The district is located at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains, bounded by the San Diego Freeway on the east, Wilshire Boulevard on the south, the Santa Monica city limits on the southwest, the border of Topanga State Park on the west and Mulholland Drive along the ridgeline of the mountains on the north.
As a member of a group of nearby neighborhoods that are affluent, it is known as one of the “Three Bs”, along with Beverly Hills and Bel Air.
Brentwood, like nearby Santa Monica, has a temperate climate influenced by marine breezes off the Pacific Ocean. Residents frequently wake to a “marine layer,” a cover of clouds brought in at night which burns off by mid-morning. The topography is generally split into two characters, broadly divided by Sunset Boulevard: the area north of Sunset is defined by ridges and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains; south of Sunset the area is hilly. The southern district features underground springs which bubble up into a small creek along “the Gully” near the Brentwood Country Club, and in the “Indian Springs” portion of the University High School campus, formerly the site of a Native American Tongva village.
The 2000 U.S. census counted 31,344 residents in the 15.22-square-mile Brentwood neighborhood—or 2,059 people per square mile, among the lowest population densities for the city and the county. In 2008, the city estimated that the population had increased to 33,312. In 2000 the median age for residents was 35, which was old for city and county neighborhoods. The percentages of residents aged 50 and older were among the county’s highest.
The racial breakdown is whites, 84.2%; Asians, 6.5%; Latinos, 4.5%; blacks, 1.2%; and others, 3.6%. Iran (27.2%) and the United Kingdom (4.8%) were the most common places of birth for the 21.1% of the residents who were born abroad—which was a low percentage for Los Angeles as a whole.
The median yearly household income in 2008 dollars was $112,927, considered high for the city and the county. Renters occupied 48.4% of the housing stock, and house- or apartment-owners held 51.6%. The average household size of two people was considered low for Los Angeles. The 5.7% of families headed by single parents was low for city and county neighborhoods.
Brentwood features a number of residential subdistricts:
- Brentwood Circle: gated community east of Barrington and north of Sunset
- Brentwood Glen: an area bounded by Sunset, the 405 Freeway and the Veterans Administration
- Bundy Canyon: Home to Mount St. Mary’s College and the Getty Center (though the latter is accessible only from Sepulveda).
- Crestwood Hills: includes a cluster of architecturally significant mid-century modern residences located in the northern part of Kenter Canyon
- Kenter Canyon: the larger canyon containing Crestwood Hills, between Bundy Canyon and Mandeville Canyon. Home to Kenter Canyon Primary School.
- Mandeville Canyon: westernmost part of Brentwood, north of Sunset; extends about 3 miles towards the North