Gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains
Amid rolling hills dotted with oak trees, this lovely suburban city's name is thought to mean "pumpkin," a derivative of the Spanish word "calabaza." Residents are proud of their city's unique name, and every October the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce hosts a Pumpkin Festival that celebrates not just the pumpkin, but the arrival of fall, and the wares and talents of local merchants. Calabasas' official logo depicts a red-tailed hawk soaring over the Santa Monica Mountains to symbolize the city's commitment to preserve the area's natural beauty and semi-rural quality of life. Residents are also proud to call their city the "gateway" to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Two of the city's premier shopping venues are the Commons at Calabasas and the shopping district in Old Town Calabasas. The Commons, which has received international awards, is a European-style open-air shopping center that features more than 35 shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. It's located off Calabasas Road and Park Granada on Commons Way. The shopping district in Old Town Calabasas is a renovated 1800s western town offering shopping, dining and a walking tour. Find it along Calabasas Road, west of Valley Circle Boulevard/Mulholland Drive. Calabasas Red Trolley provides service between Old Town Calabasas and the Commons at Calabasas.
The peaceful city of Hidden Hills has only 2,000 residents and its bucolic atmosphere is characterized by the absence of street lights and sidewalks, white, three-rail fences, and bridle trails.
Woodland Hills features lovely homes on rolling hills. "Its El Camino Real High School is very attractive to buyers," says a Calabasas Realtor. "The school's Academic Decathalon team recently won the national championship for the second year in a row." He adds that another of the community's draws is Warner Center, a great hub for shopping and business.
Other pastoral communities in the West Valley include Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Simi Valley, and Westlake Village.
History and Future
Indians, Spanish explorers, squatters, and bandits are all part of Calabasas' wild and wooly early history. Because acorns were an important part of the diet of the area's earliest known residents, the Chumash Indians, some of the oak trees are believed to be 500 to 700 years old. A major concern in the Calabasas area was always lack of water. That's why it wasn't until 1958, when the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District was founded, that the area began its development boom.
In addition to its Las Virgenes School District, Calabasas is nationally admired for its prudent planning allocating for the growth necessary to maintain a desirable residential and business blend. There is ongoing acquisition of open space, as well as plans for a state-of-the-art civic center complex with fountains, plazas, and a public library.
Another local Realtor says the city is very family oriented and there are lots of kids. "Many residents have come from the San Fernando Valley because it is safer here and the schools are excellent," she says. She adds that San Fernando Valley residents go to school in the Los Angeles Unified School District and parents much prefer the award-winning Las Virgenes School District, which serves Calabasas and neighboring communities. "The schools are so good it's like getting private school for free," she says. The area is also attracting professionals who are going to work at industrial and high-tech firms that are moving south from the Silicon Valley to the Calabasas-Oxnard corridor because the prices are lower.
At the high end of the spectrum, some of the gated, single-family home enclaves range up to $2,050,000. Most of the newer communities feature the Mediterranean-Spanish-style architecture with the tile roofs and smooth stucco.