Los Angeles, a city made of broken dreams, but also the success of few. It has long since become my home. The disparity of the wealthy and the less fortunate is clear. Walking further through some of the glamorous streets of Los Angeles, one will be met with clusters of the homeless, camped across rows and rows of trash ridden streets. Despite all of this, I believe we are also the hub of all creative foods. We are the definition of capitalism, and this whole city is entirely saturated in it. Besides the typical tourist must-sees, if you are here to visit, definitely come for the food.
Modes of transportation: Coming from LAX airport, I like pre-book a shuttle ahead of time, or request for a Lyft ride right there. It really isn’t convenient or easy taking public transportation in LA. Taking the metro and figuring out the bus schedule is doable, and cost effective, but definitely extremely time consuming. If you have all the time in the world, and don’t mind the occasional crack addict yelling nonsense at you, this might be an interesting route to take. Otherwise, I would highly recommend just taking a Lyft ride (cost less than Uber), or simply renting a car if you are of age.
How many days to consider staying: Los Angeles County is huge, and depending on what you want to do, I would say a week is sufficient. We have so many beautiful beaches along the West Coast, and in the same day, at the right season, you may be able to take a short day trip up the mountains to see snow. We are fortunate enough to be able to go snowboarding and have margaritas by the oceanside all in the span of one day if we really wanted.
Where to stay: Couchsurfing is always my first recommendation. Hostels and motels are also cost effective as well.
What to do:
Venice Beach – The Boardwalk is always a hoot to walk around in the day time. If you are ambitious enough, you can rent a bike or walk all the way to Santa Monica Beach. If you are looking for a different experience of Venice in America, you can take a stroll down or kayak through the Venice Canals. This was taken on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Santa Monica Beach – Although not the cleanest of beaches, the pier and promenade are definitely an experience. It is most beautiful at night, where street performers set up and fill the evening with music.
Smorgasburg – (Sundays at 10am to 4pm) Food vendors set up every Sunday. You will find creative foods, and mostly pricier “hipster” foods.
Los Angeles County Fair – Filled with food vendors, shopping, animals, art, and live music, this is definitely the place to go if you’ve never been in September.
Amusement parks – We have plenty here (Disneyland, Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, Raging Waters, Knott’s Berry Farm). This was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.
- The Last Bookstore – For the book lover, this is a majestic place to visit.
- Museums – LACMA, The Broad, The Getty, Natural History Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Tolerance, Griffith Observatory, Museum of Death). Certain days are free, so check their calendars. Art installations vary every few month. This was taken in front of LACMA in 2014- Installation of the pieces of the Berlin Wall at the time.Urban Lights at LACMAArt installation – Rain Room of LACMA – I had to walk slowly, because the sensors up above would detect my presence and turn off the rain where I was. If I walked too fast, the sensors would not detect me in time, and I would get a little wet. It was a fun experience, but also ironic because I walked through heavy rain outdoors, just to come indoors to experience rain contained in a room.The Broad – Art pieceArt installation – Infinity Room at The Broad
Getting around: Depending on where you are exactly, walking is inevitable, but near the beach areas, there are plenty of bikes you can rent by the hour. Other than that, Lyft is pretty much the way to go, if you don’t have your own vehicle. I wouldn’t really recommend riding a motorcycle around here, since drivers here don’t really seem to be watching out for them, and drive more aggressive than in other cities, so I would say that the safety factor is lower than usual.
Don’t be afraid to say no: There are plenty of hustlers around here, especially highly tourist saturated areas. They will stand up and down the block, sometimes following you, just to ask you to sample their CD and then ask for tips. They will sell you anything. Unless you want to be followed and consistently pursued, I would suggest to just shake your head as an indication of a “no, thank you,” to not engage in any communication.
What to wear: This is generally a pretty warm city, all year long. In the Winter time (if you can even call it Winter), you might need a warm sweater, but we don’t get snow, so some people might not even feel chilly at all.
Safety / feeling: I feel relatively safe walking around Los Angeles during the day. I think you can get a sense of danger when the air around you just starts feeling a little more sketchy. I wouldn’t recommend lounging around in some cities, and to just be aware just like you would anywhere else you go. In the night time, unless densely populated with a lot of other people, I wouldn’t recommend hanging around unless you had a really solid reason to.
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If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, drop a line below.