Best Place to Live in LA?

  • SFGeoNinja

    Posts: 510

    Mar 15, 2011 9:21 AM GMT
    My boyfriend and I are considering moving to Los Angeles in Fall/Winter of this year. He wants to start a career in television. I'm interested in going to UCLA or USC for my Masters (depending on whether I get in).

    I've heard a lot of the conventional wisdom about LA - the smog, the stuck-up people, the urban sprawl, and the God awful traffic - but I'm interested in hearing what it's actually like to live there. More specifically, can you describe your neighborhood and why you chose to live there? What is your community like? What do you like about it? What do you wish it had that it doesn't?

    Basically I'm looking for an LA neighborhood that has the following things going for it:

    1. Somewhere at least a little pedestrian-friendly, where you don't have to drive absolutely everywhere - can you walk on the street without people wondering what you're doing? Can you get groceries without getting into the car? I know LA is very car-oriented and I'm OK paying for a car, but there must be some areas it's not needed 24/7.

    2. Low crime - can you go for a run in your neighborhood and not feel like you're running for your life?

    3. Access to parks - I would love to be near the beach (who wouldn't) but don't need to. Are there good parks near where you live where you can work out? I don't see the point of going to the gym every day in LA if the weather is so frickin' fantastic all the time.

    I've lived in Seattle for most of my life, so I can start with the neighborhood I live in, Eastlake (near Capitol Hill right on Lake Union).

    Likes:
    -Clean
    -Good deals on apartments ($1200 for a 700-sq-ft one bedroom in a brand new building w/ good amenities - is that even possible in LA?)
    -Lots of outdoorsy things to do - parks, lakefront nearby, beautiful scenery, there's a public garden right below our building
    -Walkable and good access to transit - just 10 minutes from downtown Seattle or the UW by bus
    -Quiet, low crime

    Dislikes:
    -Weather in Seattle - this doesn't apply to just my neighborhood, but I need some sunshine in my life icon_smile.gif
    -Lots of undeveloped land, gives the neighborhood a very suburban feel - lots of businesses can't survive here bc there isn't the resident base to support them
    -No grocery store in walking distance
    -Long commute to where I work


    I know you need to live close to where you work in LA, this goes without saying. I'll most likely end up working in downtown LA or west LA for the industries I have contacts in. I've done a bit of research and so far my top choices for LA are (totally ignorant based on what Wikipedia tells me):

    1. Echo Park/Silver Lake/Los Feliz
    2. Mar Vista
    3. Santa Monica
    4. Venice
    5. Culver City/Palms
    6. Wilshire/Hancock Park

    Have you lived in any of these areas? What did you think? Any other places I should be looking?

    Thanks for the support.






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    Mar 15, 2011 3:32 PM GMT
    I just moved back to Columbus after 30 years in LA with the last 15 spent right on the border of Soviet Monica and Palms by the Santa Monica airport. I think all of your possibilities are pretty good.

    I was only a few minutes from the 405 and the 10 and the trip downtown wasn’t all that bad should you decide on USC and only about 15 minutes from UCLA. I had 25 hour fitness very close plus several grocery stores, Staples, Best Buy, etc. within 5 minutes. Wasn’t much in the way of crime and the air was very clean this close to the beach, but I was just far enough away that I didn’t have quite the morning fog as you would right on the beach. True, it's not cheap to live here, but I thought it was pretty well worth it.

    I guess it begs the question then - why did I move? My dad is 88 and my mom 85, still in the family home and they need my help back here in Columbus.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19136

    Mar 15, 2011 3:39 PM GMT
    I lived in Venice Beach for 14 of the 20 years I lived in L.A. My feeling is that if you don't live at the beach, why even live in California?
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    Mar 15, 2011 3:50 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI lived in Venice Beach for 14 of the 20 years I lived in L.A. My feeling is that if you don't live at the beach, why even live in California?


    Agreed. There are only two places worth living in Los Angeles: Venice Beach and Santa Monica. icon_wink.gif
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    Mar 15, 2011 3:51 PM GMT
    I live in Los Feliz! I grew up in Pasadena and have lived in here Los Angeles for all but one year (oh and two months)...

