Northridge combines urban living with access to the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside, including the nearby Chatsworth Reservoir and Lake Balboa. One of the only areas where Northridge is not habitually ranked better than the majority of its neighbors is cost of living. With an average cost of living that is 8% higher than the rest of Los Angeles and 46% higher than the national average , Northridge can be an expensive place to live. If you’re looking to own a home, the situation is all the more dire as home prices in Northridge are anywhere from 134% to 157% higher than the national average. Northridge is also home to eleven public and eight private schools, including some of the best-ranked schools in the region, such as the Alfred Bernhard Nobel Middle School, which was the first air-conditioned school in the Los Angeles School District, and the Northridge Academy High School, which operates as a partnership between the School District and CSUN. Bordered on almost all four sides by freeways, Northridge is a short drive away from downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood Hills, or the rest of the San Fernando Valley. It’s also only a few minutes away from the Bob Hope Airport, located just on the other side of North Hollywood, so it’s easy to get to Northridge, yet the neighborhood is also secluded enough from major traffic that it feels like a suburb rather than a big city. Northridge is home to the CSUN Botanic Garden, as well as the Donald E. Bianchi Planetarium. Residents of Northridge can also enjoy the local Recreation Center – complete with outdoor heated pool on the grounds – as well as easy access to nearby parks and protected natural areas such as the Chatsworth Reservoir or the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park to the north and Lake Balboa to the south.