Long Beach Vs Los Angeles: How Do These Southern California Cities Compare?

Southern California is home to many great cities, but two stand out as major centers of culture, diversity, and economic power: Long Beach and Los Angeles. Located just south of LA, Long Beach has its own unique vibe and attractions that make it an appealing place to live and visit. If you’re trying to decide between Long Beach and Los Angeles, here are some key factors to consider:

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Los Angeles is a massive global city and cultural hub, while Long Beach retains more of a small town, laidback beach city feel. Los Angeles offers endless amenities, attractions, dining and nightlife options. Long Beach provides easier access to beaches, watersports, a slower pace of life, and more affordable housing.

Size and Population

Los Angeles is a massive metropolis covering over 500 square miles with around 4 million residents.

When it comes to size and population, Los Angeles is a true giant. With its sprawling cityscape stretching across more than 500 square miles, it’s no wonder that the “City of Angels” is often referred to as a metropolis.

The city is home to an estimated population of around 4 million residents, making it the most populous city in California and the second-most populous city in the United States. Los Angeles is known for its diverse communities, iconic landmarks, and vibrant entertainment industry.

Long Beach is much more compact at around 50 square miles with only 470,000 residents.

Compared to its neighbor, Long Beach may seem relatively small in size, but it still packs a punch. Spanning approximately 50 square miles, this coastal city is known for its beautiful beaches, recreational activities, and thriving waterfront.

Despite its smaller physical footprint, Long Beach is home to a vibrant community of around 470,000 residents. The city offers a unique blend of urban amenities and a laid-back beach vibe, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Los Angeles Long Beach
Size (in square miles) Over 500 Around 50
Population Approximately 4 million Around 470,000

While Los Angeles may boast a larger size and population, Long Beach offers a more intimate and close-knit community. Both cities have their own unique charm and attractions, making them both great options for residents and visitors alike.

Economy and Industry

Los Angeles is home to major industries like entertainment, aerospace, fashion, and technology.

When it comes to economic diversity, Los Angeles takes the lead. The city is known for its thriving entertainment industry, with Hollywood being the epicenter of the global film and television industry.

From blockbuster movies to award-winning TV shows, Los Angeles has a rich history of captivating audiences around the world.

In addition to entertainment, Los Angeles is also a major player in the aerospace industry. It is home to companies like SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, which are at the forefront of space exploration and defense technology.

The city’s proximity to major airports and its extensive transportation network make it an ideal location for aerospace companies to thrive.

Furthermore, Los Angeles is a hub for fashion and technology. The city boasts a vibrant fashion district, attracting designers, models, and fashion enthusiasts from all over the world. Additionally, it is home to many tech startups and established companies, contributing to the city’s reputation as a tech innovation center.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the busiest container ports in the US and a major economic driver for the city.

While Los Angeles may have a diverse range of industries, Long Beach has its own economic powerhouse – the Port of Long Beach. As one of the busiest container ports in the United States, it serves as a vital link in global trade and is a major economic driver for the city.

The Port of Long Beach handles millions of containers each year, facilitating the movement of goods between the United States and countries around the world. Its strategic location on the Pacific Ocean and its state-of-the-art facilities make it an attractive choice for international shipping companies.

The port’s economic impact is significant, generating billions of dollars in revenue and creating thousands of jobs. It also plays a crucial role in supporting various industries, including manufacturing, logistics, and transportation.

The success of the port has made Long Beach a key player in the global trade landscape.

To learn more about the Port of Long Beach and its economic impact, you can visit their official website here.

Housing and Cost of Living

When it comes to housing and cost of living, there are some notable differences between Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Los Angeles home prices and rents are very high, especially in desirable neighborhoods.

Los Angeles has a reputation for having some of the highest home prices and rents in the country. This is particularly true in desirable neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Hollywood. The demand for housing in these areas is incredibly high, driving up the prices and making it difficult for many people to afford to live there.

In fact, according to the latest data from Zillow, the median home price in Los Angeles is well above the national average.

Additionally, the cost of renting in Los Angeles can also be quite high. The rental market is competitive, with many people vying for limited available units. As a result, landlords can charge premium prices for their properties, making it challenging for renters to find affordable options.

Long Beach offers more affordable housing options than LA in general.

Long Beach, on the other hand, offers more affordable housing options compared to Los Angeles. While there are still some neighborhoods in Long Beach that have higher prices, overall, the cost of living in Long Beach tends to be lower than in Los Angeles.

According to Best Places, the median home price in Long Beach is lower than the national average. This makes it a more attainable option for those looking to buy a home in Southern California.

