L.A. County Living

The Regions

Nearly 10 million people call L.A. County home.

L.A. County spans more than 4,000 square miles of diverse geography from snow-capped mountain ranges to the sunny shores of the Pacific Ocean.  Eight distinct regions of L.A. County offer its own unique characteristics and attributes ranging from quaint small town charm to the bustling cityscapes of downtown L.A. The County is comprised of 88 cities and more than 100 unincorporated communities.

The Antelope Valley in the northern reaches of the County is home to a thriving aerospace industry and is also the center of the region's agriculture industry, while nearby Santa Clarita Valley offers small town charm coupled with a vibrant biomedical, aerospace manufacturing, high tech, and filming industry.

Just south of these areas is the San Gabriel Valley where leading institutions including City of Hope, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology call home. The San Gabriel Valley is probably best known for its annual Tournament of Roses Parade in the City of Pasadena. The San Fernando Valley portion of the County, just east of the San Gabriel Valley, is also a key outpost for aerospace and professional services. However, its entertainment industry dominates the region's businesses with studios such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and several cable networks, that have facilities in the area. 

Just below the San Fernando Valley is the Westside region of the County, an area that features some of the most valuable real estate in the world. The Westside is also a hotbed for entertainment related companies with global names such as Yahoo!, Google, MTV, and AOL housed here.  This area enjoys 36 miles of beaches and scores of cultural activities including museums, theatres, shops, and dining.

Bustling business center by day, vibrant metropolis by night, Downtown Los Angeles always has something going on.


L.A. County is a major center for higher education. There are 254 institutions of higher education in the five-county area, which puts it ahead of Texas, Illinois and Massachusetts. This count includes three campuses of the U.C. system, seven campuses of the State College and University system, and such private institutions as Caltech, the Claremont Colleges, Occidental College, and the University of Southern California. There are also specialized institutions which offer an array of programs, including computer assisted design and manufacturing, computer animation, apparel design and culinary arts. In addition to its varied institutions of higher learning, LA County is home to some of the most prestigious centers for the arts including the Art Center College of Design, the Colburn School of Performing Arts, Otis College of Design, and the California Institute of the Arts.

Higher education is not the only place where students learn in L.A. County, as its K-12 school system further contributes to an overall more educated population. Four 2011 “blue ribbon” schools reside in L.A. County, composed of California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson, McGrath Elementary in Newhall, Gertz-Ressler High School in Los Angeles and Merced Elementary in West Covina. The US Department of Education designates schools as “blue ribbon” when they’re among the nation’s highest achieving in academics or in closing the achievement gap. Furthermore, in terms of Academic Performance Index (API), which the CA Department of Education implemented to measure academic performance and growth from a scale of 200-1000, Los Angeles County hosts 100 public schools attaining an API of 930 or over, compared to the state average of 755. In the 141 L.A. county magnet schools, a program increasingly perceived as one of the best free options for high-performing students, Gretchen Whitney High School in Cerritos, California scored an API of 993. For those seeking an alternative route, L.A. County houses 287 private schools, including nationally renowned preparatory schools such as Harvard-Westlake School, Brentwood School, Flintridge Prep School, and Chadwick School, among many others.


Sunny Southern California is widely known for its near-perfect weather. Los Angeles County in particular enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of 263 sunshine days and only 35 wet days annually. In those 263 days, residents can expect around 3,000 hours of sunshine, more than enough to sunbathe in one of L.A.’s many relaxing beaches. The average temperature throughout the county averages a warm 66 degrees Fahrenheit, with the days over a blistering 90 degrees only occurring a dozen or so times annually.

Activities and Attractions

Los Angeles County is a popular destination recognized for more than its ideal weather, with numerous attractions for every resident and visitor. Residents and tourists alike can spend their day strolling through Hollywood’s glamorous Walk of Fame, gazing at the Walk of Fame Stars inscribed in the sidewalks to immortalize and honor successful celebrities, musicians, and even fictional characters. Those looking for exciting attractions will be delighted to hear that L.A. County accommodates the perfect sites for amusements parks with the world-famous movie studio and theme park Universal Studios in Hollywood, classic thrill rides galore Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, and California’s largest water theme park Raging Waters in San Dimas. Furthermore, festivals in Los Angeles County consistently draw in the media’s focus, headlined by the New Years Day Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade. Dubbed as “America’s New Year Celebration,” millions of viewers world-wide and hundreds of thousands of spectators zone in on the festival of floats, equestrians, marching bands, and a football game, all entrenched deep in a tradition dating back to 1890. For those looking for relaxation in vacation, a short one-hour ferry ride from one of five mainland ports will take visitors to Catalina Island, a tourist destination attracting 1 million visitors per year and known for its camping locations and beaches. Simply put, L.A. County life is teeming with exciting adventures and activities, making it one of the most dynamic counties in the United States.

