Why Do I Hate L.A.?

The walk of fame and all of it's stars in Hollywood, L.A.Los Angeles. There’s just something about it I hate. I hate the traffic and the lack of public transportation. I hate the vanity and how everyone is “so Hollywood.” I hate the pollution. I hate the lack of neighborhoods. LA just rubs me the wrong way. But I haven’t spent much time in the city. My opinion has only been formed by a few short visits. I wonder if I really hate L.A. or just think I do?

We all have preconceived notions and perceptions of different places. We all have our own prejudices and opinions based on what we’ve read and heard over the years. Stories from the news, the Internet, and our friends create an image in our minds. As long as I can remember, I’ve always had preconceived notions about Los Angeles. I thought it would be polluted, a giant traffic-jam-filled city with vain, wannabe celebrities. Los Angeles was a sprawling city with no culture.

When I visit L.A., I see all of these negatives. It would be hard not to. But I often wonder if I see those things more because of my already formed notions and feelings about the city. I’ve been to many cities that are run down, dirty, full of pretentious people, and have bad traffic. Los Angeles isn’t the only city in the world like this. Bangkok is no spring chicken, Barcelona needs a good scrubbing, and rush hour in Tokyo is no joke. Yet while I see these things in other cities, they don’t seem to bother me as much as they do in Los Angeles.

There are some legitimate things I dislike about Los Angeles. I don’t like cities that are too big to get around. NYC may be big, but it’s easy to get around. Bangkok has a good transit system, and while Tokyo is gigantic, you can still navigate public transportation fairly easily. Yet everything in L.A. is spread out and you need to drive to get places. I like cities with good public transit and Los Angeles doesn’t have it. Moreover, L.A. has no neighborhoods. It just seems to sprawl forever, and it’s filled with too many people trying to make it. Everyone I meet in L.A. is trying to make it as an actor or screenplay writer.

Rodeo drive is a busy shopping street in Beverly Hills, California

Yet these things don’t really make LA “hateable.” None of these “issues” are super off-putting, and I’ve had many fun moments in L.A. with my friends. So why is it that I hate Los Angeles so much? Where does this visceral reaction come from?

I think back to my recent trip to Ottawa. It was a city I knew nothing about, and I was able to form my own opinions about the city right on the spot. I loved Ottawa. It was great. Often when we travel, we see cities not as how they are but how we expect them to be. We take our knowledge with us and use it as a lens to view the city. When we think of Amsterdam, we think of pot and prostitutes, so that’s what we see. We go to Bangkok and see the dirt and pollution because we know it to be a “dirty” city. Often times, we visit places and do things that further our preconceived notions of the city. We go experience romance in Paris or party on the island of Ko Phangan. And cities we know the least about are often the places we love the best. We aren’t looking for things that fit into the mold our mind has made. We simply take the city as it is—no expectations and no disappointments.

The traffic in L.A. is the worst in California

Fighting preconceived notions is an important part of traveling. The images and notions in our head can paint a bleaker picture of a place than what’s really there. They can color our thoughts on cities in ways that don’t often reflect reality. Yes, I hate L.A., but I suppose if I really thought about it, it’s not that bad a place. I would rather be in many other places in the world, but I can see that there’s something for people in Los Angeles.

Maybe one day I’ll live in Los Angeles and love it. After all, I despised Bangkok at first and now it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. Stepping back from my emotional, knee-jerk reaction to Los Angeles, I see there are some things that make the city worth visiting and worth living in. After all, it’s near the beach, it’s warm throughout the year, there’s a lot to do, it’s got good sushi, and it has an affordable cost of living. Plus, you get to spot celebrities all the time. (OK, maybe that’s just something I would enjoy!)

Los Angeles sprawls across a large part of California

We all have preconceived notions about places in the world. When we visit a place, we often see it through a prism in our mind, which distorts what that city really is about. Sometimes we just need to step back, breathe, and judge a place on its own merits with unclouded eyes. And so maybe it’s not that I hate L.A. itself, but the version in my mind and, after nearly 30 years of only picturing that L.A., that’s all I can see right now.

People often see what they want to see. I think as travelers we need to be conscious of that. Bill O’Reilly thinks Amsterdam is a cesspool. When I go there, I see canals, beautiful buildings, and friendly people. Is he seeing what he wants to see, just like me and Los Angeles?

Travel is about opening yourself up to new experiences and places. It’s about letting go of biases we have about people and places. Going to places without prejudice and expectation is the only way to really “see” a place. We need to drop our guard and be open to new things. Otherwise, we’ll always end up only seeing the image in our mind.

And then we’ll always just end up hating L.A.

For more information on the United States, visit my country and city guides to U.S. travel and start planning your adventure today.

  1. Being a Los Angeles native, I can tell you that LA is everything everyone says it is. Most cities you can find the beauty in, but Los Angeles has a bad reputation for a reason. It’s an acquired taste, and not many people can handle it – not even the people who live there. I, too, am a screenwriter – go figure, right? :)

  2. I have yet to spend a significant time in L.A, (few layovers, thats it) but I can totally relate with making assumptions about cities before giving them much of a chance. There’s several cities in Canada I can’t stand, or thought I couldn’t stand, until I spent enough time to truly “get” what the city is all about. I assumed I would have hated Toronto, perhaps due to what I heard while growing up in a small town in Saskatchewan. But Toronto proved me wrong, very cool city with great people.

    I think that’s the beauty of long-term travel. You have the time to try to understand if you’re beliefs and bias’s towards a city are justified. Most people taking only a week of holidays a year will likely hold on to their assumptions of cities & countries their whole life.

    Great post matt!

  3. Absolutely agree with u Matt! The same with me… For all my life I’ve been listening how messy, non-understanding and screaming all the time Italian people are and since I moved here in February this is what I mostly see about them! Nothing but a notion on my mind!

  4. Matt

    Valid points Matt. I’ve lived in LA for a large part of the past 6 years and have a love/hate relationship with the place (it’s not really a city due to it being so sprawling). One of the benefits Ive enjoyed is living with families in different towns/communities of LA and living as a local rather than a tourist. There’s definitely beauty to be had in the beach communities of Manhattan, Hermosa and Huntington Beach. Not to mention Palos Verdes! Even towns in the Valley like Burbank have some wonderful views and places to go.

    The other benefit of LA is it’s location geographically within California. You can hike, surf, ski or visit the lake all within a matter of 2 hours, no matter where in LA you live. Go a few hours further north and you’ve got huge mountain rages and amazing views.

    Sometimes you gotta take the crap to appreciate the good!

  5. San Francisco’s the same in terms of a lack of reliable public transportation. For example, I live in the heart of the city and went to the theater in Berkeley last night. If this were NYC, it would have taken me one subway ride due to the short distance. But this is SF, so I had to take two buses, walk 12 blocks (in the pelting rain), then take two train connections to get there. Then do the same to get back. It wound up taking me an hour and a half each way for a distance you can travel in 20 minutes by car (but I am not about to brave driving in a monsoon in rush hour out here…people are bad enough drivers in normal conditions!).

    I do like LA, though. For me, I think it’s the sun. Living in a cold, windy place, I crave the heat and beating sun.

    • Jackmax

      LA IS great. its just like anywhere, ADJUST you’re expectations and get used to it. MATT I’m so sick of people comparing everywhere else to NYC. expecting every city to have the Geographic anomaly that is manhattan. Enough already. YESSS WE KNOW its a perfect city with everything. Its also SO SNOBBY. Arrogant, angry everyone has body armor on and it has no regional charm. (its not Boston, Phily, Miami or LA). DODGERS rock.

