Moving to Burbank

Billed as the “Media Capital of the World,” Burbank, California is home to NBC Universal, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros Entertainment, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, and Cartoon Network Studios. Despite being the home of these mega studios and its own airport, the city maintains a welcoming small-town retro vibe. Burbank is located just 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and is adjacent to Hollywood, giving you easy access to so much of what LA has to offer. 

Burbank is mainly an urban-suburban area, but the Verdugo Mountain foothills establish the rural backdrop at the northern edge of the city. This unique geography, plus great year-round weather, provide residents with the benefits of high-quality city life plus the opportunity to enjoy outdoor options. On the same day, you can take a leisurely morning hike, then catch a taping of Conan or The Late Late Show with James Corden in the afternoon.

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Living in Burbank, CA: What to Know Before Moving to Burbank

Not all of Burbank’s 104,834 residents work in the entertainment industry, but when you move, you’ll probably meet many who do. If you want to furnish your new home on the cheap, or if you have a hankering for Swedish meatballs, Burbank is home to North America’s largest Ikea. However, while there’s so much on a large scale, like the mega studios and giant Ikea, Burbank maintains a suburban feel, and its closeness to the foothills keeps you connected to nature. According to niche.com, Burbank ranks #12 ‘Healthiest Places to Live in America’ and #21 in ‘Cities with the Best Public Schools in America.’

Pros and Cons of Living in Burbank

If you grew up watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, you probably remember hearing “live from beautiful downtown Burbank.” Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks you’ll want to know about “beautiful . . . Burbank. “

Pros: 

  • Beautiful weather all year
  • Small town feel, with easy access to Los Angeles and everything offers
  • Friendly well-established neighborhoods 
  • Weekly downtown farmer’s market every Saturday
  • Access to nature in the Verdugo mountain foothills or dozens of public parks

Cons: 

  • Housing costs at four times the national average
  • High sales tax
  • Higher than average unemployment and lukewarm economy
  • Higher than average traffic
  • Risk of natural disasters, especially earthquakes and wildfires

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: The median home price in Burbank is $839,900. The average county tax rate is 0.793 percent. At that rate, you can expect to pay $6,660 in annual property taxes on a home valued at $839,900. 
  • Sales Tax: In Burbank, the combined sales tax rate is 10.25 percent. The national average sales tax is 7.3 percent.
  • Income Tax: In California, the state assesses income tax over ten income brackets. You’ll pay 9.3 percent in income tax if you earn between $56,085 – $286,492.

Housing Market

In Burbank, 55.5 percent of the population rents their homes. The median rent price is $3,300, more than double the US average rent of $1,470. As of fall, 2019, the median home value in Burbank was $839,900 – over $600,000 more than the average US median home cost of $231,200. According to zillow.com, housing is “hot” in Burbank. Home values rose 3.2% in 2018 and are forecast to rise another 1% in 2020.

While there aren’t necessarily any cheap neighborhoods in Burbank, some areas surrounding the city are more affordable than others. The top five most affordable areas are Winnetka, San Fernando, North Hills, Panorama City, and Shadow Hills.

Cost of Living

A helpful tool for understanding the cost of living in a new city is bestplaces.net. They score the cost of living based on a US average of 100. Burbank’s cost of living is more than twice the national average at 213.8. Housing, at 426.5, is the biggest factor in Burbank’s high cost of living. Transportation cost is also high at 180.1, while Grocery 100.4, Health 85.2, and Utilities 98.2 are all near or below US averages. 

As of March 2019, the average income of Burbank residents was $37,767, and the median household income was $69,118. The Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator reports that a family of four would need to earn $7,691 monthly and $92,295 annually for a moderately comfortable lifestyle in Burbank.

Weather & Natural Disasters

The weather is seemingly perfect every day in Burbank, but July and August can get a little toasty. July and August average highs are 87° and 88°, with average lows of 62° for both months. And great news –there’s little humidity. The coolest months are December and January with average highs of 67° and 68° and average lows of 41° and 42°. Although niche.com rated Burbank as one of the healthiest places to live in the US, at certain times of the year, air quality can be a concern. Depending on pressure systems, smog from the huge Los Angeles basin can push up against the Burbank foothills.

