City Guide / Los Angeles

The 20 Pros and Cons of Living in Los Angeles

By Janine DeVault | Dec 16, 2022
Cloudy day of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees in foreground

Welcome to Los Angeles County, where a day can range from celebrity sightings in West Hollywood to watching the sunset on the beach in Santa Monica—and everything in between.

Whether you’re working from a top-notch coffee shop, touring a studio lot, or hanging 10 on your surfboard at a beautiful beach, it’s helpful to have a guide before you get into the Southern California mindset.

Of course, no city is perfect, and if you’re wondering whether LA is a good place to live, only you can answer that for yourself. Below, we’ll cover all the pros and cons of living in Los Angeles to help you make your decision, as well as some need-to-know tips for living in Los Angeles that will make your new city feel like your hometown.

The pros of living in Los Angeles

  • There are tons of compelling opportunities
  • Wages are high
  • The weather is incredible
  • There are tons of unique neighborhoods to explore
  • There is always something to do
  • The entertainment scene is amazing
  • LA is very diverse
  • It’s a haven for creatives
  • There’s a laid-back West Coast culture
  • You’ll have access to LAX

The cons of living in Los Angeles

  • The LA job market is really competitive
  • The cost of living is high
  • It rarely rains
  • The city is sprawling
  • LA traffic is…rough
  • Making friends can be challenging
  • Public transportation is lacking
  • There’s a fixation on youth and beauty
  • Tax rates are high
  • You have to deal with LAX

Let’s get started!

Pro: There are lots of compelling opportunities

Sunset over Los Angeles downtown. Retro colors. California theme. LA background. Los Angeles city center.

LA County may be known as the center of show business, but the economic layout of the city is nearly as diverse as its residents. Aside from the entertainment industry, the Los Angeles area is known for being home to many tech companies with headquarters in Silicon Beach, such as Google, Hulu, and YouTube.

Not only that, but healthcare, construction, hospitality, and agriculture are all central industries to LA’s economy.

If you’re looking to take the next step in your career or thinking of pivoting into a new sector, the number of people, jobs, and training programs available in Los Angeles means that forging a new path in your professional life is a real option. Moving to Los Angeles could be the first step on a journey toward doing exactly what you love for a living.

Between business and social events, you may find yourself connecting with individuals who can help you grow your career. You may even build some lifelong relationships with mentors and colleagues.

Con: The LA job market is really competitive

Aerial view of a Downtown Los Angeles at sunset

Any big city has a competitive streak, but in the Los Angeles area, you’ll be competing in one of the largest markets in the world. Because this California city is home to so many high-profile companies that would look desirable on a resume, open jobs often receive an overwhelming number of applicants, many from top schools throughout the country.

If you’re coming to the city without stable employment, it may be stressful to try and find the right position quickly. Take the pressure off by having a healthy contingency fund before making the move.

Knowing how to set yourself apart as a candidate is key when navigating the LA job market. Developing a social media presence, attending networking events, or making connections with prospective employers and recruiters online is a strategic way to get your foot in the door. Working with a staffing agency can accelerate the process and lead to great professional opportunities you may not find on your own.

Pro: Wages are high

Cropped hands of businessman opening envelope with paycheck

Along with the abundance of opportunities available in LA comes higher wages. While some entry-level positions may start low, mid-level and senior positions can be very well-paying in Los Angeles, compared to the same positions at companies in other cities.

LA’s minimum wage is now over $15 per hour, which is significantly higher than the national average. However, the higher salaries that come with living in Los Angeles also come with a higher cost of living.

Con: The cost of living is high

View of palm trees, sky and aircraft flying

One of the most challenging aspects of living in LA is the high cost of living. The average cost of rent in this part of California is over $2,700 per month, which is surpassed only by New York and San Francisco. When you couple high housing costs with high fuel prices and the fact that a vehicle is a necessity in the city, the costs really start to add up.

Prices for dining out, cocktails, and entertainment, including movie tickets, concerts, and events are high, too. Though, when you consider that the city is home to some of the top venues, restaurants, and performers in the world, it’s easier to stomach the elevated expenses.

