10 Things to Know Before Moving From San Diego to Los Angeles

10 Things to Know Before Moving From San Diego to Los Angeles

Jun 28, 2023

Los Angeles, California, USA early morning downtown cityscape.

Laid back vibes give away to an entertainment-driven culture. The beach gives way to Hollywood. San Diego and Los Angeles may both be in California, but they are NOT the same. Prepare for your move, and your new life, with these 10 must-know differences, and how they could influence how you plan your relocation. 

Los Angeles housing is (way) more expensive

San Diego is known for its high cost of living, and its equally extraordinary housing prices. However, Los Angeles, as the second most expensive city in the United States, is even more costly. Pay an average of $833,500 for a San Diego home, and an average of $912,500 for a home in Los Angeles. Looking to rent, you could spend more than $2,781 per month.

San Diego - Los Angeles living cost chart

When it comes to planning your move, this change requires you to carefully consider both your budget and your housing options. You may need to look for a more affordable home, rent instead of buy, look for a higher paying job, or budget more carefully to make room for your housing needs. 

Los Angeles has better public transportation

Hilltop view of houses and curvy suburban streets in the northeast San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles has a well-established reputation for terrible traffic. In fact, the city ranked 5th worst in the nation in 2023. The good news? You don’t have to own a car to get around the city. Thanks to an efficient public transportation system serving 227 million people a year, Los Angeles makes it possible to get around the city, and around the traffic. 

Before relocating to Los Angeles, create a transportation plan. Where will you live? Where will you work? What are the most efficient ways to get to work, school, stores, entertainment, doctors and more? Consider potential commute times, available public transportation and more when planning your new life. 

Los Angeles has a more competitive job market

You will need more money to make ends meet in Los Angeles, and you may have to work a little harder to land the right job. As the 3rd-most competitive job market in the nation, Los Angeles generally has more people looking for employment than jobs available. Expect stiff competition when applying for jobs, particularly in in-demand industries or high-paying ventures. 

What does the job market have to do with your move prep? It should drive you to apply for and land a job before moving day. Consider looking at jobs in industries such as healthcare, technology and entertainment, or seek out employment in the city’s biggest employers, like Disney and the University of Southern California. 

Los Angeles boasts cultural diversity

When you move from San Diego to Los Angeles, you do not have to bid cultural and ethnic diversity goodbye. While San Diego is one of the nation’s most diverse cities, Los Angeles is not far behind. In fact, one 2023 study found that the City of Angels was the 10th most diverse urban area in the United States. 

When planning your San Diego to Los Angeles move, plan to enjoy the same kind of cultural richness that you currently find in San Diego. Discover multicultural cuisine, ethnically-influenced festivals and art from around the world, all easily accessible in your new city. 

Los Angeles is (slightly) warmer

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

San Diego is known for its perfect, year-round weather that is often in the 60s and 70s. Los Angeles, although 120 miles north, and located in the same SoCal area, is actually a little bit hotter than its southern counterpart. Average temperatures are often in the 80s for the summer months, and precipitation can be less than in San Diego. 

When moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, you may not need to change your wardrobe significantly to account for these relatively mild changes. However, you should make sure to prepare for a period of adjustment as your body acclimates to the warmer and drier summer weather. 

Los Angeles is an entertainment hub

LA, CA, USA - November 10, 2014: The Hollywood Sign is a landmark and American cultural icon located on Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles, California.

Home to Hollywood, Los Angeles has a storied history as a hub for some of the nation’s best entertainment, films and more. That culture is still strong (and Hollywood is still producing films), and you can expect to be influenced by this culture when you make your move. Even if you do not work in the movie industry, you will discover endless opportunities to connect with, work in or dabble in filmmaking, acting, arts, and more. 

Los Angeles is bigger

San Diego is California’s second-largest city, but Los Angeles still has it beat in terms of population. Even if you are accustomed to the hustle and bustle of San Diego, moving to Los Angeles will expose you to larger crowds. At 3.98 million residents, the City of Angels is more than twice the size of San Diego. 

Plan for the following, population-related, changes, when you relocate between the two cities: 

  • More time spent in traffic
  • More roads and more navigation challenges
  • A higher cost of living
  • More opportunities for entertainment
  • Higher crime rates
  • A faster-paced life

The beach is alive and well in Los Angeles

Group of friends going to surf at the beach - Young adults bonding at the beach

If you love the pristine San Diego beaches, you will love moving to Los Angeles. In fact, beach culture may be even bigger in Los Angeles, and its beaches definitely draw larger crowds, thanks in part to the bigger population in the LA area. Here are some of the most popular beaches to check out after you settle into your new home: 

  • Malibu Beach
  • Santa Monica Beach
  • Venice Beach
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Redondo Beach

How should the beach influence your preparations? Make sure to bring all of your beach gear, and a list of beaches to check out just as soon as your boxes are unpacked. 

Los Angeles is a busier place to live

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 21, 2015: crowded street with multiracial people walking on Hollywood Boulevard the world famous Walk of Fame created in 1958 as a tribute to artists working in the movie industry.

San Diego is known as much for its relaxed vibe as it is for its beautiful beaches. Los Angeles, on the other hand, is known for its busier and more intense approach to life. Do not expect a city that never sleeps, like NYC, but also do not expect the quiet pace of life to which you have grown accustomed. Your schedule may be busier. People may expect you to be more prompt. And people’s opinions may be stronger in the City of Angels. 

The outdoors beckon in Los Angeles

Finally, before moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, you need to know that despite its larger size and more urban feel, Los Angeles still offers the opportunity to enjoy nature. Consider, for example, the abundant bike trails that criss-cross the city, and the sunny beaches where you can enjoy everything from sunbathing to fishing. Prepare for your move by exploring the trails, parks and other outdoor areas that could feed your love of the outside. 

Read to move from San Diego to Los Angeles? Then hire experienced residential moversLong-distance moves, local moves and even international moves all become easier with the experienced and committed Oakley Relocation. Do you live downtown? We are downtown San Diego movers with numerous moves behind us. Looking for a corporate relocation? Get a quote from our professional movers and start your relocation today!

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