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Current and former students’ input regarding housing around CSULB: 

Stephany:
I have been at my apartment (Laguna Vista) for almost two years and have been generally satisfied with it. Parking around the area can be tough but I feel it is a lot better than Belmont Shore. One parking spot is included with the apartment as well. The really nice aspect is just two blocks down the street is a bus stop that goes straight to campus, which is located only a mile away. And the bus is still free for students. :)

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James:  
First of all, the free bus ride is still a GREAT thing! I love it!

Secondly, the Pacific View Apartments (Clark and PCH) are right next to the CSULB residency dorms. That makes them close to the CSULB Beachside shuttle AND they’re right next to the 121 bus and only a block away from the 171; both buses drop off right at CSLUB. They’re next to a nice little pizza/bar, good ol’ hole mole taco-shop, an almost-finished-wing-shop, a GREAT sushi spot (Sushi Studio, which has deals all the time) and the complex had a pool/hot-tub. I’ve lived there and the management really cares about the spaces. They also have a gym for residents. Vons and Ralph’s are just down the road and getting on the 405 and 605 is just down the road too. The location isn’t near the more hip areas outside downtown LB (the hip spots being 4th and 2nd Ave) but the location is within a 5-10 minute bike ride to all the night-life places! That’s what I have for you. Hope it helps! 

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Melodi:
Downtown Long Beach is a great affordable neighborhood that is sometimes overlooked. It’s about a 15-20 min drive to campus. Also, the 91, 92, 93, and 94 all go from downtown to CSULB. I currently live in the East Village Arts District of downtown on Linden Ave. between 1st St. and Broadway. I absolutely love this neighborhood and highly recommend it! 

Like other neighborhoods in Long Beach, some parts are unsafe. For downtown, anything between 4th St. and Ocean Blvd. is usually safe. However, there are always certain apartment buildings to avoid and some blocks can be safer than others. 

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Henri:
As a first year, I originally moved into a place in Belmont Heights, around 4th and Obispo. It was a small 12 unit complex. While the unit was nice, I began to notice that there were certain issues I was having. Often times I could hear full conversations that my neighbors were having through the walls. Also the unit had old pipes used for plumbing, so frequently issues would arise such as backed up drains. I say this to say, know what accommodations are important to you as an individual. Often times, graduate students will work on campus all day, and come home and attempt to do more work, which is near impossible if you have issues going on at home. So as a first-year look for a place that suites you as an individual first, everything else second. And these days, I tend to avoid smaller complexes. 

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Danielle:
I don’t know too much about all the parts in Long Beach however i do live on 2nd Street between Junipero and Kennenbec.  This area is very safe and nice but it can be expensive.  It’s about 10-15 mins from campus.  All of the streets around here (1st, 2nd, and ocean) are all nice.  I would suggest staying on this side of Junipero towards campus…not sure if that’s north or west for whatever.  Parking is not always the best but I love this area. It’s close to everything and there are several for rent signs out right now.  Hope that helps. 

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From past years’ students: 

From Zoe: 

  WOW! I really wish I had this resource when I first moved here 2 years ago. I’ve moved around a bit since I came here so I’d like to suggest where NOT to live! Also, I’ve gotten to know the area around Long Beach fairly well, so if you have any questions about the safety of neighborhoods, please feel free to contact me. 

  The apartment complex NOT TO LIVE IN is called Lakewood Park Apartments. It’s on Del Amo Blvd. in Lakewood/Cerritos. When you drive by they have all these balloons and stuff out front, but don’t look at their lies!!! Here is the link with my rating: 

http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/CA-Lakewood-Park-Apartments.html 

  I am the second review, titled “TERRIBLE.” It was a horrible, horrible place to live and I was literally miserable. Just whatever you do, don’t live there. It was…”heck.” I literally almost up and left California cause I hated it so much and thought all of California was that horrible. 

