Los Angeles is a wonderful city with wonderful people. The weather is always perfect, you can surf and hang out on the beach, there's always something to do, and the food and entertainment scene is second to none.
However, LA is unlike any other metropolis in the U.S. for several reasons. If you're new to Southern California, it might be a major shift from the way you are used to renting in other cities. While moving to Los Angeles is most definitely an exciting thing, there are a few tips you'll want to consider before you pack up your stuff and head to the West Coast.
My sister lived in West Hollywood for a few years, and I remember how challenging of a transition it was for her coming from Nashville, Tennessee. However, over time, she got used to the LA way of life, and when I visited her, I got to see the fun, local side of things around the SoCal area.
Here are a few key things you'll need to know about LA before making it your permanent home:
Aside from (or possibly including) your new apartment, the place you will likely be spending the most time is your car. Unfortunately, LA's traffic jams have become infamous worldwide. They are as bad as people say they are, and there are no indications that the city's planning issues are going to be resolved anytime soon.
You'll want to be familiar with the three major highways in LA immediately: the 101, 405, and 10. You should also be aware of street-sweeping days that happen once per week– also, those parking tickets will add up, so read signs carefully.
While there are a few people who choose to bike or take public transit, there's no question that LA is and always has been a metropolis designed for a car. It's probably in your best interest to invest in a hybrid, as many locals do. You might also want to start multitasking when you're in standstill traffic or put on your favorite album or podcast. Chances are you'll be able to listen to the whole thing before you get home.
This is California after all, and the style tends to represent the people in it: LA is definitely laid-back. Jeans and flowy tops are a big style statement here. Summer sandals and dresses can be worn year-round due to the near-perfect weather.
Because LA isn't much of a walking city, an added bonus is that your shoes will last a long time!
California is one of the biggest agricultural regions in the world, so amazing fresh produce abounds. I will never forget the first time I ate fruits and veggies in LA. The strawberries were sweeter, the roses were enormous (they seriously made the flowers back home in Chicago look like buds), and the peppers and tomatoes were vivid and beautiful.
An added bonus? Though everything else might be expensive in LA, the local produce at farmers markets is actually quite affordable. For the most part, neighborhoods host farmers markets once per week (some of the most famous ones are in Santa Monica and Hollywood). Because of the longer growing seasons in Cali, you can also take advantage of this perk throughout most of the year.
If there is one signature transplant town in the U.S., it's LA. Almost all of my sister's friends who I met were from towns scattered across the U.S., and when you meet someone for the first time, they'll likely tell you their backstory in detail, which is great as a newbie meeting friends.
This is also an excellent opportunity to ask for advice as someone new to the city. Since everyone you meet has probably made the move to LA at some point, they probably have some good tips! Side note: Get ready to attend (and host) dinner parties– they're big deal around here!
Sure, the history of celebrity-driven culture is famous here, but LA is truly a city of neighborhoods. Just like any large metropolis, each spot has its own culture, pace, and way of life. Likewise, the rental market will also depend a lot on these neighborhoods, so do your research, drive around and see what place might be the best for you. Be patient – there are so many neighborhoods that this might take some time!
Also, carve out time in your schedule to get out of the hubbub and get outside. There are mountains and beaches nearby – go for a hike through Runyon Canyon or head to Venice for a walk on the beach.