There’s no measurable snowfall in Burbank, but during a storm and a day or so after, you’ll see the local mountain tops dusted white. Do, however, expect a little rain. Burbank sees 17.35 inches of rain on average annually, most of it falling in January and February. If you enjoy all four seasons, Burbank may not be the ideal place for you. There are really only two seasons – dry hot summers and coolish winters.

Even though the weather is generally great, the occasional natural disaster threat can shake up Burbank’s residents. Earthquakes are fairly common, and with climate change, wildfires are a more pressing threat. The downtown area isn’t much as risk for wildfires, but residents near and in the foothills need to have a wildfire plan in place. Ready Burbank is a great resource for creating an emergency plan for you and your loved ones.

Economy & Job Market

Burbank’s recent job growth of 0.73 percent is lower than the US average of 1.59 percent. Future job growth is predicted to be 31.76 percent over the next ten years, again lower than the US average of 33.51 percent. Burbank unemployment is 5.7 percent, 2 percent higher than the US average of 3.7 percent.

Entertainment, health care, and social assistance, information technology, retail trade, and aviation are the top industries. The top Burbank employers are Warner Bros, The Walt Disney Company, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Bob Hope Burbank Airport, Burbank Unified School District, City of Burbank Government, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, and American Broadcasting Company. 

The City of Burbank offers Workforce Connection, which serves both as a job resource center and business assistance center. Executive recruiters and online job platforms are also a great way to see what kinds of job opportunities are available. Just make sure your resume is polished, up to date, and ready to be sent in a pdf. Most employers prefer electronic data over a paper copy.

Traffic and Transportation

The average one-way commute for Burbank residents is 27.9 minutes, slightly higher than the US average of 26.4 minutes. Seventy-nine percent of Burbank residents drive alone to work, 7 percent carpool with others, 6.3 percent work from home, and 2.5 percent take mass transit. The Burbank Bus provides local transit, and residents who use public transit throughout LA County use Metro, Metrolink, and Park and Ride.

From Burbank, it’s super easy to access all of Southern California and beyond. The Golden State Freeway, also known as I-5, runs north-south right through the center of Burbank. The Ventura Freeway, also known as US 101 and SR 134, runs east-west through the southern area of Burbank. As on all of Southern California freeways, you’ll get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hours.

Burbank has an average walk score of 69 and is considered to be fairly bikeable with a score of 59. The neighborhoods with the highest walk scores are McNeil, Magnolia Park, Downtown, and Chandler Park. Even though the transit score is only 39, if you’re a dedicated no-car commuter, in most cases, it’s possible to use public transportation to get to and from work.

Amtrak trains run up and down the California coast and stop at the Burbank Bob Hope Airport. For international flights, if you don’t plan to get on the freeway during rush hour, LAX is a one hour drive south of Burbank.

What to Do

If you have a passion for the entertainment industry or have visitors in town who do, you can enjoy a studio tour at one of the various mega studios in and around Burbank. Despite being known as The Media Capital of the World, Burbank also offers plenty of nature and culture for everyone to enjoy. For example, you can drive an hour northwest to catch some waves in Malibu then easily be back in time for an evening concert at the Starlight Bowl.

If you’re looking to cool off during the summer months, you can bring the family to Verdugo Park and Recreation Center to enjoy the pool and water slides. Additionally, dozens of well-kept green spaces throughout the city are available to enjoy, such as Johnny Carson Park, Verdugo Mountain Park, La Tuna Canyon Park, and Wildwood Canyon Park. At Ralph Foy Park, the LA Kings Burbank Sports Center offers an outdoor hockey rink during the winter months. Bordering the southern edge of Burbank, the extensive Griffith Park has a golf course, the famous Los Angeles Zoo, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, bridle paths, hiking, and the renown Griffith Observatory.

Some of the top comedians around have been known to perform at Flappers Comedy Club in downtown Burbank. Starlight Bowl has a summer concert series where you can picnic and enjoy the music. And if the theater is your thing, check out the calendars of The Colony Theatre Company, iHeartRadio Theater, The Victory Theatre Center, the Grove Theater Center, and the Garry Marshall Theatre. 