Depending on where you live, your high rent may come with some nice perks such as a pool, an on-site gym, and common areas for entertaining guests. Look for these types of perks when hunting for apartment rentals in LA.

Pro: The weather is incredible

Venice Beach Skatepark

The wonderful weather is one of the most alluring aspects of living in Southern California—and LA is no exception. With an average of 284 sunny days per year, Los Angeles certainly delivers residents their daily supply of vitamin D (just be sure to pack sunscreen!).

Temperatures are rarely close to freezing, and even the coldest evening can be weathered with a light jacket—though many LA residents still choose to sport puffers because they are so chic.

Con: It rarely rains

A dripping spigot on the ranch in California. Drought conditions. Extreme measures necessary. Depleted water resources.

LA’s incredible, sunny climate comes at a price: limited precipitation. And while you may not be one to complain about too many sunny days, the lack of rain does pose challenges such as droughts, forest fires, and dust.

Southern California’s low rainfall means the native plants dry out and turn brown, which can be depressing to see. And since the soil isn’t receiving moisture, any wind that passes through kicks up dust, leaving it coated on windows and vehicles and aggravating anyone with dust allergies.

And when it finally does rain, Los Angeles is thrown into turmoil. Many people who live in LA aren’t accustomed to driving in the rain. Couple that with slippery streets, and car accidents are more frequent. Landslides are another unfortunate side effect when it rains in LA. In some cases, they may impede traffic for several days as crews work to clean slides off the roads.

Pro: There are tons of unique neighborhoods to explore

Beach in Malibu, California coastline, USA

Those unfamiliar with LA likely associate the city with beach communities like Venice and Santa Monica, the glitzy shops along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, or the fun bars of West Hollywood, but there’s so much more to LA than just Hollywood! There are endless interesting neighborhoods to enjoy throughout LA, whether you choose to live there are just want to visit:

  • Downtown LA (DTLA): Once merely a business center, this area is now home to the trendy and eclectic Arts District, which is bursting with fascinating shops, galleries, eateries, and microbreweries.
  • Los Feliz: This affluent enclave at the base of Griffith Park is popular among hipsters and is home to independent eateries, boutiques, and vintage shops.
  • Koreatown: Located just west of downtown LA, this area is known for its wealth of restaurants, particularly Korean BBQ joints.
  • Manhattan Beach: This area has an awesome boardwalk scene full of fun sports bars and restaurants bordered by surf shops, skate shops, and great boutiques. This neighborhood is particularly popular on weekends when people flock to the bars to enjoy drinks on the beach.
  • Malibu: This area is known as a weekend escape for the rich and famous, but it also has great beaches, high-end shopping, fantastic wineries, and plenty of places to hike.

As you can see, there are many different corners of the Los Angeles area to explore. Choosing the right neighborhood to live in can really transform your experience of the city, so spend some time getting to know the different neighborhoods and what they are known for so you can determine which is best suited to your interests and lifestyle.

Con: The city is sprawling

City of Los Angeles cityscape skyline scenic aerial view at sunset.

Los Angeles is the poster child for a sprawling city. While it’s wonderful to have so many different neighborhoods spread out within the metropolitan area, the amount of driving time between your favorite points of interest can quickly become exhausting.

Depending on your neighborhood, attending a concert or ballgame could result in over an hour of commuting on each end of the activity. It’s not unheard of for LA residents to book a hotel room near the venue when attending events just to avoid the hassle of commuting after a late night.

Pro: There is always something to do

asian woman backpacker love freedom carefree hugging nature while hiking in hollywood hills enjoy fresh air. young girl traveler open arms raising standing on mountain sightseeing view of spring.

One of the best things about life in LA is that there’s always something going on. On any given day in LA, you can attend a local art show, visit a farmer’s market, join a peaceful protest, enjoy live music, go to a Corgi meetup, see a sports game, catch an improv show, or attend any number of other awesome activities. Your options are never-ending.

