Finding a nice, livable, dependable, safe apartment in Los Angeles isn't cheap. A one-bedroom in Hollywood averages $3,542 per month, while the same apartment in Santa Monica averages $3,783. Most young renters in those areas either budget a disproportionate chunk of their salary towards rent or they sublet the corners of their living rooms.
Luckily, there are some cities near Los Angeles with their own unique charm located close enough so a trip to the Staples Center only takes you an hour by car or public transport, yet their distance from Downtown proper keeps their average rent relatively low.
Before you commit to a Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) apartment way out of your budget, consider these 10 nearby cities.
Long Beach is kind of like a condensed version of Los Angeles. Like L.A., Long Beach has an interesting downtown, groomed suburbs, an arts district and on top of all that, it has, of course, a beach.
The city is fun, liberal and filled with vitality, but rent has steadily gone up the last 10 years due to lots of fancy development. On the plus side, Long Beach has easy access to downtown Los Angeles when you want to make the trip — it's a straight shot up the 710 or the Blue Line.
Fullerton is unique in that it's a quiet suburb while somehow still maintaining the characteristics of a cool, small college town. While Fullerton has some great K-12 schools, sleepy cul-de-sacs and lush parks, it's also currently enjoying a cultural resurgence made up of new nightlife, record labels and artists.
Apartments around the colleges can get a little "Animal House" at times, but if you can find anything close to the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue, you're in the heart of the city.
Fans of vintage Americana aesthetics will appreciate renting in Orange.
Old Craftsman homes and small-unit rentals make up most of the neighborhoods around the traffic circle, an antique district that looks like it hasn't changed much since the '50s.
Orange also benefits from being off the 5 freeway so Downtown Los Angeles is only about 45 minutes away.
Rancho Palos Verdes is an odd town. The city never gets talked about much because it's sort of isolated on top of the bluffs of the peninsula. You don't just drive through Rancho Palos Verdes, you have to go out of your way to get to it.
The ocean views are the reason why RPV is the most expensive city on this list, but even $2,417 is a small fraction compared to apartments with identical views in Venice or Santa Monica.
Huntington Beach is a long, sprawling city, which means it might take you up to 20 minutes to get to the nearest freeway depending on how close you live to the ocean.
It's not a town for the impatient. But as far as beach cities go, you could do worse than HB.
There are just as many apartment complexes as there are single-family homes, especially near the Pacific Coast Highway. Just make sure you move into a building with a parking structure — parking anywhere within a mile of Main Street is torturous.
The small, hipster college towns border each other, and their neighborhoods share the same mid-'60s aesthetics. The cities are only about 45 minutes and one freeway away from downtown Los Angeles, but they might as well be in different time zones.
Both communities have sleepy streets lined with massive oak trees and lush, green lawns — nothing like Los Angeles proper, but it's a nice alternative.
It's easy to forget about Glendora. It's a quiet town wedged between the 210 and the Angeles National Forest. It's a solid upper-middle-class neighborhood and not much has changed since the '80s.
You'll find no five-star sushi or acclaimed art galleries here. If that's what you're looking for though, the Metro Gold Line will take you from APU to Little Tokyo's Arts District in 45 minutes.
Instead, you'll get a quiet, unassuming town where the biggest amount of activity comes from its private, evangelical Christian university.
Located in Orange County, Santa Ana is one of the most creative cities in the O.C. With a bustling art scene and historically preserved buildings like the Old Orange County Courthouse — old meets new here.
With attractions like the Santa Ana Zoo, Discovery Science Center and the Bowers Museum, there is a lot to do in this multicultural Southern California town.
Get on I-5 and you'll be in Los Angeles in no time.
Costa Mesa is another fairly unassuming town. It has the Orange County Fairgrounds and even though it's not on the ocean, it feels like a beach town and the apartments reflect that.
You're going to find a lot of nautically-themed rental complexes here, and while it's quaint enough — if you can — stay south of 17th Street.
Pomona is a diamond in the rough and it's sort of had that reputation for the last 20 years now. The city's DIY arts and antique districts have quietly given Pomona underground street cred since the early '90s.
If you romanticize Downtown Los Angeles during the late '70s, you can still find that adventurous vibe in Pomona.
Whether you want to live near the city without the cost, a quieter suburb or even a vintage city vibe with access to LA amenities, you'll find everything and more in one of these cities. Check out in apartments in cities near Los Angeles!