Since I am from Miami and currently live in Los Angeles, people often ask me to compare the two cities. I have lived in Los Angeles for about 3 years now and from my perspective there are many similarities yet quite shocking differences. Check out my comparisons of Miami and Los Angeles below.
Miami and Los Angeles are both known for their warm climates year round. During the heat of the summer, the difference can be felt because Miami’s heat is humid, sticky and you will sweat just by walking out of the door while in Los Angeles, the heat is dry and consistent. During the hottest days in LA you will feel the direct burn of the sun because unlike Miami, which is usually threatening to pour down raining, Los Angeles very rarely has any clouds so you get a direct hit from the sun at all times which makes it feel hotter.
During the winter months, Miami is usually warm with a few days of 50 degree (which we consider freezing) weather from time to time but never more than 4 days of consecutive “freezing” temperatures. In Los Angeles, the freezing cold (40 degrees) can last for weeks at a time. It is usually a very mild and beautiful climate with amazing clear blue skies and very little rain. In Miami, it rains all the time with thunder and lightening and hurricanes. In Los Angeles, there are always rumors of earthquakes but I have yet to actually feel one.
Miami and Los Angeles are very similar in that they both have palm trees that line the streets but the palm trees in Los Angeles are much taller. Both cities have a grid style street system. The streets are numbered in Miami and Los Angeles but Los Angeles has streets with names as well. Los Angeles is dirtier and smells bad in the inner city. I heard a tourist say- “There goes that LA smell.” Miami is completely flat with no hills and has access to the coast where you can drive 20 minutes from anywhere and be at the beach.
Los Angeles has beautiful mountain ranges and views of the Hollywood sign from various areas makes you feel rich even when you are not. Despite what you see on TV, Miami is not all South Beach and murders. In fact, Miami is more suburban that you would think, even in the areas that are considered low-income.
Miami’s beaches are more beautiful than Los Angeles beaches. The water is clear and warm and inviting. Los Angeles beaches are loooong, meaning you have to take a trek through the sand forever just to get by the shoreline and when you get there you won’t jump right into the water because it is freezing cold.
Miami’s beaches are beautiful but there isn’t as much to do as there are in Los Angeles beaches. Each beach in Los Angeles has its own personality and visual offerings. Venice for example is the home to the bohemian artist and creative types and Santa Monica attracts tourists and body builders.
Los Angeles County has 81 cities in it and a total of 10 million people making it the 2nd largest city in the country. Miami-Dade County has 34 incorporated cities and just over 2.5 million residents.
Miami’s culture is heavily influenced by the Caribbean countries. The county has a distinct Latin flavor as Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Haitians lend their flare. You must speak Spanish in Miami, or at least know a little bit or you will feel out of place.
In Los Angeles there are more immigrants of Hispanic descent than any other race, accounting for more than half of the population. You’ll find that the city is heavily influenced by the Mexican culture. The Asian population is the next biggest population. Thai food and Korean food is highly popular as well. There are very strong Jewish and Armenian communities in Los Angeles, mostly among business owners. Blacks make up around 10% of the total population in Los Angeles.
People are people everywhere you go, but it seems to me that people in Los Angeles are overtly friendlier yet they are not sincere. It is not uncommon to meet someone new, exchange contact information and never hear from them again. People in Los Angeles are big on being polite which often means saying the nice thing even if they don’t mean it. It is rare to find someone who honors their word here.
Miami is quite the opposite in that no one is friendly at all. No one will smile at you while walking down the street. No one will offer to help you do anything. In Los Angeles, people will attempt to be your friend so that they can try to get you to follow them and help them achieve their goals. In Miami, they don’t want you to come near them at all because- fuck you. People in Miami are more direct about their feelings and people in Los Angeles consistently operate under a pretense.
Women I know who have moved to Miami from New York say that people in Miami are dumb. People I know who have lived in both cities usually hate both cities equally.
People who move to Los Angeles from other cities are generally the best of the best of the best. Once they get here they realize that they are among their equals and either become followers, try to forge their own empires or go home disappointed that is was not as easy as they thought. People who live here long-term, do so because they have created a way to become a part of this community and feel that they have something to offer Los Angeles. The others don’t last long.
Both cities have distinct cultures who are adamant about preserving their traditions. Most of these communities based on ethnicity are tight-knit yet in Miami the different cultures mingle more than in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is largely segregated, not just by race but by recreational interests as well.
