Moving to Los Angeles: Everything You Need to Know
The Los Angeles entertainment industry is well-known not only to the cinephiles among us but the non-lovers too. It evokes fancy images of glitz and glamour, flashbulbs, finely dressed movie stars attending premiers and visiting exquisite restaurants and … you get the drift.
Also, celeb-spotting while grabbing a coffee or even while doing something as mundane as grocery shopping is common here! That’s one perception of the star-studded city that stands true. But that’s an entirely lop-sided storyline!
The second-largest city in the country has much more to offer. There are a ton of other advantages of moving to Los Angeles, and a few pitfalls too. While the weather is nearly perfect year-round and there are tons of exciting adventures to be had, the city is massive and spread out.
Hence, getting anywhere in La La Land isn’t quick. Getting to the nearest beach may take longer than 15 minutes unless you live in a beach neighborhood. Oh, and visiting a happening bar or club in the middle of a weekday, say 2 pm on a Monday, isn’t as uncommon as it would be anywhere else! Excited to know more?
Then let’s explore what it’s like to live in Los Angeles so you’re well equipped to counter the struggles on your way to stardom and success.
What Is It Like to Live in Los Angeles?
The culturally diverse landscape of Los Angeles makes it a truly cosmopolitan city. It attracts many transplants seeking new job opportunities in the arts as well as marketing, finance, IT, and so many other fields. Let’s dig deeper into why people from all over the world move to LA.
Reasons to Move to Los Angeles
Ranging from the natural scenic beauty to the diverse population and the equally diverse job opportunities, here are some of the pros of moving to Los Angeles:
1. Diverse Opportunities in Nearly Every Industry
One of the most stunning facts about LA is that its flourishing economy is supported by diverse sectors like aerospace & defense, bioscience, information technology, design & publishing, fashion, trade, shipping, manufacturing, and hospitality & tourism.
Technology and Startups
Silicon Beach – the center of the LA tech and startup scene – refers to the cities west of LA, from Santa Monica to Venice Beach, including Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, where many tech companies and startups are based. Taking advantage of the beautiful sunny beaches and proximity to the airport, tech giants like Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Amazon, and startups like Gem (blockchain technology), Wevr (Virtual reality), Hulu (streaming platform) and many others either have or are planning to launch operations here.
The music streaming giant, Spotify, and aerospace innovating company, SpaceX, are also based in LA and employ thousands of people. According to Techcrunch, LA is now a favored destination for technology investment and corporate development. It further states that 100 of the largest tech companies in LA and Orange County saw a 24% increase in employment from 2017-2018. The job growth will continue to increase as Silicon Beach is expected to expand in the coming years.
Entertainment, Fashion, and Trade
The entertainment industry is already well established here with companies like Warner Bros, Disney, Universal, and 20th Century. In addition, LA is a major hub for fashion, with thousands of boutiques, independently owned retail outlets, designer showrooms, and large apparel companies. Similarly, trade is rather well-developed thanks to the port of LA, which handles billions of dollars worth of goods every single day.
2. Sunnier and Sunniest
Apart from the entertainment industry, a major draw for people moving to Los Angeles is its extremely sunny disposition. LA is situated on a basin bordered by the ocean, both of which contribute to its pleasantly unique Mediterranean type of weather.
With 338 days of sunshine in LA per year, there’s little room to complain about the climate. Winters here are really pleasant. While it can get extremely hot in summer, there’s relatively low humidity, and it gets refreshingly cool at night. The skies are rarely cloudy, with little rainfall that’s mostly received in the winter. The areas surrounding the ocean are cooler while the land regions are much drier and hotter.
Santa Ana winds push through in the winters and can be quite strong. At times, the ocean air leads to a foggy sky that clears by mid-afternoon.
3. Car-less in LA? That’s doable!
Thanks to the third-largest public transit system, it’s possible to go carless in Los Angeles. You can take advantage of the extensive system of bus lines, as well as metro and light rail lines across LA County. The light rail system is said to be the busiest and the underground subway system is the ninth busiest in the country.
