29 Tips for Living in LA

Picture courtesy of Cool Your Jets Designs

Picture courtesy of Cool Your Jets Designs

Living in Los Angeles is great, but living in Los Angeles and knowing what to do while you’re here is even better. So, I decided to come up with 30 tips on what you should know while living in LA. Unfortunately, I ran out of brain power and could only come up with 29 of them. Sue me.

Here are 29 things you should know:

1. It’s OK to be rejected– Your application has been denied for that apartment you really wanted or that interview you believe you just nailed, they never called you back. It’s OK! Don’t forget, you’re in one of the largest cities in the world! Competition can be tough at times, but keep going and you’ll find a nice apartment and job. Persistence is key in LA!

2. Learn the city layout– Get on Google maps and learn the layout of LA. Know the 101, 405, and 10 highway and how they revolve around the city. Learn the major roads in LA including Santa Monica Blvd, Olympic Blvd, Pico Blvd, Sepulveda, and Wilshire Blvd. These roads intersect across Los Angeles and will help you maneuver around major traffic jams from time to time.

3. Avoid driving between 4pm-7pm– No explanation needed. Traffic is a monster between these times pretty much 7 days a week.

4. Groupon & Goldstar– Are you a baller on a budget? Have champagne tastes with kool-aid money? Well, these two websites will be your best friend when it comes to going out in LA, while saving money in the process. Groupon Last Minute deals are great for restaurants in your area. Goldstar is the perfect way to save money for events in LA.

5. Parking Tickets– There’s weekly street sweeping in LA. Be mindful of the signs when you park on the street. Make sure you’re able to park during each day/time. Parking citations start around $60, so please be careful and READ THE SIGNS. Also, make sure to feed the meter. “Parking Nazi’s” are everywhere!

6. Runyon Canyon– Want some great exercise and get to see a celebrity at the same time? Well, Runyon Canyon is one of the most popular hiking trails for celebs and citizens of Los Angeles. It’s a moderate hike with incredible scenic views of the city.

7. Business Casual– Going on an interview? Suit and tie need not apply. LA is a highly informal business place in comparison to other parts of the country. Million dollar business deals are completed in jeans, so keep it simple when interviewing–nothing too formal.

8. Take a class– This is a great way to meet people similar to you and learn something in the process. UCLA offers extension courses on 100’s of subjects and there are literally thousands of acting, comedy, and dancing classes offered throughout Los Angeles to suit your needs.

9. In & Out– Best fast food burger in LA! You’re not officially an Angelino until you’ve had a “double double.” Period.

10. DMV– It sucks, I know, but get it out of the way as quickly as possible. Kristen Creager wrote a great article on navigating the dreaded LA DMV.

11. Exercise– We have 300+ days of sunny weather a year. There’s no excuse for not getting your butt off the couch and getting in shape. 24hr Fitness, LA fitness, and the YMCA are great gyms to get started with a membership. If you don’t like the gym, go hiking–try Runyon Canyon for starters.

12. Ask for advice– If you get out and explore LA, you’ll definitely meet interesting people. Ask them for their best advice. It’s free! You’ll learn from other’s mistakes.

13. Don’t Worry So Much– Moving away from your hometown can be quite overwhelming. Just remember, you’re not the first person to move to LA. Practically everyone here is a transplant and had to go through the same growing pains. Take a deep breath and relax.

14. Get some sleep– This ain’t NYC. LA is a city that sleeps. All clubs close at 2am and the streets are pretty dead around 11pm Sunday through Friday.

15.”I live in The Valley”– You’ll hear this expression a lot. When someone refers to “The Valley” it means the San Fernando Valley(Burbank, Studio City, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, etc.). The Valley is a part of LA that’s notorious for being 10 degrees hotter than the Westside of Los Angeles on any given day. Apartments are much cheaper in The Valley compared to other parts of the city. If you don’t mind being a little hotter and want to save money, I would definitely start apartment hunting in The Valley.

16. Be resourceful. Learn how to get out of jams– In other words, be street smart. Late on rent? Make friends with your landlord. In traffic? Learn shortcuts like the Sepulveda Pass to get around the madness.

17. Leverage what you’re good at first– You’re an actor and have minimal experience, but have great sales skills. I would recommend finding a job in sales first. This will provide you with a stable income and time to focus and build your skills as an actor. There’s nothing worse than being a novice actor and struggling to find work, with no money coming in.

18. Stay around positive people– This is really important! You will meet people in LA who have horrible attitudes. They hate LA because this or that…blah…blah…blah. They’re usually to blame for their own bad experiences here. Surround yourself around those who have similar goals and aspirations and have an optimistic attitude about LA.

19. Live in a safe area– Koreatown was the first area I lived in. It wasn’t a good experience. I blame myself for this. I should’ve realized it was a bad area when I saw spray paint on the palm trees. Don’t be like me. Research an area as much as possible. You can check crime statistics here or e-mail me if you have any particular questions about an area of LA.

