Los Angeles or Miami? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Ah the age-old question: should I visit Los Angeles or Miami? Which city has a better vibe? Which one is more expensive? Where will I find the sunshine? Let’s talk about it…

Los Angeles or Miami?

Sunshine, beaches, and endless possibilities. Both these American cities serve these up with panache. But sometimes you need to make decisions. Should you chase the West Coast dream in Los Angeles or embrace Miami’s sultry Latin rhythm in South Florida instead? LA promises the glamour of Hollywood and a health-conscious lifestyle. While Miami offers Art Deco flair and Caribbean culture. It’s a tough call, and that’s precisely why I’ve written this article. 

Think of this as your insider guide, weighing the costs, cultures, and those little details that make all the difference in your search for a perfect place to visit. And whichever you decide on, it makes sense to buy an eSIM before you go. Read here to find out how that works.

Let’s begin!

Los Angeles or Miami: Lifestyle and Culture

It’s impossible to mistake Los Angeles for Miami (and the other way around), and that’s simply because they each have such unique identities. 

House on the Venice canals in Los Angeles, USA
LA is home to some of the most beautiful houses in the world

The Los Angeles Vibe

LA itself appears as a patchwork of distinct neighbourhoods, each with its own vibe. 

There’s the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, where stars are born, and the quirky beach communities like Santa Monica and Venice, where creatives mingle with surfers. 

The City of Angels embodies a wellness-focused lifestyle, with juice bars and yoga studios galore. Find your zen at a fitness club or partake in sport from afar by supporting one of the football teams, baseball teams, basketball teams, and even hockey teams that call the city home. 

You can also make a quick escape from the tourist areas with a hike in a nearby national park and soak up the iconic southern California landscape dotted with palm trees.

LA is also a great base for some epic road trips, like this one between Santa Barbara and San Francisco.

Miami skyline lit up at night, Los Angeles or Miami
Miami comes alive at night

Miami and Its Latin Rhythms

Miami pulses with an energy fuelled by its rich Cuban and Latin American influences. Nights are legendary for salsa dancing, rum cocktails, and the buzz of crowds spilling out of glamorous beachside clubs. 

Days are meant for strolling through the Miami Design District or lounging on iconic Miami beaches like South Beach. 

Things to Do in La and Miami

Now that you know the rhythm, here’s how you can fill your days in LA and Miami:

Sunset from Venice Beach looking at Santa Monica, Los Angeles USA
LA looks like something out of a film

Los Angeles: From Mountains to Movie Sets

If nature is your thing, Los Angeles delivers both mountains and sea. Seek outdoor adventure in one of the many national parks accessible from LA (like Runyon Canyon), or follow the surfers and sunbathers who flock to Malibu’s iconic beaches for that quintessential California experience. 

For a dose of culture, wander the galleries of the Getty Center or the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). 

And, of course, a trip to LA wouldn’t be complete without a behind-the-scenes peek at a major studio like Universal or Paramount. And always, always keep your eyes peeled for A-listers! 

Abigail King in the Wynwood Arts District in Miami, USA
The colourful murals in the Wynwood Arts District are a must-see for visitors to Miami

Miami: Beaches, Art, and Latin Rhythms

Miami is a beach paradise, and you have options galore. People-watch on Miami Beach’s bustling sands, seek seclusion on Key Biscayne or head north to family-friendly Fort Lauderdale beaches. 

If you love architecture, take a stroll through the colourful Art Deco District, then immerse yourself in the vibrant murals of the Wynwood Arts District. Speaking of Wynwood, it’s also home to some of the city’s best clubs, catering to every taste. 

Miami nights are legendary – head to Little Havana for authentic Cuban food and salsa clubs that’ll keep you dancing till dawn. Or consider a weekend getaway to the Bahamas or the Caribbean islands – paradise is within reach! 

With new development springing up around the city, Miami is constantly evolving, making it a great vacation spot but also a beautiful place for those considering cross-country moves.

Santa Monica beach, LA or Miami
LA is expensive…but at least the beach is free!

Cost of Living 

In general, Los Angeles is pricier than Miami, particularly in trendy neighbourhoods like Venice Beach or Santa Monica. Home insurance premiums are higher for Miami, though, due to the hurricane risk but that won’t affect travellers. Food costs are high in both cities. 


Both cities have invested in public transit systems (LA’s Metro and Miami’s Metrorail), with a monthly pass offering potential savings on transportation costs. However, Los Angeles’ sprawling nature makes a car essential, especially if you don’t live and work directly on a transit line. 

Plus, each time I’ve been in LA, I’ve been warned away from the public transport system on account of safety worries and have been encouraged to drive or use taxis instead.

Miami also now has a high-speed rail connection to Orlando, opening up new possibilities for visitors travelling around Florida. 

Both cities have international airports with flights from all over the world.

Weather and Climate

I know that weather is a key factor when deciding where to go. So, let’s break it down:

Los Angeles: Endless Sunshine

LA’s Mediterranean climate means mild temperatures year-round, perfect for those who love outdoor activities. You’ll need little more than a light jacket for most months. However, there are downsides. The smog can be thick, especially inland, and wildfire season can bring an uneasy haze and potential danger.

Lifeguard station on a beach in Miami, USA
Those imposing black clouds are a common sight in Miami

Miami: Steamy Summers and the Threat of Hurricanes

Get ready for tropical heat and humidity in Miami. Summers can be downright sweltering, so lightweight fabrics and air conditioning will be your best friends. However, from June to November, hurricane season is a force to be reckoned with. Tropical storms can be unpredictable, so be sure to have a safety plan in place.

Crime and Safety 

Further on, let’s talk about getting a feel for the safety of each city and learning which areas to steer clear of.

Los Angeles: LA’s a sprawling metropolis, so the overall vibe shifts dramatically between neighbourhoods. Glamorous Beverly Hills feels a world away from the grittier parts of downtown, while trendy beach areas can get rowdy at night. 

Miami: Miami has its share of rougher neighbourhoods, particularly away from the touristy coastal areas. As with anywhere, exercise common sense: avoid walking alone after dark in unfamiliar areas, and don’t flash expensive jewellery or gadgets. Tourist hotspots can attract pickpockets, so stay alert in crowded places. And remember, even seemingly idyllic beach towns can have a certain risk of crime.

It’s always a good idea to check the travel advice for your own country before booking a ticket to travel. 

Everglades airboat tour, USA
Children will have a fantastic time visiting the nearby Everglades

Family Matters

Both cities offer fantastic kid-friendly activities, from LA’s world-class museums and theme parks to Miami’s beautiful beaches and the nearby Everglades. 

The Verdict

The truth? There’s no clear-cut winner in the battle of Los Angeles vs Miami. The city that wins your heart depends entirely on your dreams and priorities. Let’s recap some key pros and cons to help guide your decision:

Los AngelesMiami


Diverse neighbourhoods
Entertainment industry powerhouse
Stunning outdoor adventures Mild year-round climate

Vibrant Latin culture
Beach-centric lifestyle
Generally lower cost of living
Proximity to the Caribbean

High cost of living
Heavy traffic
Risk of wildfires and smog

Limited public transportation
Intense summer heat and humidity
Hurricane risk 

So, where do you see yourself? Chasing Hollywood dreams or swaying to salsa rhythms? I’d love to hear which city captures your imagination, and what your deciding factors are.

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