Region: Santa Monica Mountains
*Thousand Oaks is technically Ventura County
Jim, Digital Media Producer, Thousand Oaks
Describe what it’s like in Thousand Oaks:
It’s quite nice to be removed from the traffic and crowded conditions found in many parts of greater Los Angeles. Because of its relative proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the canyons leading to the beaches, the Conejo Valley is usually about ten degrees cooler than the nearby San Fernando Valley in the summer. The city’s charter and management has prevented overcrowding, and they continue to add to the vast open space areas surrounding the city.
It’s a large city with a thriving culture, plenty of restaurants, shopping malls, markets, and as mentioned parks and recreational areas. Unless I want to visit friends elsewhere in the Southland or need to drive somewhere for a job, there is no need to leave this valley.
What is the best thing about living in LA?
There is always something to do, should you want it, ranging from culture and fun (concerts, museums, art galleries, movies etc.) to easily accessed nature (ocean, mountains, hiking, skiing, surfing, etc). For me, the outdoor activities are important. I love to walk and hike, and there are many recreational areas and trails available. It always surprises me to be hiking on any of the hundreds of miles of trails in the nearby mountains (for me it is usually the Santa Monica Mountains) and see so few people taking advantage of this free and soul & body nourishing activity. I also have many friends and family members in LA, so it’s important to me to stay connected to them, and I can.
What are your favorite frugal/free activities to do in your area?
As mentioned, the outdoor activities, primarily walking and hiking. I do like the access to the beaches as well, and to the campgrounds (just above Santa Barbara for instance). Since I moved back to the LA area two years ago, I have noticed an explosion of farmers’ markets as well. Always fun to browse, chat with the growers, and pick up affordable healthy food. Back to hiking: check out the trails in the western Santa Monica Mountains near Point Magu State Park: La Jolla Canyon, Sycamore Canyon, and any number of trails leading to Sandstone Peak including Mishe Mokwa trail.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of moving to LA?
Get a Prius and you will fit right in, and save gas money. Also, try very hard to live near your work, unless you can live near viable public transportation to take you to work. There’s been some improvement in the housing and work spaces near downtown, so check that out. If you don’t like heat, then live on the westside near the ocean.
Check out the various regions of LA:
The Westside (includes Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Venice, Brentwood, and Westwood)
The Valley (includes Woodland Hills, Sherman Oaks, Sylmar, and Northridge)
The Verdugos (includes Glendale and Pasadena)
South Bay (includes El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Torrance)
Central Los Angeles (includes Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Downtown LA)
Santa Monica Mountains (includes Thousand Oaks, Malibu, Calabasas, and Topanga).