Living in Los Angeles vs Living in San Diego

los angeles vs san diego

Thinking of living in either Los Angeles or San Diego? Well, depending on what you want, both cities have strong achievement points. 

In this article, I’ll be exploring the pros and cons of living in both cities. That should give you an idea of what to expect when making a decision.

Want to know more about living in these cities? Read on!

First, Life is Worth it in Both Cities

If I’m to be honest, it’s always tough to get a balanced view of each city.

And this is because Los Angelans and San Diegans are fiercely loyal to their hometowns. So this is only a fair warning. 

However, both cities will be suitable if you love extreme sports, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, and fishing.

If you also want a quiet office apartment, either of the two SoCal cities would also fit the menu.

Pros and Cons of Living in Los Angeles 

It’s difficult to win a contest as the best city where Los Angeles is concerned. As the ‘Entertainment Hub of the USA’, there’s so much to live for. 

Did you know?: Los Angeles features eleven major sports teams — including the Dodgers, Lakers, and Clippers.

Pros of Living in Los Angeles

Beyond sports, there are still more reasons to choose Los Angeles. Here are some:

1. There are Lots of Amazing Sights 

Moving to Los Angeles will leave you with enough adventure and picture-perfect moments.

At least these images will keep you sane for the first few months of your move.

If you’re a foodie or an art enthusiast, you’re in the right place. The city boasts of a lot of restaurants and art galleries. 

The beaches also have a certain pull. When you visit, don’t hold back. Take a refreshing dive and soak in the moment.

It’ll be worth it! 

2. The Entertainer’s Hotspot

So the next question is, what’s your calling? 

Los Angeles is renowned for developing mere fledglings and making them movie stars. 

Do you feel your place is on the big stage?

Or do you see yourself doing a catwalk for brands like Gucci or Dolce and Gabbana?  Then Los Angeles may be your dream home!

As an entertainment hub, the city pours with entertainers. If this is your path, you may find your big break in the big city. 

3. Best Airports in the Country

One of the best things about LA is LAX — The Los Angeles International Airport. Over the years, the airport has proven to be unbeatable!

This makes it one of the top airports in the country. In 2017 alone, LAX flew over 84.5 Million people. The international presence is awesome and it sets the city out.

4. Los Angeles is the Place Where Dreams Are Made

Most Americans dream of settling in Los Angeles because of the great dreams it has brought to the limelight. 

Los Angeles is full of hustlers. Working in the city will be a good way to increase your network.

You can even meet directors, tech founders,  and CEOs in a simple place such as a cafe. 

5. The Food is Amazing

With Los Angeles, you can count on a wide breadth of cuisines. Only a diverse population gives this luxury.

There are also a variety of neighborhoods that exclusively offer certain ethnic cuisines. Koreatown, Chinatown, and Little Ethiopia are just a few.  

6. The Day never Ends

If you’re looking for a city that never sleeps, Los Angeles might be the city for you. 

With an abundance of night lounges and top entertainers, the city’s nightlife is certainly ambitious.

If you’re lucky enough, you might bump into a performance of your favorite band performing at your choice of hangout. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Cons of Living in Los Angeles

1. Bad Traffic

The traffic in Los Angeles is terrible. Even as you prepare to enjoy the city’s magnificent views, you should be prepared for this. 

If you have an important meeting, you may need to prepare a few more hours earlier. If not, prepare for a worst-case scenario with the traffic hassle.

1. A Sight for Many Natural Disasters

This is certainly a con that stands out from the rest. Over the years, Los Angeles has seen a lot of natural disasters like earthquakes.

The proximity to California’s fault lines is a major cause of the city’s yearly earthquakes.

If you’re going to live in Los Angeles, you should consider this. 

2. Transportation

One of the downsides of Los Angeles is its transportation. Because of this, it has the longest commute times compared to other cities in America. 

The average commute time on a Los Angeles road is 31 minutes. This is 6 minutes longer than the national average which is 26.4.

3. The Air is Polluted 

Los Angeles air isn’t a standard on any level. This is probably because of its thriving populace.

In fact, according to the American Lung Association, Los Angeles features more ozone pollution than any other city in America.

Pros and Cons of San Diego

I think it’s awesome you’re considering moving to San Diego. Beyond being one of the best cities to live in on the West Coast, San Diego is a sight to behold!

It has a plethora of amazing beaches, housing, and exquisite cuisines. Unlike in Los Angeles, the air in this SoCal feels richer.

Pros of Living in San Diego

Here are some of the pros of living in ‘America’s Finest City’.

1. The Brewery Hub of the West Coast

San Diego is also the ‘Craft Beer Capital of America.’ More than 150 varieties of breweries call San Diego home. 

The city makes all types of beers — you’ll always have a bottle to match the season’s mood. 