20. Get a job– Two if you have to- LA is a constant hustle. Never be afraid to pick up the pace if you need to.

21. Go to the Farmers Markets– I love the Farmers Market. Great place to find fresh fruit and vegetables for a good price. Also, you’ll be supporting the local farmers of Southern California.

22. Venice Drum Circle– A bunch of hippies playing instruments with no direction on Venice Beach until sundown. LA is such an eclectic place. A must see!

23. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles– Chicken & Waffles? Weird, I know. But it actually makes an amazing combination.

24. Get away from LA– Don’t forget you’re in Southern California, one of the most scenic places on earth. Long Beach, Laguna Beach (Orange County), Napa Valley, Santa Barbara, and San Diego are all near LA and great places to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

25. Credit– Avoid loans or credit cards to pay for your living expenses in LA. It’s a great way to ruin your credit quickly. Bad credit can really hurt your apartment search or even hurt your chances at getting a job. If money is tight, get a second job or a better one.

26. 99 cents Only Stores– No explanation needed. The best way to save money in LA.

27. Get a GPS– You may be lost in what direction you want to take in life. but don’t get lost navigating the city. Get a GPS!

28. Don’t buy from IKEA– Don’t get me wrong, IKEA is great place to find nice furniture at a decent price, but you can find great deals on used IKEA furniture on Craigslist. It’s literally a graveyard of IKEA furniture in good condition for half the price.

29. Stop reading, watching, or listening to interviews of successful people in LA and get your hands dirty.- Yes, stop reading this blog and get out there and mix it up. If you really want to live in LA and make it, then move here! Knowledge can only get you so far in life. You must learn how to apply it in the real world and learn from your mistakes.


Justin Resarieo is a creative entrepreneur and graduate of The University of Alabama. He has lived in LA for 6 years and enjoys the weather, creativity, and opportunity the city offers.


  • Reply July 2, 2013

    Jessica S.

    My gal pal and I currently live in Chicago, and are entertaining the idea of moving to LA. One of my main concerns is that I don’t have a car because I use public transit here in Chicago and its very convenient. In your opinion, is it absolutely necessary to have a car when living and working in LA?

    Also– The place that I am hoping to work at is located in Santa Monica. Is it best for me to try and find a place to live in Santa Monica, or is there somewhere near by that is less expensive, or is Santa Monica decently priced as far as apartments go?

    Any input would be helpful!

    Thank you!

    • Justin
      Reply July 2, 2013


      Hey Jessica- It is possible to move to LA without a car. It’s important to live somewhere within close proximity of your job if you’re seriously considering public transit. If you’re planning on working in the Santa Monica area I recommend living in the surrounding neighborhoods (Culver City, Palms, Mar Vista, West LA) to save money. Santa Monica can get quite expensive but there are some affordable gems if you look hard enough. The great thing about living in the Santa Monica area is that you’ll have access to one of the safest and cleanest bus systems in LA the “Big Blue”.

      • Kristen Noelle
        Reply August 1, 2014

        Kristen Noelle

        I’ve just hit 6 months of living in LA car-free!! Yes, it’s been tough, but thinking about all the money I’m saving by not having one (yet) feels GOOD. I highly suggest living within 1-3 miles of your job if you don’t have a car. Public transportation is really cheap, but it does take a whiiile to get around sometimes on the bus. I also use services like Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar, and — when I need to rent a car for a few days — RelayRides is truly a life saver.

        Eventually, yes, you will most definitely want a car. But I think I can rough it out for another 6 months…

  • Reply July 17, 2013


    My brother is moving to LA to go to the LA film school. I am looking for the accomodation but not sure which area would be chaper, safe and convenient (public transportation). His school is on Sunset Blvd. Which bank should he open an account with? Any information would be helpful.


  • Reply August 1, 2013

    Sara B.

    If you won’t have great benefits with your new job, there are ways to save on your healthcare on your own. When I moved here I went down to just barebones benefits and found using LA-sites like Brighter.com for my dental and GoodRX.com for my prescription drugs saved me quite a bit. Plus they let me see how much everything costs up front. I haven’t found a site that is as good for LA doctors though. . . .

  • Reply August 3, 2013


    Great article! Thanks for the tips. You eased my mind a little bit about moving there. I’m from NYC and it’s like 2 different worlds just thinking about it.

  • Reply August 17, 2013

    Hailey J

    Those tips sere so helpful.
    Since i just moved here two months ago.
    Its quite difficult to make new friends.
    Anyway thanks.

  • […] Moving to LA […]

  • Reply July 27, 2014

    LA SEPT 1 2014

    Thought it was hilarious that after I read number 28 – Dont buy from ikea i went on craigslist and the first 3 post were of IKEA furniture for 1/8th ofthe original cost!
    Great article thanks!