  HOWEVER, I now live on the Belmont Shore/Heights cusp and it is pretty cool. Close to the beach and Second St.- however, don’t let the nice houses fool you. My bike still got stolen- while LOCKED IN MY LOCKED GARAGE. So make sure your things are locked up tightly- all of the time- and lock your bikes to strong poles! (Apparently that was my mistake). 

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From Tina: 

Hello new I/O students!  Congrats on being selected and selecting this great program :)
 
I have a general suggestion for housing while attending CSULB…it was the same advice I received 14 years ago when I first moved to Long Beach. 
 
Live in the Belmont Shore community of Long Beach.  It’s a great little beach community, great shopping, restaurants, day and night life, and close enough to downtown/tourist Long Beach stuff and campus to easily get around - yet far enough away that you don’t feel like you’re living in a busy downtown area or student accomodations.  You don’t even need to drive!  I’ve been taking the bus from my house in the Belmont Shore area to the CSULB campus daily for the past 3 years and it’s easy, FREE (with your student ID), and it gets you to class on time!  The bus also goes by 2 grocery stores, to Target, and more :)
 
Rental prices are the same if not slightly better than apartments within walking distance of CSULB, so why not live at the beach instead?  There are two ways to look for a place to live in this community:
1.  Every Thursday the weekly community newspaper comes out with a great classifieds section – you can access it online at http://www.gazettes.com/
2.  Drive (or bike!) up and down the streets of the community and look for “For Rent” signs out in front of properties.  The borders of the beach community are Bayshore Drive-Ocean Boulevard-The Toledo-Park Avenue.  Areas just a few blocks outside of these border streets are still fine, but are considered different neighborhoods.  Regarding safety, I don’t recommend living alone anywhere west of Redondo or north of 4th street.  Others may have different opinions here, but being new to the community it may be easiest to just play it safe for now. 

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From Kvon: 

Hello new students! 

I apologize if this is not as long as the others, but here is my input: 

1. STAY AWAY from Baycrest and Beverly Plaza off of Atherton. These are the two apt complexes that the majority of undergrads live in. This was the “party scene” of my undergrad years at CSULB. Oftentimes, there were “block parties” within these complexes, and students entered freely, partied, and loudly walked-about. While a pretty crazy experience when your 18-20, not the ideal situation when you need to read and write papers. 

2. Use craigslist to find Property Management Companies. I found numerous places to live through craigslist, but not by individual searching. I primarily used it to locate Property Management companies that own property in and around Long Beach and let them do the work for me. Much easier this way than driving ALL around Long Beach. The only downside is if you are not familiar with Long Beach, the cheaper places will be in the “not so nice” neighborhoods. 

3. Rule of thumb. The majority of the “nice” neighborhoods (aside from Belmont Shores) are EAST of Redondo Beach Blvd and NORTH of 10th St. While there are nice neighborhoods in the smaller districts like Signal Hill and Bixby Knolls, if you are close to the school, East of Redondo and North of 10th is the way to go. Should save you some time in your search. 

When I was searching for places to live in Long Beach, the most difficult part was finding a decent neighborhood that wasn’t too expensive. Most of Belmont Shore was out of my price range, and the cheap apartments are not in good neighborhoods. Fortunately, I found a little gem of a condo on 8th and Termino which is close to Woodrow Wilson HS, 2 miles away from school, and close to the freeways. 

Hope this info helps!

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From Renee: 

Quick tips with regards to life and living in Long Beach: 

I rented an apartment in Downtown Long Beach, Ocean and Linden to be exact. Beautiful area, HOWEVER, here are a few rules. DO NOT live above 2nd in Downtown. If you are coming home later than 10 PM, it’s not a very inviting time or neighborhood to be walking home in. Stick with below Broadway if financially possible. If not, make sure you visit your prospective apartment on Friday and Saturday NIGHT to see what’s going on in your “possible” new neighborhood. 

Prices: The rent ranges from $725 for a studio. A one bedroom runs anywhere from $925- $1100. Great thing about downtown is that all utilities are usually included in the rent, most have FIOS now, they are cable ready, have a basement laundry-mat, gated access, BBQ pits, and they include a stove and refrigerator! Remember to check and see if a stove and fridge are included, some apartments do NOT give those to you; some may, but only for a price. 