    • Mick

      Camels&Chocolate, San Francisco has fantastic public transportation. MUNI can take you pretty much anywhere in the city within 1 hour. Even going outside the city (to Berkeley in your case) is possible via BART.

      This is totally not the case in LA. For instance, taking a bus from Westwood to Dodgers Stadium might take you anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours (during rush hour). If you were to drive, this route would only be 20-30 minutes.

      In short, you can easily live in SF without a car. In LA, living car-less is a considerable challenge (I’m doing it now, and people look at you like you were a leper!)

  6. All valid points, but something about the city changes when you like actually spend time and live here (and get out of downtown and the westside, where no natives live anyway) then when you are just passing through. It’s hard to gauge a city fully when you are only here a week at a time every few years and are already predisposed to hate it.

  7. Chelsea

    LA can be difficult, because you do definitely need a car. That being said, I disagree with LA not having any “neighborhoods”. Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, parts of Marina del Ray, Plus there are great places like the Getty Center or the Griffith Observatory. And awesome restaurants, which is one my measures of a great city.

    • Diz

      I decided to move here without ever visiting first, from the east coast. Everyone told me I would hate it, but I really thought it would be fine, just a “normal American city”- I was thinking like NYC, Chicago. I lived in Philly for 6 yrs which I loved but my time there was up and time to move on.

      I came for a week to look for an apartment and was shocked that even though I was staying at a hostel downtown, hardly anyone was walking around. Many of the buildings were totally abandoned. Public transit (which I used for 1st 2 months all over LA) was atrocious. It would often take me a couple hrs to get to gigs and job interviews. I applied for 2000 jobs and could not get one, though in retrospect, I now know that applying for waitress jobs in W Hollywood and such was asking for trouble (I moved there since rent was reasonable and near some public transit, what did I know? I was told time and time again that I didn’t look like a model and couldn’t get hired, or I was probably too smart and they assumed I would leave) I guess I shoulda applied in the valley but then again I didn’t have a car right away. I was pretty open-minded for a while but in the last few months have really realized I can’t stand it here and there is no way I could make a life here.

      LA was the place I was forced to give up what I did for the previous 10+ yrs as a (full-time) profession (freelance musician) despite playing more (pretty much, all) styles here. I was sexually propositioned and fired/not hired many times for being the wrong race or gender, or not sexed up enough, not enough makeup, etc. I am what I consider a normal to decent looking person, in shape, present myself professionally, and of course a good player with several degrees and a nice resume. If I could afford a lawyer…

      I have turned to a new field (alternative medicine) which has been a really great thing…money is tight and mostly from student loans these days. I was really struggling since student loans really don’t pay enough here to have a decent standard of living, but then I came up with idea to move into an RV like some friends…something that happens in LA. The weather is really good and it’s amazing to crash by the beach if I want to. Now I’ve been able to save some money to travel the world and study on semester breaks. It’s frustrating though because I just want a cheap place to live, your options are either to drive really far, rent part of someone’s living room, or have an overpriced, yes, huge though usually cookie cutter apartment. Why on earth would you need all that space?

      This town is full of ignorant people. There also are by and large a lot of nice people too, but because people are sheltered since no public transit, neighborhoods are not diverse at all, people (of all colors) really have no idea of various cultures/lifestyles. This creates fear and ignorance. People can be open minded too though which is good but it’s a little frustrating to have to open up so many people to different ideas all the time. It’s also hard to hang out with people since everyone has to drive home to different parts of town- any hang is a half to whole day event, it all needs to be planned, and prepare for people flaking out since they don’t feel like driving (happened to me for sure) People definitely do not seem to be more friendly here than any other city, I would say less so in many cases. You will get a smile, and then you will be ignored. Then again, back to people having limited social interactions b/c no public transit…

      You can get any kind of food you want here but be prepared to drive for it…neighborhoods here are very homogenous in general. To know where anything is going on, you have to be “in the know”, an insider attitude I really hate.

      The music scene in LA is pretty atrocious…almost everything very mainstream and plastic. Many styles of music present in other cities barely exist at all: various world styles, much other than mainstream jazz, there’s no early music, little contemporary classical music…The only good thing is that there is tons more Latin music here though I can’t seem to get hired anymore as THAT gringa my friends recommend (being non-Latino AND female apparently is a no-go combination here. Unless I was willing to sleep with the bandleader, ugh!). There are some great musicians here, but they are either studio players (good luck breaking into THAT scene) or, they don’t gig here, they just live here and maybe you meet them at some jam session.

      You can find most things in LA somewhere but it’s really lacking of people that I just really really get on with…all of my close friends here have also realized in the last couple years they can’t wait to get out of here either and will be doing so in the next year or two, as will I when I finish school. In total five years of disillusionment. I will miss your weather and tacos LA, as well as good hiking (though! you have to drive fairly far for it) but not much else.

      • Tom

        Wow, I totally agree with everyone here. I am a native living in the valley, and also a musician. It has been a nightmare getting my project off and running, and I feel like giving up. Everything great about LA is in the outskirts. While I believe we have some of the best Mexican food here, it isn’t enough to make me want to stay. I’ve been around to many parts of the world, and it made me realize how sad and depressed this place makes me. I try to make the best of it, but I know I’m missing out on greater places.

  8. Pau

    It’s ok Matt, some things bother me about LA too. Although, a few things.

    1. You are right on the mark when it comes to transportation. As someone who was born and raised in LA, one of the top things I dislike about my native city is the lack of ideal transportation. Buses take 10-30 mins. to come around, sometimes an hour–these bus drivers never follow the schedule. What I do like, though, are the Metro lines (train); more lines are being added and when they’re all finished, living in LA will be a dream.

    2. I disagree with LA not having any neighborhoods. There’s Echo Park, Silverlake, Historic Filipinotown, Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, Thai Town, Fairfax district, Melrose, Larchmont, Crenshaw, South LA, Wilshire area, HOLLYWOOD (I live here AND it’s a neighborhood), Beverly Hills, Downtown LA, East LA, Alhambra (still LA County) and so many more. People from different parts of the world have found their second home in many of these parts, establishing actual neighborhoods rich with culture.

    3. It depends who you hang around with. If you’re with the wanna-be celebrity group, then what are you going to get? Wanna-be celebrities. I know people who are pursuing careers in medicine, global politics, and international law. I only know one person who is pursuing a career in the entertainment industry and that’s because she wants to become a producer. Again, with emphasis, it depends on who you hang out with.

    “Often when we travel, we see cities not as how they are but how we expect them to be. We take our knowledge with us and use it as a lens to view the city…And so maybe it’s not that I hate L.A. but hate the version in my mind and, after nearly 30 years of only picturing that L.A., that is all I can see right now.”

    — Let me leave you with my own story of my time in the Philippines. I’m a ‘Fil-Am’ (Filipino-American), have visited (and lived) in Manila & Quezon City several times. Usually, the foreigner’s version of Manila in their mind is as follows: filthy streets, obvious poverty, and blatant government corruption. However, I seem to go back all the time. Maybe it’s because Manila has historic Spanish ruins that I love to explore, THE best siopao outside of China (or in the world!), colorful jeepneys that make traveling around the city great fun, and amazing sunsets that even LA can’t pull off.

    Therefore, I agree with you when you said: “Traveling is about opening yourself up to new experiences and places. It’s about letting go of the preconceived notions we have about places and people. Going to places without prejudice and any expectation is the only way to really “see” a place. We need to drop our guard and be open to new things. Otherwise, we’ll always end up only seeing the image in our mind. Otherwise, we’ll always just end up hating L.A.”

