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Los Angeles
  • $790   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1840   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $2443   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southwest US)

63% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Some errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
Scientology, freeways, traffic, broken Hollywood dreams
local professional sports, museums, restaurants, live music, temperate climate, gourmet food trucks, beaches, surfers 6
secret hippie enclave, prius/granola moms, waiting for CalTrans, arts district, the scientologists are watching you, affordable colorful neighborhoods, beautiful black neighborhood, little mexico, warehouses, mexicans, mariachis, mexican stronghold, warehouse parties, new hipster area, broken dreams, and white people moving into the hood are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Los Angeles roommate rundown:

Los Angeles is a LOT.

It's actually #1 at a whole lot. Then after that it's just huge.

To start, L.A. is totally huge . . . the #1 largest city in California in terms of population (almost 4 million in the city) and geographical size (over 500 square miles, about 44 miles north to south and 29 east to west).

And it's in a bowl. An extremely sunny basin surrounded by mountains - ridiculously sunny, and almost always warm.

It only rains about 35 days a year!

Los Angeles is long famed for almost always pleasant weather, along with show biz, which are obviously intertwined, along with all the beaches leading to all the surfers contributing to a much larger surf culture!

With boating and beach recreation among the world's best. Obviously.

And Angelenos are still known for all of that, absolutely. But it's fair to say they're more diverse than that now?

For one, they're now also #1 at traffic jams. And worst rush hours. Those are intertwined too!

They're #1 at freeways that turn into parking lots on a regular basis during rush hour which is also #1 worst in the world and possibly happening anytime other than 11 p.m. - 4 a.m. The other 19 hours could all end up rush hour!

Assume a mammoth mob is laying in wait for you and your roommates to leave your house before they simultaneously speed to whatever road you're on and . . . you're not exactly wrong?

Severe traffic jams are possible whenever, so you will want to plan one or more alternate routes, then check conditions before takeoff! Always take the least gridlocked. And if you absolutely positively cannot be late, you're least likely to end up jammed between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Yes, that is the middle of the night, yes. So get there early! But then watch out for drunk drivers and off-peak construction.

Los Angeles does have considerable public transport options, especially considering its very large size, but the largeness is a large part of the problem right there. Even with routes optimized, it can still take a large amount of time to cross L.A.. Unfortunately, it's very difficult most times of day to avoid all ground traffic via any type of ground transport.

But do monitor via a smartphone with a traffic app that can reroute you when necessary. Hopefully!

Many Angelenos spend a lot of time in their cars.

And many live mostly without one, preferring public transport and/or remaining within one neighborhood for longer periods to minimize travel.

The happy medium might be car ownership, but optimizing geographically such that leaving your larger neighborhood is only necessary for special events . . . definitely not work or school several days a week, please no.

There are some nice L.A. places public transport doesn't go at all, and it rarely goes anywhere in a hurry. If you want to see the sights on the periphery of the city and/or would love driving around doing all your errands stunningly efficiently at 2 a.m., you'll definitely want a car.

You may have noticed motorcycle riders are bureaucratically incentivized to continue riding in LA, via the break on carpooling, plus a few other fares and privileges.

So you may want to ride L.A. too, but if you're not already experienced, please practice somewhere other than LA freeways first. Someone may split lanes with you. And bikers love the canyon roads, but locals warn first-timers they're even twistier than you think.

(That was a lot about traffic, but if you read all about it, hopefully you won't spend most of your days in it.)

Los Angeles is also #1 at America's film industry!

Hardly anyone isn't at least a little fascinated with Hollywood, which has been most of America's film industry for over a century. Hollywood will wow you with L.A.'s glamorous side, then warn you about its grittier grottier fringe cultures. There's a tension between have and have less that animates many movies, which is just like L.A., because it's just like the movies shot here, because they're also in L.A., etc., and back and forth forever.

More exciting #1ness: #1 largest cannabis market, #1 busiest US port, and the #1 largest number of Mexican or Mexican-American folks in the US! Also third in the world, after Mexico City and Guadalajara.

There's also a reasonable case to be made that L.A. is #1 in live music.

Because Los Angeles' local music scene has everything all the time. OK, not literally, but there's nowhere that's more true. There's nothing major it doesn't feature regularly, probably in larger scale halls (even Bowls) plus more intimate venues.

And there might be a gourmet food truck!

The rest of the Los Angeles roommate lowdown:

