Los Angeles, California

“I want it all, I want it all bad.” What are people willing to do to live in Los Angeles?

  • Los Angeles has great beaches and beach culture, some of the most amazing panoramas, ethnic food (mostly Asian), and the most exciting music and art in the US. But it also has traffic and is considered home to celebrities with severely warped senses of vanity and beauty.
    A view of the famous Hollywood sunset from Griffith Observatory

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Where do I even begin? It fills me with wistfulness to think that I have lived in San Diego for almost two years yet only made it to LA four times. The first time was out of intense boredom and curiosity (and the need to renew my passport), the second was a late dinner stop on the way to San Francisco, the third an overnight stay inside a tiny red car parked on a quiet residential street, and the last was to make it as the official starting point of my three-week road trip back in December.

Now when you talk to people about LA, your conversation will probably go down one or more of these lines: Hollywood, fake plastic women, celebrities and whether you’ve seen any, and perfect dreamy weather with lots of sunshine, man! If you ask me, I would probably befuddle you with my thoughts on shows made there like Community and Sons of Anarchy, bands from struggling to well-established such as Roll The Tanks and the supergroup Divine Fits (just don’t call them that), darkly funny stand-up comedians trying to make it, and last but not least, FOOD so much better than what you can find in the rest of California (San Francisco’s food scene was way overrated, more on that later). Not that everything there is perfect, of course. Here’s a list of things that you can expect as a visitor.

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Beaches and beach culture

The water can be cold so they’re not my pick for swimming, but they’re beautiful and most of them are lively, if sometimes crowded.

 

Panoramic Sights

LA spawned the movie industry like it did because of the sheer variety of landscapes available nearby. The surrounding geography has recently imitated NorCal and Ireland for Sons of Anarchy and the pretend-Indiana town of Pawnee in Parks and Recreation. Before CGI and modern transit, it has stood in for the bulk of movies made in the US for every type of surroundings. Mountains, oceans, hills, deserts, and plains – it’s all around. The smog has even cleared up letting you see most of it these days.

 

Ethnic Food

As mentioned above, LA is definitely my pick for California’s food capital. In terms of variety of immigrants and authentic eats, the only competitor in the country would be New York City. I have personally tried Korean, Japanese, and Jewish food that hold up to worldwide standards. Although I’ve seen many promising Latin neighborhoods, I must admit to a relative burnout over generic taco shops in San Diego.

 

Music

There are so many great up-and-coming, as well as long-standing, bands in the city that I won’t even make a pretense of listing them.

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Transit

If you’re in LA, you’re bringing (or at least renting) a car. This is a must. A car is the only way to get to where you need to be, unless you just find some obscure aesthetic pleasure in the idea of spending half the day on a bus. Not that this means you’ll get around quickly, five miles can take almost an hour in that traffic. If this could be dealt with, you can definitely have a great trip.

 

Fake Glamor

Done properly, this should only be a minor issue in your travel. You can avoid almost all of this because of how big the place is  you’ll see the irritating idiots and d-bags around, but don’t let them define Los Angeles for you. Unless going to exclusive and enormously expensive parties is the highlight of your traveling existence, there is very little chance you’ll run into fake-boobed orange women in bikinis. But then if that’s your thing, what are you doing reading this blog?

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