Considering trading our nation’s capital for the sunny vibes of the City of Angels? The reasons for moving from Washington DC to LA are many: snowless winters, year-round sunshine, countless career opportunities, endless entertainment & activities… if we listed all the pluses of LA, you’d be reading this all day long! Essentially, when you consider the gorgeous locale, myriad people, and laidback SoCal lifestyle, it’s impossible to argue not moving here. Yes, it’s expensive. But if you’re looking to live your dreams, this is the place to be. Enjoy this convenient guide for a smooth LA relocation!

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What to Know About Moving from Washington DC to Los Angeles

Moving to Los Angeles from Washington, DC, is quite a feat. But it’s not just about the physical distance between the East Coast and West Coast. To ensure a seamless experience, make sure to familiarize yourself with the significant pluses and minuses of moving to La-La Land.

Taxes

Los Angeles, as well as many other desirable parts of California, tend to be pretty expensive. And when it comes to taxation, it, unfortunately, is not an exception. Taking a look at the taxes of the Top 25 biggest US cities, we can see how much the government will be taking out of your wallet in LA: total sales tax rate of 9.5% and a total top income tax rate of 13.3%. Yeah, ouch. In contrast, the DC area has a total sales tax rate of 6% (with no local tax) and a total top income tax rate of only 8.95%.

So, how about property taxes in Los Angeles? The average county rate is 0.755% or $5,285 per year on an assessed home value of $700,000. As for Washington DC? It currently has a rate of 0.545% or $3,815 annually. Again, LA is expensive. But the many benefits might outweigh the increased costs.

Economy and Job Growth

In 2019, the Los Angeles-Orange County area ranked #6 amongst the nation’s best economies. Surprisingly, but most likely not for someone that lives there, Washington DC has the #2 best economy in the country (based on per capita GDP and average wage weekly wage of nearly $1,700). It may be small in size, but it packs a punch. 

As the Entertainment Capital of the World, Los Angeles opens up a world that DC can’t even come close to replicating. Along with TV, movies, and social media content, this powerhouse of a city is booming in several industries that include culture, tech, education, and finance & trade.

As for unemployment rates, Los Angeles has DC beat with a rate of 4.6% versus 5.6%. LA is projected to see a future job growth rate of about 34.6%, while the nation’s capital will see a rate of 33.7%. 

Weather and Climate

It’s a safe bet that you probably skipped to a few of these topics, and the weather is one of them! What can we say about LA weather that you haven’t see in countless shows and movies? It’s gorgeous out here. Plus, the beaches… come on! Year-round sunshine is on the menu, and you can leave behind the snow shovels and ice scrapers in the Washington DC area.

So, how much better is it in the Cali sun? How about 81 more days of sunshine (284 vs. 203)? Doesn’t sound too bad to us. Washington, DC, sees about 14 inches of annual snowfall. There’s zero snow in LA. Nada. And what about average seasonal temps? LA has a winter low of 46°F and a summer high of 84°F, while DC typically sees a low of 27°F and a high of 89°F.

Housing and Cost of Living

There are no two ways about it, Los Angeles is pretty expensive. But when you compare it to Washington DC and particularly other California cities – San Francisco has an astronomical cost of living index of 269.3 – it doesn’t seem that bad. So what’s the cost of living in LA? It currently sits at an index of 173.3 (compared to a nationwide index of 100). That’s better than SF, and not too much more than the cost of living index of 152.1 in the DC area.

So, the other elephant in the room: housing prices. Even though Washington DC is considered relatively expensive, LA brings it up a few notches. The current median list price in Los Angeles is $752,508 (with a median rent price of $3,500), while the median list price in DC is $640,783 (with a median rent price of $2,700). That’s a difference of over $110,000. Save up those pennies, kids!

Things to Do

Yes, Washington DC has several destinations and attractions, namely related to government and arts & culture. That said, the weather doesn’t allow for year-round fun anywhere near that of Los Angeles. Combine that gorgeous Mediterranean climate with proximity to beaches, mountains, and everything in between, and you can’t possibly get bound in the City of Angels!

There’s so much to do here, so we’ll try to focus on the biggest hits.

Let’s start with sports. LA is home to no less than 11 pro sports organizations, including the Lakers (NBA), Dodgers (MLB), and the Los Angeles FC (MLS). Sports fans are spoiled here.

