Atlanta Vs Los Angeles: How The Southern And West Coast Cities Compare

Atlanta and Los Angeles are both major metropolitan hubs in their own right. But how exactly do these Southern and West Coast cities stack up against each other?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Los Angeles is bigger and more diverse while Atlanta is more affordable with lots of Southern culture.

This comprehensive guide will compare Atlanta and LA across categories like cost of living, activities, climate, jobs, and more. Whether you’re considering a move or just curious how these cities differ, read on to see how Atlanta and Los Angeles measure up.

Size and Population

When it comes to size and population, Atlanta and Los Angeles are two vastly different cities. Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, is much smaller in terms of land area compared to Los Angeles, which is the largest city in California.

Atlanta spans approximately 134 square miles, while Los Angeles stretches across a massive 503 square miles. This means that Los Angeles is nearly four times larger than Atlanta in terms of land area.

Population-wise, Los Angeles also surpasses Atlanta by a significant margin. As of the latest census data, Los Angeles has a population of over 3.9 million people within the city limits alone, making it the second-most populous city in the United States.

In contrast, Atlanta has a population of around 498,000 people, making it a much smaller city in comparison.

It’s worth noting that while Atlanta may be smaller in size and population, it still holds its own as a major economic and cultural hub in the Southeastern United States. The city has experienced significant growth over the years, attracting businesses, tourists, and new residents alike.

Cost of Living


When it comes to the cost of housing, Atlanta and Los Angeles have significant differences. While both cities offer a range of housing options, Atlanta generally has a lower cost of living compared to Los Angeles.

In Atlanta, you can find a variety of affordable housing options, from apartments to single-family homes. The median home price in Atlanta is around $250,000, making it a more affordable option for homebuyers.

On the other hand, Los Angeles has a higher cost of living, with the median home price reaching over $700,000. This makes it more challenging for individuals and families to purchase a home in the city.

Food, Utilities, and Transportation

When considering the overall cost of living, it’s important to factor in expenses such as food, utilities, and transportation. In terms of food, both Atlanta and Los Angeles offer a wide range of dining options to suit various budgets.

However, the cost of groceries in Atlanta tends to be slightly lower compared to Los Angeles. Utilities, including electricity, water, and heating, may also be more affordable in Atlanta.

Transportation costs can vary depending on your lifestyle and commuting needs. Both cities have public transportation systems, but Los Angeles is known for its extensive freeway system and heavy traffic congestion.

In Atlanta, the cost of public transportation, such as buses and trains, is generally lower compared to Los Angeles. However, it’s important to note that owning a car is more common in both cities, and expenses such as gas and car insurance should be considered.

Job Market and Economy

When it comes to the job market and economy, both Atlanta and Los Angeles have a lot to offer. However, there are some key differences between the two cities.


Atlanta has seen tremendous growth in recent years, becoming a major hub for industries such as technology, film production, and logistics. The city is home to many Fortune 500 companies and has a thriving startup scene, making it a great place for job seekers looking for opportunities in these sectors.

The cost of living in Atlanta is relatively low compared to other major cities, which can be a significant advantage for those looking to make their money go further.

According to a report by, the unemployment rate in Atlanta has consistently been below the national average. The city has also experienced steady job growth over the past few years, with industries such as healthcare, finance, and professional services leading the way.

For those looking to start a business, Atlanta offers a supportive environment with resources such as the Atlanta Small Business Development Center and the Invest Atlanta program.

Los Angeles:

Los Angeles is known for its thriving entertainment industry, with Hollywood being a major attraction for those seeking careers in film, television, and music. The city is also home to a diverse range of industries, including technology, aerospace, and fashion.

With companies like SpaceX and Tesla having a presence in the area, there are plenty of opportunities for job seekers in the tech sector.

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, the unemployment rate in Los Angeles has been steadily declining in recent years. The city has a strong economy, with key sectors such as healthcare, tourism, and international trade contributing to its growth.

However, it is important to note that the cost of living in Los Angeles is relatively high, which can be a challenge for some job seekers.


