- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Los Angeles Guide (PDF)
A sprawling behemoth of a city, Los Angeles boasts awe-inspiring semidesert landscapes fringed by pristine, seemingly endless beaches. These golden beaches, along with the city's beautifully manicured people who populate them, project the glamorous LA culture which resonates around the world. The city's 'centre of the Earth' aura inspires ultra-modern trends, cutting-edge entertainment, trendy restaurants and vibrant nightlife.
Living in Los Angeles as an expat
A diverse population spread over such a large area has created microcosms within the city. These insular neighbourhoods can offer a sense of community within an expansive area. However, everyone must endure some realities of living within the greater LA metropolis, such as below-par air quality and extremely long commutes and notorious traffic jams across a city with a far-from-perfect public transportation system.
Los Angeles has a diverse business community, with industries tapping into nearly every sector of America's economy as well as overseas markets. While the business culture in LA might be more relaxed than one would find in cities along the East Coast, those moving to the city for job opportunities will find that the working world in LA is still exceptionally competitive.
Cost of living in Los Angeles
Living the high life in Los Angeles comes at a price. After New York City, LA has the highest cost of living in the US. Accommodation, healthcare and transport are major expenses, and it's all too easy to splurge on the many tempting entertainment options in the city. Securing a good salary is important, as is budgeting carefully with the money earned.
Expat families and children
Home to the nation's second-largest school district, LA's schools vary widely in quality. Public schools are assigned according to zoning of neighbourhoods and can be a great way to meet other families in the area. Alternatively, international schools can give expats a more familiar experience, though tuition can be frighteningly high.
The residents of Los Angeles are a health-conscious bunch and, as a result, there are a number of fantastic healthcare facilities available – provided patients possess fully comprehensive health insurance. While the standard of hospitals and medical treatment in LA is excellent, it does come with a hefty price tag.
Climate in Los Angeles
The breadth and hilly landscape of Los Angeles creates numerous microclimates, so inland and coastal temperatures can be surprisingly different. Still, the default conditions across LA are generally dry and hot. The year-round summery weather of Tinsel Town is one of its best assets, especially considering the abundance of beaches in LA.
Despite the challenges of living in Los Angeles, such as its high cost of living and difficult transport situation, the city continues to attract expats and Americans in their droves, all wanting to experience a bit of the magic of California. Freshly arrived residents open to the full experience of LA are bound to find their place in this dazzling city.
►To learn more about life in the City of Angels, read Pros and Cons of Moving to Los Angeles
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.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Aetna International, offering comprehensive global medical coverage, has a network of 1.3 million medical providers worldwide. You will have the flexibility to choose from six areas of coverage, including worldwide, multiple levels of benefits to choose from, plus various optional benefits to meet your needs.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.