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Moving From New York to California – Comprehensive 2020 Relocation Guide

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Moving from New York to California? Stay right here as you’re about to embark on a journey that’ll prepare you for the big move across the country.

After reading this digest, you’ll know all the important things before moving:

  1. What is the best time to move from New York to California?
  2. How to move during a pandemic?
  3. How safe is Los Angeles in comparison to New York?
  4. Should you prepare for a cultural shock?
  5. What are the costs of living in LA and other cities in Cal?
  6. How to calculate the cost of the move

Source: Google Maps

Why do New Yorkers move to California?

Even though every individual has personal reasons for moving from New York to California, there are universal reasons: Life in New York is fast-paced, intense, and expensive. California has amazing weather, food, and nature. Who wouldn’t move to the ‘El Dorado’?

Important things to know before moving from New York to California

Before you start looking up all the beautiful estates in the Golden State, you must decide between living in Northern or Southern Cali.

Let’s make the decision easier by dividing Cali into big metro areas:

  1. San Francisco and Silicon Valley belong to Northern California.
  2. Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego are all considered Southern California.

Probably the biggest difference between the two areas is the weather: the north is prone to gloomier mornings, rain, and some snow, while the south of the Gold Coast welcomes sun around 300 days a year. (Source: Current Results)

If you’re moving from New York to California, the northern part would be easier to adapt to.

Either way, this state is the third biggest in the US, after Alaska and Texas. It is famous for its weather, film, music industry, delicious food, and a booming tech scene. Did you know that companies like Apple, Netflix, and Tesla built their empires in Cali?

When it comes to time zones, New York is 3 hours ahead of California.

Also, we hope you’re into almonds because this state produces 80% of the global supply of this healthy nut. Don’t be startled if you run into a land filled with almond trees.

You know what is said about the Golden Poppy State in this famous song:

Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)

Such a lovely face

Plenty of room at the Hotel California

Any time of year (any time of year)

You can find it here.

Get ready to love Cali!

Source: Pinterest

Moving from New York to California during the pandemic

Moving during the pandemic may sound a bit difficult, but with Move Price that won’t be a problem. If this time has brought anything, than it’s the slight fall of the rents for the first time in a decade. All our movers wear masks and follow all the safety measures. See and plan your move virtually by filling out the quote.

According to Mercury News, there has been a sharp decline in cases from the summer period and a potential slowdown in deaths.

What is the best time of the year to move from New York to California?

This depends on your preferences. Most people prefer to move during summer, making the moves during this season by far more expensive than those during late autumn and winter.

How to deal with weather change when moving from New York to California?

It always depends on how well you handle weather change or how easily adaptable you are. Ariana DiValentino said that it was even funny to her when she saw people in Cali layering up on a 65-degree day. (Source: Insider). She also adds that the adjustment to warm Cali days wasn’t as difficult as she assumed.

Is it better to live in California or New York?

The answer depends on the individual and their needs. Depending on the job and lifestyle you have, California can be very practical. We suggest making a pros and cons list in case you’re indecisive.

We also suggest you fill out this move quote and decide even faster!

Is LA safer than New York?

When it comes to these two enormous cities, some criminal activity is, unfortunately, inevitable. High profile and famous people, expensive real estate, crowded public transportation, and active nightlife make both cities prone to vandalism and crime.

Data says that Los Angeles has a 0.3 higher average crime rate:

Los Angeles, CA New York, NY United States
Violent Crime 29.1 28.2 22.7
Property Crime 35.1 24.9 35.4

Despite numbers, threads on Quora  share different experiences from people who lived in both cities suggest that LA is safer than NYC.

(Source: Best Places)

Will you experience a culture shock?

There is a possibility that you’ll feel like an outcast when making a move from the fast-paced state New York to surfside California. That is entirely normal, as these cities have very different cultures, routines, and structures. Either way, it won’t be long until you fall in love with the Cali vibe. We guarantee it!

Source: Pinterest

Cost of Moving from New York to California

MovePrice Allied Average truck rental
Studio $1000-1300* $5,000-$8000 $2,130-$2,690**
Two bedroom $5700* $2,642-$3,337**
Three bedroom $10000* $3,246-$4,100**

*Note: Prices are estimates. Fill out the quote to see exactly how much it would cost you to move.

