Neighborhood Watch: Arcadia

With dozens of neighborhoods to choose from, hunting for real estate in Los Angeles is a daunting task. From the ritzy shopping of the Westside to the gorgeous beaches of the Harbor, Los Angeles has plenty to offer - no matter what you're in the market for.

One of Los Angeles' biggest draws is its suburban lifestyle. With urban sprawl stretching in every direction, it's easy to find quiet, safe housing without having to travel hours from the city center.

If you're looking for a family-friendly neighborhood that's an easy commute to downtown but has plenty to offer by itself, you should consider Arcadia. This cozy hamlet located north of Los Angeles near the border of the Angeles National Forest is an affordable collection of great starter homes for families of any size.

Great entertainment
Arcadia offers plenty of entertainment for people of all ages and interests.

For shoppers, the massive Westfield Santa Anita Mall is a veritable paradise with everything from a movie theater to department stores to the trendiest retailers to fine dining. Those who prefer to spend time outdoors will love Arcadia's many parks, like the Arcadia Wilderness Park, which offers plenty of untouched woods full of plants and critters to observe. A local skate park also offers fun for the kids, with ramps for biking and boarding.

Perhaps Arcadia's most unique entertainment draw; however, is the Santa Anita Park - home to some of North America's most prominent horse racing events. Whether you're an avid better or a newbie to the sport, an afternoon at the track is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Affordable living
Despite its many amenities and features, Arcadia is an affordable place for newcomers to Los Angeles to put down roots. According to City-Data, the median price of a detached single-family home in Arcadia is around $800,000. A townhouse, condo or other attached home is even more affordable, costing around $478,000 to own.

Proximity to downtown
Another appealing part of living in Arcadia is the easy commute to downtown. Whereas Westside residents often find themselves in traffic on narrow, old freeways and winding canyon roads, traveling to downtown from Arcadia is a straight shot on some of Southern California's biggest and best highways.

All in all, the trip from Arcadia to downtown's skyscrapers takes about 25 minutes.