    With that, I conclude with: visit LA sometime and check out the places I listed. Believe me, after living here almost my whole life, I’m still discovering it.

    Best wishes,


      • Tracey

        L.A, loves to preen in front of her mirror. She is better than all those other cities. If there is something in it for her, she smiles appreciatively though she can’t help but curl her lip when the skirt and shoes don’t match. She has no civility or refinement but neither do her gal pals. ‘Refinement ? Omg I totally don’t eat sugar!’ —– my 17yr marriage to her is done. Gonna find me a piece of land and a friendly neighbor

    • Cheyenne

      I’m visiting from beautiful Klamath River (town) so I can celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday (today). Staying in Harvard Heights NEIGHBORHOOD of West Adams. Quite diverse!

      People here drive crazy, it scares me so bad I can’t even drive out the frickin’ driveway. The houses are beautiful (the one I’m staying in is a beautifully kept Arts and Crafts with five bathrooms) and I love walking my brother’s dog around the block.

      But where to meet other people and actually talk to them for free? What to do when you have little extra money? I’ve seen the coolest things, Pink’s, the Grove and Farmer’s Market, Liz’s Hardware, and now what? I’d like to chat with people about things like legalizing marijuana but I’m shy and don’t want to go to a bar, spend money getting stupid and then getting robbed or worse. My boyfriend’s admonishment when I told him I’d arrived safely was “Be careful there.” He was raised in a San Jose ghetto.

    • Cheyenne

      PS I lived in Manila for three months and in Bagac, Bataan for another three months. What a wonderful place the Philippines is!

  9. Well said, Pau. I live over in Orange County and (besides the traffic) love going to LA – it’s so multicultural and there are many different types of people there, not just the stereotypical “LA types.” I feel like LA is the place where anyone can fit in and find a group of people to relate to, and I really like that about it.

  10. I couldn’t agree more with this article… Los Angeles is pure chaos last time I went on a trip back from Canada. its astounding the difference, I got a case of culture shock coming from Canada

  11. Ha! This article is great, because I feel the exact same way. I lived in LA for 6 months and could not wait to get out. I was taking classes and I remember one class was cancelled because there was an accident one on one of the highways and because of that the entire city was at a standstill and no one could get anywhere!

    People always say that you need 3 years to get used to LA, and I say “why waste three years?” I mean, if you have to live in a city and wait until you get dulled to it, well, that doesn’t sound like a good deal to me.

    I will say LA is a great city to be a tourist though. My friends and family that visited me had a great time and I enjoyed “playing the tourist” with them. But daily life was just not worth it. And I currently live in China where traffic and air pollution is much worse, so I know it’s not that!

    • Brian Yeh

      I had to live in LA three years to actually start liking it. I was forced to do it because I had to attend university here (UCLA) and for the first three years, I hated it.

      I’m not sure why it takes so long to love LA, but I think it’s because it’s just really hard to get around LA and therefore incredibly hard to discover what the city has to offer. Definitely knowing and hanging out with the right people will help you get to know the place better at a much faster rate due to the fact that they can just show you everything. Unfortunately not a lot of people have this luxury as they come here without any connections to the locals.

      I don’t know whether or not it’s worth it to endure the three years, but I do know one thing, LA like New York City offers people who live there things that no city in the world can offer.

    • Kat

      I agree that it’s not worth the 3 years to get used to LA to like it. I am a native of Pasadena (a suburb of LA) and I found that after attending college on the East Coast, I could finally see LA for what it really is. After living in another part of the country, I realized that LA is not like anywhere else – but not in a good way. Sure there are some nice perks: sunshine, diverse restaurants, beach – if you like that sort of thing. I have come to find that I appreciate having different seasons and cannot stand the 24/7 sunshine. I truly feel I needed to leave LA to see it for what it really is. Now that I am back (moved back to LA in 2008), I cannot wait to leave again since I am aware there are other parts of the country that I better identify with.

      I am in the process of moving to Boston this summer and cannot wait to be in a city with amazing public transportation, loads of history, and a more sophisticated culture. Bring on the winter coat!!! (I haven’t worn a real jacket ever since returning to LA 4 years ago)

  12. Why I understand the disdain for the “fake people”, they really do make for hilarious people watching from the whole “the joke is on them” perspective. I lived in Las Vegas for a while, and found it actually endearing. As long as you have normal people to hang out with, I can’t imagine those beach towns being a shabby place to live. In addition, to your comment about Bangkok and how you hated it the first time you were there, that was how I felt about New Orleans, and now it is my favorite city to visit in the country!


  13. Sam

    L.A. has an “affordable cost of living”?? That’s news to me and the millions of others who live here. In comparison to what? NYC?

    I think it’s unfortunate that so many people have such low opinions of a city that is diverse and rich with culture. Los Angeles is a gem, you just have to dig deeper, look further. Maybe you have to be a native to truly understand this.

    • NomadicMatt

      L.A. is much more affordable compared to east coast cities. I hear a lot of my friends say “I hated L.A. but now that I live here, it grew on me.” Maybe you have to spend a long time in L.A. to love it.

    • jeb

      I think Sam Luigi hit the nail on the head.
      LA has some amazing aspects. The weather, you can’t beat it. You can go from a city to giant mountains in 20 minutes. Food from whatever ethnicity you desire, lots of fun and creative activities and entertainment. Obviously an amazing movie selection. That being said, there’s a lot to complain about. The racism (from all races, not just white people), the poverty gap… you can go from Compton to Beverly Hills, the driving (not only is the traffic horrendous but the drivers CAN NOT DRIVE. It’s like a video game on defensive driving every day you start your commute), it’s expensive (a studio apartment at it’s very very very cheapest will be $700 and it will be a cupboard in the worst neighborhood), the schools (there are some great ones but downtown la has a graduation rate of what? 50%?!), the water and air are polluted to uselessness, the attitude of most people (this is probably a city thing but there’s not much of a sense of community imo. Everyone is just trying to be famous, even if they’re not an actor, and they will just bullshit everyone around them to increase their connections but as soon as you actually need a friend of a favor they’re nowhere to be found. It’s all business all the time). Blah, posting this is depressing me, too depressed to keep listing all the sh*tty things I’ve seen in LA. And yeah, everyone is a narcissist.

    • joe

      No, LA is an infection on a map. I still live here because my girlfriend has to be here for now, I have lived in Santa Monica, West LA, Silverlake, now Hollywood. Sm and Wla where difficult but at least you could get some beach air. Most of the time you rush indoors for an air filter because the smog is so bad children from many parts of LA have a 500% increase in ashma attacks. Also yes most the people are too important to say hi or be friendly to strangers, just insecure wannabes.

  14. Sam

    Also just wanted to mention that when I think of L.A. I don’t think of wannabe starlets, I think of the many many hardworking immigrants, artists, musicians, and other creative people from all around the world that make up this great city. And most of these people are just struggling to survive with the outrageous cost of living. The aspiring Hollywood types are just one small segment of the people in L.A. Most are just regular, hardworking folks.

    As I said, L.A. is much more than these touristic pre-conceived notions give it credit for.

  15. Totally agree about LA – I never wanted to go there…traffic etc. In the last year however I have gone there for reasons other than visiting and taken some extra time to check it out. Now I can honestly say I would never want to live there, but I can also say that I like LA – especially Santa Monica.

    Had the same feelings about Hawaii – an “Americanized tropical island” was my preconceived ideas about Hawaii…Then we went there, traveled to places other than Honolulu and we found a great paradise!

    I guess you just never know until you go there…

    • NomadicMatt

      Yes, exactly. You never know until you go. I’m a big believer that we must experience a place first hand before we make any real judgments.

