way to get downtown and elsewhere. Should you choose a place in the Flats or South of Wilshire, places are more walkable from there. The city has numerous streetscaping plans in place to further improve their residents’ walking experience.
- Another convenient option is the Beverly Hills Bike Share. Using an app, you can reserve one of 50 bikes and use it for 90 minutes at a time cycling around the city. You can take as many trips as you like in a day. Docking stations are scattered throughout the city so that you can return the bike conveniently near where you need to get.
- For senior and disabled residents, Beverly Hills offers Dial-A-Ride, a free shuttle service that picks you up at home and drives you to any point within the city with just a call. It can also transport senior and disabled citizens to adjacent locations outside Beverly Hills for medical appointments. Dial-A-Ride is also available for trips to the supermarket on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, shuttling senior and disabled residents to three markets.
- Residents can park their cars on residential street blocks as long as they have a city-approved Preferential Parking Permit Zone petition. Obtaining one will require a cover letter that states the reasons for the request and a minimum number of signatures supporting the request.
- Public transportation-wise, Beverly Hills is connected to adjacent locales by the bus system of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or simply the Metro. The Metro is also currently extending the subway system’s Purple Line to pass through Beverly Hills, with stops at Wilshire/La Cienega and Wilshire/Rodeo. These subway stations are expected to be completed in 2023 and 2025, respectively. There’s also a free 10-minute trolley ride that takes passengers from the Golden Triangle to the Beverly Hills Library in North Rexford Drive.
- Shopper’s paradise. Rodeo Drive provides visitors and residents one of the most exclusive and luxurious shopping experiences in the world. The stores and boutiques here move and shift the fashion world. Fred Hayman started all this in 1961 when he opened Giorgio Beverly Hills at 273 Rodeo Drive. Opening this luxury boutique prompted other fashion heavyweights like Gucci, Dior, and Cartier to open shops in the vicinity as well.
- Today, Rodeo Drive is home to more than 100 global luxury brands. Even “273 Rodeo Drive” has become a brand in itself. From the outside of the shops, Rodeo Drive is also a sight to behold – with palm-lined trees, luxury cars parked on the street, and the magnificent architecture. On any given day, shoppers in Rodeo may bump into A-list personalities who are known mostly by their first names, such as Ellen, Taylor, and Kylie.
- In contrast to the high-end and glitzy appeal of Rodeo Drive is South Beverly Drive, just a few blocks east. Here, the vibe is more small town and relaxed yet the stores here are no less esteemed. From children’s clothes to bridal dresses to jewelry and even fine art, South Beverly Drive is beloved by residents and visitors alike.
- Exquisite dining. World-renowned restaurants in Beverly Hills inspire foodies from all over the world to make culinary pilgrimages. Some of the restaurants here require reservations months in advance.
- Among these dining meccas is Spago by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, a culinary innovator and entrepreneur. He confounded people’s expectations, serving his now-celebrated but simple smoked salmon pizza instead of the French fare he was associated with. Chef Puck also has a steakhouse, another dining destination worth traveling the world over for.
- Maude by Chef Curtis Stone is yet another restaurant that you have to book well in advance if you want to get a table. Its menu-less dining format consists of a 10-course degustation that is as unique as it is sumptuous. The meal is crafted around a seasonal ingredient every month, each course featuring the ingredient of the month in different ways.
- Another culinary gem that can be found in Beverly Hills is The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. It has hundreds of the rarest cheeses in stock, while also offering charcuterie, caviar, and truffles. A hidden, 12-seat dining room provides a rustic European experience for guests who book in advance. A secret wine cellar that holds private tastings for a lucky few adds intrigue and exclusivity to this place.
- If you are a coffee lover, you’re definitely in for a treat. From the on-tap cold brew of Aharon Coffee & Roasting Co., to the 1940s-inspired The Fountain Coffee Room inside Beverly Hills Hotel, you’ll never run out of amazing coffee experiences.
- For oenophiles, Heritage Fine Wines and The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel are choice destinations, aside from Maude and Spago. Numerous stars from Charlie Chaplin to Elizabeth Taylor to John Legend have sipped at the bars and tables of these wine houses.
- Fresh and organic produce. If you like your fruit and vegetables fresh and grown by California farmers, there’s a small Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Here you can also get refreshing juices and breads, perfect for capping off your morning stroll.
- Furry friendly. One benefit that only registered residents can enjoy is the off-leash dog park aptly named Beverly Hills Dog Park in Foothill Road. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to all dogs with a BH Community Dog Park tag that park rangers check upon entrance.
You’ve heard the pros; now what are the cons of Beverly Hills living?
- Cost of living. For starters, life in Beverly Hills is more expensive than most other areas in the country. While this should not come as a surprise, it’s still a consideration you might want to think about. Beverly Hills is safe, it’s beautiful, it’s a good place to raise kids, but yes, the cost of living is high. Properties here are mostly on the high end, and a move comes with a considerable price tag.
- The cost, of course, doesn’t just stop with the price of the property. Dining out, utilities, and parking can drive your monthly household expenses higher than in other locales.
- Fault line. Another potential downside has to do with Beverly Hills being in California. The San Andreas Fault runs through California and any activity from this tectonic boundary can, of course, impact Beverly Hills. While the frequency of earthquakes is occasional and far between, it is nevertheless a consideration when moving to California.
- Crowd. With Beverly Hills being such a huge draw to visitors from all over the world, consider the crowds – especially as the pandemic wanes, travel restrictions ease up, and tourists indulge in what has now been called “revenge shopping” in must-visit destinations like the Golden Triangle. You can’t expect to enter a store and be the only one shopping there, or go into a cafe and sink into quietude. Most of the stores in this area draw huge crowds (even if they stand just outside of the stores in Rodeo Drive). The nearby cafe and restaurants can be understandably packed as well. Definitely not a place for you to frequent if your cup of tea is quiet and relaxation.