Furthermore, the rental market in Long Beach is relatively more affordable compared to Los Angeles. Renters in Long Beach have a wider range of options at more reasonable prices, making it easier to find a place that fits their budget.

Diversity and Culture

Both cities are extremely diverse, with large Latino, Asian, and African American populations.

Long Beach and Los Angeles are both melting pots of cultures, attracting people from all over the world. In fact, both cities have a rich history of immigration, contributing to their diverse populations.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Long Beach has a population that is approximately 43% Latino, 14% Asian, and 11% African American. Los Angeles, on the other hand, has a population that is approximately 48% Latino, 12% Asian, and 9% African American.

The diversity of these cities is evident in the vibrant neighborhoods, restaurants, and cultural events that can be found throughout. From Little Tokyo and Koreatown in Los Angeles to the Cambodian community in Long Beach, residents and visitors alike can experience a wide range of cuisines, traditions, and celebrations.

It is important to note that these statistics are constantly changing as new waves of immigration shape the demographics of both cities. However, the general trend of diversity remains a defining characteristic of both Long Beach and Los Angeles.

Long Beach has a laidback, beach town vibe compared to the glitz and glamor of LA.

While both cities offer a unique blend of cultures, they have distinct atmospheres that set them apart. Long Beach, with its miles of sandy beaches and relaxed coastal lifestyle, has a laidback, beach town vibe.

The city is known for its friendly and welcoming community, where residents and visitors can enjoy a slower pace of life.

On the other hand, Los Angeles is famous for its glitz and glamor. As the entertainment capital of the world, LA attracts celebrities, artists, and dreamers from all walks of life. The city is buzzing with energy and offers a plethora of opportunities for those pursuing careers in film, music, fashion, and more.

While Long Beach may not have the same level of fame and fortune as its neighbor, it has its own unique charm that appeals to many. Residents of Long Beach often embrace a more relaxed and down-to-earth lifestyle, enjoying the simple pleasures of beachside living.

So, whether you prefer the laidback beach town vibe of Long Beach or the glitz and glamor of Los Angeles, both cities offer a diverse and culturally rich experience for residents and visitors alike.

Attractions and Things to Do

Los Angeles offers endless attractions like Hollywood, theme parks, museums, beaches, hiking trails, and nightlife.

Los Angeles, known as the entertainment capital of the world, offers a wide array of attractions that cater to every interest. For movie buffs, Hollywood Boulevard is a must-visit destination, where you can stroll along the Walk of Fame and catch a glimpse of the iconic TCL Chinese Theatre.

Theme park enthusiasts can explore the magical world of Disneyland or experience the thrilling rides at Universal Studios Hollywood. Museums like the Getty Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art showcase impressive art collections from around the world.

And of course, the city’s beautiful beaches, such as Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach, provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and fun in the sun. For nature lovers, Los Angeles boasts numerous hiking trails in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains and Griffith Park.

And when the sun sets, the city comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene, offering a variety of clubs, bars, and live music venues.

Long Beach attractions include the aquarium, Queen Mary, beaches, events, outdoor recreation, and a more relaxed scene.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, Long Beach is the perfect destination. One of its most popular attractions is the Aquarium of the Pacific, where visitors can explore a variety of marine life and even touch some of the animals.

Another iconic landmark is the Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner turned hotel and museum. Long Beach is also known for its beautiful beaches, including the sandy shores of Alamitos Beach and the peaceful coastal area of Belmont Shore.

The city hosts a range of events throughout the year, such as the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Long Beach Jazz Festival. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of recreational activities available, from biking and rollerblading along the beach path to paddleboarding in the calm waters of Naples Canal.

With its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, Long Beach offers a more intimate and community-focused experience compared to its bustling neighbor, Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Long Beach
Endless attractions Relaxed and laid-back atmosphere
Hollywood Aquarium of the Pacific
Theme parks Queen Mary
Museums Beautiful beaches
Beaches Events
Hiking trails Outdoor recreation
Nightlife Community-focused experience

Both Los Angeles and Long Beach offer a wide range of attractions and things to do, catering to different preferences and interests. Whether you’re looking for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood or the laid-back charm of Long Beach, Southern California has something for everyone to enjoy.


Los Angeles and Long Beach each have their own unique appeal. Los Angeles provides endless amenities, attractions, dining, culture and career opportunities as a global city and entertainment capital. But for those seeking an affordable, laidback beach city lifestyle, Long Beach offers easier access to the waterfront, less traffic, and a tight-knit community feel.

At the end of the day, choosing between Los Angeles and Long Beach comes down to your own personal preferences and priorities. Both amazing Southern California cities have a lot to offer locals and visitors alike.

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