Atlanta Los Angeles
Job Growth Steady growth in industries such as technology, film production, and logistics Growth in sectors like entertainment, technology, aerospace, and fashion
Cost of Living Relatively low compared to other major cities Relatively high
Unemployment Rate Consistently below the national average Steadily declining in recent years

Things to Do

Entertainment and Nightlife

Both Atlanta and Los Angeles offer a vibrant entertainment and nightlife scene that caters to diverse tastes. In Atlanta, visitors can enjoy live music performances at iconic venues like the Fox Theatre or catch a show at the Alliance Theatre.

The city is also known for its lively nightlife with plenty of bars, clubs, and lounges to choose from, especially in areas like Buckhead and Midtown.

On the other hand, Los Angeles is renowned for its thriving entertainment industry. Visitors can explore Hollywood Boulevard and walk the Walk of Fame, visit the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre, or catch a live taping of their favorite TV show.

The city also boasts a multitude of trendy nightclubs, rooftop bars, and exclusive lounges, particularly in popular areas like West Hollywood and Downtown LA.

For more information on the entertainment and nightlife scene in Atlanta, visit To discover the best entertainment options in Los Angeles, check out

Dining Scene

When it comes to dining, both Atlanta and Los Angeles offer a wide range of culinary experiences. In Atlanta, you can indulge in delicious Southern cuisine, including mouthwatering barbecue, fried chicken, and soul food.

The city also boasts a thriving food scene with a variety of international cuisines and trendy farm-to-table restaurants.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, is a culinary melting pot with diverse dining options influenced by various cultures. From gourmet food trucks serving fusion cuisine to high-end celebrity chef restaurants, the city has something to satisfy every palate.

Additionally, LA is known for its thriving vegan and vegetarian scene, with numerous plant-based eateries to choose from.

For recommendations on where to eat in Atlanta, visit To explore the dining scene in Los Angeles, check out

Parks and Recreation

Both Atlanta and Los Angeles offer ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoying nature. Atlanta is home to the beautiful Piedmont Park, which spans over 200 acres and features walking trails, picnic areas, and a lake.

The city also has the Atlanta BeltLine, a popular trail network that connects neighborhoods and offers stunning views of the city skyline.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, boasts an extensive park system, including famous attractions like Griffith Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Visitors can hike to the iconic Griffith Observatory, explore the Los Angeles Zoo, or enjoy a picnic with breathtaking views of the city.

The city also offers numerous beach parks along its iconic coastline, such as Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach.

To learn more about parks and outdoor activities in Atlanta, visit For information on parks and recreation in Los Angeles, check out

Culture and Diversity

Both Atlanta and Los Angeles are vibrant cities known for their rich culture and diversity. However, they differ in many aspects when it comes to their cultural scenes.


Atlanta is often referred to as the cultural capital of the South. It is deeply rooted in African-American history and has played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement. The city embraces its diverse heritage and celebrates it through various cultural events and institutions.

Visitors can explore the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which pays tribute to the iconic civil rights leader, or visit the Atlanta History Center to learn about the city’s past.

Atlanta is also known for its thriving music scene, with genres like hip-hop, R&B, and gospel having strong roots in the city. The annual Atlanta Jazz Festival and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra are popular attractions for music enthusiasts.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, on the other hand, is a melting pot of cultures from around the world. It is known for its entertainment industry and is home to Hollywood, where many movies and TV shows are produced. This has attracted people from all walks of life, making Los Angeles a diverse and multicultural city.

The city is known for its art scene, with numerous art galleries and museums showcasing a wide range of styles and artists. The Getty Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are two iconic cultural institutions that draw visitors from around the globe.

Los Angeles also hosts a variety of cultural festivals throughout the year, celebrating different ethnicities and traditions. The Chinese New Year Festival in Chinatown and the Dia de los Muertos celebration in Boyle Heights are just a few examples of the city’s cultural diversity.


While both cities have their own unique cultural identities, it can be argued that Los Angeles offers a more diverse range of cultures due to its cosmopolitan nature and international influence. Atlanta, on the other hand, shines a spotlight on its African-American heritage and has a strong connection to the Civil Rights Movement.

When it comes to culture and diversity, it’s safe to say that both Atlanta and Los Angeles have something unique and special to offer, making them fascinating cities to explore.

Weather and Geography

When it comes to weather and geography, Atlanta and Los Angeles couldn’t be more different. Atlanta, located in the southeastern region of the United States, experiences a humid subtropical climate. Summers in Atlanta are hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching the high 90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s Celsius).

