Where do designers live in Los Angeles County?

I’m thinking about moving to the L.A. area and I’m wondering which neighborhoods or cities are good for makers/designers? In theory, I imagine this might be a place with makerspaces and a lively design community. I’m also wondering if there’s an area with a high concentration of design studios where jobs might be. Thanks!

Hey, so here is a quick general map of the LA area.
First of all, I’m not familiar with the Makespaces around here, so maybe you do that research on your own.
There are 3 general areas that most corporate and studios are located.

  1. El Segundo, Santa Monica, Marina del Rey. Beach cities so lots going on. A lot of tech companies moving here. But, expensive to live/rent and you probably want to live within 10 miles to not do a 1+ hour drive to get there.
  2. Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale. Some companies here. Some are tech.
  3. Orange County (OC). Primarily Irvine and Lake Forrest. Some studios here and other corporate jobs in this area. A lot of medical.

So if you want the “lifestyle” of lots of people, bars, restaurant, things to do, etc. Then downtown LA might appeal to you. Just be prepared for the dense environments, traffic, homeless, etc. You could potentially also have a shorter commute to those 2 areas up there.

Or you could live along the beach areas, Santa Monica, Manhattan, etc. But like I said, expensive. You’ll get more of a coastal vibe.

OC, Irvine is a different vibe. Cleaner, more open, more family friendly, etc.

I live in on the east side of Long Beach which I like. Downtown Long Beach has probably a scene you would like.
Living in LB it would take me 45 min to 1 hr to get to Irvine & El Segundo. 1.5+ hours to get to Santa Monica, Marina del Rey. 1+ hours to get to Downtown LA or Pasadana (which I did for a while). You can live anywhere in between the main areas but then it becomes a matter of which city you like, etc.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Where you think designers live: off Abbott Kinney Street
Where they actually live: Irvine


Thanks Francisco for the thoughtful response

I agree with FH13’s suggestions. Santa Monica is nice if you can afford to live there and find a job within commuting distance. The Arts District near Downtown LA is an up-and-coming neighborhood, lots of creative startups there.

There are also a number of big employers in Northwest LA County (Westlake Village, Calabasas), but it’s boring suburbia.

I worked in downtown LA for a while and the office was at a place called ROW in DTLA (a “revamped urban commercial district”). Awesome place but a pain to get there. 45+ min freeway + 15+ minutes of streets. Awesome place inside but you didn’t want to leave the compound. Once you exited the gates you were faced with awful traffic, homeless (a few blocks from skid row), no parking, etc. It was an interesting juxtaposition of driving past food vendors but once you were in you could go to the oyster bar and high end restaurants. Some co-workers lived in downtown LA, santa monica, Walnut and towards the valley and some made the drive from Irvine. Everybody complained about the drive or about the cost of renting so close by. The office later moved to Pasadena. Much better area in my opinion. A bit farther from my house but a much better and quicker drive because it was mostly freeways.
If you are single and renting then you have the freedom to move around from LA to OC and in between. If you have a family then it’s a much deliberate decision to evaluate.

I’m currently working in Torrance and living in Redondo Beach. The area I’m is considered South Bay, which consists of Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach. There are a number of interesting businesses around here like CANOO, Honda, Tesla, Mattel, Sketchers and Fisker. Getting to downtown LA can be a hassle. It can take between 30min-1hr to get there, and then theres the issue of trying to find parking.

Fisker’s headquarters are in Manhattan Beach, design is done at a separate facility in Irvine.