It’s hard to have a bad day in Glendale, California, where the sun shines brightly day in and day out. That’s only one of the many great reasons to move to Glendale, CA. This amazing city has the honor of being rated as one of the top 10 safest cities in the United States. If you live in Glendale, you’ll be just eight miles north of the hullabaloo of Los Angeles proper, and it’s just a quick jaunt into Hollywood, Downtown LA, Dodger Stadium, the Rose Bowl, and many trendy LA neighborhoods.
Glendale is mainly a residential community, but some industry leads to a strong economy and plentiful job opportunities. Residents enjoy the diverse food culture, especially the extensive Armenian food choices; quality hiking in the Verdugo Mountains; parks; shopping; fascinating Spanish and Mexican history; and more. The rise of a handful of luxury apartment buildings in the downtown area has brought a new wave of restaurants, bars, and shops that are attracting patrons from near and far.
Congratulations on your move to Glendale!
Living in Glendale, CA: What to Know Before Moving to Glendale
Glendale is the 4th largest city in LA County, with a population of 203,054 as of 2017. The city is home to one of the nation’s largest Armenian communities outside of Armenia. 40% of Glendale residents are Armenian and add to Glendale’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity. While much activity centers around restaurants, bars, and shops on or just off Brand Blvd, Glendale is an expansive city that includes great hills for hiking, quiet established neighborhoods, and easy access to many nearby studios that make some of your favorite movies. If you’re looking for many of the benefits that Los Angeles offers, but with a suburban twist, Glendale might be for you.
Pros and Cons
There are many great reasons to move to Glendale, but just like any city, it isn’t without its drawbacks.
- Safety: Named one of the top 10 safest cities in America in 2014
- Proximity: Glendale is part of the greater L.A. metropolitan area
- Weather: Mediterranean climate complete with hot summers and mild winters
- Economy: The city boasts a strong economy. Nestle, IHOP, and Avery Denison have headquarters in Glendale. The area is also home to the Disney Studios Grand Central Creative Campus
- Taxes: Particularly high sales tax
- Traffic: Bad rush hour traffic, with Hwy 134 being particularly rough mornings and evenings
- Cost of living: It is, after all, a city in California, so living here isn’t cheap.
- Housing costs: Many recently built luxury apartment and condo buildings have added to high housing costs
The overall tax burden in California ranks #11 in the nation. Taxes in New York are the highest, ranking #1.
- Property Tax: With a median home value of $851,100, taxed at the average county tax rate of 0.793 percent in Los Angeles County, you can expect to pay about $6,749 in property taxes annually. However, be sure to consult with your realtor as property taxes can vary by neighborhood.
- Sales Tax: In Glendale, the combined sales tax rate is 10.25 percent. Glendale’s combined sales tax is one of the highest sales tax rates in California.
- State Income Tax: California assesses income based on ten tax brackets. If your income is between $56,085-$286,492, you can expect to pay 9.3 percent in income tax.
Renters account for 60.4 percent of the Glendale population. The average rent is $3,052, as of March 2019, compared to the US average of $1,391.
As of July 2019, the average home value was $851,100. The price per square foot is $533, higher than the average of $439 in the surrounding Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim Metro area. Home values went up 1.9% over the past year but are expected to rise only 0.1% in 2020.
While venturing further into the San Gabriel Valley or other surrounding areas may find you cheaper housing, there are a handful of neighborhoods in Glendale that are more affordable than others. These neighborhoods include Crescenta Highlands, Rancho San Rafael, San Rafael Hills, and Verdugo Viejo.
Cost of Living
BestPlaces.net bases its cost of living on a US index of 100. A number below 100 indicates a cost is cheaper than the US average and over 100 means it’s more expensive than the US average. The Glendale, California cost of living is 221.3/100 due to high housing costs at 446.5/100 and high transportation at 186.1/100. Grocery (100.4), Health (85.2) and Utilities (99.4) are at or below the national average.
The average income of a Glendale resident is $29,264, which is slightly above the US average of $28,555 per year. The median household income is $52,451. According to the Family Budget Calculator provided by the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four would need $7,691 monthly to live in Glendale, totaling $92,295 annually.
Weather & Natural Disasters
In Glendale’s Mediterranean climate, the sun shines on average 285 days of the year, and temperatures remain mild year-round. The hottest months of the year are July and August, with average highs of 87F and 88F respectively. The coolest months of the year are a moderate average of 67F and 68F in December and January with average lows of 41F and 42F.