Winters are generally mild, with temperatures rarely dipping below freezing.

On the other hand, Los Angeles, situated on the West Coast, enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The city is known for its year-round mild and pleasant weather. Summers in Los Angeles are warm and dry, with temperatures averaging in the 80s Fahrenheit (around 30 Celsius).

Winters are mild and rainy, with temperatures ranging from the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit (around 10 to 15 Celsius).

Geographic Features

Atlanta is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, giving it a slightly hilly terrain. The city is also known for its dense tree cover and numerous parks, earning it the nickname “the city in a forest.”

The Chattahoochee River runs through Atlanta, offering residents and visitors opportunities for outdoor activities such as kayaking, fishing, and hiking.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, is situated in a basin surrounded by mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The city is known for its stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, and iconic landmarks such as the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains.

The diverse geography of Los Angeles provides residents with ample opportunities for outdoor recreation, from surfing and swimming to hiking and skiing in nearby mountain ranges.


In terms of weather, Atlanta’s humid subtropical climate can make summers uncomfortably hot for some, while Los Angeles’ Mediterranean climate offers more mild and enjoyable temperatures year-round. However, it’s important to note that both cities experience occasional extreme weather events, such as hurricanes in Atlanta and wildfires in Los Angeles.

When it comes to geography, Atlanta’s hilly terrain and abundant green spaces make it an attractive destination for nature lovers. On the other hand, Los Angeles’ stunning coastline and mountainous surroundings provide residents with breathtaking views and a wide range of outdoor activities.

Atlanta Los Angeles
Humid subtropical climate Mediterranean climate
Hot and humid summers Mild and dry summers
Mild winters Mild and rainy winters
Hilly terrain Surrounded by mountains and the ocean
Abundant green spaces Stunning coastline and beaches

Whether you prefer the lush greenery of Atlanta or the breathtaking landscapes of Los Angeles, both cities offer unique weather patterns and geographical features that make them distinct and appealing to residents and visitors alike.


When it comes to transportation, both Atlanta and Los Angeles face their own unique challenges. Let’s take a closer look at how these two cities compare in terms of public transportation, traffic congestion, and infrastructure.

Public Transportation

In Atlanta, the public transportation system primarily consists of MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), which operates buses and trains throughout the city and surrounding areas. While MARTA has made significant improvements in recent years, it still has a limited reach compared to other major cities.

The majority of Atlantans rely on their personal vehicles to get around.

On the other hand, Los Angeles has a more extensive public transportation network, including buses, light rail, and subway systems. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) provides various options for commuters to navigate the sprawling city.

The Metro Rail system has expanded in recent years, making it more convenient for residents to travel to different parts of the city without relying on their cars.

Traffic Congestion

Both Atlanta and Los Angeles are notorious for their traffic congestion. In fact, Los Angeles consistently ranks among the top cities with the worst traffic in the United States. The sprawling nature of both cities, combined with a high number of commuters, contributes to this issue.

In Atlanta, the traffic can be particularly frustrating during rush hours, especially on major highways like I-285 and I-85. However, the city’s smaller size compared to Los Angeles does offer some relief in terms of commute times.

Despite the traffic, Atlanta’s average commute time is still lower than that of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, with its vast network of highways and interstates, experiences heavy traffic throughout the day. The famous “LA traffic” can be a source of frustration for both residents and visitors. Commute times can be significantly longer, and it is not uncommon to spend hours stuck in traffic.


Atlanta’s infrastructure is constantly evolving to accommodate its growing population. The city has invested in expanding and improving its road network, with ongoing projects aimed at reducing congestion and improving traffic flow.

Additionally, Atlanta has a well-maintained airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in the world.

Los Angeles, being a much larger and more populous city, has a more complex infrastructure. The city has a vast network of highways, including the iconic Interstate 405. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is one of the busiest airports in the United States and serves as a major hub for international travel.


Atlanta and Los Angeles both offer great reasons to visit or live there. LA boasts TV and film studios, sunny beaches, and a diverse population. Atlanta counters with Southern hospitality, lower costs, and its own brand of culture.

By weighing factors like jobs, activities, affordability and climate, you can determine which East Coast-West Coast city better matches your lifestyle. Whether you prefer Atlanta’s Southern charm or the star power of LA, both cities make for vibrant and exciting places to live.

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