Pros and cons of living in Santa Monica, California

Do you want to enjoy the acclaimed SoCal lifestyle and weather with a small-town vibe? Then, Santa Monica might be the perfect city for you. Many people desire to live in this city of just over 90,000 residents. If you’re one of them, you should know more about it. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Santa Monica?

This city is a great place to live due to qualities such as the location, education system, access to beaches, and dining and entertainment options. But as no city is perfect, you’ll have to deal with its downsides which include the cost of living, crime rate, homelessness, and unaffordable housing.

Santa Monica is on the westside of Los Angeles, and has made a name for itself. Regardless of the downsides, Santa Monica is a quintessential beach community with many things in its favor. Here are the things you should expect when moving to Santa Monica.

Pros of Living in Santa Monica

Living in this city comes with several advantages and here are some of them.


Santa Monica is a smaller city located on the Los Angeles Westside. While it is an excellent place on its own, the proximity to Los Angeles makes it even better. The city is only 19 minutes away from LA by road, so it’s possible to work in LA and live in Santa Monica.

Quality Public Education

The public-school education system in Santa Monica is quite great. So, if you’re moving to SoCal with children, you might want to consider living in this city where your kids can have access to affordable education from K-12. Apart from public schools, some of California’s most popular private schools are also in Santa Monica.

All in all, there are 18 public schools in the city, and they’re rated highly. Santa Monica High School is number 35 in the state, and there are still other highly rated schools. Santa Monica College is also a great place for post-secondary education as its transfer rate to the University of California is the highest in the country. The college also has a high transfer rate to Columbia University and the University of Southern California.

Accessibility to Beaches

Beaches are the essence of the Southern California lifestyle, and Santa Monica provides plenty of them. The city has the closest upscale beach lifestyle to what you’ll find in LA. With so many beaches in the city, surfing, swimming, and other related activities are popular, and you can involve yourself in them.

Its closeness to the ocean also helps in a way; it improves the air quality. Air quality is an issue in most places in Southern California, as some of the cities here have the worst air quality in the US. But Santa Monica is an exception, and you can breathe clean and fresh air here.

Dining and Entertainment Options

You shouldn’t experience a boring time while in Santa Monica. There are several things you can do here apart from visiting the beaches. First, the shopping culture in the city is quite great, and that’s not surprising. It’s home to several shopping spots like Montana Avenue, Santa Monica Place Mall, Main Street, and Third Street Promenade.

The city also contains several wonderful restaurants where you can eat out or order. If you’re living in Santa Monica, the Santa Monica pier is one place you should visit. It defines the city and hosts several tourists annually. In addition, an outdoor beach gym, aquarium, and the Trapeze School of New York are right here in Santa Monica.

Cons of Living in Santa Monica

Santa Monica isn’t a utopia. If you’re planning to move here, you can expect to find some faults with the city. Here are some of its cons.


Homelessness is a common occurrence here, and you’re likely to see evidence of it once you step out. This is due to its booming population, high cost of living, and other factors. However, homelessness in Santa Monica isn’t a deal-breaker, and you can still enjoy the city to a large extent.

High Cost of Living

A significant issue that everyone who chooses to live in SoCal has to deal with is the cost of living. While few cities manage to remain affordable, Santa Monica isn’t one of them. The city is quite expensive to live in. Its cost of living is far ahead of the national and California average. According to Best Places, the city’s cost of living is 204.5% higher than the national average. A detailed examination of this cost of living shows that health and utilities are cheaper here than the national average, and grocery is more affordable than the California average.

Unaffordable Housing

A significant contributor to the high cost of living in this city is unaffordable housing. There was a time when homes were cheap, and rents were low in the city, but those days are gone. As more people move in, the rents and house prices climb with them. The average price of a house in Santa Monica is $1,822,525. That’s more than double the California average and seven times the national average. As a result, homes here are even more expensive than in bigger cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Rent in this city is also very high in the city. The average monthly rent for an apartment is $3,709, about three times the national average. When all these things are considered, it’s easy to see why homelessness is high in the city.

High Crime Rate

Another significant issue in Santa Monica is the high crime rate. While it’s still safer than 5% of cities in the US, the crime rate is pretty high. The total crime rate in the city is 103% above the national average, and property crime is 105% higher.

Violent crimes are even more prevalent here, with the rate being 91% higher than the national average. Living in Santa Monica means you have a 1 in 20 chance of being a crime victim. While these numbers might be depressing, the reality is relatively better, and you’ll still find very safe communities and neighborhoods here. The crime rate is also reducing.

In Conclusion

Santa Monica is an amazing city to live in, and if you’re raising kids, it might just be the perfect SoCal city. But the cost of living is exorbitant and can be challenging for many people. Regardless, you can still find that it’s worth the price due to the amenities and accessibility it offers.