** These prices are without tolls, lodging, parking, etc.

Note that while renting a truck looks like a great deal, it is full of hidden costs that in the end will make you wish you paid the professionals to do it for you. Add prices of tolls, parking, lodging, and the stress you will go through, and soon enough, you will realize, that hiring a moving company is far better.

Moving from New York to California is not an easy quest at all. It is, in the end, a long-distance, cross country move.

How is the cost of moving calculated?

The cost of the move is calculated precisely and quickly, and most importantly – virtually. Fill out a form on our website and see how much it’ll cost you to move from New York to California. MovePrice is here to help!

Cost of Living differences between New York and California

Differences in the cost of living can be seen on the comparison table down below.

Cost of Living Los Angeles New York USA
Overall 173.3 187.2 100
Food 104.1 116.6 100
Health 89.4 112.6 100
House 298.2 294.3 100

Housing Costs: New York VS Cali

There isn’t much difference in average home prices between the biggest cities on the U.S. coasts. Have a look at the table, where you can see that both cities have three times higher average prices than the national average.

Average Home Price $689,500 $680,500 $231,200

Based on this data, moving from New York to California, at least in regards to home prices won’t be a shock.

Taxes Comparison

We know no one likes thinking or talking about taxes. Let’s face it – it’s boring but crucial. Be sure to calculate everything if you’re moving from New York to California. Let’s have a look at a tax comparison between the two cities.

Sales Taxes 9.5% 8.9% 6.2%
Income Taxes 8.0% 10.1% 4.6%

As you can see, there is a slight difference in taxes in favor of Los Angeles, but both cities exceed the US average.

Renting Prices

According to RentCafe, the average rent for an apartment in California is $1,420, which comes up to about a 3% increase from 2019, when the average rent was $1,381.
The situation is a bit different when it comes to Los Angeles. According to the same source, an average flat is around 800 square feet. The average rent is about $2500.

Source: Pinterest

Prices per square foot

When it comes to building a house, keep in mind that and the costs per square foot in Los Angeles vary from $100 to $400. (Source: Los Angeles General Contractor).

Do you want a house in California? Make your dreams come true; move to Cali! But first, see the estimated cost of your move by filling out this quote.

What is a livable salary in California?

California is the second most expensive state in the United States, so a full-time hourly wage of $32.68 is necessary to afford a two-bedroom rental home. According to a report published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a person needs to earn $67,976 annually to afford rent and utilities.

Is it more expensive to live in NYC or LA?

After looking at the taxes and overall cost of living, it seems like LA is a bit more expensive than NYC. But with the right plans and budget organization, you will manage just fine! Both cities offer an abundance of outdoor, free activities. Check out the best ones in LA on the link here.

Source: Pinterest

What are the best places to live in California?

Moving from one coast to the other but don’t know which city is best? The five biggest cities are:

  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Diego
  3. San Francisco
  4. San Jose
  5. Bakersfield

Los Angeles

Discovering LA is a fantastic experience as you get to see, feel, and taste amazing things. It might be a cultural shock to someone who’s moving across the country but also a transformative journey. The city of angels is waiting for you.

If you are moving to LA and want to learn more about the city, you can check our Comprehensive, No BS Guide for moving to Los Angeles.

See the basic info about LA like population, median income, and average home price.

Los Angeles New York US
Population 3,949,776 8,560,072 321,004,407
Median income $49,682 $52,737 $53,482
Avg. home price $689,500 $680,500 $231,200

Source: Best places

Transportation in LA

Traffic jams cause stress and pollute the city every day, making it the city with the dirtiest air in the U.S.

If you move from New York to California, you might need time to get used to this routine. To use this time, take up a new podcast and enjoy the commute with audio entertainment.

For more detailed info, take a look at the whole public transportation system here.

Source: Pinterest

Nightlife in Los Angeles

California knows how to party!

Music is an integral part of California’s culture. Festivals, Hollywood clubs, and a booming DJ scene are all very popular in Cali. Alongside dance clubs, accommodating hundreds of guests, more intimate venues are scattered across the city, many within walking distance.

