Downtown Los Angeles Drive Times from the Suburbs
More than 150,000 people have a long commute in Los Angeles County and the area around the Los Angeles community. Driving a long distance to work every day is a fact of life for a large segment of people around the country. Businesses often require areas zoned for industrial or commercial properties, or they want neighborhoods with lots of foot and car traffic. On the other hand, residents often desire quiet communities to enjoy their gated community homes or new construction homes.
Because of this separation, people who work outside the home must make two trips a day to maintain an income. However, it is possible to select neighborhoods with easier or faster routes to work. Here are a few things new residents should know about driving to the downtown Los Angeles community from many of the neighboring suburbs.
With a population of 66,700 people, the city of Redondo Beach is on the coast in the South Bay area. Located in Los Angeles County, the community is noted for its beaches and tourist attractions. It's located about 21 miles southwest of the Los Angeles downtown region.
There are several routes to traveling between Redondo Beach and downtown. The shortest route is taking the I-110 to the I-105 and I-405. However, it's also possible to use the I-110 or I-405 for the entire north-to-south distance and the I-10 or West 190th Street for the east-to-west distance. Most routes will take between 26 and 35 minutes in light traffic and up to 85 minutes during rush hour.
The small city of El Segundo contains about 16,700 people. The name in Spanish means "The Second," and the community is part of the South Bay region. It's located southwest of downtown Los Angeles in Los Angeles County. The shortest highway distance is just over 18 miles.
The fastest route is likely taking the I-105 and I-110, which requires 20-26 minutes in the best traffic. However, it's also possible to take the I-10 to the I-405. Rush-hour trips covering the same distance may last as long as 70 minutes on the fastest route and an additional 10 minutes for the other routes. El Segundo is near the Los Angeles International Airport, so delays are possible during holidays and weekends.
Thanks in part to the television show, the Beverly Hills community's name has come to represent celebrities and luxury over the years. The community is home to world-famous stars, gated communities, and legendary shopping on Rodeo Drive. However, with a population of only 33,800, it has a large impact for such a small town. Located west and slightly north of downtown Los Angeles, the cities are only about 12 miles apart.
The fastest way to make the trip is using the I-10 between communities and surface streets to get to the specific destination. This route takes 18-24 minutes in light traffic. During heavy traffic, the trip can extend to 40-80 minutes. Those who prefer surface streets may also take US-101 and Beverly Blvd. However, in the absence of accidents or construction, using the city streets will not save time.
The Torrance community is one of the largest in the region, ranking the eighth-most populated in Los Angeles County. More than 144,000 people call the city home. It's located about 20 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles near Redondo Beach.
There are two routes that drivers may take to make this trip. The shortest route uses the I-110 for the entire north-to-south journey and Torrance Blvd to get closer to the destination. This trip takes 22-30 minutes normally and up to 75 minutes during rush hour. The other option is taking the I-10 and I-405, which could add about five minutes to the trip.
At about 62 miles, the San Clemente community is one of the longest commutes in the region. Located in Orange County, it's southeast of downtown Los Angeles right on the coast. According to the 2019 population estimate, just under 64,600 residents live within the borders.
The most direct route between the two areas is the I-5, which will make the trip in 55-75 minutes with clear roads. However, it's also possible to take the I-110 to the I-405 for much of the distance. This route will not save time and may even last a few minutes longer. Commuters should prepare to spend almost two hours on the road for the commute from downtown Los Angeles.
With a population of just over 20,200, the Agoura Hills community is located in the shadow of the Santa Monica National Recreation area. As part of Los Angeles County, it's about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Agoura Hills is near the Simi Valley community.
The only route between downtown Los Angeles and Agoura Hills is the US-101. Travel time between the two destinations is 35-45 minutes. However, driving during rush hour can easily double that time.
Located in Orange County, the Mission Viejo community is about 50 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Mission Viejo has a population of about 94,400, making it one of the most populated in the county. It's considered part of the Saddleback Valley and is one of the largest planned communities in the U.S. The city is noted for its beautiful landscaping, including its tree-lined streets.
The most direct route between Los Angeles and Mission Viejo is the I-5, which leads right to the community. Making this trip takes 45-60 minutes normally, and anywhere from 65 to 110 minutes during rush hour. It's also possible to take the I-110 and I-405; however, this trip will likely add a few minutes to the journey.
As the name sounds, the Newport Beach community is known for its sandy waterside locations. A jewel of Orange County, it has about 84,500 residents. The community is most easily reached from downtown Los Angeles by taking the I-110 to the I-405 along the coast for about 47 miles. The trip will take 40-55 minutes but can require 60-100 minutes during heavy traffic.
The Thousand Oaks community is about 40 miles northwest of downtown LA near the Hidden Valley area. It's the largest community in Ventura County, with a population of about 126,800. As the name suggests, the area is known for its large number of oak trees.
The only way to make the trip between downtown Los Angeles and Thousand Oaks is to use the US-110. It travels alongside the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The trip will take about 40-55 minutes during light traffic, but the rush-hour experience can take 55-90 minutes.
The Irvine community is another planned community home to about 287,400 residents. It's located about 41 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles in Orange County. The I-5 provides a direct route to the city in 40-55 minutes. Be prepared to add up to 45 minutes longer for rush-hour traffic.
Explore Downtown Los Angeles & Beyond
Planning, researching, and preparing for driving in Los Angeles is the best approach to commuting to and from downtown. Those who do not enjoy driving long commutes would benefit from selecting a community and neighborhood that potentially minimizes the everyday driving time, or looking into Los Angeles' public transportation options.