NIGHTCLUBS GALORE! If you are a partier, downtown is the place for you. HOWEVER, keep in mind, even if nightclubs are your scene, when you are reading 400 pages of journal articles and are staying up late to study for your Comp’s, you will despise the 2 AM last call as the ladies and the gentlemen of the night disperse from the local clubs and pubs. I have had to call the cops 3 times now for noise and street fights and I live in a great part of downtown! Also, Downtown is the prime area for movie filming. That means they close down your streets to film Law and Order, Night Rider, Transformers etc, whilst it’s cool to watch them film and sometimes get a walk on part, you have no parking!!!! There is only street parking offered at most apartment complexes (you can buy a spot from local hotels, but the waitlist is usually long and it’s about $85-$100 a month for a spot). So, if there’s a lot of filming on your street you’ll be parking pretty far from where you live.  

Living Downtown also means you have to drive 15 minutes down 7th to get to school, or, luckily for me, I lived 2 blocks away from the Transit Mall. All buses depart from the transit mall, so I could get anywhere in Long Beach for FREE (with student ID) within 45 minutes. The 96 ZAP gets you to CSULB in 23 minutes (always on time). All 90′s buses get to CSULB at some point though so if you miss one there’s another in 5 minutes! There are also great shops, grocery stores nearby, coffee shops, a nightlife, a Farmer’s Market with fresh produce and Pine Ave is GREAT for food and entertainment, oh, and of course the Pike (check it out online if you don’t know what it is). 

Ok, there are my tips. Belmont Shores is the friendliest, closest to school, small college town, but if you want a taste of city life, The East Village Arts District is for you! GOOD LUCK!! 

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From Brent: 

To dovetail on Renee’s statement, I would strongly advise new students to take advantage of the busing opportunity if they can.  Most of the buses (all?) have bike racks. I encourage you to bike at least one day each week. 

