Moving to DTLA? Here’s What You Need to Know About Apartment Hunting

Moving to Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is a thrilling prospect. The area is a dynamic hub of culture, entertainment, and innovation. From its historic architecture to its trendy lofts and high-rise apartments, DTLA has something for everyone.

However, apartment hunting in this bustling urban landscape can be a bit daunting if you don’t know where to start. Let’s dive into some essential tips and tricks to help you navigate the process and find the best apartments in Downtown Los Angeles.

Understanding the Neighborhoods

DTLA isn’t just one homogeneous area; it’s a collection of distinct neighborhoods, each with its unique vibe and characteristics. Here’s a quick rundown of some popular ones:

The Arts District

If you’re a creative soul, the Arts District might just be your paradise. Known for its vibrant street art, galleries, and loft-style apartments, this area exudes a hip, artistic energy. It’s also home to some of the best breweries and eateries in the city.

Little Tokyo

Craving some cultural immersion? Little Tokyo offers a slice of Japan in the middle of LA. It’s a small but lively neighborhood packed with Japanese restaurants, shops, and cultural centers. Apartments here range from modern high-rises to quaint, older buildings.

Historic Core

Love the idea of living in a place with character? The Historic Core is lined with early 20th-century buildings that have been converted into stylish lofts. This area is perfect for history buffs and those who appreciate architecture with a story.

South Park

For the urban professionals, South Park is the place to be. It’s the financial district’s backyard, filled with sleek, modern apartments and proximity to the Staples Center and LA Live. It’s a bit pricier, but the convenience and amenities make it worth it.

Budgeting for Your New DTLA Apartment

Rent in DTLA can be pricey, so it’s crucial to set a budget before you start your search. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Rent: Depending on the neighborhood and the type of apartment, rents can range significantly. Loft apartments in the Arts District might start around $2,500, while a luxury high-rise in South Park could set you back $3,500 or more.
  • Utilities: Don’t forget to factor in the cost of utilities, which might not always be included in your rent.
  • Parking: Parking in DTLA can be a nightmare. Many buildings offer parking spots for an additional fee, which can range from $100 to $300 a month.
  • Security Deposit: Be prepared to pay a security deposit, which is typically one to two months’ rent.

Tips for Apartment Hunting in DTLA

Start Early

The rental market in DTLA is competitive. Starting your search at least two to three months before your move-in date gives you a better chance of finding the perfect place without the stress of last-minute decisions.

Make a List of Must-Haves

Before you dive into the listings, make a list of your non-negotiables. This could include:

  • In-unit laundry
  • Pet-friendly policies
  • Gym or pool facilities
  • Proximity to public transportation
  • Security features

Visit Multiple Apartments

Pictures can be deceiving. Always schedule a visit to see the apartments in person. This will give you a feel for the space, the building, and the neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the property’s history, maintenance policies, and any other concerns you might have.

Check the Lease Terms Carefully

When you find an apartment you love, don’t rush to sign the lease. Take your time to read through it carefully. Pay attention to the terms regarding the security deposit, lease duration, rent increases, and any additional fees.

Consider the Commute

Traffic in LA is legendary. Consider your daily commute when choosing an apartment. Living close to your workplace or having easy access to public transportation can save you a lot of time and stress.

What to Expect When Living in DTLA

Entertainment and Dining

One of the biggest perks of living in DTLA is the proximity to entertainment and dining options. Whether you’re into fine dining, casual eateries, rooftop bars, or live music, you’ll find it all within walking distance. Some spots to check out include:

  • Grand Central Market: A foodie’s paradise with a variety of vendors offering everything from tacos to gourmet ice cream.
  • The Broad: An impressive contemporary art museum with free admission.
  • Staples Center: Catch a Lakers game or a big-name concert.

Public Transportation

DTLA is one of the few areas in Los Angeles where you can get by without a car. The Metro’s Red and Purple lines, as well as numerous bus routes, make it easy to get around. Plus, there are plenty of bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets.


Like any urban area, safety is a concern. DTLA has seen significant improvements over the years, but it’s still important to stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night. Many apartment buildings offer enhanced security features like gated entries, security guards, and surveillance cameras.

Community Vibe

Despite its size, DTLA has a strong sense of community. There are numerous events, farmers’ markets, and community groups that make it easy to meet people and get involved. Whether it’s a weekend art walk or a neighborhood cleanup, there’s always something happening.

The Final Word

Moving to DTLA is an adventure filled with endless possibilities. By doing your homework and being prepared, you can find an apartment that suits your lifestyle and budget. Remember, the key to a successful apartment hunt is patience and persistence.