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Living in Los Angeles

Best Places to Live in Los Angeles

In a city of extremes, identifying where to live in Los Angeles can be complex. With 88 different regions and 472 neighborhoods, expats may feel overwhelmed with choice. Luckily, just like with everything else in LA, the choice of where to live is as diverse as the city’s population.

At a Glance

  • No matter where you live in Los Angeles, housing costs are high. Even in the cheapest area, it is hard to find a place for less than 1,200 USD.
  • In a city of over four million people it is still possible to find areas with small town vibes such as the neighborhoods of Glendale and Pasadena.
  • South Bay may be the perfect embodiment of all LA has to offer, with a mixture of a lavish style and laidback beach community.
  • Northeast LA has seen a recent population boom as Angelenos seek out cheaper rent that is still within easy commuting distance of downtown.

Living in La La Land

Los Angeles may be depicted in films as the land of unending chaos, but this is not true of the entire city. Suburban-like pockets of peace and calm can be found in various neighborhoods and LA is even home to California’s second largest city park. Likewise, newcomers to the Californian metropolis will also have their choice between cramped, high-rise, city apartment buildings or standalone beachside cottages.

When asking yourself what is the best area of LA according to your needs, one of the biggest factors to consider is your commute. Sometimes called the Car Capital of the World, Los Angeles is infamous for its hours-long bumper-to-bumper daily traffic jams. Because of this, many Angelenos prefer to live close to work rather spend hours every day stuck on the road. And although LA does have an expansive public transportation system, locals do not find it as reliable as in other US cities such as New York or Chicago.

Best Areas for Expat Families

If you are moving to the City of Angels with a family, you will want to look at neighborhoods with good schools, safe streets, and plenty of nearby family-friendly activities. These are some of the best Los Angeles neighborhoods that meet those requirements:

  • Sherman Oaks
  • Manhattan Beach
  • The Valley

Best Areas for Solo Expats

Los Angeles is a great city for the solo expat. No matter your age or lifestyle, single foreigners moving to the California city are sure to find much to do and active, inviting social groups. These are some of the best neighborhoods for single expats:

  • Downtown
  • Santa Monica
  • Culver City

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Popular Places to Live in Los Angeles

With so many regions and neighborhoods to choose from, finding the right place in LA can feel impossible. We list the most popular places to live in Los Angeles as well as a short description of what makes them so desirable.

Central LA

The most typical “city living” area of the Los Angeles metropolis. Located in Los Angeles proper, Central LA includes the tall skyscrapers, busy streets, and fast-paced lifestyle you would expect of any major city. This region is cheaper than the ritzy Beverly Hills and Burbank neighborhoods. Do not expect to buy in this area as rentals dominate 81.4% of the housing market.

Central LA is also home to Griffith Park, which covers 4,310 acres. Griffith is the largest city park in LA and the second largest in the state of California (second to Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego).

Popular Neighborhoods:

  • Downtown
  • Hollywood (including East and West Hollywood)
  • Koreatown
  • Silver Lake

Northeast LA

This region of Los Angeles has seen a gradual population increase over the past few years as residents move in search of cheaper rent while still being close to downtown. The region is full of Spanish-inspired homes as well as independent cafes, shops, and restaurants. Those looking for a combination of city life, but with a quieter feel should look in this region.

Popular Neighborhoods:

  • Highland Park

San Fernando Valley

Also called “The Valley,” this is one of the largest regions of Los Angeles. This region is sometimes given a bad rap for its lack of quaint shops, boutiques, and hip restaurants, which are rife throughout other parts of LA. However, what The Valley lacks in style, it makes up for in ample parking, larger, more affordable accommodations, and a laidback vibe (especially when compared to the rest of LA).

While The Valley is on the opposite side of the Hollywood Hills, you will still find film studios here such as Warner Brothers, Universal, and CBS. Be advised, The Valley is the hottest region of LA. Temperatures can reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degree Celsius).

Popular Neighborhoods:

  • Sherman Oaks
  • Burbank

South Bay

If an extravagant beach life is more your scene, South Bay may be for you. This region combines both a ritzy lifestyle with a subdued suburban feel. Trailing the coastline, which lends to its name, South Bay is a region where it is easy to zip to the shore for a sunset stroll or spend a weekend playing beach volleyball.

Popular Neighborhoods:

  • Torrance
  • Manhattan Beach

South Los Angeles

Like Central LA, South Los Angeles is largely located within Los Angeles proper. It, too, is more “city like” in that it has crowded streets, densely populated neighborhoods, and few tourist attractions. Here you will find the cheapest rent in the county. This region is often viewed negatively for its history with the famous LA riots, and it is considered the least safe region in all of LA.

Popular Neighborhoods:

  • South Park


Verdugos is a smaller region of Los Angeles, but by no means does that make it less significant. The region is home to one of the first cities to be incorporated into Los Angeles County: Pasadena. Bordered by the Verdugo mountains, this region is known for hip eateries, quaint streets, and as one of the most desirable places to live in LA.

Neighborhoods in this region can feel more like small towns rather than a packed metropolis. Expats with young children may want to consider this region.

Popular Neighborhoods:

  • Glendale
  • Pasadena


This region encompasses the most expensive and glamorous neighborhoods in LA. Affluent and influential, the Westside is the upscale, sophisticated side of La La Land that everyone associates with Hollywood movies.

This region is full of hip restaurants, night clubs, and high-end shopping. Those looking to live a life like the rich and famous will do well here.

Popular Neighborhoods:

  • Santa Monica
  • Culver City

Average Rent in Los Angeles

As of May 2019, the average rent in Los Angeles was 2,371 USD. The average size of an apartment was 786 square feet (a large studio or small one-bedroom apartment).

Below are the average one and three-bedroom rent prices for the most expensive and least expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

Average Rent Prices for the Most Expensive Neighborhoods in Los Angeles


Neighborhood Room Type Price
Santa Monica One-Bedroom 3,500 USD
Three-Bedroom 11,147 USD
Venice One-Bedroom 3,195 USD
Three-Bedroom 9,698 USD
Marina del Rey One-Bedroom 3,120 USD
Three-Bedroom 9,900 USD


Average Rent Prices for the Least Expensive Neighborhoods in LA


Neighborhood Room Type Price
Central Alameda One-Bedroom 1,250 USD
Three-Bedroom 2,550 USD
Florence-Graham One-Bedroom 1,295 USD
Three-Bedroom 2,350 USD
South Central LA One-Bedroom 1,320 USD
Three-Bedroom 3,450 USD


Updated on: February 04, 2020

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