Just on the edge of Playa Vista, Westchester has transformed from its roots as breeding ground for Southern California’s burgeoning aviation industry in the 1940s to a Silicon Beach-adjacent neighborhood that is still more family-oriented than trendy. Only a decade ago, this area, which is just a tad too far east to be part of West Los Angeles, was better known for being home to Loyola Marymount University; it was a quiet, suburban place to live, not play, and it wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

Fast-forward to today and Westchester is benefitting from the tech explosion in Playa Vista, which is within walking distance and hub to residents earning in the range of $250,000 to $500,000 a year and looking for modern amenities and globally inspired restaurants. Westchester is happy to oblige, as new eateries and retailers replace older ones and luxury residential buildings sprout up at regular intervals. Westchester is no longer sleepy, but it’s certainly not hipster central. It’s the Los Angeles version of a baseball-and-apple-pie kind of town for those who aren’t necessarily desirous of the price tags or pressure that come with living in a zip code farther West.

Traditional Westchester residences—built in the late ‘40s to early ‘50s with a typical maximum footprint of 1,300 square feet—have a certain charm, which can include the 3-bed/1 bathroom allure of the early Southern California home. However, plenty of homeowners have renovated over the years, so it’s hardly a challenge to find that requisite second or third bathroom.
Westchester is part of the city of Los Angeles, so while there are no McMansions, new builds are replacing older homes, making abodes in the 2,000-square-foot-plus range widely available. Regardless, houses in Westchester generally fetch a minimum of $1,000 per square foot.

For frequent flyers, one couldn’t pick a better location, as Westchester is home to Los Angeles International Airport. New development in neighboring Playa Vista over the last decade serves as a cushion, muffling much of the sound of noisy aircraft.

LAX’s airfield is also the address of the Flight Path Museum, which has a commercial aviation gallery and provides flight simulator training. For an entirely different type of training, nearby LAX Firing range is open to the public and offers a variety of classes, including self-defense. You may even see L.A.’s finest here, as the Los Angeles Police Department Ahmanson Recruit Training Center is located blocks away.

There’s culture in Westchester. The Westchester Playhouse is a nice little theater that serves as home base for Kentwood Players, a membership organization that has been performing high-quality dramas, comedies and musicals since 1950. As for events, the LAX Coastal Fourth of July Parade has been a highly anticipated event, attracting people from neighborhoods afar since its debut at the start of the new millennium.

Westchester packs plenty of parks into its neighborhood, and they’re the kind of destinations that attract visitors not just from around the city but from around the world. Plane spotters from across the globe have exited Los Angeles International Airport and stopped at Airplane Landing View Point to lie flat on their backs and watch jets fly overhead, closer than close. And basketball fans in the know, or locals seeking a new meditation locale, whisper about Steve Soboroff Court Park, where they go shoot some hoops at the NBA-sized Clippers Court or find a quiet spot along the winding green paths.

For a small neighborhood, Westchester has quite a diverse offering of schools. The public schools and private church-based schools for grades K through 5 are considered acceptable in terms of the quality of education. However, parents interested in putting their children on the Ivy League track in middle school usually turn to private institutions in West Los Angeles. For those seeking a better-quality education on a public-school budget, the neighborhood offers reputable magnet schools.

While LAX is the largest employer in Westchester, surrounding Silicon Beach—which includes the neighboring communities of Playa Vista, Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey and El Segundo is the newest and perhaps most influential boss in the area. Google, Facebook and Microsoft, to name a few, have all set up shop in Silicon Beach.

Unless you’re flying out of LAX or walking to a favorite neighborhood restaurant or one of the new hotspots in Playa Vista, you’ll be in your car, and you’ll be in traffic. However, the commute should be relatively painless if your destination is Westchester’s own LMU or Otis College of Art and Design. Like the majority of Angelinos, most people in Westchester don’t work where they live but, on the upside, the neighborhood is located just off the all-important 405 Freeway, which intersects with the even more vital 10 Freeway.