Santa Monica or Pasadena

Feb 16th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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Santa Monica or Pasadena

I am looking to relocate to southern California. I want a place that values culture and has lots of sunshine. I am thinking of Santa Monica (or even Manhattan Beach) or the Pasadena area. I'd love imput from those who are living or have lived in either of these places as to the amount of sunshine, quality of life (apart from cost - I accept that will be outrageous).
graceful2x2 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 01:13 PM
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There's no shortage of sunshine in either city, although of the two, Pasadena would get a slight nod since it's further inland. The flip side of that is, air quality in Santa Monica (and other cities along the coast such as Manhattan Beach) is almost always better than in Pasadena.

As for culture, both cities have strong Latino influences, and neighborhoods ranging from really exclusive to not-so-great.

Santa Monica is a typically bohemian coastal city, far more eclectic than Pasadena. If this kind of environment is attractive to you, you'd likely be much happier there than in Pasadena.
fdecarlo is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach aren't really comparable. SM is a more urban beach town and much more set up for tourists than MB. Housing costs in both are astronomical. I work in SM, and live way down in Long Beach; my housing costs are roughly one-third of what they would be in SM (although at $260K for a 625 sq ft condo, Long Beach is catching up to SM).

Pasadena is "homier" than SM, sure. And a helluva lot hotter in the summer. Culturally, SM is probably more exposed to the avant-garde and the dernier cri than Pasadena, although the latter is home to the sublime Norton Simon Museum, and certainly no slouch in the restaurant, nightlife and live theatre department. Pasadena is expensive (and for good reason-- a lot of homes in the area are historically notable), but probably a bit less so than SM.

Hard life, having to choose between these two cities! If I had the money and the inclination, I'd say Santa Monica, but then again, I love the ocean. And for the record, I love-- LOVE-- Pasadena. Except in the hottest days of August. Sizzling and baking....
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 03:40 PM
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In California they value their SUV's and their houses, not culture.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 04:00 PM
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I don't understand why people make comments like the one preceding...from clark.

I've visited by never stayed in Pasadena. When we drive Highway one south from SF, we always make Santa Monica our destination. It is a very inviting place for reasons very well described by fdecarlo and rjw.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 04:03 PM
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Our houses and SUV's are just part of our culture, while intolerance seems to be part of YOUR culture.
Roccco is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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Roccco, Thanks. The hit-and-run cowards who sneek into Fodors need to be exposed for what they are.

Somebody named Lovingheart posted a message that was attacked by every schoolyard bully out there.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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A beach community hands down!
enjoylife is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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I lived in Pasadena for a couple of years. The city does have many attractions, but I finally decided that if I was going to stay in the L.A. area, I was going to move to Santa Monica.

Pasadena is a lovely place to winter, which is how it got started. It was the summer smog, that foul, stagnant air and low visibility, which did me in. Pasadena has a magnificent mountain backdrop, as I discovered to my shock my third day there when the smog lifted. Unfortunately, it's a fact of climate that trapped smog gathers at the foot of that wall of mountains. Some days, it was a relief to go to work in downtown L.A, much further from the mountains, where the smog wasn't nearly as bad.

I craved the ocean breezes of Santa Monica. As it happens, I ended up going much further in that direction, moving job and home to San Francisco. Summer fog over summer smog anytime for me!
JBC411 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 06:04 AM
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Thank you all. I forgot to mention I am moving with my 10 year old son which is why I thought of Manhattan Beach. Does this change anyone's opinion?
graceful2x2 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 08:06 AM
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Santa Monica has a great public school system, even the kids north of Montana (avenue, that is) attend the public schools (okay, not all of them, but a good majority!). For Pasadena, unless you're living in the San Marino area, the schools aren't that great.
Surfergirl is online now  
Feb 17th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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I'm not sure what you mean by "a place that values culture". What type of culture? The Arts? Surf Culture? Hollywood culture? Cultural diversity?

You also don't tell us if and where you will be working. The length of your commute could significantly impact your quality of life.

Unless you plan to put your son in private school, your research should also include the school quality, which can vary widely between cities and neighborhoods. Look out for those "unincorporated" areas that may be part of the giant L.A. Unified School District.

I'm partial to the coastal areas myself. Although I do think Pasadena and environs are beautiful, I agree with the others about the heat in summer and the smog. The trade off at the coast is the cool foggy days, mostly in May and June.

My advice to you would be to not limit yourself to the three areas you mentioned. Check out Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. All have good schools and are, IMO, very nice communities in which to raise children. They also have somewhat of a small-town feel while having the conveniences of the "big-city" close by.

Good Luck in your quest.
lvk is offline  
Feb 17th, 2005, 10:48 AM
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I agree with lvk, not to limit yourself with the cities you mentioned. I live in Manhattan Beach, and couldn't give any negatives for living here, but it can be expensive for new people looking to purchase a home. Hermosa and Redondo are also nice places for children, with good schools and smog free air.
MBnancy is offline  
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