If you love beer (and don’t mind sharing with friends), you’ll always have company in San Diego. That’s a given.

2. The City has Jobs

There are many high-paying jobs in San Diego within STEM fields. This is especially true in the biotech, engineering, and information technology industries.

There are also many jobs available in the defense contracting industry. This is because of the military’s significant presence in the naval base located in the city.

For this reason, San Diego was listed by a Forbes columnist as the best place to launch a start. Exciting, right?

3. Low unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in San Diego last year was 2.8%. That’s a low rate. In 2022, however, it’s up to 15%. And that’s still low, in comparison with many other cities.

Amongst many reasons, COVID comes tops as a reason for the change. Hopefully, this should improve soon.

4. Fantastic Healthcare

At 89/100, they’re both 11 points below the national average, which is good. It means you won’t be shelling out half your paycheck for doctor visits.

In San Diego, you don’t have to visit celebrity doctors like it’s done in LA. San Diego offers exceptional healthcare services.

And you don’t have to worry about expertise — the doctors are highly trained professionals.

Safe to say that healthcare is a great way to cut down on expenses when in San Diego.  

The Cons of Living in San Diego

1. Housing is expensive

San Diego is a lot cheaper than a lot of places in the USA. However, the median home value in San Diego is $526,900.

About 12% of homes in San Diego sell for over $1 Million. As it stands, the cost of living may not be ideal for average income earners starting out life in the city. 

2. Property Taxes are Excessive

One of the things San Diego homes are known for is their high-end property taxes.

Residents spend about $3,000 on property tax for their homes. For sales taxes, it’s actually the 10th most taxed State in the USA.

3. Transport is Expensive 

Owning a car in San Diego is not arguable. Transportation there is terribly expensive. 

Also, San Diego doesn’t have a widely used railway station. Rather, there’s a trolley and bus station called the San Diego Metropolitan Trust

You’ll need to add this cost to your budget if you aren’t getting a vehicle. 


Living in Los Angeles looks like the ideal dream for high achievers.  If you’re desperate about making it in the entertainment, tech, or business industry, you’ll cope in LA. 

With its picturesque views, living in San Diego will appeal to those who want a life in a warm, convenient terrain. 

Each has its peculiarities regarding the costs of amenities. It’s left for you to choose which is more appealing. 

So, ‘The Entertainment Capital of the World’ or ‘America’s Finest City?’ 

You decide!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Safest Place to Live in Los Angeles?

LA is dubbed the country’s 5th safest largest city. Here are some of the safest cities you can call home:

  • Beverlywood
  • Mar Vista
  • Glendale 
  • West Hollywood.
  • Bell Gardens
  • Playa Vista
  • Pico Rivera
  • Hidden Hills
  • Silver Lake

What is the Safest Place to Live in San Diego?

Here is a list of twelve areas known to be the safest in the city of Los Angeles:

  • Rancho Bernardo
  • Normal Heights.
  • Rancho Penasquitos.
  • Scripps Ranch
  • Carmel Valley
  • La Jolla
  • North Park
  • Old Town

Best Places to Visit in Los Angeles

If you’re looking for some spectacular places to spend some time sightseeing, here are a few options:

  • Santa Monica Pier
  • Malibu
  • Huntington Library
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Disneyland Park 
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Universal Studios
  • Venice Beach
  • Grand Central Market

Best Places to Visit in San Diego

San Diegans are known for their hospitality. So looking for a place to spend time with a loved one? 

These are a few ideas:

  • San Diego Zoo
  • Balboa Park
  • Hotel Del Coronado
  • Gaslamp Quarter
  • SeaWorld San Diego
  •  LEGOLAND California
  • Sunset Cliffs Natural Park
  • La Jolla Shores

Is Los Angeles Diverse?

Yes, the City has a large cultural presence and diversity. The city boasts of almost every ethnic group.

Some cultures you’d find include Africans, Hispanics, Africans, Chinese, Armenians, Filipinos, Koreans, and Japanese.

Is San Diego Busier than Los Angeles?

If anything, this is quite the opposite. San Diego’s culture is laid back and evenly paced. While a San Diegan may engage in chit-chat about the weather or the beach, a Los Angelan might get frustrated by this. There’s no time for that! 

Which City is Safer, Los Angeles or San Diego?

The level of crime in San Diego is much lower than that of Los Angeles. In percentage, it is 38.41% while Los Angeles is 55.6%. 

Various safety reports support the argument that San Diego is a safer town. Also, walking alone is safer during the day in San Diego than when compared to Los Angeles.

Which city is Cheaper Los Angeles or San Diego?

Various statistics show that the cost of living in Los Angeles is higher than living in San Diego. This is especially considering housing, utilities, and health care. 

With its exotic terrain, Los Angeles offers more options. If you want a simple, affordable, laid-back life, (with less traffic), San Diego is a better alternative.