Being a Black woman in Los Angeles has its disadvantages because of the attitude towards Blacks in this country and the fact that there are so few Blacks in Los Angeles period. Because of this, I experience racial discrimination on a regular basis, so much so that I am used to it and accept it as part of the culture. In Miami I felt like a person. In Los Angeles I feel like a BLACK person. Korean shops close their doors in my face in the middle of the afternoon. Guatemalen waitresses pretend that I am invisible when I enter their doors. Street vendors charge me more because I do not speak the language. Workers at various venues seat me at the back when there are seats available in the front.
I have only worked one job while I have lived in Los Angeles but every person that I know of who wants to work has found employment here. I have been able to create my own stream of income here and I know of others who have done the same through creative means.
In Miami, it appears that most people complain of not finding employment. When I was there it was difficult for me as well. This may be a reflection on the type of people I have been in company with.
For the most part the people in Miami seem to be looking for job opportunities whereas I find that people I encounter in Los Angeles, create their own.
Cost of Living/Rent/Housing
The cost of living in Los Angeles is extremely high. For $1750 you can rent a studio in Downtown LA and for the same price in Miami you will have a 4 bedroom home.
Marijuana is legal in Los Angeles, for medical purposes. It is not uncommon to see people smoking on the street. Marijuana made of wax is the latest new drug I have heard about but most people do cocaine casually and meth.
In Miami Marijuana is not yet legal so it is the drug of choice, sometimes laced with cocaine.
Things to Do
Miami is a very segmented city with pockets of communities based by ethnicity. There are some activities related to culture in Miami but it is heavily overshadowed by the scope of things to do in Los Angeles.
If you want to have fun socially in Miami you will have to put in effort to form your own social groups and plan your own activities. There is rarely a ‘scene’ to belong to outside of entertainment and the arts so you must plan your own events and meet-ups.
Los Angeles has pockets of communities based on common interests and these interests are wide and far reaching. If there is anything you have ever wanted to try or experience, Los Angeles has a dedicated community of people doing it and doing it well.
Los Angeles has decades worth of new activities to try and places to explore and people to be inspired by, influenced by and to help shape who you are. In Los Angeles you will NEVER run out of new adventures to have or people to sleep with.
Jan 26, 2015 at 11:41 am
I have never lived in LA, but I can relate being that I’ve lived on the West Coast for about 12 years and I’m from Miami. Every time I drive back East and go down South it feels almost like I’m driving into one big plantation where folks are more segregated and the attitudes reflect a “fuck off” kind of vibe. It’s funny when I speak to folks back in Miami about legalizing marijuana and interracial mixing and they look at me as if I were the damn devil or something. It feels as if I’m going back into a time machine or something. You would think that a “progressive” city such as Miami would be on the cutting edge of everything, but as I have learned throughout the years perception is not reality. I still love my hometown though and am very much a proud Miamian, I just can’t live in a place where marijuana and same-sex marriage are show stoppers. I enjoy living in a place where you can do what you choose to do because it’s your right to do so. #Arizona
Jul 14, 2015 at 10:42 am
I came to miami thinking it was going to be this fun place, full of parties, sex and drugs. Complete opposite. I’ve been in miami almost 2 weeks and have been bored. Its boring, Its beautiful place and weather is better than up north i will say that. But miami is all hype. Miami is a wannabe LA with out the flavor. LosAngelis is more wild, spontaneous.
Apr 8, 2016 at 10:03 am
You’re just not getting out much then. I grew up in Miami and trust me, as long as you know what to do and when to do it, and are not broke, you’ll have plenty of fun.
Jul 25, 2015 at 1:26 am
Well to Matt’s comment, things have changed here in Miami since you left this comment. Marijuana is now just a 100 dollar ticket which is big step in the right direction. As well, as we all know gay marriage is now legal in the US. Not to mention they are building the nations largest mall in North West Miami, a theme park of sorts. Downtown now is looking like mini New York with about 10 to 20 new skyscrapers they are erecting. I love Miami, but i am going to Cali next week which is why im reading this article. Thanks to the article and your input on the west area, I now have some insight, thanks
Aug 31, 2015 at 5:02 pm
Wow, in L.A. you feel like a black person. That happens to me too and I am a white gay guy. Weird. Why is this?
May 11, 2016 at 10:08 pm
Wow! This is very accurate I have lived in both cities!
