Los Angeles is one of the most iconic cities in the world. From old Hollywood glory to cutting edge fashion, amazing food and a vibrant music scene, Los Angeles is a hub of excitement and sunshine along California’s southern coast.
Many people relocate to Los Angeles for the weather and sunkissed lifestyle, while others make the move to pursue their passions and dreams in search of stardom. Some individuals moving to LA from the UK are looking for a totally different way of life. Whatever the reason, heading out west to LA is a big move, and one you’ll want to thoroughly research beforehand.
Read on for our guide to moving to Los Angeles from the UK or just about anywhere else.
The sun-kissed city of Los Angeles sits on the west coast of America, and is home to a number of world-famous neighborhoods such as Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Los Angeles is the second biggest city in the US, following New York. The city is a dreamland of tall skyscrapers, idyllic coastal beaches and of course, tourism sites such as the Walk of Fame and Universal Studios Hollywood.
Los Angeles falls under the Pacific Daylight Time zone during summer months (March – November) and Pacific Standard Time during the winter. The population of Los Angeles is one of the highest in the states, with a current population of nearly 4 million (2021). This makes the population density of the city above average, with nearly 7,009 people per square mile.
Famed for its Mediterranean style weather, Los Angeles is desired for its beautiful climate. The climate is mild and sunny nearly all year round, with warm winters that make many envious. Los Angelans typically experience on average 284 days of sunshine per year.
If you’re considering a move to sunny Los Angeles, you may be interested in the benefits of moving there. We’ve put together the ultimate international relocation guide to provide further information on moving to Los Angeles, USA.
Whilst walking the streets of Los Angeles is lovely, the city is big. Exploring the city can’t truly be done without using a form of transport. For many, living in Los Angeles means a lot of driving, as the city is very spread out.
Luckily, Los Angeles has one of the strongest public transportation systems in the states, however only 9% of the population use it. Driving in LA is extremely popular, which unfortunately means that traffic issues are too. If you’re commuting, exploring, or simply don’t want to be stuck in traffic, public transport is a great alternative for getting around the city.
There are six rail lines in Los Angeles (including subway and light-rail), as well as a number of bus lines which run across the city. The Metro Trip Planner is a really useful tool to use when getting around Los Angeles, as it provides you with detailed instructions on getting to and from your chosen destination.
Driving in Los Angeles
If you’re planning on driving in Los Angeles there are a number of factors you should be aware of:
- Whilst shipping your vehicle to Los Angeles is always an option, it may be difficult for certain cars given the traffic keeps to the right.
- The minimum driving age in California is 16 years old.
- Pedestrians are given the right of way at any intersection.
- Speed limits are strictly enforced. Unless stated otherwise, maximum speed on city streets is 25mpg and 65mpg on freeways.
The Expatriate Community
Moving to LA? Los Angeles is a popular city for expats, and is home to a strong and growing expat community. With a high quality of life and so many diverse neighbourhoods, expat lifestyle in LA can be anything you make it. Moving to a new city can be a difficult and challenging prospect, so have a look at some online expat forums such as InterNations to connect with the locals and other expats alike.
Californians are open minded and easy going. They have a more relaxed attitude to life than many of their US neighbours. Whilst Los Angeles is home to a number of glamorous and eccentric people, the majority of the residents there are hard working and conservative; not how the media and entertainment industry portrays them.
Los Angeles is a large melting pot, meaning you will find people from a diverse range of backgrounds, countries and cultures. Every neighbourhood is different, so be sure to do your research on specific areas and join local community groups to learn more about the residents. Almost 37% of the Los Angeles population is foreign-born, so as an expat you’ll be in an exciting and like-minded area.
Housing in Los Angeles
The city of LA is leading the state in housing production to house its ever growing population. Unfortunately whilst residential construction is bustling, only a small percentage of the new units added have been affordable. In a 2017 study by the National Association of Realtors, the city ranked as the 7th most expensive place to buy a home in the USA.
When moving to Los Angeles it is important to consider the various types of housing and which would be best for you and your family. There are many types and styles of property available on the market, including:
- Mission Revival
- Spanish Colonial Revival
- Bungalow Courts
- Mid-Century Modern
- Post Modern
If you’re looking for short term housing, renting is always a good option. With over 40,000 Airbnb listings, you will never be short of places to stay in Los Angeles. There are also a number of home sharing options, which are great for people travelling solo.
Schools in Los Angeles
There are a plethora of options available for parents looking to send children to school in Los Angeles. Both the quality and cost of schools can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, so it’s important to consider which is best for your child. It is therefore important to speak to the principal of schools in the area, asking for a tour and classroom visit.
The Los Angeles public school system is one of the largest in the United States, extending beyond the city itself. The city’s school system is largely dependent on finance provided by the state. The educational system in California consists of public, NPS, and private schools. There are 5 stages of education in the state of California, including:
- Elementary school
- Junior high school
- High school
Los Angeles may be well known as the place for budding actors to get their big break, but it is also one of the top cities in the USA to receive a stellar education. There is a big selection of universities to choose from for both local and international students.
When selecting the best international school for your child, there are a number of different factors to consider. It can be a tedious process, so we’ve put together 3 of the top performing international schools in Los Angeles:
- The International School of Los Angeles
- Goethe International Charter School
- The Raymond and Esther Kabbaz High School
If you have a much younger member of the family you will need to consider your pre-schooling options. A place for your child to grow and develop, selecting the right school is important. Here are some of the top performing preschools in Los Angeles:
Moving to Los Angeles Checklist
If you are settled on moving to the USA for the first time then there are some things that you should consider before making the move. That’s why we have put together a moving to Los Angeles checklist to make sure that you have everything you need.
- Visa Application – if you are moving to the US for the first time and don’t have a Green Card, then you will need to apply for a work visa that restricts the time you can spend in the US. You can apply for work visas here.
- Think About Healthcare – unlike the UK and other European nations, the US doesn’t have public healthcare. It can be a good idea to make sure your employer provides this before moving or you will need to source it yourself.
- Choose Your Neighbourhood – being such a large region it is important that you make sure you have researched your local neighbourhood. Some of the nicer areas of Los Angeles include Fairfax, Downtown and Echo Park.
- International Removals – ensure that you have an international removals agency that is familiar with the local area you plan on moving to. We’ll make sure you have everything you need for your international move.
- Sort Utilities – source utility suppliers and make sure you have this in place before you move so that you can move straight into your property. One of the largest providers in the region is Southern California Edison.
Interested in information on another country? Take a look at our other International Relocation guides.
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