Zip Codes: 91356, 91335
Situated in the middle of the portion of the Valley west of the 405, Tarzana is a community that is on the cusp of being regarded as “far” for many of LA’s residents who make their home in Central LA. But in truth, you can reach pretty much any part of LA, including the beaches, within 20-30 minutes (except during rush-hour), allowing residents to easily enjoy all that the city has to offer when the mood strikes, while also enjoying a much more laid-back lifestyle on a day-to-day basis. Like each of the valley neighborhoods profiled on this site, Tarzana straddles the hills and the flats and bisecting the two is the prime commercial strip along Ventura Boulevard. In many pockets of Tarzana you will find homeowners that have lived in their house for 40-50 years, which is a testament to the residents’ contentment with the area, as well as the bond and sense of community created by the neighbors themselves. From flats to the hills, from saltbox homes to mansions in gated country club complexes, there are homes of every size, shape and price range.
History and Location
Like most of greater Los Angeles, the area known today as Tarzana was occupied in 1797 by Spanish settlers and missionaries, later absorbed by Mexico, and then ceded to the U.S. in 1848 following the Mexican-American War. Cattle ranches and wheat farming flourished during the remainder of the 19th century.
In 1909 the area was purchased by the Los Angeles Suburban Homes Company. LA Times founder and publisher General Harrison Gray Otis invested in the company and also personally acquired 550 acres in the center of modern-day Tarzana. In February 1919, Edgar Rice Burroughs, author of the popular Tarzan novels, arrived in California relocating from Oak Park, Illinois. On March 1, Burroughs purchased Otis’s tract and established Tarzana Ranch. Burroughs subdivided and sold the land for residential development and neighboring small farms followed suit. By 1930, an area post office had been established and the 300 residents held a contest to choose a name for the community. The winning entry was ‘Tarzana’.
Today, Tarzana measures 8.79 square miles, and is bounded on the south by Topanga State Park, on the east by Encino, on the north by Reseda, and on the west by Woodland Hills. Victory Boulevard marks the northern edge, Lindley Avenue the eastern, Corbin Avenue, with a jog to Oakdale Avenue, the western, and Topanga State Park the southern.
Things to do, Places to go
El Caballero Country Club
Sited on a portion of the 550 acres Tarzana Ranch parcel owned by Burroughs, the El Caballero course was designed by the acclaimed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and has been recognized as the "Finest course in the Valley" by LA Magazine. Its challenging track features many of his signature elements—tight fairways, gentle doglegs and daunting green-side bunkering on a layout that winds through gentle hills and mature trees.
The epicenter of commercial activity in Tarzana is the Village Walk. Anchored by a 50,000 square foot Whole Foods market, the wide pedestrian-friendly walkway and jungle themed fountain also features a Blu-Jam Café, Vine 39 tapas bar, Le Sanglier French restaurant, Chipotle and TJ Max. During the winter holiday season, there is a “Jingle in the Jungle” event, which includes a tree lighting ceremony, face-painting, arts and crafts, a DJ, dancing, and more.
Norman’s Rare Guitars
Since 1975 musicians have known that the best place in the valley to find a sweet vintage axe is Norman’s. Although it’s tucked away in the corner of a strip mall, the place is far from secret. Rather, it’s more of an institution. Norman’s has an amazing collection of acoustic and electric guitars and basses, and amps. If you’re a guitarist and you’ve never been here – shame on you. And even if you’re not in the market for any new gear, you should still stop in. You never know who you might see and hear sampling a collection of instruments. Just check youtube for Norman’s and you’ll see what I mean.
Maui Sugar Mill Saloon
Though it’s been around since 1976, it began showcasing music in the 1990’s and the line-ups have gotten better and better over the years. With a no-cover-charge policy and an interior aesthetic that holds its own against any worthwhile ‘dive bar’, this joint attracts seriously great talent and, on rare occasions, has even featured surprise performances from the likes of Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Slash.
Oh, Fancy that!
The only truly authentic British food and novelties store in the valley that I’m aware of. Oh, Fancy That! is the store to go to when you want to find the perfect little gift for your British ex-pat friend, or if you want to get a unique treat for the next dinner party you’re invited to attend. Filled with everything from ceramic teacups to McVittie’s Digestives, from Jammie Dodgers to English flags, they will almost certainly have just the right thing for you.
If you love going out for breakfast and you love pancakes, then that fact alone is a good reason for you to live Tarzana because I can’t think of any other restaurant in the greater Los Angeles area that serves more kinds of pancakes than Cici’s Cafe. The standard menu includes 52 choices. And there are almost as many waffles, crepes and French toast. Of course, they have the full line-up of other breakfast items on their menu as well. When you go, allocate a little extra time than usual just so you can get through the menu.