Make reservations on time and prepare your budget, as going out in LA can come up to an average of $85 per night. (Source: Eventbrite)

Some clubs/bars that we recommend for starters in your California residence are:

Los Angeles Club Crawl

Get together with old friends, or meet new friends at LA Club Crawl located in Little Tokyo, Downtown. Whether you’re in a large group or wanna check out the scene in a pair, Crawl will host you right with live music, happy hour specials, and a great dance floor.

Avalon Hollywood

Speaking of Hollywood, check out the legendary Avalon. Thursdays are home to the LGBTQ+ pop party called TigerHeat, Fridays are for dance music trends and up-and-coming talents. Our advice, wait until Saturday, when you can catch the biggest and most famous superstars performing live on the decks.

Source: Pinterest

Gold Diggers

You know Hollywood’s party images: rich guys and girls and fake people who use them for luxury. Well, Gold Diggers isn’t a place like that at all. Just look at the interior of this place!

Source: Pinterest

In this bar/music venue, you’ll hear live music and DJs. You can even find night accommodations and a recording studio.

Neighborhoods in LA

Getting to call a place where you feel comfortable home is a wonderful thing. But before calling yourself a homeowner, we’ve compiled a fair share of research is on the list. Let’s get familiar with the neighborhoods of LA, and then we’ll let you decide which matches your needs and lifestyle the most.

We’ve divided neighborhoods by life stage and lifestyle for:

  • Young professionals
  • Families
  • Retirees

Young professionals

If you are a young aspiring professional moving from New York to California, especially Los Angeles, then these neighborhoods will be the perfect fit for you!

Santa Monica

Source: Pinterest / Santa Monica

Santa Monica City Centre is ideal if you’re looking for an urban area with many bars, cafes, beaches, and parks. Because of high estate prices, 96% of people rent their place. Santa Monica has impressive public schools and is pretty diverse and gentrified. Around 37% of the population in this area has a Bachelor’s degree. (Source: Niche)

Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica Source: Pinterest


Hollywood is another part of Los Angeles great for young professionals. It’s abundant in places to go out, events to visit, and food to try. It offers many outdoor activities, and health/fitness centers. Of course, prepare yourself for tourists as this is one of the city’s main spots to visit and make Instagram posts.

Hollywood residential area

Source: Pinterest

Moving for your job? Stressful, we know. Make it easier and check everything in advance by filling out the price quote for your move.


Families moving from New York to California have it hard, and we know it. We put up a list of our recommendations for families to make their move easier.

Rolling Hills

Rolling Hills is a cute, not densely populated gated community in the LA area. It is excellent for families because it has a rural feel that gives you and your loved ones a sense of freedom and a special connection to nature. Predominantly homeowners live in this area, so renting would not be the ideal housing option. It’s important to note public schools are top-rated.

Rolling Hills, LA, Source: Google Maps

La Cañada Flintridge

This is another rural area that gives you and your family a sense of security and serenity. It is full of trees and little wood like areas, it’s great for jogging, walking your dog and doing sports. Warm LA weather gives you the luxury of enjoying outdoor activities all year long. La Cañada Flintridge is a pricy neighborhood but definitely worth it for the quality of life and community support.

La Canada Flintridge, Source: Pinterest

Glad you and your family are moving across the country and settling in California? Nice! Calculate the estimated cost of your move in just a minute.


Laguna Woods in Orange County is among the safest and friendliest neighborhoods. This slow-paced area is welcoming to the senior community as it offers many indoor and outdoor activities. Even though Cali is prone to earthquakes, Laguna Woods experiences very few.

(Source: Niche)

Newport Beach

This city has breathtaking views and beaches, and an active population is flooding boardwalks, rollerblading, shopping, and enjoying the nice weather.

Be sure to visit Crystal Cove in Newport Beach, a magical border of water and land. You can also check and see the quote of your move before coming to this paradise on Earth.

San Diego

Did you know that San Diego produces the most avocados in the United States? Yep, so if you’re an avocado fan, you know what the ideal location in Cali is. It is also known as the city of skateboards because both Tony Hawk and Shaun White come from San Diego.