Loved reading this
Sep 13, 2015 at 11:29 am
Ive lived in Florida all my life, I live two counties north of Miami dade, in Palm Beach county, in the small backwoods type of town of Boynton Beach. But anyways lets cut to the chase. Whenever Im bored of the suburbs and want a city kick, I drive down to Miami and I can honestly tell yall one thing, never believe what you see on TV for pretty much any city, not just Miami. See since im from a small town, Im willing to believe anything I see on TV. Miami isnt anything they say it is on television or movies. In fact it is an awesome place, a weekend getaway if you will. But there are some things you need to know about Miami that have already been mentioned. 1. Prepare to spend money, parking garages, bars, clubs etc. Whether you want to or not it will come down to it becuase what else is there to do there. 2. Dont buy cocaine from people in Miami becuase they will sell you fake stuff, I do not do cocaine on a regular basis, but i figured why not in Miami due to the stereotype, Miami is a hustle kind of city, people will sweet talk you and convince you to buy a product, and scam you, that is the only time people will talk to you in Miami is if you can do something to benefit them, otherwise your just wasting their time, that is why Miami has that fuck you attitude, becuase everyone is accustomed to the dirty gritty lifestyle, if you make friends here, be prepared for betrayal or being used, becuase thats just how people in florida are, theyre all out for self in one way or the other, you have to really have a small circle of friends here, one thing ive noticed about florida is that everyone in miami and south florida are stylish, but you can tell that they only dress a certain way becuase everybody else does, they dress to impress, which I do as well BUT i like to switch things up. What i mean is i like to wear other clothes rather than name brand polos and dress shirts, sperry shoes, polo shoes, Jordans etc. In Miami if you are not dressed like them, they know your not from there or look down on you. I went down wearing a bucket hat, a nice tee shirt jean shorts and some adidas and stuck out but at the same time was complimented for the hat and looking different with style. Now ill say this, Miami is a cool place, the beach is nice, its a great city, but it certainly isnt for everyone. My thoughts on this city were completely different before I went there, and it was becuase of TV and movies, but now that Ive been there on my own and have witnessed it and walked its streets I know that its greater than that, the same goes for Los Angeles, which I havent been to yet, but i bet people believe that LA is all glamour, hollywood, and gangbanging, which undoubtebly exists there, but the movies and TV makes it seem crazier than what it is I believe, and the same with Miami.
Sep 14, 2015 at 10:59 pm
This article is pretty spot on. For instance I ask someone is in LA for advice and they seem friendly willing to help but make it very hard to reach to reach them almost like they want to string you along little by little and it’s just like well why didn’t you just say no. As if I ask someone in a Miami for advice most likely not respond at all but for those that do it’s genuine to their best ability. Traffic in LA is by far the worst experience ever. I go for vacations and it’s very bad any given day weekdays or weekends so I couldn’t imagine having a job that I don’t live close to. Miami the weekdays rush hour are bad still not LA bad but it’s bad during rugs hour. Traffic is beautiful on the weekend. LA is definitely a city for creatives & Hollywood chasing dreams type of people. Miami is more working class or so overseas weathly I never have to work type of people. The traffic in miami gets very indecisive to aggressive. At the end of the day I wish it was more activities in Miami. We really lack that as the article said heavily overshadowed by LA as far as activities. I was born and raised in miami so I always feel like it’s time to move on. I just left San Fran yesterday. I know I definilety don’t like San Fran. If I moved west it would probably be like San Jose or somewhere south of LA. Just to have access to the city when I want it. But it’s just far too much commotion & congestion that I want to deal with on a daily. But I’ve been looking and considering. One thing they seem to not be running out of is land in California. So I always feel like I have so much time to move there. Heck I can retire in florida 30 years move there and they’ll still be building new homes.
