How one of the most famous cities in the world functions like a small town.
Known around the world for its 90210 zip code, a symbol of luxury and glamour, Beverly Hills embodies the entertainment industry and has been home to the country’s most famous and wealthy residents for the last 100 years. But just like cities everywhere else, families live here, kids grow up here, and people grow deep roots in Beverly Hills itself and with each other. While the city takes up a relatively large footprint, only about 35,000 people live here, taking full advantage of all the area has to offer. Here’s how it truly functions like a small town despite its big reputation:
While known to outsiders as Beverly Hills, the city is actually made up of smaller neighborhoods that define the beating heart of Beverly Hills as a community. To the north, Trousdale Estates is a primarily residential area with mid-century-modern homes and the famous 1920s Greystone Mansion & Gardens that will take you back in time. This area starts at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains and rises up through the hills, providing stunning views of the rest of Beverly Hills below, and giving residents a privacy scarcely found elsewhere in Los Angeles.
Though many homes are the highly private residences of Hollywood A-listers, there is also a strong sense of community here, fostered in part just by living in such a supremely coveted spot. Kids go to the same schools, play in the same parks, and see each other out walking in the neighborhood, which helps locals get to know each other while still maintaining a sense of seclusion.
The next community, just south of Wilshire, is much more commercial, where a number of boutiques, cafés, and restaurants are favorited by locals along South Beverly Drive. Here, grand mansions give way to single- and multi-family homes. People spend their afternoons and evenings enjoying the city life, less afforded by the privacy of Trousdale Estates. The “walkability” encourages interaction among residents, and the cozy restaurants and shops give it a small-town feel. The shady streets make it more intimate, and nearby Roxbury Park offers locals a number of recreational activities and community classes not as easily accessible in huge cities.
The Golden Triangle is next, formed by South Santa Monica Boulevard to the northwest, Wilshire Boulevard to the south, and Cañon Drive to the east. With Rodeo Drive at its center, visitors are immediately drawn to the shopping along this iconic street, but residents generally shy away, choosing the edges of the triangle instead for the cool boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and open-air cafés at North Beverly Drive and Cañon Drive.
Finally, The Flats is a distinctive neighborhood epitomizing the California aesthetic. Wide, palm tree–lined streets are ideal for walkers and runners; residents take full advantage, spending ample time outside in the mornings, evenings, and with their families simply enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather. Restaurants within walking distance include Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel, a local favorite for dinner and drinks or as a staycation spot for those seeking a local escape by the pool.
Overall, residents of Beverly Hills don’t view it as the lavish, busy, or overwhelming city that many outsiders think it is. It’s really a true community with schools for kids of all ages (pre-K through 12th grade), plenty of outdoor space, lush parks for getting outdoors, local restaurants and shops, and opportunities to engage with neighbors — all giving Beverly Hills a small-town feel despite its size and location.