Los AngelesCity Guide

LA, the City of Angels, La La Land — whatever you call it, Los Angeles is a city that speaks for itself. The nation’s second largest city (behind New York), Los Angeles is extremely multifaceted; from glitzy Hollywood glamour to laid-back beach vibes, this culturally diverse and economically booming metropolis has something for everyone.

Local Perspectives

Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in Los Angeles, as told by locals.

Local Perspectives

archetype Oliver Deutschman

Production Assistant, Time Warner Cable Media

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City guide: Moving to Los Angeles - Oliver Deutshman

Time spent in Los Angeles

I grew up in LA. I went to college in Santa Barbara, so I kind of stayed local and then came back.

Best neighborhoods, IMO

Right now I live in Playa Del Ray and I love it. I currently share a beach house with seven other guys — it’s a pretty unique situation. Mike Piazza and Nick Cage actually used to live there.

Venice is a pretty popular place for Millennials who grew up here and also for people from out of town who are trying to establish themselves in LA. Downtown is up and coming, as well. I have a lot of friends who live up by West Hollywood and in Koreatown.

The food scene

Meeting up after work kind of coincides with traffic — you have to figure out a place where everyone can meet at a convenient hour. In Santa Monica there’s a place called Fish Enterprise that’s more dive-y; they have great deals with half-off appetizers. When I lived in Venice, one of my favorite restaurants was Charcoal — but it’s a little more upscale.

It can be expensive

I’m definitely not saving money. But you can, depending on what you value. Location was a big thing for me. I really wanted to be close to the beach, so I kind of pay a premium for that. Eating out can add up, but it’s definitely livable.

City guide: Moving to Los Angeles - China Town

LA’s Chinatown district


The dating scene

I’ve had a girlfriend for the last three years, but I’m exposed to a lot of dating by living with seven guys. I have a lot of friends who use dating apps; the majority of my friends do. There are a lot of spots that cater to the dating scene. A good example: There’s a restaurant in Santa Monica called Bodega — I have a friend who’s constantly dating, and I think he has a residency there.

Weekend getaways

We’re actually going to Mammoth this weekend to ski and snowboard — that’s about a five-and-a-half-hour drive. Santa Barbara is another great weekend getaway. And Vegas is never out of the question.

You’re not a local if…

You haven’t waited in line at The Bungalow (everyone has done it at least once).

Local Perspectives

archetype Joseph Shin

Product Photographer

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City guide: Moving to Los Angeles - Joseph Shin

Time spent in LA

I moved to LA from South Korea in 1994, so I’ve been here over 20 years!

Best neighborhoods, IMO

There are so many different, cool areas to live. The arts district in Downtown LA is really booming. And Silver Lake is a popular neighborhood — there are good places to eat, coffee shops, and interesting stores. People want to live there and rent is going up, but it also makes the neighborhood a lot nicer than it used to be 10 or so years ago. I live in West Lake currently, but if I had to choose I’d live in Downtown LA.

Surprises about LA

The diverse cultures. We have Koreatown, Thaitown, and so many different areas that are defined by culture but are now all intermingling. Ten years ago if you went to Koreatown it was only Koreans. Now if you go there you’ll see more Americans than Koreans; it’s all melting together. It makes the city interesting and shows how open we are to all types of people.

Fun day trips

The beach! Malibu, Venice Beach, etc. There are so many beach options an hour or less away. There’s a lot of surfing and beach activities. Because of the weather — it’s 70 degrees and sunny most of the year — you have access to so many outdoor activities. People like to hang out at the beach, take walks, and ride bikes.

City guide: Moving to Los Angeles - Traffic

One thing LA is notorious for: traffic


The job scene

As a freelancer, LA is a relatively big market. There are a lot of jobs, and a lot of small vendors who need freelance help. There’s a strong artistic community. In fact, a lot of people from New York, Chicago, or other cities will come here to work. For example, the majority of the photo editors that I work with are from other big cities originally. They like the lifestyle here and just decide to settle down.

Traffic is a fact of life

That’s one of the most well-known things about LA: We spend a lot of time on the road. I see people trying to avoid traffic by biking or taking the subway, but these alternate means are still not super common. People tend to drive here, which means you get stuck on the road quite a bit. Ten miles can take an hour and a half, depending on traffic. And it’s not just rush hour: There are more cars than there used to be — even in the middle of the day; it takes quite awhile to get anywhere.

You’re not a local if …

You don’t live around the corner from a Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s. LA is healthy, and everyone is conscious about what they eat.

Text by Emily Yates