Cost of living - Los Angeles

7 things to do and know before moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles

The City of Angels also known as Los Angeles is the biggest in California in terms of population and known as the biggest economic engine on the West Coast. Los Angeles is a city with a warm, sunny environment, a wide range of employment options, a vibrant cultural scene, stunning coastlines, a bustling culinary scene, and a top choice for shopping and entertainment.

If you are planning to move out of San Francisco and move to Los Angeles, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we covered the 7 things you must know before moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Moving to Los Angeles from San Francisco: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Los Angeles

Finding a job 

In September 2023, Los Angeles unemployment rate was 5.8%, rising from 4.5% in April 2023. In comparison, California had a 5.1% unemployment rate, while the national rate was 3.9% during the same time.

Some high-demand jobs that you need to know before moving to Los Angeles include: X-ray Technicians, interpreters, property developers and those members of healthcare professionals.

When finding a job in this city, it is important to look for employment vacancies and use internet job postings. SimplyHired, Indeed, and LinkedIn are examples of well-known sites.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Nov 2023) 

Getting there 

The coastal route from Los Angeles to San Francisco is one of the most beautiful highways in California. You’ll see beautiful beaches, peaceful redwoods, historic sites, quaint seaside communities, and so much more these two cities has to offer. 

Other travel options to reach Los Angeles from San Francisco include:

  • The flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles takes one hour and twenty minutes. The total amount of time spent in the air is 56 minutes. The trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles is 337 miles long. If you’re flying and need assistance with moving your belongings, explore the top long-distance moving companies in Los Angeles.
  • Taking the Amtrak train, which takes an average trip duration of almost 11 hours. 
  • Opting for a Flixbus journey, which takes approximately 7 hours. 

Must dos before your arrival 

  • Update Your Address: If you are moving to California, within California or even from California, you must update your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). DMV is a state-level government agency that handles everything related to vehicles and licenses. California DMV requires that you update your address within 10 days of moving. This is to make sure you have the updated address on your driver’s license, identification card, vehicle registration, and vehicle title.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for Los Angeles’s diverse weather as it has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. The pleasant weather is favorable for residents and visitors alike. 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 Los Angeles

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.

The public transportation system in Los Angeles is convenient for those who live near transit lines. In fact, many neighborhoods are not accessible by transit. According to a survey, 84% of L.A. locals drive to work, and the rest use public transit. This is surprising due to gas prices being so high in L.A.

The 30-day pass in Los Angeles has been discontinued due to the introduction of “fare capping.” However, you can achieve a similar monthly cost by purchasing four weekly passes, resulting in a total monthly expense of approximately $72.00.

Type of fare


Single ticket


Daily pass


Weekly pass


LA Metro (Sept 2023)

Exchanging your driver’s license

If you do not have a driver’s license from California or another state, you must apply for an instruction permit before taking the behind-the-wheel driving exam.

You must give the following information when applying for an instruction permit or a driver’s license:

Proof of Identification: Proving who you are.

Two proofs of residency: Demonstrating that you live in California. There may be some exceptions.

Legal complete name document: This document proves your current name if your identity document and application do not match.

Social security number: There may be exceptions.

Visit for information on REAL ID requirements, current approved papers, and eligibility.

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to Los Angeles from San Francisco, 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 almost 500 branch locations in Los Angeles, and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Healthcare is an essential expense. We should always include healthcare costs in our budgeting plan when moving to any place. The healthcare cost in Los Angeles is high; however, the costs vary among the wide selection of health plans.

Type of healthcare


Employer-sponsored health insurance


Non-employer-sponsored health insurance (average cheapest)




Numbeo (Sept 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in Los Angeles

Best places to live in Los Angeles

Choosing to move to Los Angeles State often means considering Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles City. It highlights the top 8 neighborhoods for quality of life in 2023, whether you’re drawn to the city’s vibrancy or seeking employment opportunities.




Best for university students

Culver City

Best for young professionals

Echo Park

Best for families with young children

West Hollywood

Best for LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ2S+ community

Los Feliz

Relaxing neighborhood


Best for single individuals or couples

Wilshire Center

Best for central neighborhood

Downtown LA

Best for lively urban lifestyle

Setting up home services 

Whether you own a house or pay the rent – you must cover the utility costs. You can save on heating and air conditioning expenses due to L.A.’s lovely Mediterranean climate. In addition, homeowners have the option to install solar panels and can even get money back for generating extra energy.