For aviation buffs, the Portal of the Golden Wings Shrine to Aviation is a must-see. Its architecture alone makes a great Instagram post. For more aviation-oriented entertainment you can enjoy the Burbank Aviation Museum plus other special interest sites such as the Gordon R. Howard Museum, the Martial Arts History Museum, or the Nan Rae Art Gallery at Woodbury University.

Sports fans have easy access to all of the Los Angeles teams. Dodger Stadium is less than a 30-minute drive from Burbank. The Staples Center is home to the Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and Sparks. It’s also relatively easy to get to Chargers and Rams games from Burbank. If college sports are more your speed, you can see the UCLA Bruins play at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or the USC Trojans play at the LA Coliseum in downtown LA. 

Schools and Universities

The Burbank Unified School District serves Burbank students and has three high schools, three middle schools, and 11 elementary schools. In general, Burbank schools receive high ratings by greatschools.org. Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School has a 9/10 rating. Burbank High School, Burroughs High School, Thomas Edison Elementary School, Bret Harte Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Joaquin Miller Elementary School, John Muir Middle School, and RL Stevenson Elementary School all have an 8/10 score.

Woodbury University is the only four-year college in Burbank, but the number of other colleges and universities close by is staggering. USC and UCLA are in nearby Los Angeles, and Occidental College is in the Eagle Rock neighborhood near Pasadena. Glendale Community College and Pasadena City College are two-year schools located close to Burbank.

Crime

Bestplaces.net rates crime on a scale of 100. Burbank has a violent crime rate of 15.7/100, which is well below the US average of 22.7/100. The property crime rate is 37.7, which is a bit higher than the US average of 35.4/100.

Utility Providers

Be sure to get your utility accounts set up before you move in. The following utility services and their contact information should help you get started:

  • Electric and water service: Burbank Water and Power, 164 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502. (818) 238-3700.
  • Gas service: SoCalGas, 919 S Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91204. (800) 427-2200.
  • Trash pick-up/recycling service: Burbank Street and Solid Waste Division, 124 South Lake Street, Burbank, CA 91502. (818) 238-3800.
  • Internet/Cable service: DIRECTV, DISH, Spectrum, Xfinity, ViaSat, HughesNet, Sonic, and AT&T. Enter your new zip code to find the best service and package for your address.

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Best Neighborhoods in Burbank, CA

Here are our top suggestions for where to live in sunny Burbank:

Magnolia Park

Population: 1,412

While this neighborhood has ‘Park’ in the name, it’s actually a popular shopping and dining district about a 10-minute drive southwest of Downtown. The retro-style neighborhood borders W Verdugo Ave on the south, N Buena Vista St on the east, W Magnolia Blvd on the north, and N Hollywood Way on the west.

The median home value of $845,300 is up 2.7 percent over the past year and expected to rise by about 1.0 percent in 2020, according to Zillow. If you plan to rent, expect to pay around $2,500 monthly. 

Magnolia Park homes have large yards and plenty of space, making for a comfortable suburban feel. If you’re in the neighborhood, the super-popular Cuban cafe, Porto’s Bakery and Cafe, is worth the wait for their cheese rolls, potato balls, chicken croquettes, and pan con lechon sandwiches. Locals frequently check out the new arrivals at ‘It’s a Wrap Production,’ a quirky shop for secondhand TV and movie clothing. Step into your cowgirl or cowboy boots, then saunter on over to Tinhorn Flats Saloon and Grill for a burger and beer.

Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School is rated a 9/10 by greatschools.org. David Starr Jordan Middle School has a 6/10 rating, and Burroughs High School boasts an 8/10 rating.

Downtown Burbank

Population: 3,356

Even though Downtown Burbank is located only 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, you’ll feel a different vibe. Burbank’s Downtown feels way more laid-back even though it has a hip bustling street scene.

The median list price for a home in Downtown was $614,000 in fall, 2019, according to redfin.com, and the median rent price is $3,000. This neighborhood has a mix of apartment buildings, condos, and single-family houses amid commercial and retail spaces. Downtown is completely walkable so you can stroll the palm tree-lined sidewalks and browse among cool boutiques, pubs, wine tasting rooms, and then stop for fresh California cuisine in an outdoor patio restaurant.  