Unless you plan on doing some skiing in the nearby San Bernardino Mountains, you can ditch all your snow gear. Glendale gets 0 inches of snow a year. It will rain some, with the average rainfall at 19 inches per year, which is half the US average of 38 inches per year. January and February are the months you can expect to see the most rain, with the average precipitation per inch of 3.54 and 4.49. Spring and autumn are short – a dry summer and rainy winter season best characterize the seasons.
Your friends and family in other parts of the country won’t love you for having mostly ideal weather year-round. They’ll point to the possibility of major fires, earthquakes, flooding, and mudslides. While infrequent, they can occur, and it’s important to stay prepared. The City of Glendale has a page dedicated to Emergency Preparedness that is full of helpful information, including a kit explaining how you should prepare, make plans, and many other useful tips to help you stay calm in the face of a natural disaster.
Economy & Job Market
The Glendale job market has seen an uptick of 0.73 percent in the last year. The expected job growth over the next ten years is expected to be 34.5 percent, compared to the US average of 33.5 percent over that same period. The unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, which is slightly higher than the US average of 3.9 percent.
The entertainment industry is prominent in Glendale. Education, healthcare, and government jobs are also among the top industries employing Glendale residents. The top employers are Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Glendale Unified School District, City of Glendale, Dreamworks Animation, Glendair Inc, Nestle Company, Glendale Community College, Glendale Memorial Center, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, and Public Storage.
From Glendale, and anywhere else in the world, you can use sites like Glassdoor and Indeed, to look for a job. There’re a few resource centers available in and around Glendale that can help you out locally. These include the Verdugo Job Center, WorkSource Center, 211 Los Angeles County Referral Service, and Los Angeles/Ventura Counties Social Service Rainbow Resource Directory.
Traffic and Transportation
Glendale is a car-oriented city. However, that doesn’t mean public transportation isn’t available. At the Glendale Transportation Center, you can connect to Metro Buses, the Glendale Beeline, Metrolink, Amtrak, and Greyhound. These options will take you around Glendale, throughout the Los Angeles metro area, and beyond.
Four major freeways serve Glendale. Running north-south are the Glendale Freeway (State Route 2) and the Golden State Freeway, referred to as ‘The 5’ by locals. The east-west freeways are the Ventura Freeway (‘The 134’) and Foothill Freeway (‘The 210’).
Traffic can back up Glendale’s main arteries such as Brand Blvd, Glendale Blvd, Central Ave, and Pacific Ave during rush hour, but traffic isn’t a major problem on most roads. However, rush hour almost always means gridlocked freeways. In a 2018 report, drivers in the Los Angeles area spent, on average, 128 hours stuck in traffic. Well, at least that gives you time to listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or chat with family and friends back home to catch up.
Thankfully, much of Glendale is walkable. The Walk Score indicates the city is somewhat walkable at 69/100. The Bike Score is lower at 46/100, and the Transit Score for Glendale is 45/100.
What to Do
Glendale has a healthy mix of outdoor and cultural activities for you to enjoy. Locals also enjoy the diverse food culture, most notably amazing Armenian and Latin American food, though you can almost always find an hour-long wait at Din Tai Fung for some of the world’s best soup dumplings (pro tip: join their waitlist from home on Yelp). Porto’s, a Cuban bakery, is as cheap as it is delicious – which is to say very.
For outdoor activities, you can head to the Verdugo Mountains, to Verdugo Park, or Deukmejian Wilderness Park. Check out the trails maps to see just how many hiking and biking options you’ll have. Just across ‘The 5’ in the Los Feliz area, Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in North America, offers countless hikes of varying difficulties, golf, extensive stables, and horseback riding trails, and the famous Griffith Park Observatory. If hiking isn’t your speed, but you still want to spend some time outside, you can stroll Brand Boulevard to check out all the shops, restaurants, and art galleries, or wander through the Americana outdoor mall and enjoy the choreographed fountain and music.
If you’re looking to avoid the sun, there are great indoor attractions you shouldn’t miss. You can check out the Museum of Neon Art or visit Disney’s Grand Central Creative Campus. You can catch a show at the Alex Theater or visit Forest Lawn Cemetery, which is the resting place of Michael Jackson, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Paul Walker, Brittany Murphy, Jimmy Stewart, Walk Disney, and many others. They even have an art museum there.
