Posted Dec 1, 2015
6 Things Locals Want You to Know Before Moving to LA
Whether you’re moving to Los Angeles from across the country or from somewhere nearby, there are a few things to know before you arrive. Aside from the 364½ days of sunshine, plethora of beaches, excellent food (did you sign the lease yet?) there are some misconceptions about what it’s like to actually live in the City of Angels.
From navigating your way around the county to things you will never, ever need, read on for a few tips from Los Angeles locals.
1. You Will Not Need Winter Clothes
Winter in Los Angeles can easily be summed up in a few words: hoodie, jeans, and boots. When you are packing up your belongings, and have no intention of going to colder climates (Big Bear and Mammoth don’t count), you can cut down on your sweater collection.
If you cannot bear to part with that coat or big sweater, vacuum bags are your best friend. For most other things, you can donate to those who will make good use of your high quality, heavy coat. Unless of course you are moving to Los Angeles from another hot city, in which case you should keep that light jacket you use during the winter.
2. There is Some Truth to the SNL Californians Skit
While we’re not all blonde and tan, we do refer to freeways by numbers and have more than one way of getting to and from everywhere because of the constant stream of traffic.
We do love a good healthy food craze. The way we talk is the norm for most television shows, and you’ll hardly notice our endearing inflections after a short while.
3. Not All Angelenos are in the Business
The stereotype is that only those looking to make it big in the entertainment industry move to Los Angeles. You will see all sorts of celebrities, hopeful actors, budding musicians, and people who have a great idea for a movie.
While that is true to some degree, there is actually a larger proportion of people who were born and raised in Los Angeles. The 10+ million of us in Los Angeles County are not all in films, television, or music (although we probably know someone who is).
We go to regular schools, have regular jobs, live regular lives, albeit with more sunshine, driving, and the fact we probably went to school with someone who has been nominated for an Emmy.
4. It Takes 20 Minutes to Get Anywhere
…is the lie we tell ourselves. In reality, driving south on the 405 from the Valley to Westwood–or anywhere, really–will be long enough to listen to all of Taylor Swift’s latest album. Traffic is one of the few constants in the life of an Angeleno; a curse and a way to bond with someone you just met in your Uber Pool.
Even if you don’t ask, we’ll tell you what we believe is the best way to get somewhere. While it should take you 20 minutes to get from Sherman Oaks to UCLA, everyone knows that taking Sepulveda or Beverly Glen is the faster way.
Apps like Waze are helpful for navigating the maze of streets when you first move to Los Angeles, but you’ll soon learn the best ways to get around the area and which shortcuts to utilize. Give it a few months and you’ll know where every cheap gas station and In-N-Out is within a 15 mile radius.
5. We Actually Do Have Public Transportation
Yes, Los Angeles public transportation exists. There are six Metro Rails and two Metro Liners.. If you’ve just moved to somewhere in the Valley and have to meet work friends in Hollywood, taking the Red Line is an alternative to driving.
There are also plenty of bus routes across Los Angeles, and several projects underway to help make the county more connected, and not just through more freeways. This includes an extension of the Expo Line to go all the way to Santa Monica.
6. You Will Not Spend Every Weekend at Disneyland
A Southern California resident pass is worth it for those who are in touch with their inner child, as long as you go more than twice a year.
However, you will soon find that since it’s really not in Los Angeles, the schlep needs to be well-planned and well-timed.
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Alexandra Yanik is a born and raised LA girl who writes for MoveHub, an online platform that helps people move internationally and domestically.