  • For groceries, there is a CSA farm near 1st and Linden, but you will need to contact the proprietors if you wish to take part. We previously had a Wild Oats (which operated a small local farm) but this was bought out by Whole Foods.   Ecologically, I would advise you to patronize Trader Joes, Bristol Farms (which is expensive), or Top Value market. The last is a Hispanic Grocery, fairly inexpensive, usually not organic, but somewhat local. Also note: there is a front-yard farming co-op in Lakewood where folks are growing vegetables instead of grass.  I can give you other ideas if you are interested. 
  • As mentioned, the East Village arts district (also affectionately known as the Gay Ghetto), rocks.  There is a variety of boutiques and shops on 4th from Alamitos to the east.  These are the coolest coffee shops, people, and cafes IMHO. 
  • In Belmont Shore is the Marina (do not confuse this with Marine Stadium). Surrounding are a series of bridges connecting Naples Island, where a battery of military supplies and troops were housed around World War II.  CSULB has a club that will teach you to sail at , and has many outings and BBQs and meets at the Leeway Sailing Center. Members pay about $50 a semester for use of the Capri and Laser boats (I am a skipper), which is all you can really sail until you have quite a bit more experience.   There is no better way to get into the Long Beach spirit. In addition, you can go out on the bay with more-senior members on the Shield boats. If you have enough time (and you won’t) you can hobnob and get on a racing team (it can happen) with a real crew (not on the Shield boats).  
  • From the traffic circle (Lakewood and Pacific Coast Highway) west, rests the Asian concentration of Long Beach, with a bulk of Cambodian and Vietnamese restaurants.  A large Vietnamese community also exists on Pacific Ave (which runs N-S) between Willow and Ocean. This is a great area for Thai and very inexpensive. This is the better place to go for those in the ‘know’. 
  • I reside in Bixby Knolls, on the way to N. Long Beach. This area is on the far-west side of Long Beach. Surprisingly, there are a number of good restaurants and coffee shops in the this area, with few of the parking issues of Downtown and Belmont Shore.  (A word of warning:
     the street-sweeping is religious here and police never fail to ticket if you are on the wrong side).  This area puts you right next to the 405 freeway, which may be a strategic advantage depending on whether you work (the same can be true if you live near Belmont shore but work in OC). We (my wife and I) pay $1000 for a one-bedroom in a locked apartment complex. Safety is relative. 
  • There are a number of parks and restorative efforts that make for ideal walks/running environments. The most obvious is the paved path the runs along the shoreline from Belmont Shore to Downtown. However, the Los Cerritos Wetlands Conservancy has revitalized a number of areas and brought back native flora  (and fauna, such as blue herons). These areas are not properly mapped out on the web. Three areas are the revitalization effort along the San Gabrielino River trail, an improved area near Marine Stadium (where the 1928 Olympic rowing event was held), and the lesser known Dominguez Gap area, which has got to be my favorite. 
  • Inconsequently, you can join the Long Beach Rowing Association and crew for exercise (located at Marine Stadium, which you will see the signs for if you drive south on Bellflower).  You also can try to join the competitive CSULB rowing team (I tried, since they are a ‘club’ sport, and therefore not subject to NCAA criteria). However, I ultimately had to quit due to their extreme time commitments. I cannot recommend this second option to any graduate student. 
  • Libraries: In addition to your CSULB library, note there is the Long Beach Public Library (with many locations), Los Angeles County Library (with the closest locations in Carson and Lakewood <Iacoboni Branch>), Los Angeles Public Library (closest branch in Wilmington), Huntington Beach Public Library, Torrance Public Library, Redondo Beach Public Library, and many others with increasing distance to Long Beach. 
  • If you are looking for a popular book, film, or music item, you can search WorldCat, where you can find out where the item is located.  If you have registered at various public libraries in the vicinity, you can then request the item to be held if it. I encourage you to investigate this option, as the Long Beach public library charges fees for video rental.

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From Katherine:

Hi!

My name  is Katherine, and I will be starting this Fall in the MAR program (or MAPR now?). All the emails have been so helpful! I drove out to Long Beach a few weeks back with my boyfriend to scope out the place, and was very disappointed to find that the cheaper places that sounded so good online (i.e. craigslist) was in a really scary looking part of LB…near Cherry. I’ll hopefully be moving to LB closer to the end of August, so if anyone knows, or are planning on leaving a nice apartment, I would really love to hear about it!

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From Erika: 

I’m an MA-R students who is finishing up her thesis and moving out of CA in August to begin a PhD program. I’ve lived in the same apartment in Belmont Shore for 2.5 years and have been quite happy. The complex doesn’t have a name or a sign, but is on the corner of Livingston and Broadway amongst nice homes and trees, walking distance to 2nd Street, Alamitos Bay, and the beach. The onsite manager is Richard, an 81 year old man who is suprisingly active and handy and responds quickly. His numbers are 310-936-1604 (cell) and 562-434-6689 (home/office) if you want to call him and see what’s available. I’ll be moving out August 5th, so my 1 bedroom (bilevel with bedroom and bathroom upstairs, living room, dining room,kitchen downstairs) will be available then. I paid $1075, which was way more than I wanted to pay when living alone, but very affordable and well worth it when I started sharing the cost with my live-in boyfriend. You can definitely find something cheaper if you have a roommate or are willing to live alone outside of Belmont Shore. It’s not the best deal if you’re going solo, but it has its perks. I wasn’t able to find a better deal when I moved here and only had a week to look.

The place is right across from a church and school and always felt very safe. It has a small pool and other tenants are a mix of quiet students and employed folks mostly in 20 and 30s but a few a little older. I can walk to 2nd Street and hop on the Passport Bus for free (with student ID) and be dropped off in front of CSULB library within 30 minutes.  If you prefer to drive, it’s only 10 minutes and you have the luxury of not having to get on the freeway or fight traffic, usually.