Next, we have some of the top spots in all of America, including Walt Disney Concert Hall, Disneyland, and Universal Studios, for a day-long adventure for the whole family.

Bit of a foodie? LA is heaven! Langer’s Delicatessen will satisfy all your Jewish deli needs. Bestia offers super delicious and innovative Italian dishes. And if you’re into truck food, well, there’s absolutely no contests with the plethora of trucks here. Finally, Grand Central Market is a must-see, smell, and taste for anybody into everything from artisan cheese to wood-fired pizza.

Educational Opportunities

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the country’s second-largest school district, serves some 600,000 children from kindergarten to 12th grade. Parents have a choice of dual language, neighborhood schools, magnets, and other options to best cater to their child’s needs. This district covers a lot of ground, so consistency can be lacking. That said, there are also many stellar private schools.

Now, Washington DC is no slouch when it comes to institutions of higher learning – Georgetown University, George Washington University, and American University come to mind – but Los Angeles has some fantastic colleges & universities, too. There’s UCLA, USC, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which is currently ranked as the #12 school in the nation.

Crime Rates

This fact might surprise you, but when it comes to crime rates in LA, the City of Angels is safer overall than the Washington DC area. Los Angeles has a violent crime index of 29.1 and a property crime index of 35.1 (compared to the national average of 22.7 and 35.4, respectively). So, what about DC? The capital has a violent crime index of 56.2 and a property crime index of 63.9.

Are you looking for the safest neighborhoods in Los Angeles? West Hollywood (WeHo) is a diverse, affluent community. Glendale probably offers some of the best public safety in the city. And if you’re looking for a super safe, waterside mini-community, Marina Del Rey checks a lot of boxes.

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Best Neighborhoods in Los Angeles

Here are some of the best places to call home in the City of Angels:

Atwater Village

Cozy and compact, Atwater Village has only 14,000 residents. Situated between Silver Lake and Glendale, it’s one of the more intimate mini-communities in the Los Angeles metro area. If you enjoy a wide variety of ethnic cuisine, this is a great place to call home. Discover more interesting stuff about Atwater Village here.

Downtown

This neighborhood is the spot to be for all the fun, excitement, and dynamic energy of the city. Downtown LA, with its luxurious high-rises and condos, lends a world-class city vibe to the neighborhood. And how about all the great points of interest? Staples Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Frank Gehry architecture… this is the center of all the action. Learn more about Downtown Los Angeles here.

Highland Park

Nestled in northeastern Los Angeles, this historic neighborhood was one of the first subdivisions in the City of Angels. It’s also a highly diverse community with a wide swath of people from all kinds of backgrounds. Bordering Pasadena to the north, Highland Park is a hilly neighborhood that provides quick commute times to the downtown area and many other parts. Get more info here.

Koreatown

Home to more than 122,000 residents, Koreatown is home to the largest population of Koreans outside of the country of Korea. Simply put, if you love Korean culture & food, this is a no-brainer! On top of that, housing prices are cut in half compared to neighborhoods like Los Feliz (more on that mini-community below). Delve into the exciting details of Koreatown here.

Los Feliz

Just south of Griffith Park and east of Hollywood, we find the charming (and extremely walkable) neighborhood of Los Feliz. Speaking of walking, or jogging for that matter, there are no less than 53 miles of trails. Add to that horseback riding opportunities, golfing, and the Griffith Observatory, and you’ve got an excellent recipe for awesome living! Check out more on Los Feliz here.

Silver Lake

As one of the coolest and most desirable neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Silver Lake keeps on shining! It’s filled with small businesses – trendy cafes, hip boutiques, and much more. These local hot spots lend an eclectic and even cosmopolitan vibe. Take Sunset Blvd, the principal street in the area, to easily visit Hollywood or get your commute on via the 110 or 101. Take a look at what else Silver Lake has to offer here.

West Hollywood

This neighborhood is the epicenter of the LGBTQ+ community. West Hollywood (WeHo) is a storied neighborhood, known for its exceptional entertainment & nightlife. Some famous points of interest include the Comedy Store and the Troubadour, as well as ONE Gallery. Residents can also take a quick stroll down the Sunset Strip, a perfect spot for drinks, dancing, and just having a great time! Check out more here.


Cost of Moving from Washington DC to Los Angeles

On average, it costs about $3000-$4500 to move from DC to Los Angeles. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 2,669 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best DC to Los Angeles movers now!

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Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More