You can find more great shopping at the Burbank Town Center. North America’s largest IKEA, which alone can satisfy shopping aficionados’ idea of fun, is conveniently located in Downtown. In total, there are over 400 stores, restaurants, and other activities to keep you busy in Downtown Burbank. 

Joaquin Miller Elementary School and Burbank High School are rated 8/10.

Northwest District

Population: 24,773

Located just south of Bob Hope Airport, Northwest District has a family-friendly, suburban vibe. Northwest District is about a 10-minute drive west of Downtown, located between N Clybourne Ave on the west and N Hollywood Way on the east. The homes have attractive yards and, with plenty of side yard space, aren’t crowded on top of one another. 

According to redfin.com, the median list price is $879,000 as of September 2019, and rent averages about $3,000 a month. It’s one of the more walkable and bike-friendly neighborhoods in Burbank with a walk score of 70 and a bike score of 66. 

Stroll or pedal over to the popular and highly-rated Café De Olla for some of the area’s best Mexican cuisine. Enjoy some time outdoors at Ralph Foy Park and pick up some new reading material at the nearby Northwest Branch Library. The Brace Canyon Park is a delightful green space with tennis courts, picnic tables, basketball courts, and ball fields.

A huge advantage of living in the Northwest District is the convenience to Bob Hope Airport and an Amtrak stop. If you do business around the country, you can fly to 17 US cities from Bob Hope Airport, or hop on the Amtrak and easily get to Los Angeles without fighting freeway hassles.

Bret Harte Elementary School and Thomas Edison Elementary School are rated 8/10, Luther Burbank Middle School has a 6/10, and Burbank High School has an 8/10.

Rancho Adjacent

Population: 28,432

The Rancho Adjacent neighborhood is about a 10-minute drive southwest of downtown Burbank at the northern tip of Griffith Park. You’ll find a mix of single-family homes and apartment buildings in this well-established neighborhood. According to Redfin, the median list price of a home in this neighborhood is $889,000 and rent averages about $3,300. 

Locals frequent Pinocchio Restaurant and will grab a slice or three at Tony’s Bella Vista Restaurant & Pizzeria. Rancho Adjacent is considered to be the fourth most walkable neighborhood in Burbank. With a walk score of 70, you can accomplish a lot of your errands and outings on foot. If biking is your preference, you’ll be happy to know the bike score for the neighborhood is 73. 

Walt Disney Elementary School is rated 7/10, David Starr Jordan Middle School has a 6/10, and Burroughs High School is rated 8/10. 

Chandler Park

Population: 22,346

Chandler Park is a mere 5-minute drive west from Downtown. The median list price for homes in Chandler Park is $799,000, according to Redfin, and the average rental goes for about $3,000 a month. 

You’ll find mostly single-family homes in this friendly suburban neighborhood that’s highly rated for walking and biking. With scores of 73 from walkscore.com, you can understand why locals enjoy wandering over to the Burbank Certified Farmers Market every Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. After you buy your fresh organic produce, enjoy some yummy BBQ at Handy Market or Italian food at Isabella’s Italian Kitchen. 

Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School is rated a 9/10, Luther Burbank Middle School has a 6/10, and Burroughs High School an 8/10.

McNeil

Population: 6,446

McNeil is about a 10-minute drive southwest of downtown Burbank, near all the fun and excitement of the Magnolia Park area, but a little more tucked away and relaxed. Burbank Blvd forms the southern border, N Hollywood Way on the west, Victory Blvd on the north, and N Buena Vista St on the east. The well-maintained homes in the neighborhood have plenty of space and attractive yards. With its highly rated schools and friendly neighbors, this is a great neighborhood for families with children. 

On redfin.com, the median list price for homes in the McNeil neighborhood is $925,000, and the average monthly rental price is $3,400. Coral Café is a popular neighborhood spot with dinner and comfort food for all to enjoy. Another local favorite is the long-standing pizza joint, Dino’s Pizza, where you can scarf up some fresh-made pies. Walk Score considers McNeil to be the most walkable of all Burbank neighborhoods. 

RL Stevenson Elementary School is rated 8/10, John Muir Middle School 8/10, and Burbank High School 8/10.

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