There are also ride-hailing, car rental options, and bike-share systems to take advantage of. Moreover, dedicated bike lanes are expected to increase given the efforts to make LA more bike-friendly.
4. Healthy Living
Los Angelinos are famous for their focus on healthy living. You’ll find a variety of organic juice bars, yoga and Pilates studios, and CrossFit gyms. Plus, there’s a never-ending buildup of diet fads and trends that people here are obsessed with, like paleo, vegan, keto, and many more! The good news for vegetarians and vegans moving to Los Angeles is that they’ll have plenty of healthy and tasty options.
And there’s a ton of local farmers’ markets, some of which even operate seven days a week. Sourcing fresh produce shouldn’t be a problem here, aiding you in your efforts to stay fit and healthy.
5. Range of Eating Out Options!
The fine-dining scene is alive and kicking, with many high-end restaurants catering to wealthy film personalities. But there’s also a range of moderate to low-priced food establishments and mom and pop restaurants, which add to the variety. So, if you’re moving to Los Angeles, there’s no shortage of eating out options.
From gourmet food places to food trucks selling tacos and dim sum – LA has it all! It’s literally the melting pot of cuisines from around the world thanks to the number of transplants that move to LA.
6. Outdoor Activities in Los Angeles
With encouragingly warm and sunny weather, you can enjoy tons of fun outdoor activities year-round. You can go outside and soak in the sunshine and natural beauty of the splendid mountain ranges by going hiking, walking, running, or cycling. You’ll be amply rewarded with incredible views no matter which mountain you explore.
LA has vast regions of empty space. Griffith Park alone has around 4,310 acres of wilderness where you can go hiking and get close with nature.
And of course, the famous Southern California beaches offer a magnificent coastline where you can enjoy water sports like surfing, beach volleyball, rollerblading, or you can simply read a book – yes, reading counts as a water sport, too, if you’re doing it by the beach! All you movie lovers, if you want to go celebrity spotting and enjoy a view of the ocean simultaneously, taking a day trip up to the beach in Malibu is the perfect place to go.
The LA night scene comes alive with music, karaoke bars, live bands, classic cocktails, good ole fashioned bars, and the likes. Every neighborhood has its own type of fun. If you move to LA, you can catch your favorite bands playing or you can go club hopping and choose from trendy or classic style bars.
8. Art and Culture
LA boasts a prestigious art culture with some of the greatest museums. The Getty Center, one of the largest art museums in the world, is home to an incredible art collection. It’s also housed on a 24-acre hilltop campus, presenting incredible city views.
There are also exceptional music venues like the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Hollywood Bowl, as well as theaters where you can experience the finest musical productions and plays.
The best part is that you can enjoy the arts and culture without even stepping foot in a museum, thanks to the ubiquitous art scene in LA with awesome murals exhibited at street corners. Upon moving to Los Angeles, you can also catch outdoor screenings of classic movies which has a different appeal altogether.
9. Sports Teams in Los Angeles
LA is also big on sports with a bunch of collegiate and professional sports teams. This includes the major league basketball, baseball, and football teams. The city has also hosted the Super Bowl a number of times, in addition to the Special Olympics and the League of Legends World Championship Finals. If you’re a fan of live sporting events, moving to Los Angeles would be perfect!
10. World-Class Education
If you thought LA was simply restricted to fun, movies, arts, and sports, think again! It has highly ranked colleges and universities, some of which are known for cutting-edge research.
These include the University of Southern California (USC), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), California State University – Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Film School to name just a few. Moving to Los Angeles to pursue a higher education degree is a great idea!
The architecture in Los Angeles is a class apart. If you move to LA, you’ll get to witness some of the finest architectural buildings downtown, including contemporary and modern styles. Plus, in some neighborhoods, you’ll find a range of architectural styles from English Tudor and Colonial to Mediterranean and Victorian.