    You should probably live close to where you go to school. If UCLA then the Westside, Westwood, or WeHo

    If USC then the Wilshire area or perhaps near the Grove

    Check out:

    http://www.rentometer.com/

    One problem with the Westside or beach areas is that to visit people you must travel out or they must come down to you. This is an issue with all the traffic...
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    Mar 15, 2011 3:55 PM GMT
    I live in the South Bay in a beach city, or more like a beach town. Except for a longer commute than the other places you listed, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach are absolutely outstanding in each of the features you listed. The commute is not that bad, however. You may want to consider it.
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    Mar 15, 2011 3:57 PM GMT
    BlkMuscleGent said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI lived in Venice Beach for 14 of the 20 years I lived in L.A. My feeling is that if you don't live at the beach, why even live in California?


    Agreed. There are only two places worth living in Los Angeles: Venice Beach and Santa Monica. icon_wink.gif

    As a long time local, I beg to differ. Venice is ok. Aside from commuting issues, I would take Manhattan Beach over Santa Monica any day.
  • Runningrass

    Posts: 80

    Mar 15, 2011 4:03 PM GMT
    I lived in Studio City for two years (w/o a car) and would bike/run/walk to the grocery store, gym, coffee shop, etc. It was challenging, but I was planning on moving abroad and didn't want to invest in a car. (I also like the idea of not being dependent upon a car.)

    Silverlake/Los Feliz are both good areas and probably more similar in STL mentality than Santa Monica, which is a cool place, but kinda commercial in my opinion.

    After 3 years abroad, I'm now looking to possible move back to LA in a couple of weeks and am looking for pretty much the same thing as you, only in the Thousand Oaks area (b/c of work). So if anyone has thoughts on that area, they'd be well-received as well.

    Cheers!
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    Mar 15, 2011 4:14 PM GMT
    I was born and raised in LA. I live there for about 22 years. You'll need a car if you live in LA or your activities will be very limited.

    You probably want to live near whatever school you get into because the commute is a bitch at almost all hours of the day for the schools you want to attend. USC is by downtown LA and the traffic is horrific on the 101, 110, 10 and every other free way that goes through that area. UCLA is by the 10 and 405 which are ridiculously jammed most of the time. Without traffic it takes 20 mins to get from downtown LA to UCLA and with traffic it will take well over an hour. If you go on google and use the traffic feature you'll see that these freeways are always lit up in red during the times when you need to get somewhere on time. Even if you live near school you should get a car.

    Rent of $1,200 for a brand new apartment in the areas you listed won't happen. You'll need to bump it to at least $1,500. If you want to pay $1,200 will probably need to get an older place.

    The areas you mentioned are decent. Some of them like echo park/silverlake and culver city is up and coming so there are pockets within those neighborhoods that are a big mess.

    When I was moving back to LA from SF a few months ago, before I decided to move to NYC, I was looking for apartments in LA that is central to everything and came up with the following neighborhoods:

    1. Hollywood (away from the hollywood strip)
    2. West Hollywood
    3. Melrose
    4. Larchmont
    5. Beverly Hills

    I work in the industry and it seems like most of my coworkers live in these areas as well. They are near all of the major studios, WB, Sony, Paramont, Disney, etc. If you boyfriend wants to get into television he is probably better off being near the studios.

    They are between UCLA and USC. The cost range I saw for a new apartment was about $1500 - $2000.
  • SFGeoNinja

    Posts: 510

    Mar 15, 2011 4:15 PM GMT
    swimbikerun saidI live in Los Feliz! I grew up in Pasadena and have lived in here Los Angeles for all but one year (oh and two months)...

    You should probably live close to where you go to school. If UCLA then the Westside, Westwood, or WeHo

    If USC then the Wilshire area or perhaps near the Grove

    Check out:

    http://www.rentometer.com/

    One problem with the Westside or beach areas is that to visit people you must travel out or they must come down to you. This is an issue with all the traffic...


