Bel Air, Los Angeles

Bel Air, Los Angeles
Bel Air
Bel Air Estates
Neighborhood of Los Angeles

The Bel Air west gate at Sunset and Bellagio

Boundaries of Bel Air as drawn by the Los Angeles Times
Bel Air, Los Angeles

Location within West Los Angeles

Coordinates: 34°05′00″N 118°26′52″W / 34.08333°N 118.44778°W / 34.08333; -118.44778
Country  United States of America
State  California
County Los Angeles
Time zone Pacific

Bel Air, Bel-Air or Bel Air Estates[1] is a neighborhood in the Westside area of Los Angeles, California, in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. The lightly populated residential district, with an older, well-educated population, has a high income level and a large percentage of married people. Founded in 1923, the neighborhood has been the filming location or setting for numerous television shows. It is the site of the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden.


The 2000 U.S. census counted 7,691 residents in the 6.37-square-mile (16.5 km2) Bel Air neighborhood; with 1,207 per square mile (466/km2) it has among the lowest population densities for the city and the county. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 8,253. In 2000 the median age for residents was 46, which was high for city and county neighborhoods. The percentages of residents aged 50 and older was among the county's highest.[2] The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $207,938, the highest figure for any neighborhood or city in Los Angeles County. Renters occupied 14.5% of the housing stock, and house- or apartment-owners held 85.5%. The average household size of 2.4 people was considered typical for Los Angeles.[2]

The 4.1% of families headed by single parents was considered low for city and county neighborhoods. The percentages of married people in Bel Air were among the county's highest—66.0% for men and 65.7% for women. There were 808 veterans, or 12.9% of the population.[2] [3]

The neighborhood was considered "not especially diverse" ethnically[4] within Los Angeles, with a relatively high percentage of white people. The breakdown was whites, 83.0%; Asians, 8.2%; Latinos, 4.6%; blacks, 0.9%; and others, 3.2%. Iran (26.1%) and South Africa (8.2%) were the most common places of birth for the 24.1% of the residents who were born abroad—which was an average percentage for Los Angeles as a whole.[2]


The community was founded in 1923 by Alphonzo Bell. Bell owned farm property in Santa Fe Springs, California, where oil was discovered. He bought a large ranch with a home on what is now Bel Air Road. He subdivided and developed the property with large residential lots. He also built the Bel-Air Beach Club in Santa Monica and the Bel-Air Country Club. His wife chose Italian names for the streets. She also founded the Bel-Air Garden Club in 1931.[5]

Together with Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills, Bel Air forms the Platinum Triangle of Los Angeles neighborhoods.[6]


Bel Air is situated about 12 miles (19 km) west of Downtown Los Angeles[7] and includes some of the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It lies across Sunset Boulevard from the northern edge of the main campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. At the heart of the community sits the Bel-Air Country Club and the Hotel Bel-Air.

Along with Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles community of Brentwood, it is one of the "Three Bs",[8][9] a wealthy area in the Los Angeles Westside.[10]


This region experiences warm and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bel Air has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[11]


Of several entrances, there are two main ones: (1) the East Gate at Beverly Glen and Sunset Boulevards and (2) the West Gate at Bellagio Drive of UCLA and Sunset Boulevard, opposite an entrance to UCLA. Bel Air is generally subdivided into three distinct neighborhoods: East Gate Old Bel Air, West Gate Bel Air, and Upper Bel Air.


The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is located in Bel Air. It was inspired by the gardens of Kyoto. Many structures in the garden—the main gate, garden house, bridges, and shrine—were built in Japan and reassembled here. Antique stone carvings, water basins and lanterns, as well as the five-tiered pagoda, and key symbolic rocks are also from Japan.[12] Several hundred tons of local stones came from the quarries in Ventura County and the foot of Mt. Baldy, northeast of Los Angeles.

Television and film

Television shows and movies have been filmed in Bel Air, or are said to take place in the community. Exterior shots for the Beverly Hillbillies were shot in and around 750 Bel Air Road,[13] built by Lynn Atkinson (and later sold to hotelier Arnold Kirkeby after Atkinson's wife refused to move into a house she thought too ostentatious). After the exterior shooting was completed, the residents of that address forbade any more filming, as passers-by would wander onto the property and ask to see 'Granny'.[14] Exterior scenes from movies such as Get Shorty have also been filmed in the area. Several episodes of the television show The Rockford Files were filmed in Bel Air.[15] The television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was set in the neighborhood, although the exterior shots used were filmed in nearby Brentwood.[16] The Bel Air Film Festival, first held in 2008,[17] is an annual international film festival held in Bel Air and the Los Angeles area.

