Northridge sprawls across the western portion of the San Fernando Valley with wide streets, shopping malls and a large university. Even with Cal State Northridge containing a student population over 38,000, the community still has a strong presence, mostly made up of middle-class families. The neighborhood contains many primary thoroughfares spaced a half mile apart. The first paved road into Northridge, Reseda Boulevard, serves as the heart of the community. Northridge lies 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and two miles south of Highway 118, giving residents east-west access across the San Fernando Valley.
Among the least dense neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Northridge forces its residents to depend on driving as a primary role for transport. Most businesses and residents provide sufficient free parking, but expect permitted or metered parking around the university. Metro runs routes on all major streets with rides costing $1.75, including two hours of transfers. Cal State Northridge’s transit hub holds additional connections to Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita Transit. Metro also runs a rapid line down Reseda Boulevard, which links to the Orange Line. The Metrolink station on Parthenia Street gives commuter access across the region. A moderate amount of taxis are stationed in Northridge at the Metrolink Station, Northridge Fashion Center and university. Uber, Lyft and other ride-share companies service the area as well. With its low density, Northridge doesn’t favor walking, with Reseda Boulevard acting as the most pedestrian-friendly zone. Some major streets contain portions of bike lanes, but the lanes fall short of forming a complete network. Cyclists compete with high-speed traffic throughout the neighborhood.
The Northridge Fashion Center serves as the center of shopping activity, containing over 170 stores and high-end chains. It also hosts the area’s farmers market on Wednesday nights from 5 pm to 9 pm during the months of daylight savings. The Costco on Tampa Avenue receives heavy activity with people purchasing bulk goods. The beloved Mr. Stuff sells a collection of random items at highly discounted prices. Receiving many closeout goods, its stock always surprises. Shoppers have purchased a potpourri of items, such as shredded money, walking canes, outdoor sinks and Hillary Clinton nutcrackers. Orphaned CDs remains one of the few record book stores in the San Fernando Valley. Located along with many other small businesses on Reseda Boulevard, you can browse for hours with a selection of over 75,000 CDs. You don’t have to travel more than a mile for groceries, as Northridge contains many major supermarkets including Raplhs, Albertsons, Vons and Fresh & Easy.
Northridge contains a number of parks that serve its large population. The Northridge Recreation Center serves as the largest public facility maintaining barbecue pits, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, children’s play area, picnic tables, a seasonal pool, soccer field and tennis courts. Many wanting vigorous training head to Cal State Northridge to run the track or use their large gymnasium. Dog owners travel to Balboa Park for the nearest off-leash park, while many take their pets to walk the trails of Chatsworth Park. Cyclists train in the hills just north at Porter Ranch or ride further south to take advantage of the Santa Monica Mountains. The Valley Greek Festival attracts many across Los Angeles as one of the largest heritage events in the city. Occurring every Memorial Day weekend, visitors can expect Greek food and pastries, music, folk dancing and cooking demonstrations.