Los Angeles, the land of sunshine, dreams and the rich and famous. Living in California has always been a dream of ours, even though we’ve never been! Last month however I was lucky enough to visit LA for the first time on a work trip and I can now see why it’s one of America’s most popular cities.
With all new cities, it’s hard to know what to expect so I thought I would share with you the top 10 things I loved and learnt on my first trip to Los Angeles. So if like me you’ve never been before, here are a few things to note…
1. It’s so spread out
Most of the time when I’m visiting a new city I pack a good pair of walking shoes because I know I’ll probably end up walking around exploring for hourrrrrrrrs. With LA this is a little difficult- everything is so spread out. You look on a map and think ‘I’ll just walk from Beverly Hills to the beach’ WRONG. It will take you hours- it’s miles away! Don’t do it.
2. Car is king
Leading on from the previous point, because everything is so spread out, the car is king in LA. Public transport links are really bad so everyone drives or ubers everywhere. Coming from London this initially made me think ‘where does everyone park?!’ because parking in London can A. be expensive and B. can be a nightmare because a lot of the roads are permit holders only. However fear not, in Los Angeles they have valets everywhere! Every hotel, every restaurant and even shops have valet parking which is pretty awesome and makes you feel like a rockstar every time you get out the car.
3. Leave extra time to go anywhere
I’ll stop talking about transport in a minute I promise, but I learnt one more thing about this city when it comes to getting around- leave plenty of time to get to anywhere. Due to the vast amount of cars and people using them, traffic in LA can be pretty hectic at times. Worse than New York some say…
4. It’s not as expensive as you think
Before going to LA I had this strange preconception that it was going to be stupidly expensive. Don’t get me wrong, the hotels and flights can be pretty pricey, but once I actually got there, it didn’t feel that expensive at all. As anyone who goes to somewhere ‘expensive’ in the UK says, it was just ‘London prices’.
5. It’s super chilled out
Another preconception about LA I had was that it was going to be really busy like London and New York. And once again I was wrong! I expected Rodeo Drive to be like Regents Street with tourists everywhere, restaurants flooded with people quing miles to get in. When in actual fact it’s so quiet! Rodeo Drive was still pretty busy, but nothing like what it is in the West End of London. Most people say you don’t see anyone because they’re all in air-conditioned cars but at one point (about 11am on a Tuesday morning) I was walking up Wiltshire Avenue (one of the main roads in Beverly Hills) and in my eye line I could only see one other person on the pavement! That just seems too quiet to compute.
6. Everyone is so nice
People say Londoners are polite but in actual fact, when you experience them in 30 degree heat on a work day we can be pretty snappy. Los Angeles however is the complete opposite, everyone there is really nice. I don’t know if that’s because it’s less busy there and they get a heck of a lot more sunshine than us, but everyone had a smile on their face there.
7. Hollywood Walk of Fame is so overrated
I’m sorry to shatter any dreams you may have of walking down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but honestly, it’s so overrated. It’s just like any other street in LA but with dirty stars on the pavement and unfortunately it’s inundated with homeless people begging for money from tourists.
8. It’s very hot!
You’re probably thinking ‘well yeah you were in California in the height of the summer’, but June is actually known as ‘June Gloom’ as it tends to be a little overcast and crappy in LA that time of the year. However we appear to have got lucky as it was so incredibly hot the whole time we were there so if you plan on going to LA, remember to pack your suncream.
9. Everyone is good looking
I remember saying this about Australia when I got there but it appears to be the same for Los Angeles- everyone is gorgeous here! I suppose it comes with the territory, we are in the land of models and film stars after all.
10. The clothes are amazing
Not only is everyone well-groomed and gorgeous, the clothes they wear are amazing. Here the designer clothes are all the best money can buy and if you have an eye for one off pieces, this is probably the place you’re going to find them. It’s so easy to spot the tourists and real shoppers on Rodeo Drive because the shoppers look so good they look like they’re about to do a photo shoot! If you appreciate good fashion, LA is definitely the place to find it.