Los Angeles downtown skyline
December 12, 2019 Posted in City Guides
Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

Moving to Los Angeles – A Complete Guide

Have you been thinking about moving to Los Angeles? The City of Angels is known worldwide as an entertainment hub and a global stage for show-biz. Still, South California’s commercial and cultural center also offers a chance to live any kind of lifestyle you want.

LA area view Relocating to LA will be an adventure to remember

Even if you’re moving to Los Angeles alone, you will surely never feel lonely here, adjusting to the new state will be smooth and the advantages of moving alone here are numerous. In fact, it is known as one of the best places to live in California for young adults, as it offers vast entertainment opportunities, paired with lots of possibilities for career improvement, clearly, no room for relocation depression. Even if you’re moving with kids or you are planning on starting a family, you can still rest assured that this is the right place to do it. Without further ado, let us delve deeper into our guide about everything there is to know about living in the City of Angels.

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LA is an International Melting Pot

You’re probably already aware that the most populous city of California is a melting pot of cultures, home to people from more than 140 countries who speak around 220 different languages. People from all over the world flock here looking for a better life, job opportunities, or a fresh start. Pair this with millions of tourists who visit the area every year, and you’ve got yourself a truly international metropolis.

LA LA is bustling with tourists all the time

Cost of Living in LA – Renting Costs and Utilities

If you were planning on living here and saving a few dollars, we have some bad news. Even if you choose some of the most affordable places to live in Los Angeles, you will still likely be spending more than you did before the relocation. For reference, renting a one-bedroom apartment downtown will cost you more than $2,000. So, make sure to check out some packing tips and tricks or moving tips on how to reduce costs when moving and avoid common moving mistakes.

However, rent isn’t the only big expense you’ll have to count on. On average, utilities for a 900-square-foot apartment will cost you around $100, and you would have to pay $100 for your monthly bus pass. Overall, the cost of living in LA is about a third higher than the national average.

calculator with cost written on it Residing here isn't exactly cheap

Finding a Job in LA

Now that you know approximately how much you’ll be spending here, it is time to figure out how you’ll make that money first. If you work in entertainment, IT, bioscience, fashion, tourism, trade, or marketing, you’re in luck! These are the industries that thrive here and you will surely have no trouble finding a job before moving to another state.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start looking on time. Knowing how to get a job before you move is crucial for making sure you don’t run out of funds even before you settle down in your new home. We suggest you begin searching for work on websites such as Indeed.com at least a few months before you relocate.

If, on the other hand, you have a position waiting for you in LA, make sure you put together a list of important relocation questions to ask your employer and avoid any misunderstandings along the way. Also, consider relocating close to your office, even if it means moving into a smaller home because commuting can be a nightmare.

man working on laptop Try to find a job before you move

Choose the Right Neighborhood Before Moving to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is huge, not just in population terms, but in its area as well. This means that house-hunting and choosing the right neighborhood within the city isn’t going to be easy, so don’t let that cause you anxiety about moving out. There is a long list of options that you have to measure against your own needs and preferences, including the safety of your future neighborhood. To help you make the decision, we’ve put together a list of our top picks on where to live in LA:

  • Atwater Village. This community truly offers the best of both worlds: it has easy access to all the important locations in the area but is still removed from all the hustle and bustle of the downtown. Plus, unlike most neighborhoods here, it is not as uniform and dull – houses have their distinct styles and colors, giving the streets a hipsterish look. The population is generally older, but ethnically very diverse. Those that are moving in together with their partners and thinking about starting a family might love Atwater Village’s peaceful vibe.
  • Beverly Grove. If you have the budget for it, it is a good option. This community lies in between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, which speaks volumes about the cost of rent and utilities. The area is packed with shopping and dining options, so if you are moving for a relationship you’ll always have plenty of options for a fun date.
  • Rolling Hills. The suburbs of Los Angeles are truly a gem to be discovered. Rolling Hills offers a rural feel with all the amenities and accessibility of a metropolis. Although the rent is pretty steep, if you’re looking for a safe neighborhood in Los Angeles, this is the place to be. Moving to the suburbs has never seemed so attractive.
  • Silver Lake. If you’ve been looking for the best places to live in Los Angeles for singles, you’ve surely stumbled upon Silver Lake before. With rent that is significantly lower than the LA average, living alone here is actually feasible. As a bonus, with its hipster vibe, high walkability, and low crime rate, the area attracts all kinds of fun individuals. If you choose to move here, you’ll surely have no trouble making friends in the new state.
Getting ready for cross country moving to Hollywood There is a wide variety of neighborhoods

