Life in Long Beach, CA: 9 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Long Beach!

Living in Long Beach, CA

Are you moving to Long Beach, CA? Here is what it is like living in Long Beach, CA from the cost of living to fun things to do!

A coastal city only 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach is a renowned shipping port in southern California. Long Beach is the sixth-largest city in California that is famous for its multiple popular attractions near the waterfront. With a population of almost 500,000 people, the city offers its residents an urban yet small-town feel with friendly neighbors and diverse culture. Not only is Long Beach a coastal gem of California, but the city has a robust shopping and dining scene, exciting nightlife, and an abundance of things to do both indoors and outdoors.

Moving to Long beach, CA - What is it like living in Long Beach, California?

Considered a good place to live, if you are making the move to Long Beach, California then look no further than this moving guide. Read on to learn more about the 9 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Long Beach, California!

1. High cost of living.

If you have always wanted to live the California lifestyle then you must first become aware of the high cost of living. The cost of living in Long Beach in particular is known to be 43% higher than the national average. While it may not be the most expensive city in the state of California, Long Beach is not considered cheap either. Though a little less expensive than living in Los Angeles and 29% less expensive than living in New York City, Long Beach is still known to be among the highest-priced cities in the United States due to its location in southern California and close proximity to other high-end cities.

Made up of predominantly middle-income earners and not as many rich residents, the highest expense in the city is housing. In fact, housing prices in Long Beach are 127% higher than the national average. Meanwhile, utility expenses are 8% higher, transportation is 31% higher, and grocery prices are 12% higher than the national average. In order to live comfortably in Long Beach, residents need to be making a living wage of almost $20 an hour as a single adult. If a resident is raising a family and has three kids then they will need to be making almost $70 an hour to afford daily expenses. The average annual income for a family of four in Long Beach is around $130,000.

Scenic view of Long Beach, California on a sunny day with water, boats and buildings

2. Make sure to register your vehicle.

Unlike living in San Francisco or New York City, Long Beach is a spaced-out beach town. While there are some areas that are walkable, if you are moving to the city and want to be able to get around with ease then a car is needed. If you are bringing a car with you then It is important to remember that you will have 10 days once you have established residency to get a California state driver’s license. If you are wanting to vote, file taxes, and pay school fees and tuition then you will need to head to the DMV to become a resident. Normally a quick process, be prepared to fill out paperwork and pay a $35 licensing fee. If you are moving from another state in the country then the driving test will most likely be waived. 

3. Beware of crime. 

While Long Beach is not the most dangerous city when compared to other similar areas, the crime rate has been on the rise in recent years. Ranking as the 36th most dangerous city in the United States and the 13th most dangerous city in the state of California, residents need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. When moving to Long Beach, keep in mind that there are definitely a fair amount of safe areas and neighborhoods but it is also important to know of the bad parts of the city. Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of theft, stolen vehicles, and muggings downtown. If you choose to park your vehicle in an area for a prolonged amount of time, it is imperative to not leave anything valuable inside. For those living in Long Beach, the northeast part of the city tends to be known as the safest. Since safety is a top priority, our team will help you find a home in only the safest and best neighborhoods in Long Beach, California.

Drone view of Long Beach, California with the entire city and water in the image

4. The economy and the job market.

With a current high unemployment rate of 8.6%, the job market may not seem that amazing right now. Higher than the average of 7.16%, if you are on the hunt for a job when moving to the city then it may take a little longer than normal. While this may not be what you were expecting, do not give up hope because there is actually more opportunity than it seems. In fact, future job growth is expected to increase by 32.5%. With such a diverse economy, the cities job market is expected to grow, stabilize, and strengthen sooner rather than later. With top industries in aerospace, healthcare, financial services, tourism, hospitality, technology, trade, and oil, there is something for everyone. 

The local school system is among one of the top employers in the city. The Long Beach Unified School District employs about 8,000 people and provides jobs to over 7,000 local residents. Some other top employers include The Boeing Aerospace Company who employs 7,000 residents, the City of Long Beach, Long Beach City College, California State University Long Beach, Frontier Communications, the Port of Long Beach, and Long Beach Transit. 

5. Long Beach has a great school system. 

Are you moving with school-aged children? Then you are in luck! Long Beach, California has a fantastic school system. Operating under the Long Beach Unified School District there are over 81,000 students and 84 public schools in Long Beach. The Paramount Unified School District also operates alongside Long Beach and serves certain sections of the city. Ranked as one of the top school systems in the United States, education is important in Long Beach. The Long Beach Unified School District has even earned both national and international recognition as one of the best school systems in the country. Fun fact: The Long Beach Unified School District is actually one of the first school districts in the United States to require uniforms in the classroom from Kindergarten to eighth grade. Some of the best public schools in Long Beach include Eunice Sato Academy of Math and Science, Naples Elementary School, Bancroft Middle School, and Ernest S. McBride Senior High School. 