  16. Sam

    Btw, there are tons of buses, several subway and light rail lines throughout Los Angeles county, so yes, there is public transportation: http://www.metro.net/. But in a city as sprawling as this, it is sometimes difficult to navigate and it does not go everywhere you might like it to. Having a car is definitely preferable if you are traveling long distances.

  17. Larry

    Beauty in is in the eye of the beholder does not only apply to women then, but also to cities… I agree however, LA is hyped up to much and thus expectations are ruined when people arrive.

  18. Araseli Asencio

    Oh Matt, I wish I would have followed your blog prior to your recent trip to LA. I would have been your personal tour guide. As a first generation Mexican in Los Angeles, I disagree with you. I wish you could see LA through a native’s eyes. Someone whom is not an actress, or a screenplay writer, or even an aspiring model. But someone who was born and raised in a neighborhood. There are neighborhoods all over with so much history. Take East Los Angeles, it used to be a big Jewish neighborhood (prior to me being born), now it is populated with Mexicans (great mexican food there) and is the neighborhood Oscar De La Hoya grew up in. Than there is Hancock Park (which is mid wilshire area) where a lot of old Hollywood used to live. I believe Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas live here. Cute cute neighborhood with massive homes and little shops on Larchmont St. Than there is Santa Monica, Culver City, Redondo Beach, each with there own little personality. If you drive “over the hill” (Hollywood Hills) you have The Valley. The Valley (Sherman Oaks, Encino, Van Nuys, Northridge…etc) are all in Los Angeles County but all so different.

    See I love having a car but that’s all I ever knew growing up. I’ve lived in NYC and I loved the public transportation and city life. But truth is I am a Angelina at heart (love the beach, mountains, driving on my own, having a back yard and the weather). For someone who is from LA you don’t roam around the Beverly Hills, Hollywood area that you see in the movies. Plus who can afford the restaurants there anyway. Only celebrities can afford the $60+ steak at CUT. BH, Hollywood, Santa Monica…. that is not a reflection of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a city with culture, great food, wonderful weather, friendly people, I mean I can go on. You must leave TMZ (yes the Ten Mile Radius) to truly appreciate what Los Angeles has to offer. But in order to see u do need a car.

    • Dom

      The Valley (Sherman Oaks, Encino, North Hollywood, Reseda, Van Nuys, Northridge…etc) are part of LA CITY, not county.

  19. In hostels you come across so many European travelers who are on their way to LA – and you try to tell them not to go, but they never listen. Because I think the draw of LA is it’s persona, which isn’t what you find when you get there. But I think you have to see it for yourself, otherwise that illusion is what you’ll always believe.

  20. Though I cant comment on LA specifically, I definitely agree with you on the pre-conceived notions. Even after having been traveling for a little while, I still find myself occasionally seemingly trying to justify my pre-conceived notions rather than just seeing the place for what it is. It seems like it never goes away, we just eventually grow more aware of it and manage to see past.

  21. LA takes the 1% of everyone in America who thinks they’re either funnier, better looking, or just “destined for stardom” and puts them all into one city to fight for attention and the women want to know what you do before who you are. Go to San Diego and the women are twice as hot and half as shady. Is it weird that I’m actually writing this from South Central LA right now? RIP Tupac

  22. Debi

    I’m glad your mind isn’t totally closed to the idea of enjoying L.A., Matt, and here’s a blog I think does a GREAT job of showcasing some of the most wonderful things about the city…


    An idea for your next visit there is to focus on a small area, say downtown L.A. or Venice Beach, and maybe even commit to not going anywhere that can’t be reached by public transportation. IMHO, the mistake a lot of people make with L.A. is feeling they need to go wide instead of going deep.

  23. Matt,

    LA is a city with a rich history, ethnic diversity, and some wonderful people. I’m happy you haven’t totally made up your mind about us yet.

    The next time you’re in LA, you might see a different side of the city if you use one or more of my walking tours. They show a side of the city that not even many locals know.



  24. Before having gone to LA, many of my friends in the East Coast would always complain about the bad traffic, and terrible air. And your right about preconceived notions, that’s all I associated w/ LA. But after visiting the city, I think of LA like it’s “own state” with many little cities (the county is practically the size of Rhode Island). I think the traffic problem is only that much bad if you need to travel a larger distance (for example from Santa Monica to Montebello) because of all the freeways, but locals usually live close to where they work, so commute times come out on average. Commuting by NJTransit from central NJ to NYC sometimes I think is as bad as the traffic in LA because of the train congestion right between Newark and NY Penn Station. Usual 15 minute train between Newark and NYC can sometimes take up to 1 hour on top of the other portion of commute. But yea, I do hope that the LA area continues to expand its Metro subway lines and even start building that HSR between LA and SF.

  25. keiko

    The sprawl of LA makes it a difficult city to visit. To me it comes across as an ‘insider’ city. You need to know someone (or do extensive research) to know the places to go, how to find non-corporate places, and where you won’t run into people ‘trying to make it’. But having spent most of my life here, I love it. There is always something to do, hikes to take, mountains to ski, concerts to see, museums to visit…you get the idea. LA is more than the Walk of Fame and Mann’s Chinese Theatre!

  26. I lived in LA for 3 years and hated some of it, but grew to love a lot of other things about the city. But I find it astounding that you say several times that LA has “no neighborhoods.” You couldn’t be more off the mark and it just displays your own real ignorance of the place. I should expect more from a “professional traveler.”

  27. Nancy

    Been to LA once and do not intend to go back. I hated it and couldn’t wait to leave! I did enjoy San Diego though and would love to see San Francisco and the Napa Valley.

  28. Hey Matt,

    I just found your site yesterday or the day before and I have to say that it has me hooked. I’ve read quite a few things in the short time since being here, but I felt I had to post a comment here because this resonates with me so much (like many of your writings). Ah, LA. I’ve always disliked LA and I’ve always bad-mouthed it to… oh, pretty much anyone. Maybe it’s because I’m from the SF Bay Area and we’ll always have a rivalry with SoCal, but I think it’s for all of the things that you mentioned. LA may not lack culture, but the culture reflects values that are not my favorite. But I do agree with you that some of the best places end up being places that we discover without expectations. Portugal and Austria are some of my absolute favorite destinations and I think that has a lot to do with me not knowing what people thought about them. Paris, on the other hand, is another city that I don’t really like. I think the architecture is beautiful, but the people (in general) are snobby and cold. Maybe if I hadn’t gone into my first, second, or third trip to Paris with rose-tinted glasses, I would have just taken it for what it was and enjoyed it much more.

    Basically, long story short: I agree with you. Excellent blog post!

  29. Very insightful post. Los Angeles is an awful place to live, which is why I’m leaving.

    This city seems to have a high concentration of people who have NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), which makes complete sense since the world’s entertainment capital is here, Hollywood. Narcissists have flocked to this city and have infested it with their selfish, “me me me”, superficial, “I’m only going to be friends with you if you are rich, powerful, have a lot of money, and make me famous or further my career”.

    It’s the people that make it awful. And you should never mistrust your gut instincts about ANYTHING in life, including cities, because they’re always right, and you know if a place isn’t right for you.

    • NomadicMatt

      Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel about LA! Too many people caring about themselves. Vanity is not a good sin!

    • ava

      La is not a place you come to live, La is a place you come to work. If you want the Beachy, sunny, laid back type There are Plenty of places Outside the Major City. San Diego is one. Orange County has it’s parts too, and Many More. People are disillusioned when they come here because they don’t go anywhere. The fail to realize how big this place really is. It’s not like a tiny NY it’s fucken huge like 10 NYs! Gosh, people are so silly.