Dec 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm
Never lived in Miami. I LIVE IN HOLLYWOOD LA. Been here for 15 years straight. Its the most expensive city to live in, PEOPLE ARE NOT THE BEST OF THE BEST IN LA. I yet have to meet someone with impressive talent. Ed Wood and his movies are better then anything I have seen people make here. People are fake, superficial and many people here end up homeless at least once in their lives. Yes, its that hard. By all means this is NOT a city to come and get ahead. If a job contract lands you here, that’s a different story but even then you wont like it as you’ll end up commuting on average an hour to work; in some cases 2 hours because the city is HUGE. The desert is beautiful and national parks are not far. Joshua Tree national park is amazing. All that being said, don’t come to LA to live, unless you’re a young attractive girl or a dude with mad marketable lucrative skills, your life will be very hard here. It’s superficial and fake to the bone, it’s all who you know that matters but good luck getting to know someone that can do something for you because everyone, I mean everyone is desperate and trying to get to know someone to get them to the next level and they never do and getting in any affluent circles is harder then going to Mars. Good luck. Come visit south CA but stay away from LA. Ain’t nothing here. NOTHING. I’d leave but I’m stuck. No dinero $$$
Mar 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm
The cost of living is a bit off. Downtown Miami, Brickell and South Beach is pretty much around the same cost of Downtown LA on average and depending on the location. On the suburbs and far from South Beach and downtown is where you’re gonna find a 4 bedroom house for no less than 1800 and prices are going up. Not to mention that salaries in Miami are on average lower than in LA. There’s a reason why so many young people I know are moving to Texas, Colorado or California. But you’re right about how people here in Miami behave. For the record it sucks what you have to go through for being black. I had no idea it was that bad in LA.
Sep 15, 2016 at 7:34 pm
Im black and live in la it is not as bad as she says it is. Much of the racism comes from Mexicans.
Aug 4, 2016 at 7:21 am
What would miami be like from a tourist point of view.
Sep 11, 2016 at 10:59 pm
I’m tired of leaving in LA. I currently live in long beach and it’s scary the whole people are weird ! I’m thinking of and been wanting to move to south Florida but I need to find a job and a apartment .. Looks like it’s almost the same price as here but I think it will be much better out there in Miami..
I’m a carribean type of girl very Latin and I’ve visited Miami before it goes well with me and I would love to see what it has to offer!
Jun 14, 2017 at 8:41 pm
I left a post two days ago. Why is it not posting?
Jun 15, 2017 at 7:55 pm
Because it had a link which is picked up by spam detectors and removed.
Jul 17, 2017 at 9:12 pm
Miami is where all the illiterate garbage from latin america end up, specially the cubans, they only knows about drugs, prostitution and cuban girls gets laid even with their uncles and cousins. Not to mention Santeria is huge in Miami. Miami has glam because there is a load of money laundry , every single loser from latin america gets there and their dream is to ha e a huge TV and a nice car, they have no brain for anything else. In Miami no one networks, no one will help you out to find a job, everything is around envy.
Jan 17, 2018 at 9:49 pm
Miami Rocks!!! And the West Coast can Eat Ass!!!
Mar 8, 2018 at 2:53 pm
love this article….thank you!
I’m currently living and working in Orlando FL in costume design and hate the job and I hate Orlando. I’m originally from Miami the city that I love and have worked in High fashion for over 10years. But lately opportunities are scarce and yes the people in Miami sometimes like New Yorkers. No one will help you in Miami and it has become a place where you work and work but you have nothing to show for it. I don’t know anything about the LA market but I would like to try. if any one reading this can share some input please do.
Apr 6, 2018 at 8:12 am
I’ve had the pleasure of living in both, Los Angeles and Miami. First of all, this article is SPOT ON. Secondly, every city is what you make of it and the attitude that YOU possess. That being said, there are more opportunities in L.A., the geography is MUCH better and as the OP mentioned you are surrounded by endless entertainment. The one downside about L.A. – people are extremely fake and superficial, but no more so than Miami. If you are involved in work that you enjoy and that is a positive force in your life, chances are you will meet like-minded people. If you focus on unrewarding ventures and shallow ties – you will surround yourself with like-minded people.
Apr 18, 2018 at 9:11 pm
1,70O for a 4 beds home doesn’t exist in miami …rents are getting as expensive as LA.
May 19, 2018 at 11:43 pm
Come to Australia, we couldn’t give 2 fucks what race you are. As long as you don’t bring gang bullshit here, we’re all intermixed and rooting each other without care about nationality for the most part. I’m in Melbourne, Gold Cost is awesome too! Weather can suck in Melbourne but is always awesome at the gold cost and both cities have low pollution and a awesome night life. I do wanna see LA and Miami though, plus Montreal in Canada.