    Thanks for the link! That was really helpful, great site. My dream would be UCLA, but I still have to get first icon_lol.gif
  • SFGeoNinja

    Posts: 510

    Mar 15, 2011 4:19 PM GMT
    AvadaKedavra saidI was born and raised in LA. I live there for about 22 years. You'll need a car if you live in LA or your activities will be very limited.

    You probably want to live near whatever school you get into because the commute is a bitch at almost all hours of the day for the schools you want to attend. USC is by downtown LA and the traffic is horrific on the 101, 110, 10 and every other free way that goes through that area. UCLA is by the 10 and 405 which are ridiculously jammed most of the time. Without traffic it takes 20 mins to get from downtown LA to UCLA and with traffic it will take well over an hour. If you go on google and use the traffic feature you'll see that these freeways are always lit up in red during the times when you need to get somewhere on time. Even if you live near school you should get a car.

    Rent of $1,200 for a brand new apartment in the areas you listed won't happen. You'll need to bump it to at least $1,500. If you want to pay $1,200 will probably need to get an older place.

    The areas you mentioned are decent. Some of them like echo park/silverlake and culver city is up and coming so there are pockets within those neighborhoods that are a big mess.

    When I was moving back to LA from SF a few months ago, before I decided to move to NYC, I was looking for apartments in LA that is central to everything and came up with the following neighborhoods:

    1. Hollywood (away from the hollywood strip)
    2. West Hollywood
    3. Melrose
    4. Larchmont
    5. Beverly Hills

    I work in the industry and it seems like most of my coworkers live in these areas as well. They are near all of the major studios, WB, Sony, Paramont, Disney, etc. If you boyfriend wants to get into television he is probably better off being near the studios.

    They are between UCLA and USC. The cost range I saw for a new apartment was about $1500 - $2000.


    Thank you for the reality check...a lot of this is still up in the air. I currently do own a car and have no problem taking it with me to LA.

    You're right about the rents, too, I checked for apartments at $1,200 in the areas I listed and there was nothing close to the building I'm living in now - mostly crappy apartment complexes from the 1950s and 60s that would go for maybe $800 tops in Seattle.

    Ah, sacrifices we make to live in sunshine icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 15, 2011 4:34 PM GMT
    Well having grown up in LA until I was 17 years old and then moving to Seattle to go to UW and having been here now for 11 years there are a few things I could say about this move.
    One- I am very, deeply happy I grew up in So Cal, it shaped and made me see the world in a way that only people who are born and raised (or live there for a long time) really understand and get. There is just something about the way we think and speak.
    Two- You will have to have a car. Sadly there is just no way to get around that. If you want to take advantage of all that LA has to offer (and there is a lot, and it can be far). Just like Seattle however, if you want to stay in your area then you don't need a car but if you want to go to the mountains or Portland etc, then car it is. I live on Capitol Hill and go to UW and do not have a car. My boyfriend and myself just rent a car if you need to leave the city. However you will want to do things outside of your neighborhood a lot more in LA than in Seattle. Plus public transit is not so bueno in LA (as bad as Metro can be here, it will look like a gold mine trust me)
    Three- The weather. I love Seattle, now considerate my home but damn the weather gets to me. You will not realize how much easier it is to just 'be' when there is even just 70 more days of sun a year (and there are a lot more than that in LA).
    Of neighborhoods I would say Echo Park/Silver Lake are the best for newbies in LA. Until you get used to the LA vibe, mixing of people (Seattle is a pale pale pale city) and flow of the area. It is more walkable than other places (it will make Eastlake feel like a walker's heaven most likely but that is just the trade off).
    If you do move just whatever you do, do not lock yourself into your small world of your friends that look, act, are of the same 'class' as you, etc as SO many people do when the move to LA because you will miss the best part of it: the diversity of people. Sure the weather is great, the ocean sweet, the desert breathtaking, but the real heart and soul of So Cal are its people. If you have not lived outside of the Northwest then I would say go for it, Seattle will be here when you get back. Plus if you don't like LA then Seattle will be even more shinny and green when you return.
    Cheers
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    Mar 15, 2011 4:35 PM GMT
    And like anything else we generally learn to adjust to whatever negatives we are faced with to enjoy the positives and the number one negative was traffic. I moved my office home (I do commercial real estate all over North America) and seldom went out by car.

