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Bel-Air is a ritzy residential enclave in the verdant foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Two stately entrance gates off Sunset Boulevard lead to winding streets lined with lavish mansions on large properties with lush vegetation. Popular with celebrities and entertainment industry elite, the neighborhood is home to the landmark Hotel Bel-Air, a longtime luxury hideaway, and the exclusive Bel-Air Country Club. Founded in 1923, it is the home of The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden and the American Jewish University.

The community was founded in 1923 by Alphonzo Bell. Bell owned farm property in Santa Fe Springs, California, where oil was discovered. He bought a large ranch with a home on what is now Bel Air Road. He subdivided and developed the property with large residential lots, with work on the master plan led by the landscape architect Mark Daniels.[4] He also built the Bel-Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades and the Bel-Air Country Club. His wife chose Italian names for the streets. She also founded the Bel-Air Garden Club in 1931.

Together with Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills, Bel Air forms the Platinum Triangle of Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Bel Air is situated about 12 miles (19 km) west of Downtown Los Angeles, set entirely within the Santa Monica Mountains. It lies across Sunset Boulevard from the northern edge of the main campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. At the heart of the community sits the Bel-Air Country Club and the Hotel Bel-Air.

Along with Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles community of Brentwood, Bel Air is part of a high-priced area on the Westside known as the "three Bs."

The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is located in Bel Air. It was inspired by the gardens of Kyoto. Many structures in the garden—the main gate, garden house, bridges, and shrine—were built in Japan and reassembled on site. Antique stone carvings, water basins and lanterns, as well as the five-tiered pagoda, and key symbolic rocks are also from Japan.

Television shows and films have been filmed in Bel Air, or are said to take place in the community. Exterior shots for the Beverly Hillbillies were shot in and around 750 Bel Air Road, built by Lynn Atkinson (and later sold to hotelier Arnold Kirkeby after Atkinson's wife refused to move into a house she thought too ostentatious). Several scenes in the film "Get Hard" (2015) were set in Bel Air. Exterior scenes from films such as Get Shorty (1995) have also been filmed in the area. Several episodes of the television show The Rockford Files were filmed in Bel Air

The television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, starring actor and rapper Will Smith, was set in the neighborhood, although the exterior shots used were filmed in nearby Brentwood.

The Bel Air house featured in the film Strangers When We Meet (1960) was built and completed during filming, and still stands today as a private residence.

The Bel Air Film Festival, first held in 2008, is an annual international film festival held in Bel Air and the Los Angeles area.

Bel Air is also represented in music, such as in the song "Bel Air" by Lana Del Rey.

The Chevrolet Bel Air was a full-size car produced by Chevrolet for the 1950–1975 model years.

Notable People:

  • Jennifer Aniston, actress

  • Warner Baxter, actor

  • Arie and Rebecka Belldegrun, doctors

  • Jack Benny, comedian

  • Beyoncé, singer-songwriter, actress

  • Wilt Chamberlain, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee

  • Glenn Cowan (1952–2004), table tennis player

  • Clint Eastwood, actor, film director

  • John Gilbert, actor

  • George Herbert Harries, US Army major general

  • Alfred Hitchcock, film director

  • Jay-Z, rapper

  • Mary Livingstone, actress and comedian

  • Sondra Locke, actress, film director

  • Joni Mitchell, singer-songwriter

  • Steven Mnuchin, 77th United States secretary of the treasury

  • Leonard Nimoy, actor, film director, poet, singer and photographer

  • Chris Paul, basketball athlete

  • President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan

  • Naty Saidoff, diamond dealer, real estate investor, founding member of the Israeli-American Council

  • Darren Star, show and movie producer, writer

  • Elizabeth Taylor, actress at 700 Nimes Road from 1982 until 2011


Almost two-thirds (66.1%) of Bel Air residents aged 25 and older had earned a four-year degree by 2000, a high percentage for the city and the county. The percentages of residents in that age range with a bachelor's degree or greater were high for the county. The community is within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The area is within Board District 4. As of 2009, Steve Zimmer represented the district.

The schools within Bel Air are as follows:


  • Roscomare Road Elementary School, 2425 Roscomare Road

  • Community Magnet Charter Elementary School, 11301 Bellagio Road. As of 2010, because the school's points-based admissions system does not favor area residents, children living in Bel Air generally do not attend the school. It is located in the former Bellagio Road School campus.

Roscomare Road and Warner Avenue Elementary School in Westwood are the zoned elementary schools serving Bel Air. Bel Air is within the attendance boundaries of Emerson Middle School in Westwood and University High School, West Los Angeles.

In April 1983, an advisory committee of the LAUSD recommended closing eight LAUSD schools, including Bellagio Road School. The committee did not target Fairburn Avenue School in Westwood, as a way of allowing it to preserve its ethnic balance, and so it can take children from Bellagio Road in case it closed. In August 1983, the board publicly considered closing Bellagio, which had 240 students at the time. The school's enrollment had been decreasing. In May 1983 the board voted to keep the school open. In February 1984, after the composition of the board had changed, the board voted to close the Bellagio Road School.

Bel Air previously housed the Bellagio Road Newcomer School, a 3rd–8th grade school for newly arrived immigrants. In 2002, it had 390 students from Armenia, China, El Salvador, Guatemala, Korea, Russia, and other countries. This program was housed in the former Bellagio Road school.


  • Marymount High School, 10643 Sunset Boulevard

  • Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School/Milken Community Schools, K–12, 15500 Stephen S. Wise Drive

  • John Thomas Dye School, K–6, 11414 Chalon Road

  • The Mirman School

  • Westland School, 16200 Mulholland Drive, was founded in 1949. It moved to its current location in 1965, becoming the first school to locate in what has now developed into a major 'institutional corridor' in the area of the Sepulveda Pass.

Bel Air is home to the American Jewish University. Additionally, Bel Air borders the University of California, Los Angeles on the south.

View the school ratings and reviews here.


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