Neighborhood Spotlight: Pacific Palisades

If Pacific Palisades seems apart from the city, more retreat than urban neighborhood, that's because it is — and has been for nearly a century.

Formally founded in the 1920s by a Methodist organization, Pacific Palisades in the years since has also been a place of shelter for Jewish artists and intellectuals fleeing the horrors of the Third Reich, and later for privacy-chasing celebrities.

But before the Methodists put it on the map, the Palisades cycled through a number of different identities, none of which stuck: resort town (done in by the land bust of the 1890s), candidate for the site of L.A.'s new port (lost out to San Pedro) and primary home of Thomas Ince's movie-making empire (nudged aside by Culver City).

Once the church's development bonds were sold and Founders Tracts 1 and 2 were laid out, Pacific Palisades' future as a sought-after residential neighborhood was assured.

From traditional clapboard homes and Spanish Colonial Revival mansions to a collection of Midcentury-Modern masterpieces by architects such as Cliff May, Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen, the Palisades has architectural eye candy for everyone. Even the Olmstead Brothers had a hand in making the neighborhood by creating the layout of many of the original 1920s tracts.

Neighborhood highlights

Seaside living: Wherever you are, you're going to enjoy the benefits of coastal living, including cool sea breezes, easy access to the beach and plenty of spectacular sunsets.

Village feel: It's only one portion of the Palisades, but the walkability and small-town feel of the Village and adjacent Alphabet Streets and Huntington Palisades neighborhoods is a strong draw. The area is also the site of a redevelopment project from Grove developer Rick Caruso, which is slated to bring more retail to the neighborhood.

The great outdoors: With three large parks, hiking and biking trails, the beach and the Riviera Country Club golf course, there are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the mild coastal climate and beautiful scenery of the Palisades.