    I bought my current daily driver in July 2008 in Columbus and made a nice vacation out of it getting it back to LA via Alberta and British Columbia. By the time I got to LA in late Sept 2008 it already had about 7,500 miles on it. By the time I moved from LA to Columbus in Sept 2010 it had all of 10,000 miles on it and much of that were trips to go drag racing at Cal Motor Speedway in Fontana at 70 miles each way. I’ve put another 10,000 on it in the 6 months I’ve been back in Columbus. I didn’t need it much around West LA and Santa Monica. True, I drove my avatar once in a while too. I could bike or walk most anywhere I needed to go. If I traveled by car out of LA, I just left between 2 and 4 am and then all I had to deal with is Caltrans having a freeway or two closed for late night / early morning repairs. I made it work.
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    Mar 15, 2011 5:13 PM GMT
    Other than staying close to Westwood, the better place would be mid-wilshire between Wilshire and LaBrea to Wilshire and San Vicente. You're in walking distance of a grocery store, post office, office supply stores, a few resturants plus headquarters to a few entertainment companies.

    Plus you can take an Express bus all the way to UCLA's campus. In addition you're in easy quick bus distance or walking if you are a true intense walker of Weho.

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    Mar 15, 2011 5:30 PM GMT
    Moving to LA at the end of 2011 and LOVING this thread. So many of my questions answered. Thanks for posting this OP!
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    Mar 15, 2011 5:30 PM GMT
    you'll want to live in silverlake/sunset junction. tons of character, tons of pedestrian/biking transit, friendly community. less expensive than venice and reasonably close to USC. the end.

    Silverlake+058.JPG
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    Mar 15, 2011 5:34 PM GMT
    davidp7 said
    Basically I'm looking for an LA neighborhood that has the following things going for it:

    1. Somewhere at least a little pedestrian-friendly, where you don't have to drive absolutely everywhere - can you walk on the street without people wondering what you're doing? Can you get groceries without getting into the car? I know LA is very car-oriented and I'm OK paying for a car, but there must be some areas it's not needed 24/7.

    2. Low crime - can you go for a run in your neighborhood and not feel like you're running for your life?

    3. Access to parks - I would love to be near the beach (who wouldn't) but don't need to. Are there good parks near where you live where you can work out? I don't see the point of going to the gym every day in LA if the weather is so frickin' fantastic all the time.

    ....

    I know you need to live close to where you work in LA, this goes without saying. I'll most likely end up working in downtown LA or west LA for the industries I have contacts in. I've done a bit of research and so far my top choices for LA are (totally ignorant based on what Wikipedia tells me):

    1. Echo Park/Silver Lake/Los Feliz
    2. Mar Vista
    3. Santa Monica
    4. Venice
    5. Culver City/Palms
    6. Wilshire/Hancock Park



    I lived in LA for 15 years and it's an amazing world-class city. You've already got the right approach, which is to try to live near where you work. With two of you, that may be a bit more challenging, and one of you may have to deal with a crappy commute.

    So, there are tons of great walking friendly neighborhoods in LA. West Hollywood, where I lived for many years, is wonderful that way, although it has gotten very expensive recently. I also really enjoyed living in Silverlake, though that's not very convenient to the Westside if you're going to UCLA.

    Although you'll most likely want to have a car in LA, don't rule out public transportation entirely! People may laugh when I say that, but LA actually has an excellent public transportation system, and they are improving it all the time with express buses. My ex lives in downtown LA and commutes to UCLA via an express bus that works well for him, and I have friends who take the Rapid buses to UCLA from Hollywood area. You can check out www.metro.net for more information on public transportation.

    Also, biking is a great option in LA - the streets are flat and wide, the weather is great for biking, and there are some (albeit not enough) bike lanes and routes. Check out www.la-bike.org for info on biking in LA.

