CSUN is part of the mesh of bustling cities that make up the San Fernando Valley, just over the hill from Los Angeles. It has city life written all over it. Economically speaking, CSUN floats between two financially different communities: Reseda, which is south of CSUN, is a bit rundown, but Granada Hills, north of CSUN, is one of the most upscale communities in the Valley. There are grocery stores within close proximity of the school, and other places including Target, Office Max, Rite Aid, and coffeeshops are nearby. Since things are so close together, you will find that some students walk or ride their bikes to the mall, movie theater, or grocery stores, although the majority of students has cars and finds it more convenient to drive.
For the most part, CSUN students agree that Northridge lacks the youth and edginess of a college town. However, in many ways, the town has shaped itself around the college and its students. For example, most of the bars in town offer a college night, and most restaurants offer a student discount. Since there are a limited number of college hangouts in Northridge, it's best to go to LA to party every once in a while. Aside from clubs and bars, LA also offers many museums, a zoo, and places to visit, like Universal City Walk, which Northridge does not. In many ways, CSUN students have the best of both worlds because they can experience the excitement of LA and yet escape from the madness.