Source: Pinterest – San Diego

Take a look at the table to see the differences in cost of living in comparison to NYC:

San Diego New York US
Population 1,390,966 8,560,072 321,004,407
Median income $65,753 $52,737 $53,482
Avg. home price $645,300 $680,500 $231,200

Source: Best Places

Looking for a change or new adventure? Why don’t you try California? The Kardashians made it up there; why wouldn’t you? Get your quote estimate and start your new dream life.

San Francisco

Known as the tech hub of Cali, where all occupations seem to include a tech prefix: tech law, tech medicine, tech finance… All you can overhear in the city is talking about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies while NYC’s themes cover stocks, profit margins, Wall Street, and company bankruptcies.

If you’re moving from New York to California, and your choice of residence is San Francisco, then brace yourself for even higher costs of living.

Source: Pinterest

Sunny weather, palm beaches, and a summer feeling all the time. Those are not scenes from Baywatch, but a view from your new California flat. What are you waiting for? – calculate the cost of your move right now!

San Francisco New York US
Population 864,263 8,560,072 321,004,407
Median income $78,378 $52,737 $53,482
Avg. home price $1,378,300 $680,500 $231,200

Source: Best Places

San Jose

It’s time for Californication. Not a song from Red Hot Chili Peppers, but your move to CA. First, Calculate the cost of your move.

San Jose New York US
Population 1,023,031 8,560,072 321,004,407
Median income $83,787 $52,737 $53,482
Avg. home price $1,003,100 $680,500 $231,200

Source: Best Places

San Jose Source: Pinterest


Wanna experience Coachella for the whole year? Move to California and settle in Bakersfield, a beautiful calm city in the state’s continental part. But first, get your quote estimate.

Bakersfield New York US
Population 372,680 8,560,072 321,004,407
Median income $56,842 $52,737 $53,482
Avg. home price $242,800 $680,500 $231,200

Source: Best Places

Bakersfield Source: Pinterest

How to get a job after moving from New York to California?

After moving from New York to California and settling in, it’s time to find a job! Depending on the reason for your move, you could already have a job waiting for you, but even if you don’t, no stress! There is always the option of finding an online job on Upwork, Fiverr, or any other freelance platform. The good thing is that this type of work doesn’t limit you to a physical location.

Is it hard to get a job in California?

Finding a job is a long process, but not a hard one, especially in Los Angeles. Depending on your industry, there is more or less demand for the job you’re doing.

And hey, if you don’t feel like looking for a job, check out all the artsy stuff you can do in Los Angeles! Treat yourself 🙂

What are the highest paid jobs in California?

According to Zippia, the highest paid jobs in California are:

  1. Surgeons, except Ophthalmologists
  2. Psychiatrists
  3. Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  4. Nurse Anesthetists
  5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
  6. Orthodontists
  7. Chief Executives
  8. General Internal Medicine Physicians
  9. Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric
  10. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Source: Pinterest

FAQ about moving from New York to California:

Here are a couple of questions we get asked the most when it comes to moving from New York to California:

How long does it take to go from NY to California?

The air travel distance from New York to California is precisely 2,441 miles, and it takes less than 5 hours to arrive by plane (4.36 to be precise).

If you plan on moving from New York to California by car it would take around 43 hours, plus all the time you spend on random stops.

How long is a train ride from New York to California?

If you love traveling on rails, there is always the option of arriving in California by train. Because there is no direct line from NYC to LA, It will take you around two and a half days to arrive.

How long is a bus ride from New York to California?

If you decide to go on a cross country adventure and take the bus, get ready to spend around 68 hours on the road. You’ll see so many different cities and towns you’ll never forget! Make sure to know the timetable before arriving at the station.

Nature of California – Source: Pinterest

How long do I have to renew my driver’s license when moving from New York to California?

You will have to make a visit to the DMV directly and apply if you’re changing your DL, but be sure to check all the pandemic measures of coming to the appointment! If you don’t have time at first, don’t worry as you can drive in CA for as long as you like without a California Driver’s License if the card is valid.

How can MovePrice help you?

If you decide to move from NYC to Los Angeles, pack your bags and plan your trip, and we will do all the rest! Calculate the Ball Park Move Price estimate based on your move information (The actual move cost may vary). We will contact you shortly for additional information that will enable us to provide you with a formal move quote.

Get ready to call the Golden State your home.

MovePrice, Your Safest Choice

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