    As for parks and recreation, if you live somewhere near the Hollywood Hills there are lots of great hikes practically at your doorstep. Runyon Canyon Park, off Gardner Street in Hollywood is a very popular and busy mountain trail, and Griffith Park is awesome if you are further east in the Los Feliz/Silverlake area.

    I agree with the posts that the beach is nice, but it's a long way from pretty much everyone else in LA. Unless you work near the water and/or absolutely have to live by the beach, I'd recommend more centrally located areas.
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    Mar 15, 2011 5:39 PM GMT
    Sunset Junction is where all the "psuedo-hipsters" live- the ones that think being called a "hipster" is a compliment.
    Idiots.

    Television?
    That's a little vague- but it's probably best to keep it that way... because Los Angeles is the city of broken dreams- or lost hope- or some other cliche with a similar meaning. W/E.

    A little sun is okay... but too much and you'll end up looking 50 when you're 30 like most of the people that live in venice beach.
  • BlackBeltGuy

    Posts: 2609

    Mar 15, 2011 5:53 PM GMT
    stick to hollywood
    or west hollywood (they are both very gay)

    silverlake and the others are not near any TV production places. the hollywoods hit every freeway in this gateway to hell referred to traffic in CA
  • ohioguy12

    Posts: 2024

    Mar 15, 2011 6:04 PM GMT
    A1EX said

    Television?
    That's a little vague- but it's probably best to keep it that way... because Los Angeles is the city of broken dreams- or lost hope- or some other cliche with a similar meaning. W/E.


    You're right, wherever you live you better hope there are some nice restaurants close by for your bf to work. Sorry, I know several people who moved to LA for that reason, and it has rarely panned out.
  • Csrobbie2000

    Posts: 359

    Mar 15, 2011 7:16 PM GMT
    A car is mandatory in LA. It is almost impossible to survive in LA without a car. If you want to live close by UCLA, you must be willing to spend at least $1600/month for a decent 1 bedroom apartment. The area around USC is cheaper but quite sketchy. If your bf wants to work in the entertainment industry, I suggest Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, etc - they're closer to the studios, and the rent is somewhat cheaper than on the west side and about 20 min drive to UCLA which is not so bad.
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    Mar 15, 2011 7:23 PM GMT
    BlkMuscleGent said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI lived in Venice Beach for 14 of the 20 years I lived in L.A. My feeling is that if you don't live at the beach, why even live in California?


    Agreed. There are only two places worth living in Los Angeles: Venice Beach and Santa Monica. icon_wink.gif


    I have to disagree. Brentwood and Manhattan Beach (with Santa Monica) are my best bets.
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    Mar 15, 2011 7:32 PM GMT
    davidp7 saidMy boyfriend and I are considering moving to Los Angeles in Fall/Winter of this year. He wants to start a career in television. I'm interested in going to UCLA or USC for my Masters (depending on whether I get in).

    I've heard a lot of the conventional wisdom about LA - the smog, the stuck-up people, the urban sprawl, and the God awful traffic - but I'm interested in hearing what it's actually like to live there. More specifically, can you describe your neighborhood and why you chose to live there? What is your community like? What do you like about it? What do you wish it had that it doesn't?

    Basically I'm looking for an LA neighborhood that has the following things going for it:

    1. Somewhere at least a little pedestrian-friendly, where you don't have to drive absolutely everywhere - can you walk on the street without people wondering what you're doing? Can you get groceries without getting into the car? I know LA is very car-oriented and I'm OK paying for a car, but there must be some areas it's not needed 24/7.

    2. Low crime - can you go for a run in your neighborhood and not feel like you're running for your life?

    3. Access to parks - I would love to be near the beach (who wouldn't) but don't need to. Are there good parks near where you live where you can work out? I don't see the point of going to the gym every day in LA if the weather is so frickin' fantastic all the time.

    I've lived in Seattle for most of my life, so I can start with the neighborhood I live in, Eastlake (near Capitol Hill right on Lake Union).