Government and infrastructure

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services SPA 5 West Area Health Office serves Bel Air.[18]

It lies within the 5th city council district, represented by Paul Koretz. It is located in the 90077 (Bel Air Estates & Beverly Glen) ZIP code, which is part of the city of Los Angeles. Stone Canyon Reservoir lies in the northeastern part of Bel Air. Established in 1994, it serves around 500,000 people. The Bel Air Association has been operational since 1942, dedicated to preserving the aesthetic appearance of the residential community. The Bel Air Association is located at the entrance of the East Gate of Bel Air at 100 Bel Air Road.[19]

Emergency services

Fire services

Los Angeles Fire Department Station 71 is in the area.[20]

Police services

The Los Angeles Police Department operates the West Los Angeles Community Police Station at 1663 Butler Avenue, 90025, serving the neighborhood.[21]


The American Jewish University, located in the Bel Air Casiano neighborhood

Almost two-thirds (66.1%) of Bel Air residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a high percentage for the city and the county. The percentages of residents in that age range with a bachelor's degree or greater were high for the county.[2] The community is within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The area is within Board District 4.[22] As of 2009, Steve Zimmer represented the district.[23]


The schools within Bel Air are as follows:[24]


Roscomare Road and Warner Avenue Elementary School in Westwood are the zoned elementary schools serving Bel Air.[25][28] Bel Air is within the attendance boundaries of Emerson Middle School in Westwood and University High School, West Los Angeles.[28]

In April 1983 an advisory committee of the LAUSD recommended closing eight LAUSD schools, including Bellagio Road School. The committee did not target Fairburn Avenue School in Westwood, as a way of allowing it to preserve its ethnic balance, and so it can take children from Bellagio Road in the event that it closed.[29] In August 1983 the board publicly considered closing Bellagio, which had 240 students at the time.[30] The school's enrollment had been decreasing. In May 1983 the board voted to keep the school open. In February 1984, after the composition of the board had changed, the board voted to close the Bellagio Road School.[31]

Bel Air previously housed the Bellagio Road Newcomer School, a 3rd-8th grade school for newly arrived immigrants. In 2002 it had 390 students from Armenia, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Korea, Russia, and other countries.[32] This program was housed in the former Bellagio Road school.[33]



Bel Air is home to the American Jewish University.[37]