According to Numbeo data, the average basic utility package that includes heating, electricity, water, and garbage, and Internet in Los Angeles is as follows below.




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



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




Numbeo (Nov 2023)

Should you rent or buy?

The list prices of homes in San Francisco County have decreased by 3.4% compared to last year, with rents also dropping by $218 compared to the previous year. In Los Angeles County, home prices have declined by 0.9% since last year, while rental prices have decreased by $229 compared to the previous year. 

Planning a move from San Francisco to Los Angeles State, particularly Los Angeles City, requires awareness of the average costs involved. Los Angeles City ranks among the world’s most expensive cities, however, it is a little cheaper than San Francisco. For renters, securing an apartment in this competitive market can be challenging, even in upscale neighborhoods.

Cost of rent in Los Angeles, CA


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Los Angeles (Outside of Center)



Rockethomes (August 2023) & Numbeo (Sept 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Los Angeles


Average home price 

Los Angeles


Zillow (Nov 2023)

4. Cost of living in Los Angeles

Grocery items in Los Angeles


Milk (regular), (1 gallon)


Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)


Rice (white) (1 lb)


Eggs (regular) (12)


Local Cheese (1 lb)


Chicken Fillets (1 lb)


Beef Round (1 lb)


Apples (1 lb)


Banana (1 lb)


Oranges (1 lb)


Tomato (1 lb)


Potato (1 lb)


Onion (1 lb)


Lettuce (1 head)


Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)


Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)


Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)


Numbeo (Nov 2023)

5. The weather in Los Angeles

According to Weather Spark, July highs in Los Angeles at the warmest time of year are 85 degrees, compared to 72 degrees in San Francisco. Overnight lows in LA hit 72 degrees and 58 degrees in San Francisco. The coldest month in Los Angeles had a high of 65 degrees and a nighttime low of 48. Meanwhile, in the winter, San Francisco has a little temperature difference between the two, with high 40s during the day and mid-40s at night.

WeatherSpark (Nov 2023)

6. What to do as a local in Los Angeles

As a local in Los Angeles, you have a variety of activities to choose from, ranging from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences.

Make the most of LA’s beachfront location. There are lots of beaches in Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Malibu to relax, surf, or stroll down the boardwalk that locals may enjoy. 

The Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles is known for contemporary galleries and street art. It’s a wonderful spot to meet local artists and visit interesting businesses and cafés.

If you love sports, you can cheer for any sporting team in Los Angeles. The Lakers (basketball), Dodgers (baseball), and Rams (football) are among the professional sports teams in Los Angeles.

In short, Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles

  • Fun Fact #1: The phrase “Los Angeles” is Spanish for “The Angels.” The full name of the city is “El Pueblo de Nuestra Seora la Reina de los ngeles del Ro de Porcincula,” which translates to “Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the Porcincula River.”
  • Fun fact #2: Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, the world’s film and television capital.
  • Fun Fact #3: The iconic Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles initially read “Hollywoodland” and was constructed in 1923.

What Is the Biggest Difference Between San Francisco and Los Angeles? 

Los Angeles is larger than San Francisco

As of 2021, San Francisco has a population of 815,201, while Los Angeles has 3.849. LA covers an area of around 503 square miles, compared to San Francisco’s 47 square miles.

Los Angeles has a lower consumer prices compared to San Francisco

Although both cities are considered costly, San Francisco is substantially more expensive. San Francisco has 12.3% higher consumer prices than Los Angeles (without rent).

Los Angeles has a lower crime rate compared to San Francisco

In terms of safety, Los Angeles is safer . The safest neighborhood in Los Angeles has a reported crime rate of 0.017 crimes per 1,000 people compared to San Francisco’s 111.09 crimes per 1,000 people, which is the lowest among other San Francisco’s neighborhood. 


Depending on the lifestyle, cost of living, and experience you are looking for, San Francisco and Los Angeles are both wonderful options. While both cities offer a variety of things you need to consider on a daily basis, it will still be up to you to decide which city will give you the best quality of life.

This article will definitely help you compare the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles and give you an idea of which one will suit you best. If you’re planning to move soon, learn about the best moving companies in Los Angeles!


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Widgets Magazine

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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.

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