- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Los Angeles Guide (PDF)
A sprawling city, Los Angeles is an iconic travel destination and home to nearly four million residents. Outdoorsy visitors can experience everything from its pleasant Mediterranean climate and famous beaches to its rugged mountains and enchanting deserts. But it's perhaps most famous for its entertainment industry, which is considered to be unrivalled around the world, and being home to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and all its trappings. Read on to find out more about the pros and cons of living in Los Angeles.
Lifestyle in Los Angeles
+ PRO: Progressive and diverse culture
Los Angeles is known for its progressive and liberal thinking, with a diverse population to match. The city's people are constantly on the forefront of social issues such as climate change, LGBTQ+ rights and cannabis legalisation. The mix of cultures in the city also brings with it a vibrant, diverse and high-quality food scene, with specific neighbourhoods providing a wide selection of ethnic food options, be it from Ethiopian to Japanese or Persian to good old-fashioned American diners.
+ PRO: The great outdoors
The hot weather means Los Angeles is perfect for nature enthusiasts who can enjoy the city's offerings of gorgeous mountains, beaches and deserts year round. For those who want to ease into their outdoor routine, a relaxing day at Griffith Park at the Santa Monica Mountains would be perfect, and there are also luxurious hot springs in the city and surrounding areas. Of course, the beaches speak for themselves, with famous spots like Malibu, Long Beach and Venice Beach all waiting to be explored. The city is also synonymous with surfing, seeing that Topanga, Hermosa, and Manhattan beaches all have world-famous breaks.
Getting around in Los Angeles
- CON: Extreme traffic congestion
Los Angeles is potentially just as renowned for its traffic as it is for being a celebrity hotspot. Indeed, congestion becomes a part of daily life when living in the City of Angels, with an estimated 102 hours a year spent in peak jams. Drivers can also forget about easy parking as spaces are extremely limited.
- CON: Public transport isn't great
The public transport system in LA could be better, much of which can be attributed to a lack of demand as the vast majority of commuters choose to drive. While there are plans in the works to expand the Los Angeles Metro Rail System, new arrivals should not expect relief any time soon.
Cost of living in Los Angeles
- CON: Extremely expensive
California as a whole is a pricey state to live in, and LA is no exception. Fast food, alcoholic beverages and fuel prices are all high. Steep fuel prices are even more of an issue considering the large amount of car transport involved in traversing the incredibly spread-out city.
+ PRO: Buying smart can help
If one is smart about their food purchases, then things can be relatively affordable. By sticking to the produce aisle in a grocery store or frequenting farmer's markets, consumers can combat the high prices seen in cafes, restaurants and food chains.
Weather in Los Angeles
+ PRO: Lovely climate
The sunny skies of California mean the weather in Los Angeles is generally very pleasant, making its scenic beauty even more of a pleasure to live in. While the temperatures can get quite high, it's generally comfortably warm. With its Mediterranean climate, LA's summers are hot and dry while winters tend to enjoy lesser temperatures and more rainfall.
Working in Los Angeles
+ PRO: Diverse job market
There are opportunities in nearly every sector for those looking to work in Los Angeles. Unemployment rates have been low in recent times, and vacancies abound in everything from IT to logistics, though the city's main draw lies in its entertainment, fashion, and service industries. Start-ups are well supported and those in hospitality also enjoy competitive incomes.
- CON: High competition for jobs
While business is booming and there is a rich array of employers, the city also has one of the most competitive job markets in the country. This professional cut and thrust means newcomers must be prepared to work hard to grow in their careers. Getting a job in the first place might be fairly straightforward but climbing to the higher salary echelons requires graft.
► For an overview of life in the City of Angels, see our Moving to Los Angeles guide
Are you an expat living in Los Angeles?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Los Angeles. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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