chicago vs los angeles

Living in Chicago vs Los Angeles: What You Need to Know

While you might think things are very different in Chicago vs Los Angeles, the two cities are quite similar. The most notable differences between the two cities are the weather and traffic. Between the culture, cost of living, crime rate, and more, it is helpful to know the differences between Chicago and Los Angeles if you plan to live there.

In this guide, we’re going to do a side-by-side comparison of Chicago vs Los Angeles. 

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LA vs Chicago

You will notice many differences when living in Chicago vs Los Angeles. While east coast vs west coast living has many differences, west coast vs the midwest isn’t all that different. These differences might be the determining factor to help you decide which city best suits you.

chicago vs los angeles nightlife


The culture in Los Angeles is much different than the culture in Chicago. Los Angeles is often described as being a vain city, and Chicago is moreso a combination of the Midwest and New York City. Los Angeles is well known for being the home to rich and famous people with massive net worths, since it is the home of Hollywood, after all. 

Multiple plastic surgeons and skilled doctors reside in Los Angeles since many celebrities live there, which is why some might consider LA vain. Chicago, on the other hand, is much more laid back. 

Sports and music are considered a considerable part of their culture, and it is the home of Jazz. Chicago gives off city vibes but with a Midwest feel. While the cultures differ in Los Angeles vs Chicago, both can be appreciated for their distinct ways of living. The best moving apps can help you plan your move to Chicago.

Cost of Living

Whether you want to live in Chicago or Los Angeles, they both have a high cost of living. Los Angeles is the 7th most expensive city to live in, in the United States. While Chicago does not fit into the ten most expensive cities, it isn’t too far from Los Angeles. 

Both cities have a high urban density, and they also have a high rate of homelessness. The cost of housing in LA is exceptionally high compared to other cities, taxes and groceries. 

The median price of a home in LA is $650,000. In Chicago, the taxes are high, groceries can be expensive, and the median price of a home is almost $340,000.

chicago vs los angeles weather


The weather in Los Angeles is comfortable throughout any time of the year. Chicago, however, experiences frigid winters and gets lots of snow. In the winter months, Chicago gets an average of 28.1 inches of snow and has an average temperature of 26.4 degrees. 

Los Angeles typically gets no colder than 45 degrees during the winter, but the wind can cause it to feel cooler. Summers in LA are mostly dry and warm, and usually, the temperature is in the 80s. Chicago has warm summers, usually in the 80s, and gets an average amount of rain during the summer, rarely exceeding 5.7 inches.

Traffic and Public Transportation

Los Angeles has some of the worst traffic in the United States, so Chicago wins regarding traffic concerns. Public transportation in Chicago is also more efficient than in LA since it is much more commonly used. 

Chicago has the light rail, also known as the Chicago L, which helps to transport over one and a half million people every day. The Chicago Transit Authority is the second largest in the country, with New York being the first. 

Los Angeles does have public transportation available, but it is significantly underused because most people drive their cars. You can also use a car to get around in Chicago, but parking can be difficult. Using cross country movers might be helpful when planning a move to Chicago, as they have experience with difficult parking situations during a move. 

You should also plan ahead to discover what size moving truck you need for your move, depending on the number of goods you need to move and the size of your home.

chicago vs los angeles jobs

Job Prospects

Both Los Angeles and Chicago have similar economies. Both cities have higher education systems, good finances, and a good healthcare system. Both Chicago and Los Angeles are diverse and mature economies with world-class universities. 

The only factor differentiating the two is that Los Angeles has a large television, film, and media industry because of Hollywood. Anyone working within that industry may be better off living in LA than Chicago. 

Crime and Safety 

Chicago and LA have a high crime rate compared to other US cities. Chicago is known for having a high rate of homicides, while Los Angeles experiences more common crimes than violent crimes

Both Chicago and LA face problems regarding crime rate and safety, but the crime rate is lower in the suburbs of the cities. It never hurts to take measures to protect yourself, such as carrying pepper spray, if you have to walk alone in either city.

Outdoor Life

There is wonderful outdoor life in Los Angeles vs Chicago. In LA, residents can enjoy outdoor living year-round since they have comfortable summers and winters. In Los Angeles, residents can enjoy going to the beach any time of the year. Living on the west coast has many perks because of how accessible the beaches are. 

In Chicago, Lake Michigan is the closest thing to a beach that residents can enjoy. Lake Michigan is one of the most beautiful great lakes and a popular summer attraction. During the winter, those who enjoy the snowy weather can enjoy skiing outside the city or some indoor activities in the cold months.

Pros and Cons of Chicago vs LA

Both cities have pros and cons, which is helpful when deciding which city is best for you.

Pros of Chicago

  • Family-friendly
  • Many museums and historical sites
  • Excellent public transit
  • Many activities in the city
  • Rapidly growing economy
  • World-class sports culture
  • Culinary diversity

Cons of Chicago

  • Freezing winter
  • Lots of snow
  • High crime rate

Pros of Los Angeles

  • Family-friendly
  • Excellent career opportunities in the film and music industry
  • Culturally diverse
  • Access to beaches
  • Many museums and zoos
  • Close to a major airport

Cons of Los Angeles

  • Not the best public transit
  • High crime rate
  • Lots of traffic
chicago vs los angeles pros and cons

Is Chicago or Los Angeles More Populated? 

Chicago is significantly smaller than Los Angeles. Los Angeles has a population of 3.9 million, and Chicago has a population of 2.7 million. Los Angeles is twice the square miles of Chicago, at 500 versus 250 square miles. 

LA has outranked Chicago in popularity since the 1980s when a lot of suburban growth occurred within Los Angeles’s city borders.

Final Thoughts

Both Chicago vs Los Angeles are culturally diverse and offer excellent job opportunities. If you are relocating, check out the Agoyu app. Agoyu can help you find movers to help you relocate to your new location. 

With Agoyu, you can compare the price of multiple movers and can read customer reviews. Agoyu can also help you organize vehicle shipping. Download the Agoyu app on the Google Play store or iOS App Store today!

Bill Mulholland

Bill Mulholland is the owner of ARC Relocation, a company that relocates thousands of employees annually, to every state in the United States, and more than 90 foreign countries, for organizations like DHL,, GNC, and the U.S. Government. Bill also owns a real estate brokerage and title company in Virginia.