  30. Aaron

    Being a Native of Fullerton CA, Trips to L.A were always fun to me! the music venues are cool(The Roxy, The Gibson, The WIltern), Places to shop(Amoeba records: I love that place), places to walk around, Museums to go to, Places to eat, skate, etc. I can speak much about living there, but since I was a kid to now(Age 20) L.A is an awesome place to hang out!

    Yeah Traffic blows, but thats just city life for you. When I was in NY, Traffic was no better.,but it was still awesome!

  31. bruin

    not really the city that matters but the people. and the people in LA are definitely not the best kind! ratio of rotten eggs to hidden gems = 1000000000 to 1

  32. Joe

    I hate La too. When I went there I thought I was in Alabama. The treatment was horrific and I was subjected to the worst humiliation. A city that thrives completely on the superficial. However it will meet its demise one day. Anything that evil will pay for its crimes in time. All I can say is that I will never forget LA. It is one of my most hated cities.

  33. I’ve lived in LA for a year and a half after moving from the Midwest and agree with most of what you said. The weather is definitely a plus, but like you said, the pollution can be suffocating at times. The air quality is better in South Bay, Malibu and parts of the West Side around Santa Monica, but you’re also going to pay an arm and a leg for it. The greener and less polluted a place is, the more expensive.

    I’ve met some wonderful people out here, but maintaining friendships is difficult. Everyone is always on the go here, and unless you live in the same complex, making plans can be like planning a rocket launch.

    The traffic can be overwhelming at first, but you end up getting used to it. Your car does become like a second home here. This “Point A to Point B” lifestyle makes people very guarded and compartmentalized. So don’t expect any friendly waves from strangers or how-do-you-dos.

    It’s a very money-oriented city so people can easily lose touch with reality, which is probably why so many celebrities go crazy.

    Like others have pointed out, Los Angeles consists of many neighborhoods. In fact, that’s all LA really is – a bunch of neighborhoods connected by a bunch of freeways. That is something I find very unique about this city; each neighborhood has something different to offer. But you also have to fight traffic and find parking to get there.

    A recent visit to Portland was a stark contrast to LA. Portlanders were friendly, helpful, and the public transportation was amazing.

    I’d give LA a 5 out of 10. It’s been a fun and interesting experience, but I can’t imagine myself living here long-term.

  34. JC

    I like L.A a lot; couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I grew up in the suburbs so I am used to driving. Have no need to take public transportation and don’t intend to; I like the privacy of my own car. I know some people may not like the celebrity culture and so called “narcissistic people” but that’s what makes L.A unique to me. I am narcissistic myself…. I like celebs. I like Hollywood. I don’t mind traffic. I would rather die than live in the Midwest. I don’t care if the standard of living is lower there. I like being in so called superfical L.A; this is the life I want.

  35. Manuel

    Los Angeles is fabulous. Sure, it has flaws–as so other cities. The thing I hate about it is the traffic during rush hour. You do need a car in LA to get to where you want to get because everything is so spread out. Besides that, LA has everything that you can ask for. There are various cutures in LA, and the diversity is one of the things that I love about it.

    LA is not that affordable by the way. Well, for the average person.

    • ava

      Yeah I agree. California is Awesome! Especially La. A lot of people just hate it because they aren’t living the California dream they envisioned for themselves before moving out here. In order to be successful you have to get off your ass and work, and most people expect to come here and live out a silver spoon pipe dream fantasy.

  36. Donna

    Los Angeles city council approves construction every inch, practically. Construction is out of control. Traffic, congestion, road rage, noise hurting most residents and visitors. This summer many road and ramp closures on and near west side 405 freeway for construction because we don’t have enough space for all the cars. 17 million cars in county I read somewhere. Whatever the number, expect continued gridlock. No quality of life for majority of people. Under the sun we are. Sure. Beach and sun if you can get to and from beach to enjoy. Good luck,

  37. iabhornc

    Personally, I don’t know anybody who loves (the polluted city of) L.A. All I can say is that I am glad I don’t live there. Never in my life have I ever seen such a stupid breed of rude people. It’s all the time why this and why that… Does is really matter? That I can learn to over-look, but that’s not the only pain that this sorry, over-rated, city has to offer. The main thing I hate in L.A. are the drivers. People in L.A. seriously can not f****ing drive. They seriously need to do something about both the excessive congestion on the roads and people’s repulsive driving. I understand that being stuck in traffic is no fun, but there is no need to start putting other people in danger all because they don’t want to sit in traffic. My least favorite part of L.A. is Hollywood Blvd. You have all these damn people trying to take money from you every other section. I have had to rudely walk by them and it’s still no help. Some bum on the street asked me for some dough and I told him to get a job. As you can imagine, he did not take kindly, and threw an insult at me. I then gave the trashy-ass MOFO the finger (what you do to almost everybody in sight here). Furthermore, you have all these damn couples who seriously need to get a hotel room. I even told a bunch of those f***ers to get a room, but they did not respond. I guess their North Carolina-loving behinds are too busy making other people’s lives so miserable to ever care. People in L.A. are also very plastic but I won’t get into it. Screw L.A. and I hope this city suffers a fate worse than death. It’s hard enough living in North Carolina with all those L.A. f**** moving here and bringing it with them.

  38. Kim T

    L.A. is not Hollywood. I’m a native born and raised in the city,I wouldn’t chose to live anywhere else. Funny thing is I kind of feel the same way about N.Y. I been there several times for visits and I would personally trade smog for the smell of garbage and the rude people.

  39. Jane

    I have traveled around the world a couple of times, lived and worked in some of the worlds biggest cities. There is no place on earth as great as Los Angeles. That said, I was born and raises there and know my way around like the back of my hand. If you are not from the place, it’s not an easy place to be, initially. Los Angeles is not for everyone. If you want the communal-come-as-you-are experience, try NYC, specifically queens or brooklyn

  40. After traveling around the world, currently having been to 50 countries, I’ve settled in Los Angeles for a while. I first moved here for a Summer in 2002, and have worked here periodically throughout the last 11 years, even while traveling. What I’ve come to find is that there are three L.A.s – 1. L.A. for tourists, 2. L.A. for transplants, 3. L.A. for locals – the county of Los Angeles is as big as about a dozen the U.S.’s most densely populated cities put together. Within that mess of urban sprawl, you can find just about anything, but you have to know where to look and that takes time.

  41. franchesca

    For a while I was trying to decide where I wanted to live. It was between LA and NYC. I’ve spent both summers there and NYC captured my heart. Sure LA has the beaches, the weather, the scenery, the hikes but recently I went there and noticed an immense amont of fakeness that presumed and I couldn’t stand that. It was also my first time driving in LA and the traffic is HORRID! I think my head started to heart from the pollution. With that being said NYC is where I’m headed. Sure it’s dirty and the subways smell like piss but that’s what I love about new york. It’s “what you see is what you get.” I love when people are frank with me. I would rather someone be real with me than be fake and try to stab me in the back. I love the nitty gritty, the culture, the availability of anything and anywhere 24/7.

    I love the history behind the city. I love it moreso than I love LA and if you asked me this two years ago I would have definitely said Los Angeles but I got to see a different side when I visited and drove. I don’t like that people don’t interact since they are in their cars all day. I’m not that type of person. I don’t like to sugarcoat things. Get straight and to the point. Passive aggressiveness annoys me and I find that attitude more prominant in Los Angeles. It’s a nice vacation spot and vacation only. Maybe I will live there later in life (doubt it) but for right now that city isn’t for me. Someone posted how they liked the superficial attitude of LA and is an LA native? hahaha proves my point! I don’t hate LA…but I don’t love it either

  42. ava

    San Francisco is voted the number 1 car less city in the country. Their public transportation is way better than most places. So that’s totally not true.