The outdoor activities to be enjoyed in the LA area are also hard to beat. On any given day, you can go surfing in Malibu, hike through the Santa Monica Mountains, drive a few hours to Big Bear to go skiing, ride your bike along the Venice boardwalk, go stand-up paddle boarding in Marina Del Rey, play beach volleyball in Venice, and more.

Con: LA traffic is…rough

Los Angeles downtown buildings and highway car traffic at sunset

Of all the stereotypes you may have heard about living in LA, the terrible traffic is undoubtedly the most accurate. However, you will quickly adapt. Rush hour is the perfect excuse to indulge in happy hour with your work buddies or put in a couple more hours at the office in the evening.

If you have a flexible work schedule, you’ll soon learn when the peak traffic hours are and how to avoid them along with the clever routes you can take to avoid traffic jams. And if you have no choice but stick it out on the freeway, it’s the perfect time to catch up on your favorite podcasts.

Pro: The entertainment scene is amazing

Nightlife in Los Angeles

As the center of the entertainment industry, it surely comes as no surprise that LA’s entertainment and nightlife are absolutely incredible. There are tons of daily, weekly, and monthly events happening in LA at any given moment.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Getty, and The Broad are just a few of LA’s most iconic museums. You can explore the classic and contemporary and pick something up at the gift shop for your out-of-town friends.

Bars, clubs, and live music are key parts of LA’s vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re looking to dance, sample the best of the Los Angeles restaurant scene, or toast craft cocktails, LA has a unique venue for you to let loose. Attend enough shows at famous venues like Whiskey A Go Go, The Wiltern, or The Troubadour, and you might even catch a legendary musician performing a pop-up set!

Con: Making friends can be challenging

Young beautiful girl riding a bike down the Venice beach in Los Angeles. Californian dreaming.

Making friends can be tricky while living in LA. You would think that in such a large city it would be easy to find others that share your interests, but the thing about LA is that everyone is always on the go. Between the long commutes, the demanding jobs, and everyone’s creative pursuits, it’s pretty common for LA residents to be flaky about making plans. It’s not because they don’t care, but because they’re exhausted!

And if you’re trying to date, it can be even harder.

You certainly can (and will) make friends in LA, but it just might take a little more work than you’re used to. If you work a traditional job, attending office happy hours and mingling with your coworkers is a great place to start. Otherwise, try joining Meetups, networking in local Facebook groups, or striking up conversations with people you meet at the gym, your local cafe, and beyond.

Pro: LA is very diverse

Friends hiking through the hills of Los Angeles

According to Los Angeles City Planning, 48% of the city’s population identifies as Hispanic, 29% as white, and 12% as Asian. Living in such a diverse city not only means that you will likely encounter others with a similar background or shared experiences to bond with, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn about different cultures, which can be interesting and eye-opening.

Con: Public transportation is lacking

Santa Monica Metro Light Rail / Train Station

Living in Los Angeles without a vehicle is not ideal. Though LA is working to expand its public transportation systems, they still leave a lot to be desired. Los Angeles is still very much a car-centric city, and ride-shares like Uber and Lyft can’t quite make up for the convenience of having your own vehicle. But, while having a vehicle offers the opportunity to go exactly where you want, whenever you want, owning one is costly.

LA’s high fuel prices, expensive parking, and inflated insurance prices make owning a vehicle more expensive than it would be in other areas of the country. Additionally, California has strict laws around emissions and most vehicles are subject to a smog test each time you renew your registration. If your vehicle fails, you’ll be responsible for repairing it to meet the requirements of the test.

That said, it is possible to live in LA without a vehicle. If you plan to do this, be strategic about the areas you live and work.

Tips From a Landing Member

Rebecca Grischow in Los Angeles

“Brace yourself for traffic, and if you’re hitting the highway during rush hour, tack an extra 30 to 60 minutes onto your drive.”

