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What is LA?

What is LA?

When you think about moving to LA, you probably think of palm trees, sunshine, beaches … and skyrocketing to top as the next big thing in TV or in film. Well, you’ve got three out of the four right. You’ll definitely be sunning yourself under palm trees that are blowing in the gloriously warm beach breeze, but becoming the next big thing is going to be a lot harder than you think.

The word “Los Angeles” has become synonymous with all four of the words mentioned above, but LA is huge. Not everyone lives at the beach and not everyone looks out over palm trees or works on the Universal lot. Some live in ghettos, some work in cities with skyscrapers and buses, others drive over an hour to their rural home on a suburban street that looks like it could be set in any town in the U.S.A. 

Before you pack your bags and make the big move, you should know what LA isn’t and is.

LA ISN’T

All Palm Trees– We have all kinds of trees, and yes some of them lose their leaves in the fall. There are crunchy color leaves to walk on and even apples to pick.

All Beaches– The coast of Los Angeles is indeed huge, about 44 miles, with many beaches from Malibu to Long Beach, but the shoreline is not all of Los Angeles. The city extends 29 miles inland. Those who get to live on the beach or in beach towns are not the majority of people living in Los Angeles.

All Film and TV Studios– The film and television studios tend to be clumped together and most are in Burbank. So, no, there isn’t a studio on every corner.

Just One Season– One of the biggest misconceptions about Los Angeles is that there is only one season … summer. This isn’t actually true. We have four seasons, but just a milder form than most anywhere else in the country. Out of 365 days in a year, we have 284 days of sunshine and only 35 days of rain annually, mostly occurring in December and January. Those months are the coldest in LA as well, with temps sometimes dropping to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. On the flip side, July is the hottest month with temps sometimes reaching up to 100 degrees fahrenheit. Summer months extend well into September and October. November and December are our fall months, with January and February being our winter months. March through May is spring. So yes, we have seasons, they are just mild and mostly warm and sunny.

Only Good Looking People– Feeling like you need to have model good-looks and a killer body to move to Los Angeles? Not true. We have people of all sizes, shapes, and looks. It’s easy to find a community to fit into. In fact, it’s probably easier in LA to fit in than anywhere else. Like wearing purple hair that is shaved on one side, a nose ring, face tattoos, duck lips, and butt implants? No one will look twice, we promise.

Only Rich People– Los Angeles has a very diverse in income range. We have Bentley’s rolling down Sunset Boulevard passing homeless people who are holding up signs asking for change. There is a huge population of working blue collar people who work in drug stores, as cleaners, and as landscapers. We have white collar workers who work in high rises and studios. And we have the elite who live in the mansions. There are ghettos sitting under the Hollywood Hills that are sprawling with elaborate homes. 

Walkable– Los Angeles is not a walkable city. While you may be able to walk around your own neighborhood, pick up necessities as CVS, Rite Aid, Ralphs, or Trader Joes, you need a car, Uber, Lyft, cab, or bus to get anywhere else, and that includes the beaches. 

Metro Friendly– This brings up our next subject of not being metro friendly. As of today, the Los Angeles subway system is extremely limited. It’s nothing like New York. The easiest form of public transportation is the bus.

Mostly Celebrities– Depending on where in LA you live, you are not going to be bumping into celebrities on every corner and in every store. Yes, they are scattered throughout Los Angeles, and there are sightings in local drug stores and supermarkets, even on the streets, but there are more everyday people than celebrities. If you want to have a better chance of spotting a celebrity head to Rodeo Drive or The Country Mart in Malibu.

Easy to Get Discovered– It’s easier to get discovered in Los Angeles, but it’s certainly not easy. You have to put in the work, and it does take some money. You’ll need headshots, a website, membership on sites such as LA Casting and Actors Access. If you want to work as an extra, you’ll need to join Central Casting. Along with that, you should be taking classes, doing small projects, and networking your butt off.

Cheap– One thing that Los Angeles is not is cheap. The cost of living in LA is expensive and taxes really put it over the top. Keep that in mind when making the move. However, you can buy food at Ralphs and eat at home most nights. Rent, on the other hand, is skyrocketing in the city.

Just One Place– Los Angeles is not just one place. It’s easy to have a vision of Los Angeles as a beach town with celebrities driving down the boulevard, but there are many, many divisions of Los Angeles, all different.

Easy to Drive Around– Traffic in Los Angeles is notorious. In fact, most people judge their arrival time in terms of time of day and on which major roads you will drive. A five-mile drive can take an hour at certain times of day and on certain highways.

What LA IS

Now that we’ve gotten past the things that LA is not, let’s talk about all the great things that LA is.

Nearly Perfect Weather– As mentioned above, LA has more sunny days than any other state and fewer rainy days. In fact, you can almost bet that you won’t see rain from June through October, so plan those pool parties, birthdays, and weddings. The climate is also dry, so ladies, no frizzies, even at the beach!

Great Opportunities– Los Angeles does have great opportunities if you put yourself out there and work hard. There are many jobs in the entertainment business, but also many jobs in hospitality, technology, cosmetology, and more.

A Time Warp– Los Angeles can leave you feeling like you live in a time warp. With no real weather markers, it can be hard to look back and say, “this happened while it was snowing so it must have been this particular month.” Because of that, life is just one grand, never ending year.

A Freak Flag Paradise– No one considers you a freak here. Wear what you want, style your hair the way you want, wear the makeup you want. It’s all accepted and all good. Boys will be boys, girls will girls, and well, boys can be girls and vice versa. 

Diverse– If you really want to learn about different cultures, Los Angeles is the place to be. With a huge population of people from countries such as Mexico, England, France, and Russia, there is a magnificent melting pot of sweet people stew.

Dog Friendly– People absolutely love dogs in Los Angeles. Just take a walk and most everyone has a little fur pal on a leash. They are seen at restaurants, in shopping malls, even at the movies. Some restaurants have “doggie and me” dishes, and there are doggie spas, doggie hotels, and so much more for your furry friend. Some people even dress like their dogs. Ever seen a pink Maltese walking down the street with his mama sporting the same bright pink hue in their hair with a matching pink dress, shoes, and sunglasses. In Los Angeles, you will.

Fun– Not matter what LA is or isn’t, it’s the epitome of fun. There is always something going on, some event to attend, amusements, parks, zoos, beaches, car shows, museums, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, lounges, outdoor seating, coffee shops, and endless paths for rollerblading and biking. 

After reading this you should have a pretty solid idea of what Los Angeles is, and we’re willing to bet you packed your bags halfway through and already purchased your ticket because, well, why wouldn’t you. Who doesn’t want to live in LA?

Lisa Montalto

LIsa Montalto is a Boston transplant living in Los Angeles for over 11 years, writing everything from short stories to novels to television and film screenplays! Check out Wicked Weird Media's FaceBook and LinkedIn to keep abreast of the latest!

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