7 Things to know and do before moving from California to New York

New York state is one of the most desirable places to reside for people around the globe. The vibrant nightlife, Broadway shows, the beautiful view of the city, the great employment opportunities, and quality education system have tempted many new residents. 

If you are planning to move out of California and move to New York, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we covered everything you need to know before leaving California and settling in New York. New York is the financial hub of the US. As a result, it has a thriving job market and an increasing number of employment offers in education, health services, and business.

Moving to New York from California: Everything to know and do

Featured in this article


1. First steps before moving to New York

Finding a job 

We all know that New York is notoriously pricey, but it is a fantastic place to find a job. Since New York has a healthy financial sector, it offers an excellent opportunity for growth. In addition, New York offers high-paying jobs. One of the benefits of living in New York is that it has a robust job market and is home to many leading American and global companies. High demand jobs in New York include nurses, retail associates and customer service representatives. 

CA Labor Market Information (Sept 2023) 

Getting there 

Moving from California to NY

The quickest and most efficient route from Los Angeles, California to New York City, New York is via Interstate 80, a transcontinental freeway spanning from San Francisco to Teaneck, New Jersey, just outside of New York. This route covers Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, offering breathtaking views along the way.

Other travel options to reach New York from California include:

  • Flying, with a flight duration of around 5 hours. For cost-effective flights, consider traveling in January or February, while peak season is typically June, July, and August. Prices for a flight from Los Angeles to New York City start at $198.
  • Taking the Amtrak train, which takes approximately 3 and a half days.
  • Opting for a Greyhound bus journey, which takes approximately 2 days.

The distance between Los Angeles and New York City is 2,790 miles, with a time difference of 3 hours (New York is 3 hours ahead). If you’re flying and need assistance with moving your belongings, explore the top long-distance moving companies in NY.

Must dos before your arrival 

  • Update Your Address: Changing your address is a crucial step when relocating. You can easily set up mail forwarding either online or in person before your move. Remember to update your address with various organizations, including the SSA, DMV, and home services. To ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, refer to our comprehensive change of address checklist, which covers all the places you need to update when moving.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for New York’s diverse weather from heavy snowfall in the winter to humid air in the summers. Check local forecasts and pack accordingly, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region’s climate variations.
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.

2. Upon your arrival in New York

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • Roaming around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily transit pass to save money.

Public transportation in New York, more specifically, the MTA, stands as one of the most extensive and established networks globally. The 24/7 availability of public transport contributes to NYC’s reputation as “The City That Never Sleeps.” A significant portion of NYC residents relies on public transit or bicycles for their daily commutes.

Currently, there is no daily pass option; instead, you can opt for single tickets or a weekly pass if you’re not interested in a monthly pass. As of October 2023, Metro cards are gradually being phased out and replaced with OMNY, a contactless payment card that allows for convenient tapping to access the transit system.

Type of fare


Single ticket (with OMNY card)


Single ticket (with single use Metrocard)


Weekly pass


Monthly pass


MTA (Oct 2023)

Exchanging your driver’s license

When moving from California to New York, you will be required to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license to the state within 30 days of becoming a resident in New York. Your New York license will be valid for 5 years. To get a list of all the documents required, you can visit the DMV website.

Documents needed for New York driver license and vehicle registration

  • Your new address
  • A completed Change of Address Form
  • Your date of birth
  • Your driver’s license number and license plate number
  • Name of the company your car is leased through, if applicable 

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to New York from California, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. This state follows the same procedures and regulations as in other states. Chase Bank has more than 500 branch locations in New York, and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Healthcare is an essential expense. We always include healthcare costs in our budget when moving to any place. New York City has many city-operated health clinics, but the healthcare cost in New York City is high compared to the rest of the United States.

The healthcare costs in New York City are as follows:

Type of healthcare


Employer-sponsored health insurance


Non-employer-sponsored health insurance (average cheapest)




Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in New York

Bes places to live in NY

Choosing to move to New York State often means considering New York City. With each neighborhood offering a unique personality and amenities to cater to your preferences, family status, and lifestyle, finding the ideal one is achievable.

This guide simplifies the process of living in New York City. It highlights the top 7 neighborhoods for quality of life in 2023, whether you’re drawn to the city’s vibrancy or seeking employment opportunities.




Safe, Greek culture.


Waterfront beauty, fishing history.