For those seeking higher education opportunities, Long Beach is also home to many accomplished universities and colleges. California State University, Long Beach is perhaps one of the most well-known. This four-year public university has over 95 programs and has a total of about 32,000 full-time students. Some of the most notable alumni include director Stephen Spielburg and actor Steve Martin. Some other popular institutions in the city include DeVry University and Long Beach City College. Plus, with a short commute time, students can easily attend schools in Los Angeles such as California State University, Los Angeles. 

6. The weather is beautiful. 

Long Beach, California is considered to have a steppe climate which means that the city has short, warm, and arid summers alongside long and cool winters. The average temperature year-round is 62 degrees Farenheight. The hottest month during the year is August where the highest average daily temperature is 83 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, the cold season lasts from November to March where the coldest month is December with a high average daily temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit. Since temperatures rarely dip below 42 degrees Farenheight, it never snows in Long Beach. This means that if you are moving to the area from a cold climate then there is no need to pack heavy winter clothing or a snow shovel.

Receiving 210 nice days throughout the year, rainfall is scarce in Long Beach as well. While June may be the wettest month in the city, Long Beach only receives about 13 inches of rain throughout the year. This lack of precipitation may mean more time to enjoy the sunshine and outdoor activities, but Long Beach is suffering from a horrible drought much like the rest of the state of California. Residents are encouraged to conserve water by keeping track of water usage and taking short showers. 

Long Beach, CA - A view of the beach at sunset with beautiful sand and walkway

7. Explore the beaches. 

What better way to spend the day in this coastal city than by exploring the local beaches? With 28 miles of coastline, Long Beach has long and wide pristine beaches that give the city its name. With multiple access points and various beaches to choose from, Long Beach has an array of beaches perfect for the family and your four-legged friends.

Check out these best beaches in Long Beach, California: Alamitos Bay Beach: This go-to beach is great for walking and enjoying views of the coast. Catch a sunset and enjoy the calm waters. Rosie’s Dog Beach: The best place to bring your furry friends. This beach even allows your dogs to go off-leash. Belmont Shore Beach: One of the prettiest beaches in Long Beach that is also known for being dog friendly. Mothers Beach: As one of the safest beaches for children, this is a great beach for the whole family. There is even a playground and picnic area. Long Beach City Beach: This is the cities main beach that has become a popular spot for riding your bike and skating. 

8. Parks and recreation.

Prized for its active lifestyle and adventurous community, Long Beach is adorned with parks and outdoor spaces that residents love to use. Featuring miles of natural green spaces, walking and biking trails, dog parks, playgrounds, and picnic shelters, there is always something to do outside. With sunny and warm weather nearly all year long, spending time outdoors is part of everyday life in Long Beach. Join a recreational sports team or bring the family out for a day of fun.

Check out one of the many parks and green spaces in Long Beach, California: 

  • El Dorado East Regional Park: This natural space near downtown Long Beach is a popular hotspot and favorite escape from busy city life. Admire the lake, walk, fish, ride your bike, or have a picnic in the grass. 
  • Shoreline Aquatic Park: Near downtown and on the water, this park has plenty of picnic areas and features beautiful views of the shoreline. 
  • Bixby Park: Featuring a community center, playgrounds, and sports facilities. 
  • Signal Hill Trail: A popular and difficult hiking trail that offers awesome views of the city once you get to the top. The trail is 1.9 miles long and descends almost 500 feet.
  • Hilltop Park: Offering cool views of Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles, you can even see the Hollywood Sign. A great place to bring the dog.

Things to do in Long Beach, CA - Ferris wheel is one of the fun things to do!

9. There is always something to do.

Celebrating its diverse culture and creativity, Long Beach has a variety of attractions that need to be experienced at least once by residents. From historical sites and museums to daily cruises and aquariums, never run out of things to do. 

Check out these local favorite attractions: 

  • Aquarium of the Pacific: A great place to bring the kids, this aquarium has over 50 exhibits and 11,000 aquatic animals. There is even a penguin habitat and ocean science center. 
  • The Queen Mary: This historical attraction is permanently docked in Long Beach. First setting sail in 1936 from England, this ship played an active role in World War II. 
  • Catalina Island: Hop aboard the Catalina Express and head out to the gorgeous Catalina Island for the day. Dine on the ocean side and drink wine at this upscale private island just off of the coast. 
  • Long Beach Museum of Art: Admire over 4,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and exhibits at this local art museum. 
  • Marina Pacifica Mall: This exclusive shopping center features hundreds of well-known stores and local boutiques right near the ocean.

Moving to Long Beach, CA - The Bottom Line

Great for both young professionals and families, it is no surprise that Long Beach, California is gaining popularity. Definitely worth the visit and the move, this cute beach town just outside of Los Angeles has plenty of fabulous beaches and nice areas to explore. Before making the move to Long Beach, reach out to one of our knowledgeable and experienced Realty Specialists to help aid and guide you through the home buying process. While moving can be stressful, our team is here to provide you with as much information and assistance as needed. Contact us to help you find your dream home in Long Beach, California!

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.