The Weather

Let’s face it, one of the reasons why you should move here is the amazing weather. The climate here is definitely hard not to love. With mild to high temperatures all year long, and only a little bit of rain during the winter months, this is truly a heaven on earth for all outdoor enthusiasts. So the best time of the year to move here is anytime. Does visiting the beach in the middle of November sound crazy? It doesn’t to Californians!

The daily mean temperature during the winter months revolves around 58°, while the summer sees the average daily temperature of around 74°. In other words, unless you’re moving during winter months, be ready for some heat.

LA LA is known for the beautiful weather

Things to Do on a Day Off

With all that nice weather, it would be a shame to spend all your free time at home when you are done unpacking after the move. So what is there to do in LA?

Popular Attractions

Once you settle down, and especially if you’ve never been here before, you will likely want to visit all the most popular attractions that make LA so fun for tourists. Go stand under the Hollywood sign or take a tour of Universal Studios Hollywood. Of course, Disneyland is a must, even if you don’t have kids. Walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame and visit the world-famous Santa Monica Pier. And then, after a long day of shopping at the Grove, sit down for dinner at one of the most iconic LA restaurants, such as Cole’s, Philippe the Original, or Tam O’Shanter. You might even want to get a tour guide to show you around.

Living Like a Local

Once you’re done exploring all the top tourist attractions around the city, you should learn how to explore like a local – because that’s what you’ll be. The truth is, most locals shun these popular places, as they are constantly overcrowded and loud. This is why you should put in some effort to find the not so popular gems in your vicinity. Here are some tips on how to behave like a true Angeleno:

  • Visit the Larchmont District. Despite its central location, this little area is yet relatively unknown to tourists, and it is where all the locals go for a quick snack or some good, authentic gelato.
  • Zuma Beach. No one likes spending half an hour at the beach trying to find a place to put their towel. So instead of elbowing your way through the crowd on Santa Monica Beach, head to Zuma and enjoy the sunshine in peace.
  • Runyon Canyon. Do you enjoy hiking? Then instead of following the crowd to the Hollywood sign, head to Runyon Canyon. As a bonus, you’re more than likely to run into a few celebrities here.
  • The Farmer’s Market. There is nothing that screams ‘local’ more than shopping at the farmer’s market. Grab your bags and head to Fairfax District, where you’ll get to enjoy fresh produce.
  • Nina’s Mexican Food. Does burrito for breakfast sound like a good idea? Then Nina’s is the place to go. Enjoying good food for an affordable price without having to wait in infinite lines – it doesn’t get better than that.
hollywood sign If you move to LA, you get a chance to stand under the Hollywood Sign

Other Things to Know About LA

The city’s popular and not-so-popular attractions are only some of the things there are to know. In fact, you can easily discover all these gems and locations on your own. But what else is there that you should be aware of before you start preparing packing materials for moving?

Driving in the City of Angels

Sure, secluded dining spots and cool hiking trails are great, but there’s nothing that will make you feel like an Angeleno more than sitting in traffic. Although the public transportation system is gradually getting better every year, it still can’t keep up with the influx of new residents and tourists. Traffic jams are an everyday reality you’ll simply have to deal with.

