Pacific Palisades is a district within the U.S. city of Los Angeles, California, located between Brentwood to the east, Malibu to the west, Santa Monica to the southeast, the Santa Monica Bay to the southwest, and the Santa Monica Mountains to the north. The area currently has about 27,000 residents. It is a very affluent and primarily residential area, with a mixture of large private homes, small (usually older) houses, condominiums, and apartments. Every 4th of July, the Chamber of Commerce sponsors day-long events which include a 5K and 10 K Run, a parade down Sunset Boulevard, and a fireworks display at Palisades High School football field. It also includes some large parklands and many hiking trails. It is known as "Where The Mountains Meet the Sea."
In 1911, film director Thomas Ince created his Western film factory "Inceville", which at its peak employed nearly 600 people. A decade later, the Rev. Charles H. Scott and the Southern California Methodist Episcopal Church bought the land; in 1922, Scott founded Pacific Palisades, envisioning an elaborate religious-intellectual commune. Believers snapped up choice lots and lived in tents during construction. By 1925, the Palisades had 100 homes. In one subdivision, streets were named for Methodist missionaries. The tents eventually were replaced by cabins, then by bungalows, and ultimately by multimillion-dollar homes.
For many decades there was a virtual ban on drinking in the district, a Chinese restaurant called House of Lee's conspicuously holding the only liquor license. The Presbyterian Church originally owned a conference center in Temescal Canyon before it was sold to become Temescal Gateway Park.
- The Alphabet Streets also known as "North Village", are north of Sunset Blvd. and are characterized by narrow streets. The street names are consecutively named beginning with A, B, C, D, etc - hence the name Alphabet Streets. The streets are named for Methodist Bishops of the late 19th and early 20th century. It is a popular destination for trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
- The Bluffs are located further out-of-town west along Sunset Boulevard and start past Palisades Charter High School and Via De La Paz. they extend for a long distance between Sunset Blvd. and the Palisades Bluffs.
- Castellammare is located on small bluffs directly on the ocean. The narrow, winding streets have Italian names. It is the home of the Getty Villa. It is located where Sunset Blvd meets Pacific Coast Highway.
- Huntington Palisades is close to the 'village' proper, and is more of a typical suburb. It is located south of Sunset Blvd.
- Marquez Knolls is a large area of homes, known for spectacular ocean views, and is located farther west on Sunset Blvd on a mountain upslope. The lower upslope was first developed in the early 1950s and mid 1960s by the Earl Lachman family. Marquez Elementary services the neighborhood along with a small shopping center on Marquez Street and Sunset Blvd.
- Palisades Highlands is a community near the end of Sunset Blvd., bordering Topanga. About five minutes away from the center of the Pacific Palisades, the Palisades Village, The Highlands could almost be considered its own separate community.
- The Riviera features The Riviera Country Club, a high-end country club, and streets named after various locations in the French and Italian Riviera. The neighborhood is divided into north and south sections by Sunset Boulevard. It borders Santa Monica and Brentwood.
- Rustic Canyon features post-war homes located on the former polo field of The Uplifters, the original site of The Uplifters clubhouse (now a city park) and the "cabins" developed as second homes and weekend retreats. This area is also known as Uplifter's Ranch. Located off Sunset Blvd. between The Riveria and Huntington Palisades. Above the canyon lies Will Rogers State Park.
- The Village is a small central business district on Sunset Boulevard, consisting of restaurants, stores, banks, and offices. Notable shops in "the village" include Norris Hardware (which originally was the Bay Theater), Cathay Palisades (formerly Fein's Deli), Black Ink, PaliSkate, Sylvia's Skin Studio, Benton's Sporting Goods, and Village Books.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Times's "Mapping L.A." project supplied these Pacific Palisades statistics: population: 23,940; median household income: $168,008.
Government and infrastructure
The most important civic group within the Palisades is the Pacific Palisades Community Council. That council was the model upon which the city of Los Angeles modeled its Neighborhood Council system. The Pacific Palisades council usually meets twice each month to discuss a wide range of issues that affect its residents. The council has rejected city offers to become an official part of the city, preferring its independent, non-aligned status. Among the main reasons that Council members cite is the fear that it will lose the power to sue the city.
The community is within District 11 of the City Council. As of 2008 Bill Rosendahl represents the district.
Los Angeles Fire Department operates two fire stations serving Pacific Palisades. Station 69 at 15045 West Sunset Boulevard serves Pacific Palisades and the Pacific Coast. Station 23 at 17281 West Sunset Boulevard serves the Palisades Highlands, Castellammare, and the Pacific Coast.
Los Angeles Police Department operates the West Los Angeles Community Police Station at 1663 Butler Avenue, 90025, serving the neighborhood.
County, state, and federal representation
Pacific Palisades is within Los Angeles County's 3rd District. As of 2008 Zev Yaroslavsky represents the district.
Pacific Palisades is within District 41 of the California State Assembly. As of 2008 Julia Brownley represents the district. Pacific Palisades is within District 23 of the California Senate; as of 2008 Sheila Kuehl represents the district. The community is a part of the State Board of Equalization District 4, represented by Judy Chu as of 2008.