    Likes:
    -Clean
    -Good deals on apartments ($1200 for a 700-sq-ft one bedroom in a brand new building w/ good amenities - is that even possible in LA?)
    -Lots of outdoorsy things to do - parks, lakefront nearby, beautiful scenery, there's a public garden right below our building
    -Walkable and good access to transit - just 10 minutes from downtown Seattle or the UW by bus
    -Quiet, low crime

    Dislikes:
    -Weather in Seattle - this doesn't apply to just my neighborhood, but I need some sunshine in my life icon_smile.gif
    -Lots of undeveloped land, gives the neighborhood a very suburban feel - lots of businesses can't survive here bc there isn't the resident base to support them
    -No grocery store in walking distance
    -Long commute to where I work


    I know you need to live close to where you work in LA, this goes without saying. I'll most likely end up working in downtown LA or west LA for the industries I have contacts in. I've done a bit of research and so far my top choices for LA are (totally ignorant based on what Wikipedia tells me):

    1. Echo Park/Silver Lake/Los Feliz
    2. Mar Vista
    3. Santa Monica
    4. Venice
    5. Culver City/Palms
    6. Wilshire/Hancock Park

    Have you lived in any of these areas? What did you think? Any other places I should be looking?

    Thanks for the support.




    mar vista/culver city palms are basically marina del rey and venice ajacent. avoid them at all cost because sepulveda and the 405 are a nightmare during rush hour 8-7 is rush hour here (:

    my boyfriend just moved into Hancock park. a beautiful one bedroom with new appliances, pets allowed, and two parking spaces (1350 electricity and water included) very close to farmers market, and west Hollywood and downtown but far enough away that you dont feel like you're stuck there. Santa Monica is fun if you are going to UCLA but not for someone who lives works in downtown.

    you reaqlly should see where you are going to go for school because ucla and usc are about 8 miles apart but might as well be light years in la. buy a car because our transit system sucks for long distances. Unless you live in Hollywood and are going to downtown. then it rocks!

    completely avoid hermosa and manhattan beach or the south bay all together. I lived there for 5 years with my ex. i don't think there wasnt a day i didn't complain about how detached i felt from the rest of la. its a beautiful place to settle down but it takes 20 minutes to get to the nearest frreeway and then an hr or two to get anywhere since that freeway happens to be the 405.


    if you go choose ucla (move to brentwood/santa monica because of the limited parking in westwood). if you move to usc, move to hollywood or hancock park or downtown... buy a car for the weekend because downtown is practically a ghost town on Sundays before 5.

  • goliathca714

    Posts: 36

    Mar 15, 2011 7:47 PM GMT
    The best place to live in LA is Orange County! LOL. Just kidding. I couldn't resist
  • Runningrass

    Posts: 80

    Mar 15, 2011 7:56 PM GMT
    doggypatchman said

    Although you'll most likely want to have a car in LA, don't rule out public transportation entirely! People may laugh when I say that, but LA actually has an excellent public transportation system, and they are improving it all the time with express buses. My ex lives in downtown LA and commutes to UCLA via an express bus that works well for him, and I have friends who take the Rapid buses to UCLA from Hollywood area. You can check out www.metro.net for more information on public transportation.

    Also, biking is a great option in LA - the streets are flat and wide, the weather is great for biking, and there are some (albeit not enough) bike lanes and routes. Check out www.la-bike.org for info on biking in LA.

    As for parks and recreation, if you live somewhere near the Hollywood Hills there are lots of great hikes practically at your doorstep. Runyon Canyon Park, off Gardner Street in Hollywood is a very popular and busy mountain trail, and Griffith Park is awesome if you are further east in the Los Feliz/Silverlake area.


    Agreed. The express busses are great! And if you live near a Metro station, you're set! I've also heard that the Metro to Santa Monica is actually finally happening! Exciting news!

    Agreed. Good weather and decent roads make biking a year-round option. I used to bike from Studio City to my office in Pasadena at least once a week.

    Agreed. The canyons are GREAT places for fun and adventure! I lived near Fryman Canyon and could be zipping through trails, startling hikers at least 3 days per week.