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The first thing that may pop into your head when you hear the word Encino is Brendan Frasier acting like a caveman. But it is so much more than that. As a community, Encino is filled with friendly people and gorgeous estate properties in hilly terrain. When Trulia realeased it’s Metro Mover’s Report in 2011, it showed that Encino was #1 in the top zip codes people in Los Angeles wanted to move to. More on the neighborhood of Encino below the map.
Encino is located in the middle of the south San Fernando Valley, just south of Lake Balboa. It is made up of mostly hilly terrain south of Ventura Blvd., but also has a large region of flat residential neighborhoods with more mid-priced homes. The homes for sale south of the blvd are mostly luxury estates valued over $500,000 and can get up to several million dollars.
Famous residents of Encino include Dave Grohl, front man for the Foo Fighters, Michael Jackson’s children, Ron Howard, and Tom Petty who mentions nearby Reseda in one of his songs, Free Fallin’.
See all my blog posts on Encino here.
The population of Encino was 41,905 in the year 2000 according the U.S. Census. It was estimated to be about 44,581 in 2008 by the L.A. Department of City Planning. The racial makeup of the neighborhood of Encino consists of 80.1% white, 8.5% Latino, 4.9% Asian, 4.1% other, and 2.4% black. It has 4,411 people per square mile, among the lowest densities for the city of Los Angeles. The average income of Encino is $78,529 (2008) and the median age is 42. The local economy provides jobs primarily in health care (including one of two Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center hospitals), social services, and professional services (accounting and financial services, real estate, and legal) sectors.
Although it’s located in the San Fernando Valley, much of the hilly areas of Encino stay cooler due to the abundance of old growth trees. Average rainfall is 15.9 inches per year with about 281 mostly sunny days per year!
The central location of Encino within the San Fernando Valley makes it optimal for travel to all areas of the valley and Los Angeles via the 101 and 405 freeways. However, if you want to stay closer to home, there’s plenty to fill your time. The Encino Commons (pictured above) is located on Ventura Blvd. and functions as a “downtown” kind of gathering area for Encino residents. It has several chain restaurants as well as many privately owned eateries, such as my favorite eco-friendly Italian trattoria, Cafe Carolina. Although it’s easy to miss from the street, Cafe Carolina earned the OpenTable.com Diner’s Choice award in 2012 and offers elegant, well thought out cuisine made of fresh farmer’s market ingredients and organic meats. The restaurant recently doubled in size and features local artwork on the walls.
Speaking of the Farmer’s Market, I make it a point to visit the Encino Farmer’s Market on a weekly basis. It’s one of the biggest and best farmer’s markets, not only in the San Fernando Valley, but in all of L.A. It happens every Sunday at 17400 Victory Blvd and features every type of vendor you can imagine. In addition to all the standard fruits and veggies, there are mushrooms, wheatgrass, flowers, meats, cheeses, eggs, freshly baked goods, fresh honey, dried fruits and nuts, fresh squeezed juices and more. There’s food vendors (try the killer fish tacos!) and live music, too!
If you’re an avid bicyclist, or even just a bicycle lover, check out the Encino Velodrome, an outdoor bicycle racing track.
For over a millennium, the area known as Encino was the home of a massive California live oak known as the Encino Oak Tree. It is possible that Encino is named because of this particular tree. It was known for both its size and longevity. The tree died on February 7, 1998 after an El Niño Storm felled it. Today there is a monument to the great tree at the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Louise Avenue where the Encino Oak once stood.
Encino is also home to the largest Earth Day Celebration in Los Angeles held at Woodley Park. It’s called WorldFest and features eco-shopping, animal adoptions, and lots of fun. Will I see you there?
Encino Park is located on Ventura just west of Balboa and features a playground, a community center, tennis courts, basketball courts and shady open grass spaces. There’s the giant Sepulveda-Basin Off Lease Dog Park, which I wrote about in my Lake Balboa neighborhood guide. Lake Balboa and Encino overlap a bit, so many of their parks and features, such as Lake Balboa Park and the Japanese Garden in Woodley park get claimed by both communities.