However, there are certain rules that may differ from your hometown that you’ll want to get used to if you plan on understanding how car shipping works and getting auto transport services. For example, if you transport your car across the country, know that carpool lanes are a thing, and this rule is strictly enforced. If you’re caught driving alone in a carpool lane, you’re looking at a pretty steep fine. If you have an electronic toll collection system such as Fastrak, you likely won’t have to worry about the lane you’re in.

Does driving here sound like something you’d rather avoid? Then you can rely on public transport or, depending on the location you choose, you can walk or cycle. Although LA is not exactly known for its walkability, it actually takes the 13th place on the list of most walkable cities in the US.

metro station Public transportation isn’t ideal

You’ll Run into All Kinds of People

Being an international melting pot, this big city is home to folk from all over the world, with different backgrounds, cultures, traditions, stories, and personalities. Be open-minded – although cultural differences may seem insurmountable at first, but if you put in a little effort, you could end up with a new friend for life.

We’ve already mentioned that over 200 languages are spoken here. Of course, English and Spanish are the most dominant ones, but other languages, such as Russian, French, Portuguese, Italian, Mandarin, or Japanese are quite prevalent.

Just like with languages, religion in the Entertainment Capital of the World is quite diverse. While more than half the population are Christians of various denominations, many belong to Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, and so on. It is not uncommon to meet atheists or agnostics either.

The Pollution is Breath-Taking (Literally)

As with any metropolis, air pollution is a big issue. On some days, the smog can get pretty bad due to heavy traffic and industrial areas in the vicinity. Luckily, weekend trips to the surrounding nature are a great way to clear up your lungs (and your mind).

The good news is that there is a long list of environmental organizations fighting not only to make the air better but also to preserve the nature of the area. For example, the members of the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust work to preserve the ecosystem of the Ballona Wetlands, while Breath California conducts research and educates the nation on the importance of clean air.

Being Healthy is in Style

No matter if you move during the holidays or in summer, the nice weather will allow you to spend a lot of time outdoors. It seems as if everyone enjoys some sort of physical activity, be it surfing, jogging, sky-diving, or simply taking a stroll in the evenings.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a health-freak, don’t be surprised if you become one. There is something fun for everybody in the world of wellness and fitness, and it is just a matter of time before you find yourself laying down a yoga mat at the beach to say hello to the morning sun.

a person doing yoga Find an activity you enjoy

Your Neighborhood is More than a Location

Where you live in LA can tell people a lot about you. Your choice of location, in their opinion, speaks volumes about your lifestyle, marriage status, career, and, of course, finances. This doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will judge you on your choice of address – it simply may influence the kind of a crowd you associate with. Don’t be surprised if you realize you have much more in common with your neighbors than with someone living a few miles away.

This is mostly due to the fact that each little area of LA has its own character and vibe, which, of course, attracts a certain kind of people. The metropolis is one of the best cities to raise a family in the US, but still, parents with kids are more likely to stay in quiet suburban areas, while young singles usually flock to the middle of the hustle and bustle. People who prefer peace and quiet (and can afford it) will likely live closer to Beverly Hills, while students are attracted to livelier locations.

Positivity All-Around

One of the best things about LA, however, is the fact that everyone seems to have a positive outlook on life. People complain less here, take life day by day, and do their best to enjoy every moment. It is a contagious attitude that will surely rub off on you in no time. It’s not too surprising, of course, with all the sandy beaches, palm trees, and sunshine.

friends laughing You will see that many people here are happy and smiling often

So How Do I Move to LA?

If we have convinced you that LA is the place to be, it’s time to start planning a moving budget and all the ways you can reduce relocation expenses and moving stress. If you think that you can’t pull it off on your own, begin by creating a household inventory list and finding highly recommended and reliable Los Angeles cross-country movers and requesting their moving services. Going through long-distance relocation alone is a huge and painstaking effort, which usually isn’t worth the money saved, but if you want, you can consider getting the cheapest way to move out of state or to relocate during the cheapest time of the year. It’s best to simply hire professionals to pack your furniture, clothes, and other valuables for you, while you donate unwanted items and take your time to tell your friends you’re leaving and prepare for a fresh start in California.


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