Are you thinking about moving to Los Angeles? We’ve been fortunate enough to call this city home and wanted to provide a comprehensive list of the honest pros and cons of living in Los Angeles, California.
Los Angeles’ five counties are Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura. Collectively, they make up the metro area of Los Angeles, which is home to 13.2 million residents as of 2022.
If Los Angeles were a state, as opposed to a county, it would be the 7th most populated state in America. There’s a lot of people living in L.A., and for good reason!
Read on to learn about the honest pros and cons of living in Los Angeles from a local’s perspective. Hopefully the list below answers some of your questions, if not, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help!
As you read this, keep in mind that these pros and cons are based on my personal experience, not everyone feels the same way. With that said, let’s jump right in!
Pros & Cons of Living in Los Angeles, California
Note: This post is part of the Local Living Series, wherein locals share honest insights of living in a specific city through comprehensive pros and cons lists. If you’d like to reach out to the author directly with questions, please do so in the comments below and our team will ensure it gets to the right person.
Pros of Living in Los Angeles
#1. There’s always something to do
When you live in Los Angeles you’ll quickly learn that it’s hard to justify staying home because there’s ALWAYS something going on. There’s tons of art exhibits, museums, festivals and not to mention beach access for great people watching if all else fails!
#2. Los Angeles is a city for artists (and dreamers)
If you’re moving to Los Angeles, you’re moving to a city full of artists, dreamers and doers which contributes to the endless world-class entertainment opportunities at your fingertips every day of the week!
People move to Los Angeles to pursue careers outside of the 9-5 like acting, writing, and other creative fields.
If you’re at a phase in your life where you’re questioning your office job and want to pursue something on the side, LA is a great place to start because you’ll have access to tons of opportunities, connections and like-minded folks.
#3. There’s plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities
Living in Los Angeles means you’re surrounded by beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountains and expansive deserts in every direction.
What’s more, since the weather is nice year-round, you will have ample opportunities to enjoy the great outdoor recreation nearby!
If you’re in an adventurous mood and would like to venture a bit further out, you’ll find that you’re not too far from some of California’s epic national parks.
#4. The food scene is incredible
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that Los Angeles is consistently ranked as one of the best food cities in America. Home to both Micheline-Star restaurants and phenomenal cheap eats, it’s safe to say you will never go hungry while living in LA.
Both locals and visitors agree that the food scene in Los Angeles is incredible and varies from one neighborhood to the next and you won’t have a hard time finding a great variety of ethnic cuisines.
If you’re moving to Los Angeles and want to get a head start on the (often overwhelming, but in a good way!) food scene, I highly recommend this book because it spills the beans on some of the best restaurants in LA.
#5. Work-life balance
Unlike other large cities in America (looking at you New York City and San Francisco!) living in Los Angeles doesn’t feel as stressful, even though it has the potential to. I think the close proximity to the beach reminds folks to keep priorities straight and clock out at a reasonable hour.
You won’t find the city streets full of stuffy suits because most folks don’t work standard office jobs, as mentioned earlier. The healthy work-life balance is a major perk of living in Los Angeles.
#6. Pleasant weather year-round
Perhaps one of my favorite things about living in LA is the pleasant year-round weather. It’s hard to complain about living in a city that averages 284 days of sunshine a year.
Winter temperatures average highs of 69°F and summer temperatures average 80-85°F. The weather is tolerable year-round and allows you to enjoy the great outdoors or meet with friends for after-work drinks regardless of the season!
Another perk of living in LA is that the city doesn’t get humid and muggy! If you’ve ever lived in a muggy city, you’ll know exactly how big of a perk this is.
#7. Los Angeles is diverse
Hands down, my favorite thing about living in Los Angeles is the diversity, it’s one of the few US cities where there’s no ethnic majority. 48% of residents identify as Hispanic/Latino and 28% identify as white, making Los Angeles one of the most diverse cities in the country, second only to New York City.
You will meet the most interesting people while living in Los Angeles! As I mentioned earlier, the city is full of dreamers and doers and everyone is chasing a dream.
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and was a strong factor in our decision to move to Los Angeles.
#8. The LAX Airport
LAX is the second largest airport in America and gives you access to almost every destination in the world. With more than 101 domestic routes and 85 international routes, you won’t find yourself needing to transfer much when flying out of LAX.
Cons of Living in Los Angeles
#9. The job market
The unemployment rate in Los Angeles clocks in at nearly 11%, effectively making it one of the worst cities for finding a job.
