South LA

Soul food restaurants, hidden neighbourhood gems, and historic churches frequented by a diverse community.

Skirting the borders of Downtown, South LA rests in the shade of the buildings that rise from the city's centre. Its boulevards fill with foot-traffic, Jazz-age inspired theatres, and strip malls of fast-food stands and auto mechanics. South LA's diversity is undeniable—Latino, Asian, African-American, and student communities from nearby USC make their home in this expansive and varied neighbourhood. From its musical roots to its paradigm-challenging riots, the neighbourhood's history is just as rich.

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On the Map

South LA is bordered by Westlake, West Athens, Florence-Graham, Westmont, West Adams, Mid-Wilshire, Mid-City, Westchester/Playa Del Rey, Inglewood, Vernon, South Gate, Willowbrook, and Watts

LAX Airport: 20 minutes by car or 1 hour by public transit
Santa Monica Pier: 25 minutes by car
Hollywood Walk of Fame: 25 minutes by car
Venice Boardwalk: 30 minutes by car
The Grove: 25 minutes by car

  • Public transit is Possible
  • Having a car is Possible

Diverse and Busy Near the Heart of Los Angeles

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Encompassing a vast expanse of webbed boulevards, snaking freeways, and residential streets, South LA's name gives away its location.

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Quietly nudging the centre of Los Angeles from its southern niche between freeways, South LA vacillates between Golden Age allusions, sock-hop era throwbacks, and busy streetwear capital.

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Landmarks like the Felix the Cat Chevrolet sign and the Vision Theatre carry on South LA's retro architectural reputation.

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Fast-food chains and mini-marts offer stark relief from the facades of decades passed and the sleek lines of contemporarily-styled edifices.

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Baldwin Hills Crenshaw features a theatre, a shopping mall, and a weekly farmers' market.

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Taco stands remain a neighbourhood favourite.

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South LA's connection to the city's major freeways makes it relatively easy to get around.

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The neighbourhood has its own Metro stop on the 110 freeway.

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In South LA, the Metro is a bus.

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In South LA, the big city beckons.

A Historic Community with a Rich Heritage

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South LA is home to the United States' largest African-American community, and traditions of its Jazz-inspired past are still evident throughout the neighbourhood.

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One of the West's first Jazz movements took root in the neighbourhood.

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Dr. Martin Luther King's "West Coast home," Second Baptist Church, was built in 1926. A moving leader and orator, he spoke often at Second Baptist from 1956 to 1968.

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University of Southern California: Trojan Land

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The neighbourhood home of the Trojans, South LA boasts an active student body.

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University of Southern California, or USC, is synonymous with fierce pride and die-hard fanaticism.

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On campus, it's common to see the university's name emblazoned on boards, binders, and book bags.

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The university is revered for its stunning architecture.

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It's also revered for its championship sports teams.

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The Trojans' competitiveness is nationally recognised.

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A light always seems to shine on the Coliseum.

Exposition Park: A Centre for Culture

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Exposition Park gazes at USC from across the street.

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Its museums, arenas, science centres, and rose gardens augment the knowledge passing through the university's lecture halls.

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Community Growth In South LA

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South LA's community farmers' market sets up its fresh food stalls at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw.

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It opens every Saturday from 10 until 3.

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South LA's diversity of cultures is reflected through its myriad food stands.

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They infuse the market with signature taste.

The Quiet Side of South LA

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South LA claims some of the oldest stretches of the city.

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The time has allowed many of its homes to age with grace.

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In South LA, they state the ground rules.

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They keep it reel.

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Hedge fun.


Airbnb works with local photographers to capture the spirit of neighbourhoods all around the world. The photography on this page includes work by:

Rob Kalmbach

View website

Rob is an editorial & commercial art photographer based in LA. On a recent assignment to South Africa with Ghetto Film School, he documented student filmmakers. On the Airbnb project, Rob says: “I love exploring the City of Angels. The other day, I photographed in pouring rain, thinking the worst, but ended up with some of my best shots. The people I meet on a daily basis amaze me."