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.”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.
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. 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.
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.