In Los Angeles’s urban sprawl, location is everything. Since the notorious traffic can make traversing the city a chore, it’s best to choose a neighborhood that’s close to your job and the amenities you enjoy the most. Plus, the part of town you live in practically defines your identity here.

The Westside attracts a mix of beach lovers, tech industry workers, and health-conscious types, with a dash of movie-star glamour. The Eastside pulls in an even more diverse crowd of indie filmmakers and musicians, outdoorsy urbanites, and both singles and families on a budget. Just north of the central city, the San Fernando Valley’s choicest neighborhoods promise suburban utopia, while the recent revival of Downtown has made L.A.’s historic core an exciting place to experience urban living.

These 10 neighborhoods stand out for being complete “cities within the city” with their own distinctive characters. Organized roughly West to East, they each offer a true neighborhood feel within the vast megalopolis…

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