Notable people

See also


  1. uses Bel Air, the Los Angeles Times uses Bel-Air and the Thomas Guide for 2002 uses Bel Air Estates (page xvi)
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Bel-Air", Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Timesl; accessed October 31, 2015.
  3. "Veterans Ranking", Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times; accessed October 31, 2015.
  4. Diversity "measures the probability that any two residents, chosen at random, would be of different ethnicities. If all residents are of the same ethnic group it's zero. If half are from one group and half from another it's .50.", Los Angeles Times; accessed October 31, 2015.
  5. "History of Bel-Air". Bel-Air Association. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  6. Annette Haddad, "No housing slump for super-rich - Sales and prices have never been better in the Platinum Triangle", Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2007,
  7. "Driving Directions from Los Angeles, CA to Bel Air, CA". Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  8. Bozorgmehr, Mehdi, Claudia Der-Martirosian, and Georges Sabagh. "Middle Easterners: A New Kind of Immigrant" (Chapter 12). In: Waldinger, Roger and Mehdi Bozorgmehr (editors). Ethnic Los Angeles. Russell Sage Foundation, December 5, 1996. Start page pg. 345; ISBN 1610445473; ISBN 9781610445474. Cited: p. 347. "[...] in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Brentwood, known in local parlance as "the three Bs."
  9. Melton, Mary. "The Stars of Star Maps", Los Angeles Times. August 25, 1996. "Each map tends to cover the "three Bs": Brentwood, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills. A few toss in a Malibu sidebar."
  10. Myers, David W. "A Sad Westside Story : Home Prices Have Declined as Much as 50% Since the 1980s", Los Angeles Times. May 28, 1993; retrieved July 4, 2014. "But, as Meyer's case suggests, nowhere have those losses been as dramatic as the high-priced area on the Westside known as the "three Bs"--Brentwood, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills."
  11. Climate Summary for Bel Air
  12. Groves, Martha (September 30, 2015). "UCLA and Hannah Carter heirs settle suit over Japanese garden in Bel-Air". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  13. "Real Estate > TV Show Buildings At A Glance". Tv Acres. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  15. Google Maps display of estate used in several episodes
  16. "Fresh Prince House – For Real This Time!". May 22, 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  17. Michael Jones (October 21, 2008). "Bel Air gets a fest". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  18. "About Us", Los Angeles County Department of Health Services; retrieved March 18, 2010.
  19. Archived April 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. "Fire Station 71", Los Angeles Fire Department,; accessed October 31, 2015.
  21. "West LA Community Police Station", Los Angeles Police Department,; accessed October 31, 2015.
  22. Board District 4 Map. Los Angeles Unified School District. Retrieved on November 24, 2008.
  23. "Board Members", Los Angeles Unified School District; retrieved September 16, 2009.
  24. "Bel-Air Schools", Mapping L.A., Los Angeles Times; accessed October 31, 2015.
  25. 1 2 Savage, David G. ""Many Minority Students Back in Their Old Schools", Los Angeles Times. April 11, 1982. San Diego County SD1; retrieved March 23, 2010. "... and talkative black girl, rode a school bus from her home west of down- town Los Angeles to Roscomare Road Elementary School in the hills of Bel Air."
  26. Guzman, Stephanie. "A Look Into L.A. Unified: Community Magnet", Neon Tommy (Annenberg Digital News). University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, August 15, 2010; retrieved January 15, 2012.
  27. "Community School Proposed Relocation to Bellagio Road School Community Meeting", Community Magnet School. July 8, 2002; retrieved January 15, 2012.
  28. 1 2 Lesel, Helene. "A Part of the City, Yet Apart from it Too", Los Angeles Times. March 6, 2005. pg. 2; retrieved March 23, 2010.
  29. Faris, Gerald. "Closing of 8 Schools Recommended, One Near Airport", Los Angeles Times, April 17, 1983, South Bay SB2; retrieved January 16, 2012.
  30. Pool. Bob. "Board to Consider Closing 4 More Valley Schools", August 7, 1983. Valley V2; retrieved January 16, 2012.
  31. Savage, David G. "L.A. Board to Close 5 More Schools", Los Angeles Times, February 7, 1984, Part II C2; retrieved January 16, 2012.
  32. Helfand, Duke and Erika Hayasaki. "$459 Million in Cuts Are Considered for Fiscally Strapped L.A. Schools." Los Angeles Times. April 26, 2002. pg. 2; retrieved on January 16, 2012.
  33. Shuster, Beth. "PILOT PROGRAM URGED FOR 8 ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS", Los Angeles Daily News. Friday, May 13, 1988, Valley News N1; retrieved January 16, 2012.
  34. "The John Thomas Dye School," Bel Air Association
  35. "Where Bright Minds Can Shine", Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2000
  36. Jon D. Markman (May 21, 1995). "Culture Shock Many Object to the Growing Sprawl of Institutions Atop Sepulveda Pass". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  37. "2 Jewish educational institutes are merging", Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2007.
  38. "Jennifer Aniston buys big digs in Bel Air". Real Estalker. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
  39. said, V. E. G. "HOMES OF THE WESTERN STARS A-B". Charles Starrett - One Fan's Journey. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  40. "Former home of Wilt Chamberlain is up for sale". Berg Properties. March 9, 2007.
  41. "Reading Eagle - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  42. "Local Inspiration for Movie Classics: Hitchcock had Link to Santa Cruz". Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Ca. Archived from the original on September 5, 2007. Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  43. Musk, Justine (September 10, 2010). ""I Was a Starter Wife": Inside America's Messiest Divorce". Marie Claire. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  44. Heffernan, Virginia (February 27, 2015). "Leonard Nimoy, Spock of 'Star Trek', Dies at 83". New York Times. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  45. "Chris Paul Just Bought Avril Lavigne's $8.5 Million Mansion In Bel Air". Business Insider. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  46. Sanchez, Rene. "Presidential library, Bel Air streets become centers for grieving", Washington Post at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. June 6, 2004, pg 13A; retrieved January 16, 2012.
  47. Mayer Rus, Darren Star's Bel Air Home, Architectural Digest, 2012
  48. Brenoff, Ann (May 20, 2011). "Liz Taylor's Bel-Air Home Hits Market at $8.6 Million | AOL Real Estate". Retrieved January 14, 2013.

External links

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Coordinates: 34°05′00″N 118°26′52″W / 34.08333°N 118.44778°W / 34.08333; -118.44778

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