South LA

From the sounds of its jazz clubs and USC sports fans to the stretches of its strip malls, South LA blends rich history with streetwise urbanity.

Skirting the borders of Downtown, South LA rests in the shade of the buildings that rise from the city's center. Its boulevards fill with foot-traffic, Jazz-age inspired theatres, and strip malls of fast-food stands and auto mechanics. South LA's diversity is undeniable—Latino, Asian, African-American, and student communities from nearby USC make their home in this expansive and varied neighborhood. From its musical roots to its paradigm-challenging riots, the neighborhood's history is just as rich.

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On the Map

South LA is bordered by West Athens, Westmont, Watts, Baldwin Hills, Westlake, Florence-Graham, Willowbrook, Huntington Park, Mid-City, Downtown, Lynwood, Vernon, West Adams, and South Gate

  • Public transit is Possible
  • Having a car is Possible

LAX Airport: 20 minutes by car or 1 hour by public transit
Santa Monica Pier: 25 minutes by car
Hollywood Walk of Fame: 25 minutes by car
Venice Boardwalk: 30 minutes by car
The Grove: 25 minutes by car

Diverse and Busy Near the Heart of Los Angeles

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Encompassing a vast expanse of webbed boulevards, snaking freeways, and residential streets, South LA's name gives away its location.

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Quietly nudging the center of Los Angeles from its southern niche between freeways, South LA vacillates between Golden Age allusions, sock-hop era throwbacks, and busy streetwear capital.

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Landmarks like the Felix the Cat Chevrolet sign and the Vision Theatre carry on South LA's retro architectural reputation.

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Fast-food chains and mini-marts offer stark relief from the facades of decades passed and the sleek lines of contemporarily-styled edifices.

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Baldwin Hills Crenshaw features a theatre, a shopping mall, and a weekly farmers' market.

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Taco stands remain a neighborhood favorite.

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South LA's connection to the city's major freeways makes it relatively easy to get around.

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The neighborhood has its own Metro stop on the 110 freeway.

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In South LA, the Metro is a bus.

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In South LA, the big city beckons.

Pixel
Centrally located, within 15 minutes driving distance to the beaches, downtown LA, Getty Center, Century City, or LAX. Ideal for travelers who want to experience the Los Angeles city-life, without spending precious time navigating through the infamous LA traffic."

A Historic Community with a Rich Heritage

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South LA is home to the United States' largest African-American community, and traditions of its Jazz-inspired past are still evident throughout the neighborhood.

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One of the West's first Jazz movements took root in the neighborhood.

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Dr. Martin Luther King's "West Coast home," Second Baptist Church, was built in 1926. A moving leader and orator, he spoke often at Second Baptist from 1956 to 1968.

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University of Southern California: Trojan Land

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The neighborhood home of the Trojans, South LA boasts an active student body.

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University of Southern California, or USC, is synonymous with fierce pride and die-hard fanaticism.

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On campus, it's common to see the university's name emblazoned on boards, binders, and book bags.

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The university is revered for its stunning architecture.

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It's also revered for its championship sports teams.

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The Trojans' competitiveness is nationally recognized.

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A light always seems to shine on the Coliseum.

Exposition Park: A Center for Culture

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Exposition Park gazes at USC from across the street.

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Its museums, arenas, science centers, and rose gardens augment the knowledge passing through the university's lecture halls.

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Community Growth In South LA

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South LA's community farmers' market sets up its fresh food stalls at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw.

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It opens every Saturday from 10 until 3.

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South LA's diversity of cultures is reflected through its myriad food stands.

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They infuse the market with signature taste.

The Quiet Side of South LA

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South LA claims some of the oldest stretches of the city.

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The time has allowed many of its homes to age with grace.

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In South LA, they state the ground rules.

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They keep it reel.

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Hedge fun.

Photography

Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighborhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Rob is an editorial & commercial art photographer based in LA. On a recent assignment to South Africa with Ghetto Film School, he documented student filmmakers. On the Airbnb project, Rob says: “I love exploring the City of Angels. The other day, I photographed in pouring rain, thinking the worst, but ended up with some of my best shots. The people I meet on a daily basis amaze me."

Rob Kalmbach

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