The "Thomas Guide" is a -- how can I describe it -- a book of maps. Each area of the town (and this is one big town) is on a grid with everything from shopping centers, to hospitals, to schools, to parks, etc. shown. You can buy it (about $35) at any bookstore, grocery store, etc. (You might see if Barnes/Nobles or Amazon
has it -- Get the one for LA and Orange Co.)
Gated community isn't necessary, nor is 24-hr security. And private garages are almost unheard of with rentals. Usually with most large apartment complexes you will have parking under the building -- this area should be lock and accessible directly to the building. Also, LA is a very expensive housing area....depending on the area you live and if you have a view...a 2-bedroom apartment in a nice area will start at about $1500/month (less in The Valley). Most traveling RN companies have housing already leased -- at least the ones our hospital uses do -- so, ask your recruiter exactly where you will be living.