  • Los Angeles is a huge city on the Southern California Coast, south of the San Bernadino Mountains. North of Los Angeles are the San Gabriel Mountains. And then the Mojave Desert. And surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Southern California Coastal Mountain Ranges.
  • Mediterranean climate - Dry summer, very mild winter, rarely freezing or over 90, used to have a problem with smog but have been cleaning that up really aggressively the last several years.
  • The legendary Santa Ana winds blow hot dry air from the desert into coastal areas, significantly raising temps and risk of fire.
  • Geologic faults cause periodic tremors, and quite a few minor earthquakes happen, but they're usually harmless. Mostly beware of anything that could fall on your head, indoors or out. If you're in a car get out of traffic, if on foot move away from power lines and anything large attached to the side of a building . . . trees, street lights, glass . . . then shield your head and neck with your arms.
  • Because of earthquake risk, the city has sprawled outward rather than upward. Extreme dependence on the automobile and population density have caused serious traffic problems.
  • Apartments built more recently cost more. For this and many other reasons, Los Angeles has a large population of folks renting rooms in their homes.
  • Parking tends to be expensive, especially downtown or before an event, parking fees are very high. Some residents drive to a train then take that the rest of the way, it could easily be cheaper and faster.
  • Only enter carpool lanes at the permitted places, don't cross the double yellow lines, and don't enter at all with out at least two people (car) or you can do one on a motorcycle.
  • Los Angeles has a number of public transport options: Metrolink (regional rail), Metro Rail (subway and light rail) and Metro (their main bus system but there are several). Three different systems plus several smaller ones, both faster than a large traffic jam . . . usually. Most neighborhoods in LA are accessible via one or more of these lines, but there are many options for public transport that intersect confusingly, plus they're very spread out.

    Basically: Many roommates new to LA have accidentally gone many miles in the wrong direction, so double check your routes.
  • L.A. is famous for some extremely wealthy neighborhoods, but these are unaffordable for most. But don't despair, as so many more are much more accessible. There are neighborhoods that definitely feature more of some demographic groups than others, but everyone is everywhere by now, it's just relative percentages.

    Like: Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Koreatown and Little Armenia. Historic Filipinotown, Little Ethiopia, Tehrangeles, Little Bangladesh and Thai Town

    And: West L.A. (Indian, Pakistani and Japanese), East L.A. (Mexican), South Central L.A. (African-American), West Hollywood (gay men)
  • L.A. has a reputation as high in crime due to gang activity, and this reputation is not undeserved. However, LA's gang activity is mostly in a handful of neighborhoods the typical tourist never visits. Basically, if you don't have business in a neighborhood with which you're not already familiar, don't go exploring it all by yourself after dark by foot or by car. Maybe not even during the day, not all by yourself.

    If you want to avoid going into a neighborhood likely high in gang activity, it won't be difficult if you stay aware where you are and stay where you're familiar.
  • home to Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Scripps College, University of West Los Angeles, Antioch University, Art Center College of Design, California Institute of the Arts, California State Polytechnic University, Cal State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harvey Mudd College, Loyola Marymount University, Mount St. Mary's College, Occidental College, Otis College of Art and Design, Pacific Oaks College, Samra University of Oriental Medicine, Southern California Institute of Architecture, The Masters College, West Coast University, Whittier College, Woodbury University, Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, California Institute of Technology, California School of Professional Psychology, California State University, Claremont Graduate School, Pepperdine University, University of California, University of Laverne, and the University of Southern California
  • If you live in L.A. you have access to pretty much all foods, possibly even absolutely all if you're willing to follow a local food truck and participate in their fandom?

    Or not, if that's too much, but don't always fear the gourmet food truck! If you're worried their hygiene isn't up to par, read a recent review or two, or ask some friends, make sure no one's food poisoned, check them out for sure . . . but don't automatically say no to the truck.

    Many hang around a good long while and serve some of the best food for the money in L.A.!



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Los Angeles':

  • Union Station: Mission Revival architecture, large waiting room, courtyards, some shopping. And you could get on a train.
  • Los Angeles Zoo Botanical Gardens: Along with a large variety of native and local flora and fauna, they've got a garden of rare bootleg cycads, an ancient gymnosperm or palm specimen dating back millions of years that's . . . not really supposed to be there?
  • Heritage Square: Life in LA for over 100 years
  • Highland Park Bowl: L.A.'s oldest still operating bowling alley that's also kind of like a speakeasy. Since 1927, more recently restored but retaining a lot of original historical charm.
  • Amoeba Music: If you love vinyl, locals say they're the best.
  • Tournament of Roses Parade: Dozens of marching bands in front of floats and they're all before the Rose Bowl football game
  • Chinese New Year: Would you like to celebrate in February with a dragon parade and fireworks? That's in Chinatown, along with live music and lots of food.
  • Fiesta Broadway: Largest Cinco de Mayo festival complete with pinatas in the world?
  • Getty Museum: Above the city on the Santa Monica mountains, many say it's one of the best European art collections in the world
  • Aquarium of the Pacific: One of the best aquariums in the country
  • Musso and Frank Grill: Oldest restaurant in Hollywood since 1919. Fettuccine Alfredo was invented here, and the menu remains old-fashioned, with classic favorites like chicken pot pie, sauerbraten, Bouillabaisse Marseillaise, and Lobster Thermidor
  • Venice Beach & Santa Monica: They share a pier, amusement park, and a beach that gets very crowded in the summer. Fantastic people watching or overcrowded nightmare? You and your roommates decide!
  • Hermosa Beach: Known for its extremely popular surfing and volleyball competitions! But most are just watching, you could too.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: famous baseball team
  • Los Angeles Lakers: famous basketball team
  • Los Angeles Sparks: WNBA, they play in same area as the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Kings (National Hockey League)
  • Angel City FC: Started the National Women's Soccer League in LA in 2022


Here's the city of Los Angeles' official .gov for housing services, including rights for renters & homeowners, free home repairs for seniors, building permits & inspections, and neighborhoods.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.