Mar Vista is near the center of LA's West Side. The city of Santa Monica lies to the northwest, West Los Angeles to the north, Palms to the northeast, Culver City to the east, Del Rey to the southwest, and Venice to the west. In recent years, the escalating cost of real estate has led to a rise in the number of newly constructed Mediterranean Revival-inspired houses on Mar Vista Hill.
Residents are zoned to schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Nearby UCLA maintains a large graduate student housing complex along Sawtelle Boulevard near National Boulevard, as well as a smaller housing block along the north side of Venice Boulevard between Inglewood and McLaughlin Avenues.