The community is within California's 30th congressional district. As of 2008 Henry Waxman represents the district. The United States Postal Service operates the Pacific Palisades Post Office at 15243 La Cruz Drive and at 15209 West Sunset Boulevard.
Residents are zoned to Los Angeles Unified School District schools. The area is within Board District 4. As of 2008 Marlene Canter represents the district. Canter announced that she will not seek re-election after her term expires in June 2009.
Some residents are assigned to Pacific Palisades Elementary School, some residents are assigned to Canyon Elementary School, and some are assigned to Marquez Elementary School. All residents are zoned to Revere Charter Middle School and Palisades Charter High School.
- Canyon Elementary School opened in 1910.
- Pacific Palisades Elementary opened in 1922.
- Marquez Elementary School opened in 1955.
- Revere first opened as Palisades-Brentwood Junior High School on September 12, 1955; it chose its current name during its first year of operation. Revere became an internal charter in 1994.
- Palisades High School opened in 1961. Palisades received a charter in 1994.
Private schools in the area include:
- Calvary Christian (K-8)
- Village School (pre K-6)
- Corpus Christi (K-8)
- St. Matthew’s Parish School (K-8)
Los Angeles Public Library operates the Palisades Branch at 861 Alma Real Drive.
The only newspaper directly serving the Palisades is the Palisadian-Post. The community was served by two papers until they merged in the 1970s. The papers, The Palisades Post and the Palisadian, became the Palisadian-Post. Unlike most weeklies on the westside of Los Angeles, the Post is subscription-based. The paper's Web site is www.palisadespost.com. The paper is owned by the Small Newspaper Group, a midwestern media chain. The Small family purchased the Post from longtime owner/operators the Browns in the early 1980s. Roberta Donahue is the publisher and Bill Bruns is the paper's managing editor.
Parks and recreation
- The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks operates several recreational facilities in Pacific Palisades at 851 Alma Real Drive. Palisades Park, at that address, has 117 acres (0.47 km2) of land. The Palisades Recreation Center, also at that address, has barbecue pits, four baseball diamonds (two lighted, two unlighted), lighted basketball courts (indoor and outdoor), a children's play area, an American football field, an indoor gymnasium (no weights are offered), picnic tables, lighted tennis courts, and lighted volleyball courts. The facility also has a kitchen, a stage, a television area, and various scheduled athletic and non-athletic activities. The Pacific Palisades Tennis Court, also at that address, has eight courts.
- Rustic Canyon Park is located along Rustic Canyon Road. The Rustic Canyon Pool is located at 601 Latimer Road. The Rustic Canyon Recreation Center, located at the same address, has a multipurpose with a capacity of 150 people that can be used as an auditorium, a gymnasium, or a volleyball court. The center also has barbecue pits, an unlighted baseball diamond, basketball courts (lighted indoor and unlighted outdoor), a children's play area, an indoor gymnasium (no weights are offered), picnic tables, and volleyball courts (lighted and unlighted).
- Temescal Canyon Park is a non-staffed "pocket park" located at 15900 Pacific Coast Highway. The park has barbecue pits, a children's play area, picnic tables, hiking trails, a native garden, and toilets. Santa Ynez Canyon Park is located at Palisades Drive and Avenida de Santa Ynez. Rivas Canyon Park is located at the east terminus of Oracle Pl.
- Will Rogers State Historic Park and Polo Club. While Will Rogers made Beverly Hills his home in late twenties, in 1922, he bought a large plot of almost 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land above Sunset to build a weekend cottage. He built a polo field on the property in 1926 and in 1928, he and his family made it their home. In 1944, after Will Rogers died, the ranch became a state park. In the interest of historical preservation, the home is maintained as it was including the furniture and fixtures. It is open to the public most days with the exception of major holidays although admission is required. The top of the property's trail includes incredible vistas of the ocean and city.
- The Beach Boys 1963 hit Surfin' USA (song) mentions Pacific Palisades in its list of Southern California surf spots.
- Most of the footage in the music video for punk group Black Flag's "Slip It In" was filmed at Palisades High School.
- The Northern Ireland rock group Ash featured a song named "Pacific Palisades" on their 2001 album Free All Angels.
- Title of a 1997 TV series produced by Aaron Spelling.
- Title of a 1990 film starring Sophie Marceau.
- The NBC television series Saved by the Bell was set in Pacific Palisades.
- Pacific Palisades entered the national lexicon with the publication of the 1976 bestseller, What Really Happened To The Class of '65. The book was about members of one of Palisades High School's early graduating classes and how their once-privileged lives turned out years later, often disastrously. The book, by the son of novelist Irving Wallace, namely author David Wallechinsky, and his "Pali" classmate, film critic Michael Medved, was replete with "no-holds barred" profiles of many of the favorite long-time teachers of the school, including English teachers Miss Jean O'Brien and Mrs. Gilbert (aka "Mama G"), and history teacher Mr. Johnson. More timely was the detailed look the book described Pacific Palisades as a microcosm of America during the tumultuous Summer of Love-era. The success of the book later inspired a short-lived television docudrama-style series.
- Pacific Palisades is the setting of Hailey Abbott's book "Forbidden Boy".
- Bran Van 3000 song Drinking in L.A. mentions the Pacific Palisades as a concert location.