Wanderlust Creamery and Magpie Softserve
Two top-shelf ice cream parlors within a few minutes walk of each other? That’s my kinda town! Wanderlust offers artisanal ice cream in signature flavors and seasonal flavors. Some of the signature flavors include Sticky Rice Mango, Tonka Bean and Pretzel + Rugbraud. If these are completely foreign to you (of course they are), have a sample taste of each and then enjoy your favorite. Or, if softserve is how you roll, then roll down Ventura and stop in at Magpies. Their scratch recipe flavors are also of an artisanal bent, including several vegan options. Try the orange creamsicle!
Orange Line Bike Path
If you like to bike (or walk) but don’t like the risk of riding in traffic, the Orange Line path is the solution for you. The wide, paved cycling and pedestrian path runs parallel to the bus path providing an overall route of 17 miles, that begins in North Hollywood on one end, then runs through the parklands of the Sepulveda Basin, through Tarzana, turning north at the Warner Center and terminating in Chatsworth. If you hop on to the path’s counterpart, the Chandler Bike Path, you can extend your ride all the way to Burbank. (See photo at top of page)
Mulholland Hiking Trails
At the south end of Reseda Boulevard is the entrance to Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park where miles and miles of trails await, with spectacular views of Tarzana and the greater San Fernando Valley. There is a fee for using the parking lot inside the park. But if you park just outside the gate, you can park for free without a time limit. Wether on foot or bike, these trails offer hours of outdoor exercise and fun.
Nurseries and Garden Centers
Befitting the jungle-like name of the area, Tarzana contains several huge nurseries occupying the land that runs beneath the power lines stretching from the 101 to the LA River. In total, these nurseries comprise are more square acres than you could expect to cover in a day. If those aren’t enough, there is also the West Valley Nursery on Ventura, right next to the entrance to the 101. If you can’t find the plant or tree that you’re looking for among this collection of nurseries, then you probably can’t find it anywhere.
Tarzana Park and Community Center
A nice little treat situated in the middle of a quiet pocket just north of the 101, this park contains two ball fields, basketball courts, a jungle gym and a full community center where various events are held.
Providence Medical Center
It’s always comforting to be close to good healthcare. Providence Tarzana Medical Center is a 249-bed hospital that has served the community since 1973 and is known as a leading source for quality care, delivering babies, providing Emergency life-saving care and performing surgeries and other procedures.
Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies (4–12), LAUSD alternative, 18605 Erwin Street
Vanalden Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 19019 Delano Street
Tarzana Elementary School, LAUSD, 5726 Topeka Drive
CHIME Institute's Schwarzenegger Community School, LAUSD charter, 19722 Collier Street
Wilbur Charter for Enriched Academics, LAUSD K–5, 5213 Crebs Avenue
Nestle Avenue Elementary School, LAUSD, 5060 Nestle Avenue
Zoned high schools serving Tarzana include:
Private schools include:
Lycée International de Los Angeles West Valley Campus
Scheimer House - 18918 La Montana Pl. Richard & Dion Neutra 1972
Situated atop a hill on a 3-acre parcel at the end of a cul-de-sac, this sleek house with floor-to-ceiling walls of glass surrounded by a reflecting pool and a large swimming pool was commissioned prior to Richard Neutra's death and completed by his son, Dion. With a water-centric design, this post-and-beam house includes an indoor stream and waterfall.
Encino-Tarzana Library – 18231 Ventura Blvd. Steven Ehrlich 2003
Here is a building that announces itself loudly and proudly on the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Nestle Ave. The Googie-esque façade features a swooping roofline and a large, angeled corner of glass. It also bears some African jungle-themed touches—a tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Residence - 19316 Palomar Pl. Barry Alan Berkus - 1962
Fantastic mid-century gem with sloping segments of various sizes by an incredibly prolific (yet relatively unknown) native Angeleno. Much of Berkus’ work was for the masses and he built over 600,000 homes. This is not one of the mass produced variety.
Residence - 5004 Calvin Ave A. Quincy Jones - 1961
A spacious home with walls of glass, ten-foot-high ceilings, clerestory windows, oak hardwood floors, a brick fireplace - yep, all the things you’d expect to get from a Jones design. And, it rests on a .42-acre lot.
Fleetwood Center - 19611 Ventura Blvd. Lee Oakes 1987
Many folks have driven by this building countless times before noticing that the building looks like the front end of a Cadillac. Conceived on a whim after glancing at the grille of a Cadillac, he went it and 30+ years later it’s still there. The building features angular turrets on the ends that jut out like fenders, headlights of circular neon, windows arranged like a radiator grill, and first-floor masonry walls for tires. After noticing it once, you’ll never be able to stop taking notice.
Residence - 4931 Casa dr. Berman & Kegan 1967
Sited on a promontory on a secluded cul-de-sac, this stunning mid-century home designed with a balance of wood, stone, and glass has a look that is more modern than its age. It features 2-story entry framed by glass atriums, loads of balconies and panoramic views of the valley.