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Moving to Los Angels from Australia

The sprawling urban metropolis of sunny Los Angeles is rightly known as the entertainment capital of the world. Home to Hollywood and its A-listers, the USA’s second largest city is a vast playground with everything from beaches to movie premieres on offer. Perhaps surprisingly for a city of this size, much of L.A. has a pleasant suburban feel with palm-tree lined streets and great family homes. Whether it’s the draw of the amazing Californian weather, the creativity or that clean-living hipster lifestyle, thousands of Australians are choosing to make L.A. their home – around 45,000 so far in fact. You can even find good old Aussie meat pies here!

Los Angeles has plenty to offer outside of show business. With a growing tech industry and a thriving cultural and food scene, artists, chefs and programmers alike are all drawn to this dynamic hub for their next adventure. It's also a popular choice with families who want to experience the buzz of a big city safe in the knowledge the waves of the Pacific Ocean and the rolling hills of L.A.'s beautiful surrounding countryside are right on their doorstep. Or perhaps you're looking for a great spot to retire, where you can bask in year-round sunshine and tour California's fantastic wineries? Sounds good to us!

But what's it really like to move to La La Land? We've got the full lowdown for you

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Economy/Job Market

L.A. is most famous for its motion picture industry – and attracts creatives from around the world looking for a career in the movies. If you’re serious about pursuing that dream, there’s few better places to do it. However, there are plenty of other job opportunities in LA outside of Hollywood. Although not at the same level as its famous Silicon Valley neighbour, San Francisco, L.A. has a thriving digital sector. Healthcare and construction are also growing industries, while the bustling port area provides plenty of jobs in imports and exports. Tourism is huge in L.A. with record-breaking numbers of visitors flocking to enjoy the city.

The USA doesn’t have the best reputation for valuing work-life balance, with long hours and minimal parental leave. Employers can set the amount of annual holiday leave as there is no national minimum allowance. The average number of paid vacation days after one year of service is 10 days per year and this usually increases the longer you are with the company. There are also 8 public holidays per year, which can be paid or unpaid according to your employer.

House Prices and Renting

L.A. isn't all movie star mansions, but it can be expensive. Prices are similar to those you';d find in Sydney, so can be quite a hike if you are moving from one of Australia's more affordable cities.

The median house price in L.A. is A$804,798, with prices varying depending on your location. Exclusive neighbourhoods include Bel Air, Hollywood Hills and Melrose, while neighbourhoods like Harbor City, Wilmington and Westmont are more affordable. The average cost of renting a one-bedroom city centre apartment is A$2,500 per month. If you are happy to move further out, then prices can fall to around A$1,800 per month.

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Education

The American education system has many similarities with Australia in terms of their approach to teaching and learning. American schools are organised slightly differently, dividing up into elementary, middle and high schools.

The Los Angeles public school system is the largest in America and as such has struggled with overcrowding in its schools. This is being addressed through extensive renovation programmes. There are also some excellent private schools in L.A., such as Brentwood, Marlborough and Westridge high schools.

L.A. is home to both large comprehensive state universities and private colleges, many focussing on the creative arts. Top-ranking institutions include:

Culture/Things to Do

Los Angeles doesn’t earn the title of ‘Creative Capital of the World’ for nothing. It’s crammed with amazing cultural venues from theatres and cinemas to museums and galleries.

The city’s most famous theatre has to be Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, an iconic spot where the handprints of all your favourite stars are immortalised in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is the place to go for classical music performances -  try to catch the LA Philharmonic in action if you can. The Getty Centre is one of Los Angeles’ favourite museums, exhibiting extensive collections of American and European art amongst stunning gardens, while the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will appeal to contemporary art fans.

Children will love a day out at the Natural History Museum, checking out the impressive dinosaur fossils or a trip to the beautiful Griffith Observatory for some stargazing. Or how about exploring a real NASA space shuttle, the Endeavour, at the California Science Centre? And don’t forget the biggest attraction of them all, the enormous movie theme park that is Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Food and Drink

L.A. is a rising star on the culinary world stage. In recent years, the Los Angeles food scene has become good enough to rival New York’s - bringing its fresh sunshine produce into the mix. Healthy eating is big here, with an array of fantastic sushi restaurants, alfresco vegan eateries and green juice bars. You’ll also find some of the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, a thriving Asian food scene in places like Koreatown, and a fine line in steak and burger joints. Basically, there’s an exciting new food treat to try at every turn.

To sample some of the best Los Angeles dining, head to:>

  • Urasawa for exceptional five-star sushi (with a five-star price tag to match)
  • A.O.C for quintessential Californian cuisine, pretty outdoor dining and cocktails
  • Guerilla Tacos for innovative farm-to-truck tacos

Nightlife]

L.A. boasts some of the best nightlife in the States. Whether you love an intimate bar or a raging club, downtown L.A. is the place where you’ll find most of the action, especially if you fancy dancing the night away. Exchange L.A. and Club Nokia are two of the biggest and best urban clubs in the city but there’s an endless selection catering to all tastes. You’ll also find the epic L.A. Live, a vast entertainment complex housing everything from ballrooms to concert theatres. It has to be seen to be believed!

Sunset Strip is also a nightlife hotspot, with some globally recognised venues, such as the Viper Room and Château Marmont. Hollywood is home to some of Los Angeles’ glitziest nightlife, whether you’re posing poolside at the iconic W Hotel or showing off your moves alongside the acrobats at the opulent Playhouse dance club. For a more laid-back scene, head to Santa Monica for chilled out beach bars and fun at the pier.

Thinking about making the move to L.A.? First you’ll have to gain US citizenship. Read our guide to the US and becoming a US citizen.