Frankly put, there aren’t very many viable job opportunities in Los Angeles and that’s one of the major deterrents for people considering moving to Los Angeles.
#10. Lack of public transportation
Make no mistake, you will absolutely need to have a car for daily life in Los Angeles. The lack of public transportation is striking.
I’ve never found it easy to get from Point A to Point B using public transportation, which is why so many folks end up bringing their cars when moving to LA.
There’s a reason the roads are as congested as they are!
You’ll need a car while living in Los Angeles, no doubt about it, and it actually gets worse because California gas prices are some of the most expensive in the country!
#11. High cost of housing
Moving to LA and planning to buy a home? You’ll quickly learn how challenging the housing market in Los Angeles is. Housing tends to be the highest expense in most cities and life in LA is no exception.
With median prices averaging $756,000 and one-bedroom apartments going for $2,370 per month, Los Angeles is one of the most expensive cities in America for home buyers.
If helpful, here’s a chart of the steady increase in housing prices in LA over the last nine years.
Housing aside, daily life in Los Angeles is also expensive. You can expect to pay more for groceries, haircuts, entertainment, etc. Los Angeles is considered one of the most expensive cities in the country for a reason.
#12. Everything is spread far apart
Los Angeles is a massive city that spans over 500 square miles, which means neighborhoods are spread quite far apart and you’ll be driving everywhere you go. This only adds to the number of hours you’ll spend in a car while living in LA.
I often joke that there’s no difference between a friend that lives 15 miles away and one that lives in another state because the traffic will ensure that you visit them both no more than twice a year.
When you live in LA you quickly learn to keep social engagements as close to work and home as possible because how far apart things are is a true disadvantage to living in LA.
#13. Los Angeles’s traffic is some of the worst in the country
The best piece of advice I received before moving to Los Angeles was to live within the city limits or choose a neighborhood close to work because traffic will take up too much time otherwise, and man — does that advice ring true.
LA’s nightmare traffic is known the world over. I mean, the proof is in the pudding. Year after year, Los Angeles is ranked one of the 10 most congested cities in the country, with an estimated 103 hours a year spent in traffic for the average commuter.
After living in LA you’ll quickly learn to give yourself plenty of time to get from Point A to Point B. The constant traffic (which is not just confined to the interstate, mind you) is one of the biggest cons of living in Los Angeles.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the smog! You’ll want to prepare for both while researching whether you should be moving to LA.
#14. High state income taxes
Clocking in at an arresting state income tax up to 13.3%, it’s no secret that California taxes are the among the highest in the nation. The taxes should be taken into strong consideration while researching if moving to Los Angeles is right for you because they will greatly cut into your overall take home pay.
If helpful, below is a chart that show the effective California state income tax depending on your income bracket.
Time and time again, Los Angeles consistently ranks as one of the worst cities in America for homelessness. And it’s true, you can’t live in LA without seeing the detrimental effects of homelessness around you.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know what the right solution for homelessness is, but I want to be transparent about it for anyone considering moving to Los Angeles.
The discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots is painstakingly clear on the streets and practically impossible to avoid.
Pros & Cons of Living in Los Angeles California (Post Summary)
In sum, these are the HONEST pros & cons of living in Los Angeles California
- There’s always something to do
- LA is full of artists
- Pleasant weather year-round
- Incredible food scene
- Healthy work-life balance
- Outdoor recreational opportunities
- Los Angeles is diverse
- The great airport
- The job market
- Lack of public transportation
- High cost of living
- Nightmare traffic
- The urban sprawl
- California state income tax
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Until next time,
Thank you so much for the article! I just accepted a job in LA and appreciate learning what to expect. I am winding if you have recommendations on neighborhoods to live in? My office will be in Westwood.
Rafael Jaroshevskiy says
Ammmmm… What about seismic?
Lina Ara says
Depending on your lifestyle, you can get to your Westwood office in 10-20 minutes if you live in Westside neighborhoods such as Santa Monica, West LA, Brentwood, or even Westwood. Many people drive in LA, public transportation is not so great but exists.
Many thanks, it was so informative . I have accepted a job offer in LA and will be moving in April.. any recommendations where to stay? My office is near sun valley
Lisa Wilson says
I will be moving from West Des Moines, Iowa to the Hollywood Hills area. Any words of wisdom on how to make my transition easier?