Schools and Universities
The Glendale Unified School District serves 26,117 students at the PK-12 level and has 34 schools total. They rank #925 nationally and #79 in California. GreatSchools.org ranks schools 1 to 10. According to them, the top-rated elementary schools include Horace Mann Elementary School (9), John C. Fremont Elementary School (8), Mark Keppel Elementary School (8), R.D. White Elementary School (8) and Balboa Elementary School (7). The best-rated middle schools are Woodrow Wilson Middle School (8), Eleanor J. Toll Middle School (7) and Theodore Roosevelt Middle School (6). Herbert Hoover High School (7) and Glendale High School (6) are the high school choices in the district.
While there are no major 4-year colleges and universities in Glendale proper, 59 four year colleges are within 40 miles of downtown Glendale. Occidental College and The Art Center College of Design are four miles from downtown, and the world-famous Caltech, the California Institute of Technology, is seven miles from downtown Glendale. The prestigious University of Southern California (USC) is 11 miles from downtown. Glendale Community College is located in the northeastern area of Glendale and was the inspiration for the TV show Community.
As mentioned above, Glendale has been named one of the top 10 safest cities in America. BestPlaces.net ranks crime in a city out of 100. Glendale’s violent crime score is 9.8/100. The US average is 22.7/100. The property crime score in Glendale is 26.0/100, compared to the US average of 35.4/100.
- Electric and water service: Glendale Water and Power, 141 N Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA 91206. 855-550-4497
- Gas service: SoCalGas, 919 S Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91204. 800-427-2200
- Trash pick-up/recycling service: Integrated Waste Management, 548 W Chevy Chase Dr, Glendale, CA 91204. 818-548-3916
- Internet/Cable service: DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, Dish, Spectrum, Mediacom
Best Neighborhoods in Glendale, CA
Of the many great neighborhoods in Glendale, here are the top eight:
This neighborhood, located a few miles north of downtown, is ranked as one of the best places to live in all of California. Oakmont boasts a suburban feel and its public schools are very highly rated. The Verdugo Mountains border Oakmont to the west, with San Gabriel Ave on the south, N Verdugo Rd at the east, and Glenwood Ave at the north.
Oakmont is a fairly car-dependent neighborhood, but there are many grocery stores, shops, and restaurants a quick drive northeast in nearby Montrose. There are many retirees in this neighborhood, and homes don’t often come up for sale. 92% of residents own their homes. When homes are listed, they don’t stay on the market for long. Oakmont home values dropped 3.2% in 2018 and are forecast to fall 2.4% more in 2020.
- Population: 5,346
- Median home value: $1,316,800
- Median rent price: $4639
- Median household income: $124,016
- Schools: Crescenta Valley High School (9), Anderson W. Clark Magnet High School (9), Rosemont Middle School (9), Mark Keppel Elementary School (8), John C. Fremont Elementary School (8)
Verdugo Woodlands is in the northern area of Glendale, a ten-minute drive from downtown. The Verdugo Mountains border it on the west, and ‘The 2’ forms its eastern border. Verdugo Park and Glorietta Park are beautiful green places to play with the family or walk your dog. There are grocery stores, shops, and other fun things to do in the area thanks to nearby Glendale Community College. Rocky’s pan pizza near the campus is a mouthwatering must-try.
Most properties sit along attractive winding, hilly roads. Homes can range from one-story vintage Tudor types to large two-story neoclassical styles, to contemporaries with lovely mountain views.
- Population: 11,360
- Median home value: $1,020,500
- Median rent price: $3,651
- Median household income: $108,064
- Schools: Crescenta Valley High School (9), Anderson W. Clark Magnet High School (9), Rosemont Middle School (9), John C. Fremont Elementary School (8), Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School (7)
Families and retirees make up much of the Emerald Isle neighborhood of Glendale. The neighborhood has a suburban vibe, with coffee shops and parks aplenty. Emerald Isle is just east of ‘The 2’ in the northeast area of Glendale, a ten to fifteen-minute drive from downtown. It’s a mostly residential neighborhood, but there are grocery stores, shops, and restaurants just north in La Cañada Flintridge.
