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America’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods: Southern California

Let's stroll to Long Beach and visit SoCal's most walkable neighborhood—Los Cerritos.

Living in a place made for walking is important. If you have a kid, pushing a stroller to the park is essential to staying sane. And if you’re not quite done being a kid yet, being able to stumble home from a bar late at night is a major plus. We dug into hundreds of neighborhoods in our quest to find the most walkable neighborhood across the country. We looked at the ratio and location of grocery stores, parks, and restaurants to single-family homes to identify five neighborhoods around the country where a car is truly optional. This list in hand, we took our research to the streets, interviewing locals in these and using Instagram photos from real people who live—and walk—there to bring it all to life.

Los Cerritos by the Numbers

walkable neighborhoodIf you walk around Los Cerritos, it may look familiar. That’s because several houses in the neighborhood have been used in popular movies—the big white house in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” for instance. Considered one of Long Beach’s best neighborhoods, housing prices are about $100k more than the city’s average, at $622k. But according to residents, you get much more than what you pay for in terms of community and walkability.

Long known as “Iowa by the sea,” Long Beach sits between the city of Los Angeles to the north and Orange County to the south, but it shares neither the pretention nor the glamour of either. Jeff Wheeler, a longtime Los Cerritos resident, says the nickname perfectly sums up what makes Long Beach, and in particular his neighborhood, so great. “We’re a different kind of place,” he says. “We’re mellower.” The ‘hood’s main corridor, Long Beach Boulevard, has a Trader Joe’s, the Long Beach Creamery for homemade ice cream, and an ambitiously artisanal coffee house/bakery called The Merchant. At Steelcraft, an outdoor food court and brewery made of shipping containers, locals gather for pizza, chicken and waffles, and shave ice.

Coffee and cozy interiors. ☕️ Also, plants are like a thing now. ?

A post shared by Belen Sajquim (@beesajquim) on

However, the beating heart of Los Cerritos lies is the residential community. Bob Gill, president of the Los Cerritos Neighborhood Association, says that on the last Friday of every other month, a different neighbor opens up his or her house for a potluck, and some 50-125 people show up. In the 8-acre Los Cerritos Park, the Long Beach Municipal Band (the country’s longest-running city-funded band) draws over 1000 visitors for its summer concerts. And the neighborhood hosts a lively 4th of July parade with decorated bikes and vintage cars, ending in the park where the police give out free hot dogs and kids have a sack race.

walkable neighborhood

METHODOLOGY: Trulia identified the top 5 most walkable neighborhoods in America as ZIP codes with at least 500 homes that were in close proximity to grocery stores, restaurants, and parks. Only ZIP codes with at least with more than 200 homes per square miles and where at least 50% of the homes were made up of single-family homes were considered.

Other Stories in the Series

Have you ever lived in Los Cerritos? Tell us about it in the comments.