The Pride of the Palisades
Just north of Santa Monica and south of Malibu lies Pacific Palisades, named for and located on the bluffs where Sunset Boulevard meets the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Palisades is surrounded by six major canyons that wind their way from the Santa Monica Mountains to the ocean. They add beauty and contrast to the community, because some are uniquely blessed with lush vegetation, wildlife, underground springs, and streams and brooks. Because of the geography created by the canyons and mountains, many Pacific Palisades residents enjoy panoramic views of the ocean shoreline, forested canyons, and spectacular undeveloped mountain landscapes.
Residents pride themselves on their community's "small-town" feel. "Pacific Palisades reminds us of what a community should be like," says a local Realtor who lives and works in Pacific Palisades. "The wide range of schools, access to local and state parks, community activities like the Fourth of July Parade, Santa on the Village Green, shopping at the Sunday Farmer's Market, or cheering at an AYSO soccer game represent the attraction that has led to the Palisades becoming a much sought-after place to own a home."
Who Lives Here?
The town attracts upscale young families for the high quality of the local schools. Besides the numerous top-notch private schools, all of Pacific Palisades' public schools are charter schools, which means they have autonomy over their budgets and curricula and there is a lot more parent involvement than in a non-charter school. Pacific Palisades' proximity to the production facilities of L.A.'s entertainment industry makes it popular, too, with screenwriters, directors, producers, and TV and film stars. Among celebrities who live or once lived in Pacific Palisades are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martin Short, Tracy Ullman, Tom Cruise, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Sugar Ray Leonard, Chevy Chase, Bill Cosby, Steven Spielberg, and John Goodman. The late Walter Matthau was one of the first stars to break the "Beverly Hills or Bel Air?" tradition by moving to Pacific Palisades. The community attracts beach lovers, too. Residents are just a 10-minute drive from Will Rogers State Beach.
The compact, tree-lined, four-block Pacific Palisades "Village" offers a range of amenities from cappuccino to clothes for all ages. A local Realtor says few people from outside the community come to shop in the Village. "As a result," she says, "people who live in the Palisades come to know the shopkeepers personally." She says the community is only three miles from the wildly popular Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, where shopping is king during the day and nightlife rules after the sun goes down.
The diversified topography of the community gives buyers a wide range of atmospheres and home styles to choose from. "We have single-level homes cascading down the mountains with spectacular views of the Santa Monica Bay; rustic canyon retreats reminiscent of Mill Valley; and the flats around the Village for the "urban" buyer who wants to be within walking distance to schools and shopping," says another Realtor who loves the area, adding that most of the celebrities live in an area called Palisades Riviera.
Story by Jacqueline Shannon
Photos by Bob Thompson