Brentwood versus Westwood - which one's the better spot for picky homebuyers?

West Los Angeles has always been a posh place for discriminating homeowners. Home to some of the most stunning real estate in Los Angeles, the Westside is a perennial favorite with celebrities and a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists alike.

If you're in the market for a home with easy access to LA hotspots like Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and The Grove, you may be considering neighborhoods like Brentwood and Westwood. Yet while they may sound similar, these two popular areas have some important differences. Which one is right for you?

Shopping and recreation
One of Westwood's biggest attractions is its many vintage movie theatres, including The Bruin. In a city as steeped in cinema history as Los Angeles, these historic landmarks can be a big draw. They provide a fun family activity and a cool date spot for singles and newlyweds.

Westwood is also home to some of Los Angeles' best shopping. Westwood Village, with dozens of stores and restaurant to try, is an easy way to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

In Brentwood, popular destinations include the neighborhood's gorgeous golf courses and country clubs. Libraries and museums provide another quiet way to enjoy an afternoon alone or with the family.

Schools
Both Westwood and Brentwood are close to the prestigious University of California at Los Angeles, where students can study everything from film to neuroscience. Proximity to this world-class university means residents of both towns can enjoy guest lectures and school events that are open to the public. For families with high school students, having such a well-respected college nearby may be especially attractive. Keep in mind, though, that while Brentwood is nearby, UCLA officially calls Westwood home.

There are also a number of public and private high schools in both neighborhoods, which makes the Westside an ideal place to raise a family.

Prices
According to City-Data.com, the median value of a home in Brentwood, California, is $394,500, while the median gross rent is around $1,400. Detached, single-family homes hold the most value, with townhouses a close second.

Westwood is more affordable, with a median home price of around $136,600, according to the source. Some properties, however, can easily top $1 million - especially in the appropriate named "Millionaire's Mile" - so be sure to shop around to find the home that's priced right for your family.