Forest Hills

Low crime, great education options.

Midtown east

Central location, iconic landmarks.

East Village

Vibrant art scene, safe.

Park slope

Diverse housing, proximity to park.

Carroll Gardens

Family-friendly, Italian-American community.

Setting up home services 

Utility costs in New York state fall in the average prices and are not that much higher than the national average. However, keep in mind that some parts of winter in New York State are quite chilly and summers are very humid leading to a rise in electricity bills. See the average utility costs below.




(Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment



(60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)




Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Should you rent or buy?

Planning a move from California to New York State, particularly New York City, requires awareness of the average costs involved. New York City ranks among the world’s most expensive cities, notably in terms of real estate. For renters, securing an apartment in this competitive market can be challenging, even in upscale neighborhoods.

Cost of rent in New York City


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

New York City (Outside of Center)



Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Cost of buying a property in New York City


Average home price 

New York City


Zillow (Oct 2023)

4. Cost of living in New York


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($85.63 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in New York

New York ranks 9 out of 10 in the Summer Comfort Index and has beautiful autumn but harsh and freezing winters when it comes to weather and climate. On average, there are 230 sunny days per year in New York State. The hottest month in New York is July, with an average temperature of 78°F and the coldest is January at 35°F. In addition, New York is known for its snowfall at 25 inches per year. 

Whereas summers in California are too hot for some, the ocean breeze cools down the temperature while winters are mild and offer a comfort index of 8.7. 

Note: “The Summer Comfort Index considers seven climate variables, including total precipitation, daily minimum and maximum temperatures, extreme high and low temperatures, average dew points, and precipitation days”.

BestPlaces (Oct 2023)

6. What to do as a local in New York

Just like in any state with a major city, New York State locals love weekend getaways to the bustling New York City. When people move here from California, they often become New Yorkers, immersing themselves in the local culture.

New Yorkers are known for their sports fandom, frequently attending games to support their teams. The city also attracts famous musicians, making weekend concerts a popular choice.

In the winter, New Yorkers enjoy activities like ice skating and snowshoeing. The Adirondack Mountains offer stunning views and hiking opportunities for those seeking outdoor adventures.

In short, New York State has something for everyone, whether it’s the city’s excitement or the state’s natural beauty, keeping locals busy on weekends.

7. Fun facts about New York

  • Fun Fact #1: The original name of New York City was New Amsterdam as the Dutch settlers were the first to arrive in this area, but later the English renamed the city New York in honor of the Duke of York.
  • Fun fact #2: New York was the first state to require license plates on cars.
  • Fun Fact #3: France gifted the Statue of Liberty to celebrate the friendship between the US and France.


Moving from California to New York City offers exciting opportunities but requires careful preparation. This guide covers crucial steps for a successful transition. Find a job in New York, plan your route, update your address, and research apartments. Upon arrival, familiarize yourself with your neighborhood, transfer your driver’s license, open a bank account, and secure health insurance. 

Explore New York’s neighborhoods, each offering unique characteristics. Setting up home services and understanding the cost of living are essential. Prepare for New York’s varying weather and discover local activities. Fun facts about the city add a unique touch to your move. For assistance, consider the best moving companies in New York.


Widgets Magazine


Widgets Magazine

Share this article on social media

Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

Relevant for your move

How much is your move?

Find a mover

Easily compare multiple quotes

Organize your move

Guided through a checklist

Internet packages

Get up to speed on the new deals

Address change

Update your address in a few clicks

Join the network

Become a trusted vendor in your service area

For agents and brokers

MovingWaldo is a one-stop-shop that simplifies tackling moving tasks

What is MovingWaldo?

We guide millions of families through each step of their moving process, helping them save time and money, and making sure nothing gets left behind.

Trouver un déménageur

Comparez plusieurs devis

Organisez votre déménagement

Guidé à travers une checklist

Changement d’adresse

Mettez Ă  jour votre adresse en quelques clics

Forfaits internet

Soyez au courant des nouvelles offres internet Ă  domicile

Rejoignez le réseau

Devenez un fournisseur de confiance pour desservir votre région

Professionnels de l’immobilier

Prolongez la relation avec vos clients grùce à votre propre plateforme de déménagement personnalisé

Qu'est-ce que MovingWaldo ?

MovingWaldo est un guichet unique qui simplifie la planification du déménagement

Get our printable change of address checklist directly in your inbox