Museums and observatories introduce an artistic side of Los Angeles not often found in Hollywood films. The Getty Center in West Los Angeles sits in a nestled hill, distinguishable by its spectacular architecture and six buildings and gardens. The $1.3 billion dollar center offers a billion-dollar view overlooking Los Angeles, but the 1.3 million annual visitors mainly come in for the pre-modern collection of art, notably consisting of paintings and drawings by Vincent van Gogh and Monet, among many other renowned artists. On the other side of the city lies the largest art museum on the west coast, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the largest hands-on science center in the west coast, the California Science Center. For those fascinated by the stars and what lies beyond can take a detour to Griffith Observatory over in the northern part of L.A. As one of the most famous visited landmarks and destinations in Los Angeles, visitors can attend live planetarium shows, learn about the universe from displays and videos, or simply stargaze into outer space. Given that Los Angeles is the film capital of the country, it’s not out of the ordinary to witness film shoots in progress around these landmarks, with scenes in over fifty Hollywood television shows and movies shot in Griffith Observatory alone.

Performing Arts

As the center of the entertainment world, Los Angeles County assembles the media world on multiple occasions annually to celebrate and recognize artistic achievement. World famous artists and the general public congregate in Staples Center in Downtown L.A. for the Grammy Awards, featuring musical performances by prominent musicians and an awards ceremony governed by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. In the immediate vicinity, the Emmy Award ceremonies award excellence in entertainment programming and television. Dolby Theater in nearby Hollywood completes the media ceremonies with the Academy Award recognizing excellence of actors, writers, and directors in the cinema industry.


If none of the aforementioned activities sound exhilarating enough, residents can spend their leisure time shopping, as Los Angeles contains some of the most bustling and diverse shopping centers in Southern California. L.A. County is a shopper’s paradise, with districts, streets, malls, and shopping centers providing offerings for the entire population, from the most upscale shopper to the most budget-conscious shopper. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, The Grove in Los Angeles, Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, Westfield Mall in Century City, Beverly Center in Los Angeles, and Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica are world famous shopping districts hosting glitzy and iconic boutiques, vintage cafes, designer and brand-name clothing stores, extravagant movie theaters, and the finest of fine dining, making them meccas for up-scale shoppers and those seeking to adorn themselves with the absolute finest products and clothing. For those preferring a different atmosphere, shopping malls such as the Americana and Glendale Galleria, factory outlets such as Citadel Outlets and Nordstrom Rack, quality Flea Markets in areas such as the Rose Bowl and Pasadena City College, and Farmers Market in over a hundred Los Angeles locations, complete the shopping experience.


Although Los Angeles County is widely perceived as a car-county with the highest per-capita car population in the world, residents can also navigate the county through an efficient and capable public transportation network. Metrolink, Metro Rail, Greyhound and Amtrak provide inter-city travel services; while the LA Metro, which transports 5.9% of the 29 million daily L.A. country trips, assists in intra-city Los Angeles mass transit transportation. 1.1% of all daily trips are taken on the five above-ground and underground lines of the Los Angeles Metro Rail, making it the ninth-busiest rapid transit system in the United States. The first segment of the L.A. Expo Line from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City commenced operations on June 20th, 2012, with the completion to Downtown Santa Monica expected around 2015. Additionally, the good news for those commuting to work in an automobile is that Los Angeles actually has a shorter mean travel time than many other major cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

The bustling Los Angeles air travel is extensive. Six commercial airports service Los Angeles County, with Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) being the primary airport. Around 62 million passengers choose LAX as their flight of choice, making it the fifth busiest commercial airport in the world and the third busiest in the United States.

Sporting Events

Sporting events abound in Los Angeles County, as county-based major teams have taken home 21 championships. Professional sports franchises in L.A. are world-renown and encompass many of the popular sports, including winners of six World Series titles the Los Angeles Dodgers of the Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Clippers and sixteen-time NBA Champions the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, the C.D. Chivas USA and three-time winners of the MLS Cup the Los Angeles Galaxy of the Major League Soccer, and 2011-2012 Stanley Cup winners the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. Additionally, the acclaimed collegiate teams of USC have captured 94 NCAA team championships, 117 national team titles and 361 NCAA individual championships, while UCLA teams won 108 NCAA team championships. These coveted franchises, among many others, provide frequent events that contribute to the successful culture of the region.

Additional Resouces

Explore L.A. County neighborhoods with the Los Angeles Times' L.A. County Neighborhood Interactive Map.

DiscoverLosAngeles.com's Guides Neighborhoods of Los Angeles County

  • Hollywood: Like a glamorous starlet, Hollywood has made a major comeback and is living like a newly discovered ingénue everybody is talking about.

  • San Fernando Valley: The San Fernando Valley (we just call it "the Valley") is part suburb, part entertainment hub and all excitement!

  • Westside: Affluent and influential, the Westside is pure LA glamour. Even Westside neighborhoods have as much fame as the celebrities who live in them.

  • Beach Cities: Each of these waterfront wonders offers its own personality and its own take on dining, shopping, attractions and activities.

  • San Gabriel Valley: With the classic California style of Pasadena at its heart, the San Gabriel Valley overflows with fine dining, beautiful rose gardens, lovingly restored Mission

  • Neighboring Regions: From the desert to the sea, and the mountains to the valleys, the diversity of the greater Los Angeles area is just one more reason to visit.
San Gabriel Rose Parade

Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena

Citibank and US Bank

Citibank and US Bank

Sony Studios - Culver City

Sony Studios - Culver City

South Bay - Manhatton Beach

South Bay - Manhattan Beach