  • Reply July 30, 2014

    Zack R

    Hey! My friend and I live in Louisville and are seriously considering moving out to LA in January. She’s an aspiring fashion photographer, and I a massage therapist in training, and we were curious as to where the aspiring digital artists were concentrated at. Our friend out there told us to look for places in Long Beach, but what do you think? Again, safety is key. I’ve already dealt with dangerous neighborhoods when I lived in Puerto Rico!

    • Reply November 20, 2014

      Sara S

      HEYO!!! This article helped a lot with calming my nerves. I did an internship at an animation studio out there in summer 2013 and I’m coming back in January to look for work!!!
      Just shouting out to those in the same boat! Good luck!!!

  • Reply September 17, 2014

    Siir Chauncey

    Thus far the best blog post I’ve read! It definitely made me and my partner more confident in moving to LA!


  • Reply December 9, 2014


    Number 14: Get some sleep. Not gonna lie, that was definitely a part of the culture shock for me when I first started to divide my time between NY and LA. I’m a native New Yorker myself so years in the city have taught me to either stay in and relax or go out with friends and prepare to be out all night. I think the fact that everything in LA is so scattered also attributes to the loneliness at night. I’ve also never had to worry about choosing a designated driver after a night out before since we normally just take the subway everywhere in NY. But it seems one simply cannot get around without a car in LA. Thanks for the tips, I’ll certainly keep them in mind as I start planning for a more permanent move over.

  • Reply January 19, 2015


    Wow! I lived in LA for two years. Could have really used your tips, given how expensive it can be. Thanks!

  • Reply March 17, 2015

    DJ Phillip Andrew

    I have a podcast that is all about Living In Los Angeles…Check it out if you are interested in moving here!


  • Reply May 14, 2015


    Best restaurants! Love love love LA..cool shops, cool people
    You never know who you’ll see!

  • Reply July 21, 2015

    Alex S.

    Thank you, so much for this. This was very, insightful. I espicially appreciate your honesty about getting out there. I really needed that little push and bit of encouragement.

  • Reply August 6, 2015


    Hey, thank so much for the tips!! I’m an international student looking to apply to universities in So Cal for my undergrad. I’m pretty familiar with the country and LA but moving back now suddenly seems really scary. Do you think it’s a good idea to jump back into the craziness at such a young age, especially if I’ll be living alone? I don’t want to end up stuck cause every always talks about how you ‘cant make it’ in LA. Thank you!

  • Reply August 7, 2015


    koreatown is much nicer now, you should come back and visit!

  • Reply August 27, 2015


    One thing I stressed about unnecessarily before I came out was how to get an apartment without a job, which is I think impossible in most places. In LA however you can get housing based on your credit not on if you have a job!

  • Reply June 20, 2016


    I’m thinking to move there this week I’ve been planing on to moving out for a while now. Because I’m singer/songwriter i believe i can make it just afraid

  • Reply June 22, 2016


    Thank you for this article, I’m moving this weekend to North Hollywood, so I’ll be living in “The Valley.” I found a job pretty quickly and I have a few friends that live in the area who can show me around. I am very excited about moving! Although I know the traffic will take some getting used to. I’m used to a very slow-paced retirement area. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Reply October 10, 2016


      Hello Celina, that’s so awesome that you are moving over there. If you don’t mind me asking how was it so easy to find a job? And was it lo linked to your career choice?

  • Reply September 24, 2016


    I’ve lived in Los Angeles most of my life (moved for college) and notice one MASSIVE thing missing from this list. Los Angelenos refer to the freeways by their name (the City they are headed toward usually) not by their number. Here’s the shorthand:
    San Diego Fwy = 405
    Santa Monica Fwy = 10
    Golden State Hwy = 5
    Ventura (or Hollywood) Fwy = 101
    Glendale Fwy = 134
    Ronald Reagan Hwy = 118
    I am probably missing a few, but this I hope helps out a few lost souls.
    OH – and we also refer to the City (anything South of the ridge of low mountains that divide it from the Valley) the City includes West LA/West Hollywood, etc.

  • Reply September 26, 2016


    Some really good tips here. I’ve been looking at some colleges in the area and also being a musician seems to be pretty easy in LA unlike where I live now.. This definitely takes away some of the fear I’ve had of moving.

  • Reply October 2, 2016


    Thank you, I enjoyed the read.
    I have never visited LA. It will be a Dream come true when i do.
    Reading this makes me want to be there now.
    I dont know anyone in LA, one day i will be there!!
    Thanks for the article its very encouraging!!!

  • Reply October 8, 2016


    I’m living in Koreatown and it has gotten a lot better than 5 years ago. Crime rates definitely went down and some of the apartments here are nicer than West Los Angeles. Like any parts of Los Angeles It also depends on the location in Koreatown.

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