How Many Miles Is Los Angeles? A Detailed Look At The City’S Size

If you want to know the exact mileage of Los Angeles, you’ve come to the right place. With over 4 million people packed into 498 square miles, LA is one of the biggest cities in the United States in terms of population and area.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Los Angeles spans 498.3 square miles.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at just how big LA really is. You’ll learn about the city’s official boundaries, how its mileage compares to other major US cities, the mileages of its most famous neighborhoods, and more.

To fully answer the question of LA’s size, we’ll dig into topics like:

– The history behind LA’s city limits

– How LA ranks for mileage among major US cities

– The mileages of key LA neighborhoods like Downtown, Hollywood, and Venice Beach

– Tips for conceptualizing just how huge 498 square miles really is

Defining Los Angeles’ City Limits

Los Angeles, often referred to as the “City of Angels,” is a vast metropolis that stretches across Southern California. Understanding the city’s size requires examining its historical and modern borders.

LA’s History of Annexation

Los Angeles’ expansion has been marked by a series of annexations throughout its history. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city actively pursued the incorporation of neighboring communities, steadily increasing its size.

Historic annexations include areas such as San Pedro, Wilmington, and Hollywood, which were once separate municipalities but are now integral parts of the larger Los Angeles city limits. This continuous expansion has contributed to the sprawling nature of the city and the diverse range of neighborhoods within its boundaries.

The Modern Borders

Today, Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the United States, both in terms of population and land area. The city’s official boundaries encompass approximately 502.7 square miles (1,302 square kilometers).

To put this into perspective, that’s larger than the land areas of cities like San Francisco, Miami, and Boston combined. However, it’s important to note that the City of Los Angeles is just one part of the larger Los Angeles County, which encompasses additional cities and unincorporated areas.

The city’s borders extend from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the San Gabriel Mountains in the east, and from the Santa Monica Mountains in the north to the Port of Los Angeles in the south. Within these borders, Los Angeles is home to a diverse array of neighborhoods, from the iconic Hollywood and Beverly Hills to vibrant cultural enclaves like Chinatown and Koreatown.

For more information about Los Angeles’ city limits and its historical and modern borders, you can visit the official website of the City of Los Angeles or explore resources such as the Los Angeles Almanac or the Los Angeles Times.

How LA Compares to Other Major US Cities

New York City

When it comes to comparing the size of Los Angeles to other major US cities, New York City is often the first to come to mind. While LA is known for its sprawling nature, New York City is known for its verticality. In terms of land area, Los Angeles is actually larger than New York City.

According to census data, Los Angeles spans approximately 503 square miles, while New York City covers around 302 square miles. However, when it comes to population, New York City is significantly larger, with over 8 million residents compared to LA’s approximately 4 million.


Another major city that often comes up in size comparisons with Los Angeles is Chicago. While both cities have their own unique identities, they differ in terms of physical size. According to the same census data, Chicago spans approximately 234 square miles, making it smaller than both Los Angeles and New York City.

However, Chicago’s population is still impressive, with over 2.7 million residents. This makes it the third most populous city in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles.


When comparing Los Angeles to Houston, the two cities are quite different in terms of size and population. Los Angeles is larger in terms of land area, spanning approximately 503 square miles, while Houston covers around 669 square miles. However, when it comes to population, Houston takes the lead.

According to the latest census data, Houston has a population of over 2.3 million residents, surpassing Los Angeles’ approximately 4 million residents. This makes Houston the fourth most populous city in the United States.


Phoenix, Arizona, is another major city that can be compared to Los Angeles in terms of size. While Los Angeles is larger in terms of land area, spanning approximately 503 square miles, Phoenix covers around 518 square miles.

However, when it comes to population, Los Angeles once again takes the lead. According to the latest census data, Los Angeles has a population of approximately 4 million residents, while Phoenix has around 1.7 million residents.

This makes Los Angeles one of the most populous cities in the United States.

The Sizes of LA’s Most Famous Neighborhoods

Downtown LA

Downtown Los Angeles, often referred to as DTLA, is the central business district of the city. It covers an area of approximately 5.84 square miles (15.1 square kilometers). With its towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, Downtown LA is the heart of the city’s financial and cultural activities.

It is home to many iconic landmarks such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Staples Center, and the historic Union Station.


Hollywood, known as the entertainment capital of the world, spans an area of around 3.51 square miles (9.1 square kilometers). This world-famous neighborhood is synonymous with the film and television industry.

From the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame to the legendary Hollywood Sign, this vibrant district attracts millions of visitors each year. Hollywood is also home to major film studios, including Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach, located on the western side of Los Angeles, covers an area of approximately 2.82 square miles (7.3 square kilometers). Known for its vibrant boardwalk and eclectic atmosphere, Venice Beach offers a unique blend of art, culture, and outdoor activities.

The beach itself stretches for 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) and is a popular spot for surfing, skateboarding, and beach volleyball. The Venice Canals, inspired by the Italian city of Venice, add to the neighborhood’s charm.

These three neighborhoods are just a glimpse of the vast expanse of Los Angeles. The city is known for its sprawling nature, covering a total area of 503 square miles (1,302 square kilometers). Whether you’re exploring the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the urban landscape of Downtown LA, or the laid-back beach vibes of Venice, Los Angeles offers a diverse range of experiences within its boundaries.

Visualizing 498 Square Miles

Los Angeles is a sprawling city that covers an impressive 498 square miles. To put that into perspective, that’s larger than the cities of San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan combined. It’s no wonder why Los Angeles is often referred to as the “City of Angels” – it’s vast and expansive, offering a multitude of opportunities and experiences for residents and visitors alike.

Driving Distances

With such a large area, driving distances in Los Angeles can be quite significant. For example, if you were to drive from one end of the city to the other, it could take you over an hour, depending on traffic conditions.

The average commute time in Los Angeles is around 30 minutes, but it can vary depending on the time of day and the specific route you take. It’s important to plan your routes and allow for extra time when navigating through the city.

Additionally, Los Angeles has a vast network of freeways and highways that connect different parts of the city. The 405 freeway, for example, is one of the busiest and most congested freeways in the country. It runs north-south through the city and can be a major bottleneck during rush hour.

Understanding the freeway system and knowing alternate routes can help you navigate the city more efficiently.

Overlay on Familiar Cities

To help visualize the size of Los Angeles, let’s overlay it on some familiar cities. If we were to place Los Angeles over New York City, it would cover the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

In terms of population, Los Angeles is home to over 4 million people, making it the second most populous city in the United States after New York City.

If we were to overlay Los Angeles on San Francisco, it would cover the entire city and then some. San Francisco is known for its iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, but Los Angeles offers a different kind of experience with its diverse neighborhoods, beautiful beaches, and world-class entertainment industry.


Los Angeles is truly massive, spanning 498.3 square miles filled with neighborhoods, attractions, and geographic features. While numbers on paper can be hard to conceptualize, looking at LA’s mileage in terms of drive times and comparisons helps capture the sheer size of the city.

So next time you’re stuck in traffic on the 405, just remember – you’re traversing one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the United States! We hope this guide gave you a sense of just how far-reaching the City of Angels really is.

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