Bel Air is a wealthy and prominent faux-gated residential community in the hills of Philadelphia (region)|Westside]] of the city of Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, USA . Together with Beverly Hills and Holmby Hills it forms the Platinum Triangle of Los Angeles neighborhoods.  Homes and estates in the Platinum Triangle are among the most expensive in the United States.
Bel Air is situated about 17miles west of downtown Los Angeles  and includes some of the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It borders the north side of UCLA along Sunset Boulevard. At the heart of the community sits the exclusive Bel Air Country Club and the Hotel Bel-Air. The community was founded in 1923 by Alphonzo E. Bell, Sr., .
Residences in Bel Air tend to be private and hidden from the winding roads of the community. Most houses are not visible from the street, as they are hidden by well-manicured hedges and gates. Residences range from modest ranch style houses, to multi-story configurations, to grand mansions. While some houses in Bel Air seem quite modest from the outside, often lying only six feet from the street, they have large grounds. In general, the higher up the mountain, the smaller the building lot and more modest the houses; however, those residences along roads such as Stradella Road have magnificent views of the Los Angeles basin and Catalina Island. The most desirable houses are right off the main entrances of Bel Air and the country club entrance for these houses have both the views of the Bel-Air Country Club and the rest of Los Angeles. Lower Bel Air houses can sell for over $50 million. Many families prefer lower Bel Air because of its proximity to Sunset Boulevard, a major thoroughfare.
Multi-family housing is not permitted within the community, and strict ordinances regarding architectural styles, landscaping, and lot sizes exist to preserve the quality of life and character of Bel Air. Unlike Beverly Hills, Bel Air has no residential sidewalks in attempts to discourage the public from walking around the community. Bel Air is also heavily patrolled by local security companies to reinforce the safety and privacy of its residents.
President Ronald Reagan lived at 668 St. Cloud Road in Bel Air from his retirement as President in 1989 until his death in 2004, and former First Lady Nancy Reagan continues to live there and attends nearby Bel Air Presbyterian Church.
Located in Bel-Air is the UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden, which was inspired by the gardens of Kyoto. Some of the structures, including the main gate, garden house, bridges, and shrine, were built in Japan and reassembled at the garden.
Popular television shows and movies have been filmed in Bel Air, or are said to take place in the community. Exterior shots for the Beverly Hillbillies were shot in and around the 1938 French neoclassical-style mansion at 750 Bel Air Road,http://www.tvacres.com/locations.htm built by Lynn Atkinson (and later sold to hotelier Arnold Kirkeby after Atkinson's wife refused to move into a house she thought too ostentatious) (After the exterior shooting was completed, the residents of that address forbid any more filming, as passers-by would wander onto the property and ask to see 'Granny').http://westsidetoday.com/article.php?articleid=164 Exterior scenes from movies such as Get Shorty have also been filmed in the area. Several television films of The Rockford Files were filmed in Bel Air. The popular television sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was set in the neighborhood at 805 St. Cloud Road.http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001654/biohttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098800/trivia
In 1961, a construction crew working in Sherman Oaks noticed the smoke and flames in a nearby pile of rubbish. Within minutes, Santa Ana winds gusting up to 60mi/h sent burning brush aloft and ultimately sear Nov. 6, 1961, into Los Angeles' civic memory.
Life magazine called it "A Tragedy Trimmed in Mink," and glittering stars of stage and screen scrambled to do battle with the blaze that swept through Bel Air and Brentwood that day. Flaming embers danced from roof to wood-shingled roof, spreading the fire across the Santa Monica Mountains to the south and into the affluent Westside enclaves.
In Bel Air, some film stars stood their ground against the encroaching flames. Maureen O'Hara risked her life to remain at her home and hose down her wooden roof. Fred MacMurray battled the flames and contained damage to just a portion of his home. But comedian Joe E. Brown saw his home burn to the ground. Burt Lancaster and Zsa Zsa Gabor also lost their homes.
Former Vice President Richard M. Nixon and his chief researcher, Al Moscow, were working on a draft of Nixon's "Six Crises" when the flames threatened his rented house on North Bundy Drive. Nixon and Moscow took to the roof to water down the wood shingles, saving the home.
More than 300 police officers helped evacuate 3,500 residents during the 12-hour fire, and more than 2,500 firefighters battled the blaze, pumping water from neighborhood swimming pools to douse flames in some areas. Pockets of the fire smoldered for several days. Even as firefighters battled what was to become the Bel Air disaster, a separate fire had erupted simultaneously in Santa Ynez Canyon to the west, further straining local firefighting resources. That blaze was contained the next day after consuming nearly 10000acres and nine structures and burning to within a mile of the inferno raging in Bel Air and Brentwood.
At least 200 firefighters were injured, many by the tar from the roofs of the homes, but no one was killed and 78% of the homes were saved. Still, the fires were the fifth worst conflagration in the nation's history at the time, burning 16090acres, destroying more than 484 homes and 190 other structures and causing an estimated $30 million in damage.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,928 people in the neighborhood. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 86.24% White, 1.93% Black, 0.06% Native American, 6.84% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.30% from other races, and 3.59% from two or more races, while 4.65% of the population were Hispanic.
It lies within the 5th city council district, represented (as of 2007) by Jack Weiss. It is located in the 90077 (Bel Air Estates & Beverly Glen) Zip Code, both of which are part of the city of Los Angeles. Of several entrances, there are two main ones: The East Gate at Beverly Glen and Sunset Boulevards, and the West Gate at Bellagio Road and Sunset Boulevard, opposite an entrance for UCLA.
The community is within the Los Angeles Unified School District. The area is within Board District 4. As of 2008 Marlene Canter represents the district. Canter announced that she will not seek re-election after her term expires in June 2009. The area is zoned to Warner Avenue Elementary School, Emerson Middle School, and University High School.  Some Bel Air area homes are within the Roscomare Road Elementary School attendance area.
Private schools in the Bel Air area include:
The American Jewish University is a small private university in Bel Air http://www.ajula.edu/Content/ContentUnit.asp?CID=142&u=6518&t=0.