  43. Ava

    You don’t need a car to live here, you just need to know your way around. Public Transportation runs all night to Most parts, and there are Plenty of Taxis.
    California is Awesome! North, So Cal and ESPECIALLY La. A lot of people just hate it because they aren’t living the California dream they envisioned for themselves before moving out here. In order to be successful you have to get off your ass and work, and most people expect to come here and just have Everything handed to them.
    Rather than face reality they become shells of themselves and start becoming Phony and fake, trying to act like everyone else because they really want to Fit in, and be seen as successful, which leads them to becoming Pretentious.
    Well News flash, if you’re confident in Who You Are, and what you’re doing here you don’t need to Fit in, and you don’t Care about the people.
    Whether you’re here to be a Actor, Dancer, writer or whatever Do It! There are Plenty of Opportunities for you if you’re Talented, Dedicated and Savvy. Stay focused on your reason for coming here.
    If you’re not coming here for opportunities and just want the California Sunshine life. There are Plenty of places for you maybe just not in the Heart of the City itself. Try San Diego, parts of Orange County, and many more. Or just go up to North Cal if you Really want something different, and want to be around some unique people.

    Stop dissing LA, if you don’t like it Move, and make more space for someone who really wants to be here. We need the next Richard Pryor’s, Steven Spielberg or whoever tickles your fancy.
    Hollywood is our Biggest Export and brings in the big bucks through Tourism.
    If you come here gain opportunities just Stay focused and don’t worry about the people. If you’re a good person don’t let you’re environment change who you are on the Inside.

    As a San Francisco native who moved to Los Angeles I can tell you I’ve done things I only dreamed of before.
    The world is not perfect, every place has it’s good and Bad.
    I spent some time in the South and can tell you this place is a Fantasy land compared to here!

  44. Anja

    L.A. AKA “Hell-A” is a different experience for us locals than it is for a tourist. You MUST HAVE a car! It is impossible to get around without a car. Enterprise Rental Car is the lowest priced, large rental agency.

    Taxis are expensive. Buses are unreliable and a joke. I have not been on the Metro after a cop friend of mine told me held a man in his arms as he died after a stab wound acquired on the Metro. There are a few undercover cops on the Metro, but not enough to make me ride it.

    Party Bus – Rent a bus to take around a group of people for a Bachelor Party, Bachelorette Party, etc. You can drink, bar hop and the driver takes you where you want to go. No worries about a DUI, getting lost, getting separated. Different size buses depending on group size. Some are tricked out to be like a top shelf limo. The Party Bus can work out less than taxi cabs all night long when the tab is split among the group.

    The train, Amtrack, is very cool and comfortable. I have taken the train all over SoCal. It is slow, but it runs right along the ocean North and South and has great views. I used to take it to San Diego and walk across the border to Mexico. Now Mexico is so lawless I would NOT, I repeat NOT, venture into Mexico. The drug cartels are shooting each other and civilians are shot and killed in the process. Mexico is too scary, lawless, dangerous, out of control to go there anymore. I have taken the train North and South between L.A. and Santa Barbara. It was a nice journey watching the sun set over the beach as the train drove. It is was nice.

    There are neighborhoods. Each one has its own flavor. Manhattan Beach is different from Hermosa Beach is different from Redondo Beach. That is just the South Bay. Venice Beach has the street performers you see featured in films. The rollerskating, guitar playing, singer is quite famous. Highland Park and Los Feliz are quit nice areas. West L.A. is nice.

    Different beaches in L.A. and OC (Orange County) now have Segway Tours at the beach.

    Catalina Island is a must see. During the summer it is over run with tourists. April, May, Sept, Oct and Nov are good times to go to avoid the crowds. There is good SCUBA Diving on Catalina as there is a nice kelp forest at Casino Point, parasailing, glass bottom boat rides, tours of the island and more. June is a bad time due to the weather being “June Gloom.” July and Aug are a time when Catalina is jam packed with tourists.

    There are some books you can check out before a trip “Free L.A.” and “Free OC” to find all the FREE things you can do in the area. Concerts in the park over the summer time. Shakespeare By The Sea performances. Jazz concerts at LACMA (LA County Museum of Art). Hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.

    One of my favorite things to do is run the sand dune hill at the Sand Dune Park in Manhattan Beach. It is a great workout to run up and down the sand dune hill. Running, Walking, Rollerblading, Biking at any beach is great. Beach Volleyball at the beach is a great fun. Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Boating, etc. at bays and various beaches is fun. Using a fire pit fire at the beach to roast hot dogs, marshmallows and make S’mores is always fun.

    Hang Gliding is at Dockweiler Beach by LAX. Parachuting is south in the IE (IE = Inland Empire) in Lake Elsinore.

    Festivals are fun:
    Whale Watching Festival, Sandcastle Competition Festival, Dragon Boat Races Festival, Tet in Little Saigon, Chinese New Year, Tall Ships, etc.

    Wine tasting can be found in Temecula which is on the way to San Diego. There are a lot of vineyards in Temecula.

    LACMA, Old Getty Museum in Malibu, New Getty in Brentwood, Norton Simon Museum of Art, etc. are all good. There are concerts at the New Getty and LACMA in the summer time. There are film revivals at LACMA. The theater at LACMA is old, but nice. It is not stadium seating like new movie theaters. I saw a David Lynch film “Wild at Heart” and the director, screenwriter, producer were all present for Q & A after the viewing.

    Film Festivals – Numerous.

    Film Revivals – West L.A. theaters. Great fun. I went to a Felini revival and it was fabulous.

    Old Black and White films – There is a location that plays old B & W Films. It is cheap. Everyone who has been tells me it is great fun.

    Movies in the Cemetery – films are shown in a cemetery. Bring a picnic lunch, drinks, beach chairs, a blanket, jacket, etc. Summer only.

    Art Walk – Monthly art walks in L.A and OC in Laguna Beach. Year round. More crowded in the summer time when the tourists show up.

    Yes, L.A. is fixated on money, appearances, the labels on your clothing/shoes/handbag/sunglasses, etc. You can’t get away from “The Industry People” talking shop about Hollywood are plentiful. (I used to be one of those people so it really bugs me!) But over all L.A. is a hard, brittle city to live in. You must be tough to hang out in L.A. If you are weak, submissive or hesitant it is not the city for you. L.A. is flooded with people looking to “Make It” in Hollywood so we have heard all the sob stories we can stomach. A lot of people are hard, jaded, brittle and broken in L.A. That is just how it is. You get used to it.

    There are good things and negative things about L.A. and SoCal. It is a mix.

  45. Nate

    I lived in L.A. for 4 years. I grew up in the Boston area and chose to move back here to Boston 13 years ago.
    L.A. was a blast for a while, but then after a couple of years, I started disliking it. The car thing was fine with me and I love the weather, but the sameness of the physical environment/sprawl got to me. There are definitely cool pockets, but overall, it’s just long, straight, huge, ugly roads everywhere and lots of concrete. Most green grass you see is the product of irrigation from water piped in from hundreds of miles away. Any trees you see in the city were planted by man. It’s the desert, after all – green grass and trees are not natural in that landscape. It’s just such a contrived environment.
    I’ve seen old photos of the area before people came in and destroyed the landscape and it looked like a heavenly place. It’s really too bad that the city’s developers didn’t have more foresight in the layout and scale.
    I also can’t stand how the houses are on top of each other everywhere and the gates and walls everyone seems to need around their property (adding to the plentiful concrete!).
    I do enjoy going back to L.A. to visit friends occasionally, but am always so happy to leave. And as a parent now, I could not imagine raising a child there.