There aren’t many homes currently listed for sale in Emerald Isle, but those that are for sale are pricey. With a drop of 7.1% in 2018 and predicted decline of 4.7% in 2020, Emerald Isle homes are going through a price adjustment and now may be a good time to consider buying.
- Population: 6,316
- Median home value: $1,293,100
- Median rent price: $4,513
- Median household income: $167,645
- Schools: La Canada High School (10), Crescenta Valley High School (9), La Canada Elementary School (10), Anderson W. Clark Magnet High School (9), Rosemont Middle School (9)
Just south of the Verdugo Mountains, Brockmont is a neighborhood filled with families, young professionals, and retirees. The neighborhood is home to Brockmont Park, dedicated to businessman and philanthropist John C. Brockman who built a four-story clock tower that still serves as a neighborhood landmark.
Homes are built along gracefully curving hilly streets, and there’s great hiking in Brockmont Park. Brockmont is just north of ‘The 134’, about a 10-minute drive north of downtown Glendale. Unlike other million-dollar neighborhoods, Brockmont home values have risen 4.3% in the past year and are forecast to go up another 1.8% in 2020.
- Population: 2,641
- Median home value: $1,520 ,600
- Median rent price: $5,398
- Median household income: $136,089
- Schools: Anderson W Clark Magnet High School (9), Mark Keppel Elementary School (8), Verdugo Woodlands Elementary School (7), Verdugo Academy (6), Herbert Hoover High School (7)
Rossmoyne is bordered by ‘The 134’ to the south, Brand Blvd to the west, Coronado Dr to the east, and is about an eight-minute drive from downtown Glendale. Rossmoyne is tucked between the highrises of downtown and the natural landscape of the Verdugo Mountains in the north.
The neighborhood is populated by young professionals and retirees who enjoy the many local bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Rossmoyne has a much more urban vibe compared to the other neighborhoods in the area. The well-kept vintage homes in the neighborhood were mostly built in the 1920s and 30s.
- Population: 14,338
- Median home value: $934,800
- Median rent price: $3,467
- Median household income: $87,196
- Schools: Anderson W. Clark Magnet High School (9), Mark Keppel Elementary School (8), R.D. White Elementary School (8), Verdugo Academy (6), Herbert Hoover High School (7)
Sparr Heights sits in the northernmost reaches of Glendale, about a 20-minute drive north of downtown. Montrose is just north of the neighborhood, Oakmont Country Club is just south, and Verdugo Rd serves as the eastern border. Sparr Heights has an urban vibe with many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks for families, young professionals, and retirees to enjoy. Most residents in Sparr Heights rent their homes.
- Population: 6,159
- Median home value: $908,700
- Median rent price: $3,379
- Median household income: $69,848
- Schools: Crescenta Valley High School (9), Anderson W. Clark Magnet High School (9), Rosemont Middle School (9), John C. Fremont Elementary School (8), Verdugo Academy (6)
Located in northwestern Glendale near Burbank, El Miradero is tucked up against the Verdugo Mountains. This neighborhood offers a suburban vibe with the added advantage that residents can escape into nature on the Brand Canyon trails. When you’re on the trails, look southwest over Burbank, and you’ll be able to see North America’s largest Ikea store! Homes range from large two-story Mediterraneans, vintage Tudors, and one-story classic three-bedroom ranch styles. 85% of residents own their homes.
- Population: 5,665
- Median list price: $1,110,000
- Median rent price: $2,020
- Median household income: $128,906
- Schools: Anderson W. Clark Magnet High School (9), Burbank High School (8), Joaquin Miller Elementary School (8), Balboa Elementary School (8), John Muir Middle School (8), Verdugo Academy (6)
Crescenta Highlands is between the Deukmejian Wilderness Park and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to the north, the city of La Crescenta to the east, the Verdugo Mountains to the south, and Lowell Ave to the west. ‘The 210’ runs east-west through the neighborhood, where housing prices are much lower than they are north of Foothill Blvd.
Most residents in this suburban neighborhood own their homes. Styles are quite mixed and vary between vintage California cottages, older two-story Tudors, renovated one-story ranch, contemporaries, and mid-century cottages. With all the surrounding hills, you’ll have great hiking available in and around the neighborhood.
- Population: 20,861
- Median home value: $833,200
- Median rent price: $3,240
- Median household income: $98,323
- Schools: Crescenta Valley High School (9), Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (8), High Tech Los Angeles, Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy (10), F D Lanterman High School
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