Tips When Moving From NYC to LA

Moving from New York City to Los Angeles takes a lot of adjustment. After you’ve decided to leave 5th Avenue for Sunset Boulevard, the romantic Hollywood notion of Southern California seems just too good to pass up. You may know plenty about the city, but there is something about real life that the films cannot portray.

Oz talked to several people that made the move from NY to LA to get their insights on what you should know before making the move. When you are welcomed into Sunny L.A., keep this advice in your back pocket (of your jean shorts, presumably) and you’ll be able to adjust just fine.


Los Angeles Traffic


LA Traffic is Crazy

Driving is a much bigger part of living in Los Angeles than it is in many other major cities with robust public transportation systems. “Public transportation is not the main way to get around. LA, unlike New York City, is spread across many different cities and counties.” Madison Jones of LA’s Konnect PR says. “Sure, there are some metro lines they can take you around Hollywood and downtown, but the stations are VERY few and far between.” Ultimately, public transportation is simply not a good way to get everywhere you need to go, so you’ll need to spend some time on the road.

Given that most people in LA will drive like you, the streets will end up a little packed. “I had lived in NYC, then moved to NJ, and then we were planning to move to LA. We were out in LA for a weekend looking for rental houses and the traffic was so ridiculous we ended up going south a bit to Orange County!” Jane Coloccia of JC Communications told us. “We just couldn’t deal with the traffic.” LA traffic is notoriously inconvenient for Angellino commuters. “Traffic on the freeways stops for no apparent reason.”, Coloccia added. “Sometimes it is just someone in an old broken down old car going 20 miles in the far left lane. Or whenever two freeways meet people don’t know how to merge and it gets all backed up for miles.”

At least Jones could look a bit on the bright side: “I think the traffic is worse in New York City. Everybody always hates on the LA traffic, but we have so many alternative routes to take...Just turn up the music and enjoy the scenery.” The best way to find those alternate routes might just be Waze, the community-based, real-time traffic tracking app that’s free to download.


LA is Big


Los Angeles is Huge

“LA can seem very big because it is so spread out” writes Miriam Diwan of NowMoveMe. Indeed, the Los Angeles area is just over 500 square miles, whereas NYC is about 300 miles (much of this far away from Manhattan in less dense parts of Queens or Brooklyn.) The things you want to do and the people you want to join you when you do them may be in all different places. Though there is a “Downtown LA” area, Los Angeles is hardly as centralized to DTLA as NYC is to Manhattan. The places you might want or need to go on any given day in L.A. are more scattered. Downtown L.A. lacks the same gravitational pull that midtown Manhattan does to its surrounding area.

If you’re planning a move to Los Angeles, keep in mind the spread-out, decentralized nature of the city when picking neighborhoods.  Diwan’s NowMoveMe platform is a neighborhood discovery matcher (“Think meets Zillow”, she says) to help you find the right neighborhood for you. Commute distance also has to be taken into account, because there’s no telling which stretches of freeway are going to be clogged on any given day. “It can take up to a solid hour to drive 6 miles” Diwan adds, so cutting out those extra miles is pivotal.


Driving Around LA


Plan Your Trips

“In LA you have to go places with purpose,” writes LA resident Mayola Charles. This is a common theme we heard from multiple respondents.  “NY is great because you can walk out of your door and have an entire day exploring with no real end goal. That doesn't happen in LA.”

The social atmosphere is different. Because New York is such a concentrated city, it’s quite easy to call up a friend and schedule an impromptu dinner.” Jones writes. “In LA, you need to schedule your dinners. Make plans. Nothing is impromptu, and with every plan, you have to consider what freeway you’ll take to get there, and where you’ll park when you arrive.” Lack of many reliable public transportation options too late at night leads to a necessity to put a curfew on lots of extracurricular activities, and basically limits the nightlife scene to Thursday-Sunday.  


LA Metro Map

The L.A. Metro closes in the early mornings.


Research Your Surroundings

It’s not as easy to stumble across the places you’ll want to frequent in LA as it is in NYC. “It’s so easy to walk the streets of New York and find an adorable neighborhood, a little café, or a beautiful park.” Jones writes. “[But] In LA, if you want to happen upon a cute area, you'll probably need to google it first.” Because LA isn’t a pedestrian city like NYC is, there’s less of a chance you’ll end up walking into an interesting place you hadn’t expected to go to.

