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Northridge, CA

While Northridge is technically a neighborhood of Los Angeles, this San Fernando Valley community feels like a town in its own right. In fact, Northridge is a long drive from many parts of Los Angeles, and long commutes are a fact of life for many of the community's residents. Northridge is bordered by a number of other Los Angeles neighborhoods, including Winnetka, Porter Ranch, North Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, and Granada Hills.

A family-oriented suburban community, Northridge is filled with well-kept homes and green lawns. Many Northridge residents are affiliated with the local university, California State University-Northridge.

In spite of the emphasis on family in the Northridge community, the neighborhood has also witnessed an increase in crime over the past decades, as gang activity and shootings have become more prevalent in the area. Indeed, the crime rate in Northridge is substantially higher than the overall average for Los Angeles County.

EDUCATION

California State University-Northridge (Cal State Northridge, or CSUN) is one of the largest public universities in the nation. Established in 1958, the university is divided into nine colleges and offers a wide range of bachelor's and master's degree programs. The university is known for its science, social science and engineering curriculum. It is also acclaimed for its music program; the music department's jazz band performs throughout the world. CSUN also maintains the influential National Center on Deafness, which serves hundreds of hearing-impaired students.

Northridge's primary and secondary schools are a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and are generally considered to be under-funded. The city is also home to many well-regarded private schools.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

California State University-Northridge employs many of the city's residents and is the heart of Northridge's economy. Beyond this, Northridge's biggest industries are medical care and health services, which are by far the area's biggest employers. Many Northridge residents locals also work for Amgen, a large biotech company. Before the financial crisis in the banking industry, mortgage giant Countrywide maintained a large presence in the area.

The San Fernando Valley is also the headquarters of roughly 90 percent of the pornographic film companies operating in the United States. Northridge is home to several of these film studios. The Northridge pornographic film industry became the center of a huge scandal in 2008 when police investigations revealed possible criminal activity, including illegal drug use and child pornography.

Many Northridge residents commute to Los Angeles or other nearby towns for work.

BEST BETS

  • Faith Bible Church: This gothic revival building was constructed in 1917. As the first church built in Northridge, it is a Los Angeles cultural landmark. Originally called the Norwegian church to reflect the heritage of it churchgoers, it has become home to a Korean congregation in recent years.
  • Rancho Cordillera del Norte: Run by the Multicultural Music and Art Foundation Northridge, the Rancho Cordillera del Norte is an arts and performance space. The building is a California State Historic Landmark that once belonged to actress Barbara Stanwyck.
  • Northridge Fashion Center: This Northridge mall opened in 1971. It is a popular hangout spot for local teens. Every Wednesday the mall hosts the local farmers' market, which features local and sustainable fruits and vegetables.

EVENTS

The annual Salute to Recreation Family Festival annual festival has been held in the Northridge Park since the 1980s. It takes place in the early summer and features fireworks, carnival rides and sports tournaments. The festival attracts about 80,000 people from the area.

SPORTS TEAMS

The Northridge Little League Baseball team won the U.S. Little League Championships in 1994. They went on to the Little League World Series that year, where they lost to a team from Venezuela.

Northridge locals also cheer on CSUN's teams, which compete in the NCAA Division I in a number of sports, including basketball, golf and swimming. The school's soccer teams provide strong competition against other regional teams.

Northridge residents also root for professional sports teams based in and around Los Angeles. These include:

  • Basketball: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Sparks (women)
  • Baseball: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Hockey: Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings
  • Soccer: Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Arena football: Los Angeles Avengers

LOCAL MEDIA

Northridge is in the Los Angeles media market, giving residents access to all of the TV stations and radio stations that broadcast in Los Angeles. Newspapers that cover Northridge include:

  • North Valley Community News
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Los Angeles Daily News

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Northridge is perhaps best known for the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, a 6.7-magnitude tremor that toppled freeways and buildings and caused an estimated $20 billion in damage. The epicenter turned out to be in nearby Reseda and not Northridge, but the earthquake's name stuck.
  • Notable graduates of Cal State Northridge include: singer Paula Abdul, actor Richard Dreyfuss and actress Helen Hunt.