LA is a city that’s teeming with great eateries, entertainment, outdoor activities, and shopping centers—and that’s just the beginning. Spanning approximately 503 square miles, Los Angeles is extremely diverse when it comes to community vibes, culture, and amenities. Longtime locals in the city all seem to know which areas to head towards, from enjoying a scenic day in the mountains (or beach) to a fun night out on the town.
With so much going on in LA, prospective homeowners thinking about making a move and even newcomers to the city don’t seem to realize exactly how large it is. A commute from one end of town to the other might end up taking nearly two hours in traffic. This is why it’s important to know the key differences between living in LA’s Eastside versus Westside.
Neighborhoods.com interviewed LA local Jennifer Ngo, a student at Marshall B. Ketchum University in Fullerton, who spent five years living in LA’s Westside and 4 years living in the Eastside. When she first moved out to Los Angeles in 2011, she lived in the Westside neighborhood of Pico-Robertson, and she eventually moved to the Eastside’s Silver Lake neighborhood, which is where she currently resides.
With so many transplants living in the city, it’s no surprise that Los Angeles is filled with diversity and culture.
“The Westside is more relaxed and slower, whereas Eastside is more hip and urban—more fast-paced for sure,” Ngo says.
Due to the Westside’s laidback, family-friendly atmosphere, residents living in these communities tend to be more settled and established. Many people living in the Westside enjoy a close-knit community and are comfortable going at their own pace. However, the more condensed and grittier Eastside tends to attract more students and people who want to go out and socialize.
Santa Monica beach : Wesside
Downtown LA : Eastside LA
Types of Homes
While there are skyscrapers and multi-story developments in the Westside, this is nothing compared to the booming Eastside, which is getting taller by the day.
It’s no secret that Los Angeles is going through a development boom at the moment. While more luxury work-play structures are heading towards Eastside neighborhoods such as Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake, and Koreatown, more multimillion-dollar mansions and townhome communities are being renovated or built in the Westside.
“The Westside is more relaxed and slower, whereas Eastside is more hip and urban—it's more fast-paced for sure.”
Over the past decade, LA’s transit situation has improved quite a bit. From the opening of the Metro’s Expo Line, which connects the Eastside to the Westside, to new pedestrian-friendly installations such as scrambled crosswalks and bike lanes throughout the city. However, many people in the city own a car and still prefer to drive.
Ngo immediately reacted when asked about LA’s transit situation: “Parking is awful everywhere in LA. In the Eastside, you’re going to need to find street parking, and that’s if you’re lucky. Unless you want to pay up to $20 to park at a lot. Some places in the Westside have parking garages, but it’s almost better just scootering around.”
When it comes to amenities offered in the Westside compared to the Eastside, it’s quite different. While the Westside is more known for its beaches, restaurants with outdoor patios, high-end bars and lounges, and recreational activities, the Eastside is recognized for its shopping, concert and entertainment venues, and museums, as well as its speakeasies and dive bars.
If you’re someone who enjoys a laidback day out cruising near the beach or taking a walk through the park, the Westside might be more your style. However, if thrift shopping and checking out the latest art installation at The Broad or the Institute of Contemporary Art, definitely consider living in the Eastside.
There’s nothing quite like the dining options in Los Angeles. There is a multitude of quality restaurants and vendors in nearly every neighborhood, from taco trucks, dirty dog carts, and burger stands to Anthony Bourdain-approved eateries and Michelin-star establishments. After asking Ngo whether she preferred food from the Westside or the Eastside, she said she likes both, but says there’s more variety in the Eastside.
While the Westside features more well-known, high-end restaurants, the Eastside is where to go if you’re looking for some of the city’s up-and-coming food trends.
It’s easy to see how different both ends of the city are from each other, from the community atmosphere and infrastructure to types of entertainment and amenities. While the Westside is more appealing to those who have been living in the city for awhile, the Eastside seems like a place that’s more welcoming to those who want to go out and network. At the end of the day, it really depends on what you’re personally looking for.