L.A. isn’t a super friendly city for exploration, so your rolodex of hotspots may not be filled merely through exposure. It helps to do your homework beforehand, and find the restaurants, nightlife, shopping, services, etc. that you are looking for instead of assuming they will fall into your lap. If you’re looking for some great places to bring your dog, check out Oz Moving’s guide to Dog-Friendly Los Angeles.

Exploring California Hikes


The Cali Lifestyle

Californians love natural things. Plenty of the Cali hippie stereotypes are verified by those who have relocated to the city of Angels. “Start stocking up on yoga pants & getting used to a daily cold pressed juice”, writes Diwan. “Angelenos live a very healthy, outdoors & fitness-oriented lifestyle!” What makes LA a more "natural" city than New York? A little bit more nature might be the answer.

“One of the things you’ll probably realize when you get to LA is that there are so many trees and vast blue skies.” Jones tells us. In New York, apart from the occasional park, greenery is pretty rare and most of the city is surrounded by tall buildings. This is a stark contrast from sunny LA, with its hills, beaches and open air atmosphere. “When you get to Southern California, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for greenery. Plus, everything is in your backyard.” Jones continued.

The populace of each respective city shows this difference in mindset around nightfall, according to Coloccia: “Californians take the time to stop and savor the sunset. When you live near the water like I do, you’ll notice that Californians really do take the time EVERY DAY to stop and enjoy the sunset. New Yorkers just rush by and don’t take that time.” Californians clearly like it au naturale.


West Coasters are Nicer

The callous, brash nature of Manhattan pedestrians has been oft-stereotyped for decades, but such can’t be said about L.A. “ LA is a friendly city. Chances are, if you’re walking your dog, someone will come up to you, ask about the breed, want to pet him/her and will tell you to enjoy your day.” Jones writes. It’s not hard to have a chipper attitude when the weather is nice (like it is almost all of the time in LA.)

Coloccia has another theory, though. “While very nice and friendly, I have noticed you can’t form a deep friendship with people in California.” Perhaps the niceness is a bit of a facade. “They are all about the hi and how are you, but they don’t want to get that friendly. hey are all about the waving and saying hello in the morning, but if you ask a neighbor you see every day if they can drop you off to get your car fixed, they don’t want to be bothered. It is all a bit superficial.” So how can you meet like-minded people to hang out with? Diwan recommends “looking for friends of friends ahead of time”, or looking to meet people via nonprofit activities, meetup groups, or college alumni events. LA is a diverse city with a populous from all walks of life; it shouldn’t be too difficult to find some people who have gone through the changes you’re making, and maybe others who like the same things you like.  


LA Beach


Enjoying the Cali Weather

Los Angeles is one of the warmest cities in the world. Climate is a big factor in L.A.’s status one of the premier destinations for athletes, celebrities, and one-percenters. Simply put, you won’t often need a coat and mittens. “The coldest it really gets is maybe 40s for an hour at 5 or 6 a.m., but days are about low 60s.” Coloccia remarks. Maybe that’s why Angelenos are more into nature than New Yorkers; it’s more enjoyable to be outside when it’s 70 °F than when it’s 20 °F.

If you’re moving to LA from NYC or any other chilly northeastern city, it might be time to slim down the winter wardrobe. Closet space is already at a premium for angelenos - no need to clutter your space with unnecessary winter clothes. On the odd chilly day, a jacket wouldn’t look totally out of place; “ the Californians break out all the winter clothing including fur coats, boots, hats, gloves, etc.” Coloccia wrote to us. “As a New Yorker you have to laugh, because it’s really not that cold.” You can probably leave the longjohns at home.

Charles has a different take: “I envisioned LA to be nothing by palm trees and bathing suits. It gets cold here! Especially at night.” It may never get to below-freezing in L.A., but not every day will call for t-shirts and surf shorts. Your mileage may vary.

Moving Cross Country from New York to Los Angeles? Oz Moving’s express lines will get your belongings to L.A. fast and safe. Oz handles your move beginning & end with the same care as a local move at an affordable rate. For more information on moving to LA or any other California area with Oz, get a quote for your move.

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