Jul 25, 2018 at 7:42 pm
I’m a Latina Lic Cosmetologist. But I also would like to peruse my goals in social communications since I been doing a little bit of everything… Radio, TV, Theater, Modeling. I been living in SC almost all my life, here is a little bit of everything Colombians, Mexicans, Asians. I’m single mom my daughter is already 19 yrs old she is in college, we decide that we would like to move but I’m so terrify to start ssomething new, I been in Miami Flor for vacations I can say that I like Fortlauderdale is close to Miami and Orlando. I was in California but many years ago fro few days as far as I remember is beautiful the weather was very nice. I would like any advice Miami vs Cali. Not really looking to live in this big cities to be around latino at all times I’m very diverse and I’m more used to be around American way than latino way. Not that I’m racist is just I been here so long that I love the peaceful, quietness, and discipline. But I do can say I had more nada experiences with Americans then with Latinos. I’m taking about work. But Anyways I want any advice where it would be better for my daughter and I to live where is open doors where we can have a great jobs and live indipendent and have a better life then here in SC. If it’s Cali what cities are good to live, or if it is Florida what’s cities are good to love in. Ur advice would be great thank u.
Jul 25, 2018 at 8:49 pm
I lived in Los Angeles for over 12 years then moved to Miami about 6 years ago and I can say I don’t miss La at all. Miami is way cleaner, I can see the clouds and the beaches are awesome. But the most important thing: We got rain! One of my biggest issues living in Southern California. The weather in Los Angeles is boring, every day feels the same.
In Los Angeles there’s more variety when it comes to food, but in Miami food tastes better..at least to me. Too many options, too much confusion..I dunno. Everybody is different.
I think theres more jobs opportunities in La but rent and groceries are way more expensive over there you go.
Anorher very important an decisive thing is the quality of life abd the thelifestyle in Miami which is way superior to life in Los Angeles. I personally feel closer to the real world and to people down here. Over there I had way more friends, but most of them disappear for years and you’ll never hear from them again. Life goes faster in Los Angeles and I hated that too. So yeah, Miami all the way.
Oct 1, 2018 at 7:09 pm
Completely agree. I lived in LA for 5 years and Miami for 3 years so far. Although weather is more consistent, it doesn’t rain much and its colder in the winter (like 30’s & 40’s) and hotter in the summer (triple digits 100’s) than Miami. Miami is hands down better for beaches and ocean. By far better beaches, much hotter water temps. The average water temp is 90’s in the summer time. Food variety is very similar but much more latin choices. There are jobs in both and Miami can be a little tougher if you aren’t bilingual, but I think the job markets are similar. Both cities are transient, so it’s harder to keep long term friends but it can happen if you give it time. QOL is better in Miami….rent is cheaper in Miami and is more comparable to ocean dr south beach rent, yet you live on the beach but in LA you don’t.
Apr 26, 2019 at 12:47 pm
LA is way more international and diverse than Miami
Jun 3, 2019 at 6:45 pm
What a naive comment. Australia care as much as any other country, and barely intermix its a 80% white country lol.
Jan 13, 2020 at 4:05 pm
I live in LA but lived 2 years in miami in the past. It is boring. Not much to do. Mainly, only beaches and malls. LA is much more fun! people are friendly and Miami has lots of cubans and south americans. The latinos are stuck up in Miami. Mexicans here are not. Would not move back to Miami. LA is much better everywhere you go
Mar 6, 2020 at 8:02 pm
Been living in Los Angeles metro area now for 9 years……Long Beach, Thousand Oaks and finally decided to buy a property here in Woodland Hills. Asides from the great weather, there’s a lot of opportunities out here for anyone who knows how to grind and hustle…..people who cannot find jobs out here are either lazy, picky or not looking hard enough in my opinion……also lots of opportunities to network….traffic though is atrocious no matter what time it is which makes it a challenge to get around even if you were to plan ahead…..it’s expensive but it shouldn’t be a problem for anyone who’s not trying to “Keep up with the Kardashians”, it’s certainly not a bad as San Francisco cost of living……thinking of moving to Miami, FL or Austin, TX after a few years of holding on to our property with Austin as our first choice, now I’ve heard about Miami getting hit by Hurricanes almost once a year, is it really that bad? I’ve lived in Guam most of my life and went through 2-3 Typhoons per year and it sucks ass! Is it that often too in Miami?
Mar 6, 2020 at 8:45 pm
It’s not that bad in Miami. But compared to all of the events happening in LA, you will be bored there.