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Lake Balboa is a suburb centrally located in the San Fernando Valley just north of Encino. It consists mainly of Bungalow homes built in the post-war era of the late 40s and early 50s. The homes are surrounded by tall, mature trees that turn gold and fire red in the fall and provide lush green shade in the warm summer months.
The neighborhood was only recently recognized as Lake Balboa officially in November of 2007 and is considered a more upscale neighborhood of Van Nuys. Before that it was simply referred to as Van Nuys. Although development began in Van Nuys in 1911, the real housing boom happened after the Sepulveda Dam and Hansen Dam were built to channel flood waters and the end of WWII when many GIs came West to buy a house and settle down. The area and the San Fernando Valley were known as “America’s Suburbs” and even Dr. Seuss referred to it in a poem:
The population was 24,238 in the year 2000 according the U.S. Census. It was estimated to be about 26,195 in 2008 by the L.A. Department of City Planning. The racial makeup of the neighborhood consists of 49% white, 34.1% Latino, 8.8% Asian, 4.6% other, and 3.5% black.
Lake Balboa has spectacular weather with 286 mostly sunny days per year! January average low temperatures are 43 degrees and July average highs are 93 degrees. Mornings are usually bright and clear and not overcast days, which are few and far between.
The boundaries of Lake Balboa are shown on the map to the right. Map Key: The black line represents the city of Lake Balboa. The blue overlay shows the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council boundaries. The green overlay shows the area that the Lake Balboa NC shares with Encino Neighborhood Council. Map courtesy of the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council.
Aside from the typical chain restaurants and the In ’n’ Out on Balboa and Sherman Way, there are some truly great dining options in Lake Balboa.
Salsa and Beer offers incredibly delicious authentic Mexican food for fantastic prices in a brightly painted and creatively decorated restaurant. The menu offers much more than the name suggests, so make sure to try the carnitas in anything or the spicy enchiladas. Pros: the carne asada is marinated perfectly and the salsa is great. Cons: it’s good so it’s busy, service is inconsistent, and they don’t have guacamole, more of an avocado sauce. Oh yeah, the bean dip is highly addictive!!
The 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant features a view of the Van Nuys airport runway so you can watch private jets take off while you sip your mimosa during Sunday brunch.
The Springbok Bar and Grill is a rugby bar with South African cuisine. Voted the #1 Dive Bar by Our Ventura Blvd, it has lots of beer on tap, pool, darts, and sometimes even live music. The patio is a fun place to relax on a Saturday afternoon and grub on barbeque.
There are so many parks in Lake Balboa it makes your head spin. Most notably, the Lake Balboa/Anthony C. Beilenson Park which has a 27 acre lake filled with reclaimed water, a bike path, jogging path, fishing, boating, barbeques and more. Sorry to crush your dog paddling dreams, but there is no swimming allowed. It’s not a huge deal because the water sometimes has a funny smell and there are huge fish in there! Enter off of Balboa between Burbank and Victory.
Nearby, there is also the Woodley Avenue Park, which features the Apollo 3 Flight Field for flying model airplanes, an archery range, cricket fields and a wildlife reservation area. The Japanese Garden features Japanese inspired landscaping, bridges and tea houses to encourage relaxation and tranquility. Enter off of Woodley Ave between Burbank and Victory.
The Balboa Sports Center almost always has soccer games in progress, and also features tennis courts. There are baseball diamonds at the soon to open Sepulveda Dam Sports Complex. Enter off of Balboa Ave between Burbank and Victory.
Louise Park (on the corner of Louise and Sherman Way), which features a super-cool new playground your rugrats will love, and the Jesse Owens Mini Park (White Oak and Sherman Way) are two smaller, but still lovely parks in Lake Balboa.
On the corner of Victory Blvd and White Oak Blvd you can’t miss the Sepulveda Basin Dog Park, over 5 acres of butt-sniffing, tail chasing fun for your furry pals. There is also a small dog section if your mini-schnauzer tends to pick fights with great danes.
For the folks with a daring streak, visit the Pedlow Skate Park on Victory Blvd. Open from 12 noon to sundown every day, skaters can practice their tricks on all kinds of totally tubular obstacles including a swimming pool type run.
There are a number of municipal Golf Courses in Lake Balboa. The Van Nuys Golf Course is smaller and less expensive although still well maintained. It has a driving range, a putting practice area, an 18-hole 3 par and a 9-hole executive course. The Balboa Golf Course is part of a 36-hole Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area complex along with Encino Municipal Golf Course and is beautifully surrounded by lush trees. Woodley Lakes Municipal Golf Course offers wide fairways, large greens, and nine acres of water hazards.
Boundaries of Lake Balboa shown on the map. Map Key: The black line represents the city of Lake Balboa. The blue overlay shows the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council boundaries. The green overlay shows the area that the Lake Balboa NC shares with Encino NC.
The Saticoy Plaza Shopping Center has everything you need for your errand running in one spot. Located on the corner of Saticoy St. and Louise Ave.
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