    • Jade

      Nate, You pretty much hit it on the head and my feelings are exactly the same….lived there in the late 80s for 8 months and while initially I was thrilled (moved there from RI during the wintertime) with the weather, the fact that it-never-changed slowly drove me nuts!! I do like to visit L.A. but for the same reason I think it’s a great vacation spot (pretty much guaranteed good weather no matter when you go) it’s also the reason I could never live there again….I’m still not a big snow person but I do love the variety of seasons New England gets….nothing I mean NOTHING beats New England in the fall…

  46. Agi

    The only place is in LA keep me there is West Hollywood. If I can take weho with me to Bangkok, or India or anywhere else I will be complete and happy with my life.
    Where else I can find a gay town like west Hollywood in the world? Help me , I will move there!

  47. Jennifer

    I’m a native of Southern California (and was a resident of L.A. County for 9 years). I miss it. I miss the museums (Art, science, natural history). I miss going to the theater. I miss the street performers of Santa Monica and Venice. I miss bonfires on the beach (OC – Bolsa Chica) and the Christmas Boat parades. I miss listening to live jazz and blues and the comedy clubs. I miss the variety of restaurants and the food fusions. I miss hole in the wall Mexican and Chinese food places. I miss the people of local mom and pop coffee shops, like “The Library” in Long Beach, very friendly (not your starbucks crowd). I miss the antique and import furniture stores. I miss Alvera Street, and taking the train from Union Station and the sandwiches of Phil’s Deli. And Grauman/Mann’s Chinese theater on Halloween. I miss living in the Arts District in old apartments (which I found in my current city…but it’s not the same). I miss the cultural food festivals. I miss the calm weather all year round. I also miss when I walked around my neighborhood, and saw the same people watering their lawns as I walked to the mom and pop coffee shops, that we always exchanged a “Good morning” and a smile. I miss the constant invites to go and do things…and there was always something to do in the newspaper local section. And I miss (being that I’m a hairstylist), that when people came into the salon, they were much more friendly and consider it a luxury to hang out and chit chat and relax in their down time while getting their hair done, rather than treating me like I’m a paid servant to get them in and out quickly…because they have better things to do like their kids soccer games….and didn’t realize their “order” would take some time….and cost money. ( I currently live in Central Cali, and experienced this type of cheap, rude clientele in Bakersfield, Hanford, Porterville and Visalia…the people in L.A. were way more friendly as clients and enjoyed talking about quirky topics of conversation and enjoyed the ride.

  48. Anthony Hendrix


    While there are some obvious things about LA that are not for everyone (pollution, traffic, lack of public transportation ect…) There are also some really amazing things going on in this city. Los Angeles is a city of artists. The culture is based on creativity. There are modern art museums throughout the city, more murals than any other city, and culinary blends of cultures. There are plenty of distinct neighbords within L.A. For example Thai Town in East Hollywood, is known as the 77th province of Thailand for having the highest populations of Thais outside of Thailand. K-Town is the biggest korean neighborhood in the world outside of Korea, and has some of the best underground nightlife and speakeasy’s. West Hollywood is L.A.s center for the wealthy and for the gay. You got Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Fillipinotown, little Bangladesh, little india, little ethiopia, Olvera street, the Chinese San Gabrerial the hipster hood of Silverlake and Echopark, the glams of Beverly Hills, the beaches of Malibu, Venice, and Santa Monica. The biggest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam resides just a few miles South in Orange County. You also have Pasadena and Long Beach. LA is truly a mix of cultural neighborhoods.

    Where else can you surf, hike, and ski in the same day? Visit a street food cinema with the best food trucks in the world or have a meal at an expensive sushi restaurant next to Mario Lopez?

    People in LA are much more friendly than most cities and there is an optimistic vibe in Los Angeles, that I have not experience anywhere else in the world.

    • eljeran

      I agree with you. I love LA. The plastic and superficial side of it though can be very tough to navigate for some people. It does have a tendency to overshadow the down to earth-cooler-more artistic people. It is the thing that makes the loser wannabes flock to LA in the first place. I for one, miss the music scene so desperately. We have MTV and the internet to blame for that. That was the driving force of LA for many years. Rock and roll! But if you really want to enjoy LA, getting into some of those neighborhoods that you mentioned, my personal fave is Koreatown, Echo Park, and Central Hollywood, and Venice, are the way to go. And then just keep it real.

  49. Danno

    LA – yuk. Smoggy brown skies, crime, traffic, dried out.
    A super spread out suburb that takes forever to get anywhere.
    Used to live there until I “escaped” to northern california (SF bay area).
    Even when I go back to visit i find the place depressing.

  50. Brain Surgeon

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I came to LA to train as a neurosurgeon because it has one of the best training programs for that. I would have to agree w most of your preconceived notions which I can corroborate after living here for 6 years. The traffic sucks. The ethnic food save for maybe sushi is mediocre compared to SF, NYC or Chicago. The pizza is horrible. There is a superficial materialistic air about the place. There’s no subway! For a city this big to have no tweak subway says something about its people and politics. I can’t wait to move out.

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  52. eljeran

    I LOVE LA!! But I have money and I am NOT trying to be in the movie business at all and have no interest in it whatsoever. There are some people like that in LA, granted they are hard to find because, yes, most are sickening desperate wannabe’s. Even the folks who aren’t in the biz still act as though they are entitled celebrities anyway. What I think is hilarious though….is how many people bitch about that stuff but still insist on going to Rodeo or having dinner at the Ivy just so they can see a celebrity. That is just as pathetic in my book. So. Cal. is beautiful. If you can enjoy the beauty of it, get out travel the coast line, the desert, play at the beach, you will fall in love. There are tons of neighborhoods…are you smoking crack??? Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Koreatown are three of my favorites!! Once you get in, get involved, you will meet the people, the REAL people, and they will meet you. You just have to be open, smile, be nice, AND RESPECTFUL! Those three neighborhoods are also where the culture is. You won’t find it on Sunset, or in Bev Hills, or in Bel-Air. All anyone does there is dye their hair black and drive BMW’s. Whoopie….and most of them are Armenian immigrant Kardashian obsessed wannabes. You will find far and away more armenians hanging around Rodeo and standing in line to get into a club than you will celebrities. More and more celebs are leaving LA.

  53. Nar

    Ive lived here my whole life though I have traveled a lot, and although I di not like it here this article is incredibly ignorant as are the comments. There are hardly any people working or living here who are connected to Hollywood when compared to the soze of the metropolitan area! Dumb, dumb, dumb…..there is a huge port that ships crap from china via long beach to most of the west coast. There is boeing, there are real industries that employ people.

    I cant believe how stupid these posts are. How can one live here for six months and not grasp the basic economics? All of you need to do some research before you come, just pick up a book rather than talking to some ignorant European backpackers at a hostel in west hollywood to understand that the concept of LA is a nebulous one that encapsulates southern california and includes farflung destinations even at the edge of LA county such as Disneyland. You may not like what there is to see, but if youve never left downtown LA or by extension LA county, you dont understand spawling southern california one bit.

  54. John

    LA sucks. Lived there 5 years in the 80’s until I escaped to norther Cal.
    The few times I had to visit I felt it even more of a cesspool without a soul.
    The traffic has gotten worse and the place is more dense then ever.
    I don’t see how people put up with it.