12. Diversity and Los Angeles Lifestyle
The city boasts an eclectic population thanks to the increasing number of transplants moving to Los Angeles from all over the world. It’s no wonder the diversity of cultures is represented aptly in its diverse food, music, and architectural scenes.
Los Angelinos have a laidback attitude and typically sport a casual dress code with jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops. The thing that sets Los Angeles apart is there are people lounging around in cafes and bars at times when they’re expected to be neck-deep at work, unlike other cities. People here also tend to show up late for parties or events. Angelinos dress up well on an evening about town and love to flaunt their fine sense of fashion and their favorite designer labels. After all, LA is known for its high fashion scene.
Cons of Moving to Los Angeles
1. Expensive Housing
A major drawback of moving to Los Angeles is the expensive housing here. But there is a consolation that house prices are not as expensive as New York or San Francisco.
The median home value in LA is 696,900, way higher than the national average of 231,000, according to Zillow. The housing prices have increased substantially over the last few years. And while the rental costs are high too, these are beginning to plateau. The median rent price for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,360, and that for a two-bedroom being around $1,750, as stated by Curbed. But there are more expensive neighborhoods in the city with sky-high rental prices. The high costs also apply to gas, groceries, and eating out. Investopedia ranks Los Angeles within the top ten most expensive cities to live in the United States.
2. Challenging Commutes
The challenge in commuting to work in LA is partly due to its multiple commercial centers as opposed to a single central business district in most other cities. To top it all, LA is geographically spread out, making commuting to and from work a real challenge. On moving to Los Angeles, it’s best to choose a neighborhood based on its proximity to work or to the nearest transit stop.
3. Severe Traffic
La La Land is infamous for its traffic woes. The worst part is that you might encounter traffic at the most unexpected times like weekends, and not just during peak hours. If you plan to commute by car, make Google Maps your constant travel companion.
Efforts are underway to increase the number of subway lines which may mitigate the traffic here, but until then, be prepared to brave the freeways.
4. High Taxes
Like the rest of California, taxes are higher than average in LA. The combined sales tax rate in Los Angeles is 9.5%, including the state, county, and special tax.
5. Pockets of Poverty
The entirety of LA is not rife with glamorous scenes of movie stars descending from their glittering high-end vehicles. On your way to work, you’re likely to come across homeless people. The homelessness problem in LA is no joke and has only increased over the last few years. On some stretches, there are extreme pockets of poverty, while others have palatial mansions and gleaming film studios.
Looking for other places to move in California? Check out some of the other top cities to move to:
If living in Los Angeles doesn’t seem to be your cup of tea, check out some of the other popular moving destinations in California:
- If you’re looking for a city with incredible beaches, great outdoors, and a ton of fun activities alongside exceptionally good schools, moving to San Diego would be ideal!
- If you’re looking for a city with great weather, freshwater rivers and lakes, and a much lower cost of living compared to other cities in California, moving to Sacramento is highly recommended!
- If you’re looking for a city that has the highest number of technology-related jobs and proximity to San Francisco and other tourist destinations, moving to the Bay Area is a great alternative!
- If you’re looking for a city with a small-town vibe and want to work in Silicon Valley without paying high rent, moving to Hayward seems like the right choice thanks to its proximity to Silicon Valley!
- If you’re looking for a city with diverse opportunities, a highly affordable cost of living, and exceptionally fresh agricultural produce, moving to Fresno is a good idea!
- If you’re looking for a city with historical roots, great healthcare and educational systems, and excellent opportunities in technology, moving to Santa Clara would be perfect!
- If you’re looking for a city with amazing winter sports, moving to South Lake Tahoe would be a good idea, but the con of moving here is that housing is expensive!
All in all, Los Angeles has a unique vibe and livability factor that’s a touch apart. It’s undoubtedly a place where dreams come true and where you can experience great food, exciting nightlife, and relaxing vibes all around. We hope our guide has helped you determine whether moving to Los Angeles is the right choice for you.
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