— Becca, “What I Learned About Being a Digital Nomad in Los Angeles”

Pro: It’s a haven for creatives

Video camera man operator working with professional equipment,filming recording

People come to LA to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be. At times, it may seem like everyone in the city is pursuing some form of creative pursuit, whether it’s screenwriting, music, or launching the next great app. Servers moonlight as soap opera stars, Uber drivers compose scores for popular television shows, and your barista just sold a pilot script to Netflix.

If you’re working on a creative project of any kind, whether it’s a new business idea or an artistic pursuit, you’ll have no problem finding kindred spirits in Los Angeles. One of the coolest things about living in LA is that so many people are chasing big dreams. Nobody will balk at yours. Being surrounded by this type of energy and mentality is really powerful when you’re pursuing something that feels unlikely.

Con: There’s a fixation on youth and beauty

Lower couple young two friend strong sporty sportswoman sportsman woman man in sport clothes warm up training do stretch exercise on sand sea ocean beach outdoor jog on seaside in summer day morning

With the presence of Hollywood, it shouldn’t be surprising that many people in LA seem to place an inordinate amount of value on youth and beauty. While there’s nothing wrong with being health-conscious, this scene can become exhausting if it’s not your vibe. There are endless fashionable places to work out, perfect, and restore your body throughout the city. If you’re someone who struggles with body image issues, this fixation may become draining. Though, if you’re strategic, you can block it out of your LA experience.

Pro: There’s a laid-back West Coast culture

Group of friends going to surf at the beach

Los Angeles has a really easygoing atmosphere. It’s almost a contest among locals to see how chill they can be—at least until they get on the freeway!

This vibe manifests in many aspects of LA life, but especially in the local fashion. If you’re a fan of athleisure wear, you’ll feel right at home in Los Angeles! You won’t be a local until you pick up a pair of Rainbow sandals and an outfit from Alo yoga.

And, if you’re thinking you have to dress up for work, think again! Many businesses boast about the casual dress codes and encourage employees to wear whatever they are most comfortable in.

Con: Tax rates are high

Aerial view of a Downtown Los Angeles at sunset

It’s no secret that California has some of the highest income tax rates in the country. At 13.3%, that’s a big chunk of your generous LA salary that gets reclaimed by the state. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking about moving to Los Angeles.

Pro: You’ll have access to LAX

Hollywood Sign from an airplane view.

Having access to one of the nation’s biggest airports makes it easy to get, well, anywhere. Whether you’re a digital nomad, traveling for business, or hope to welcome loved ones from out-of-town, having a major airport nearby makes getting to and from LA efficient and affordable.

Con: You’ll have to deal with LAX

Aerial of the Harbor 110 and Century 105 freeway interchange south of downtown Los Angeles in southern California.

This may sound dramatic, but any Angeleno knows that getting in and out of LAX is one of the worst parts of living in the city. While access to a major international airport is convenient, dealing with ground transportation to and from LAX practically cancels it out! If you love someone, you won’t ask them to drive you to the airport.

Living with Landing in Los Angeles

Life is all about balance—with the pros inevitably comes a few cons, especially when living in a city as bustling as Los Angeles. If you’re ready to try out life in LA, there’s one more thing you should know before moving: Living in Los Angeles gets that much better with Landing.

Landing offers fully furnished apartments in Los Angeles with flexible leases that let you move on your terms. Whether you decide Los Angeles is your forever home or just want to experience the city for a couple of months, renting from Landing offers you the flexibility you need. Learn more about becoming a Landing member today!

Janine DeVault

My name is Janine and I'm an experienced content writer who has worked with clients in industries including travel, pet care, health care, real estate, and more. My work is 100% original, well-researched, and engaging to read. Because I also manage social media accounts, I write all content with "shareability" in mind. I have a thorough understanding of SEO best practices and use KeySearch to identify competitive keywords that my clients' sites can rank for. I can perform keyword research, and/or seamlessly incorporate your chosen key phrases. In addition to working with clients, I operate two blogs: - Janine in the World is a travel blog helping women travel Mexico safely and confidently. - Have Pups, Will Travel is a pet travel blog helping pet owners balance a life of travel with their pet care responsibilities