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    The author of these statements have expertise in Austin Texas homes.
    For example, the newspaper should be offered from a certain spot.

  56. I think generalizing about THE PEOPLE of any city is one of the most idiotic things anyone can do. Vilifying a huge city is based on some infantile fear! ‘Oh big bad city scares me so much!’ Evil people.’ Its so childish and I wish it would stop. To hate the people of LA is like hating ALL the people of the world, because its one of the THE great melting pot. And All those people crowd into So Cal for a reason, many reasons. Opportunity, excitement, so many choices, and great weather.’ Y’all so jel’ as the say these days!’ I’ve been here three years, and after getting over the shear overwhelming nature of the place, I’m starting to love it. Never a dull moment. And the air quality has improved greatly. I find it to be a place of extremes. There is a whole lot of everything here. I find this to be a very well rounded place. Some one even commented to me visiting.’ I’ve seen no cops or car accidents. Are people so well behaved here?’ Yes, they don’t want to screw up and get thrown out! That’s the truth about LA very nice friendly people, in general. After living in Miami where four cars run through every red light on a constant basis, its quite a contrast. So, dig deeper, my friend.

  57. I live in LA and I don’t know where everyone got the idea that everyone here is trying to make it in Hollywood. I don’t, never have. No one in my circle ever did or has any intention to. You guys mentioned that LA is big and as big as the city, so is the population. Not everyone here is white, lives in some hipster beach town and trying to write a screenplay. In fact, a lot of us has English as our second, third language and the only reason we landed in LA is it’s the closest port of entry from other parts of the world. We are ethnically diverse and with that comes a diversity in goals/aspirations and beliefs.

    I do agree about the public transportation, though. It’s really the worst thing about LA.

  58. Josh

    I love LA! Every time I visit I find another reason to love it! I know what you’re talking about though…growing up in Canada, we’re subconsciously taught to dislike Toronto. Not for any particular reason, it’s just cool to hate Toronto. After visiting last summer my opinion changed 100% and now I love it there too after actually experiencing the city.

  59. elle

    I have lived in LA for 14 years now, Midwest transplant. I have had a love hate relationship with LA since then. While many people speak of neighborhoods, ive lived in several of the forermentioned and they were fine but always a bit lacking and not neighborhoods, but sprawl. There are tons of wannabes here and while most of my close friends here are natives, it shocks me how little most of them know of their town, besides the obvious movie stuff. And im sorry but the music scene here is soooooo lame. The transportation blows. The traffic is tragic. But something is still magnetic that keeps me here!

  60. Hey all. I have been reading all these comments and I may want to visit L.A within 3-4 months. I am originally from celtics country (MA) and I currently live in Northern California, dislike it up here.

    How I got the idea to spend a few days or up to 4 in your larger than life metropolis is because NorCal sucks so bad, the traffic, the people, so I just said to myself. How could L.A be any worse or boring as hell than this crap I find up here with drugs and rude/superficial/unfriendly people ? Even in Sacramento area I am saying this too. So I decided ok, maybe its time to see the part I never seen to see if I truly like it, or if I should believe people when they say L.A sucks and is highly superficial. But based on all my research I found, It seems like SF is the worse city of the 2. I would be skipping over it to come to L.A if that says anything. I would drive further to see Hollywood, Chinatown and maybe a few other parts in that area. I looked on google map also and it seems highway signs are laid out nice and I also looked for cigar bars and it turns out Hollywood has a TON including V Cut which I may go to. I think I would get a hotel in Hollywood/Vine area.

    I mean is it just me or can people have an easier time going to L.A? The only thing I keep hearing is how traffic is the worst in the country and blah blah blah but I am also willing to believe there are tradeoffs to that. Maybe more drivers let you in than they do in NorCal and theres surely more amenities so, it seems like NorCal is a lot of traffic for a whole waste of nothing. Big city problems without many amenities and if you go north of Sac, it gets bad in a whole other way.

    So yes if someone reads this, just get back to me and tell me if I am on the right track.

  61. Don

    LA is so horrible. it is dry shitty weather 24/7 and the sky is a constant haze, the people are really dumb and every one wears sun glasses 24/7 thinking they are movie stars. There is no resemblance of american culture, and the women are very stuck up and wanna-be hippies. I want to move and never come back

  62. manuel jodido

    I’ve lived in LA for 7 years (after coming from NY) and I definitely want to move. The standard of living is really crappy. Seven years ago (it was actually a place I decided I would live for the rest of my life when I first arrived, when the economy was still thriving), it was quite nice, but now it’s gone significantly downhill. I have friends who have grown up here their entire lives and have said the same; what they grew up with has been destroyed and their place is a dump. You can see that the lack of productivity is resulting in a steady decline of the economy; it’s quite scary. Even the new buildings, within a year, look like crap. Who would buy a house here? The quality is crap and there is just not a culture of preserving culture out here (in terms of architecture, etc). The food is horrible, and I am not a taco fan (I do like pupusas, though). The diversity is not there; you find groups or cliques of people who don’t go beyond their homogeneous circle, so there is a lot of ignorance. The education is horrible, health care is horrible and if you make any money at all (like myself) you are taxed to the hilt. I find myself spending more and more time in wealthy areas just for my sanity, for a semblance of good taste and to get away from the big pools of poverty everywhere, growing every day. The other day I was sitting at a restaurant having an $85 dollar meal (one of those outdoor sit down ones) in Bev Hills and this homeless guy had the gall to come up to people in that part of the restaurant and ask for money. I have a healthy amount saved up and I’m moving as soon as I can!

  63. Bill

    Born and raised here and I think that LA is coasting from when it was the great place it used to be. It’s filled with many folks who don’t know or don’t want to know that the better lifestyle (for the non wealthy) left this area years ago. Nobody I know wants to go have their snowboard stolen at a joke of a mountain then sit in 4 hours of traffic to go to a beach that’s packed and dirty. Too many people getting meaner and meaner to strangers fighting to survive. No thanks.

  64. Dee

    I’ve lived in the valley of LA my whole life, and I pretty much hate it. If I could afford to move I would. The social scene is very superficial in my opinion, and people are very selfish and ignorant. Everyone is out for themselves basically. People hate on you of you’re different. Everyone I’ve come across listens to mainstream music. Anything that’s popular or in at the moment. It’s hard to find meaningful relationships. Most girls are catty and two faced. No one really seems to care about the environment. They just pretend to. Its really expensive to live here. Overrated in my opinion. On the contrary there are a lot of cool restaurants, and a lot to do in LA for fun which I guess explains why everything is so expensive. LA has some pretty cool hiking trails, and if you get away from the city part the nature is breath taking. I think what makes the city bad is a lot of people who live here. The majority like I said before are just really ignorant, selfish, and superficial.

  65. cat

    I’ve lived in LA my entire life. Of course it doesn’t even compare to amazing cities like Bangkok or Buenos Aires, but I still love it. The key is getting away from the touristy destinations. There is so much to do and see other than Hollywood. Yes traffic may be bad but that’s just something you have to accept about LA. As for public transportation, its not great now but the are making efforts to improve it. We have a metro rail system going around the city. But the one thing I’d miss most of all if I left LA is the carnitas tacos and baked coconut treats. Part of la’s charm is the authentic Mexican food that can be found so easily. I recommend going to Grand Central Market. There are lots of free cool things to do. You could pack onto the walk of fame to see painted stars or you could walk around downtown, silver lake, or even Culver city. We have many delicious restaurants everywhere. Please give LA another chance. There’s a site called “we like LA” that will give you tons of good advice on what to see and do here.

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