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Misconceptions about LA – know the truth before you move

Being the mecca of the film and TV industry is the best possible advertisement for Los Angeles. However, this fictional world has led us to believe quite a few things that are not really true about LA. If you are moving to the city of angels or just considering it, there are a few things you should know. Separating the misconceptions about LA from the truth might convince you to move here permanently or reconsider your decision. One thing is sure, it doesn’t hurt to know.

Misconceptions about LA
Dispel common misconceptions about LA before you move

To-do list before you move:

  • Find a job in LA
  • Find a home in LA
  • Chose a school for your kid(s)
  • Get rid of misconceptions about LA
  • Throw a going-away party

It is not sunny and hot all year long

It’s always sunny in California. At least that’s what they say. Well, that is not entirely true. It is true that LA gets a lot of sunshine and the spring season is very comfortable. The warmest month is July (72F/22C on average), the coldest month is January (55F/13C on average) and it is also the wettest (79mm of rain on average). Downtown Los Angeles gets as much as 15 inches of rain per year. On a particularly hot summer day, the temperature can be as high as 110-115 degrees or more. The average beach temperature is around 70 degrees all year long. In the summer and early fall, heat waves sometimes bring beach temperatures into the 90s, but it can drop below 70 as well. The best time for swimming in the sea is September with an average sea temperature of 68F/20C.

Not everyone works in showbusiness

Even though many people move to LA hoping to be discovered by a successful movie producer, thinking that everyone works in the entertainment industry is another myth about LA. According to statistics, only 18 out of 1000 people work in this industry. More people work in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail and other industries. As a matter of fact, LA is the largest manufacturing center in the US. Finance and banking, construction and tech services are also among the most popular industries. As you can see, there are many different jobs for you in LA.

People do walk and driving is not so hard

Not only is LA traffic one of the most congested in the US but also in the world. Although the morning and afternoon rush hours are the busiest time of the day, the traffic is constantly heavy. The subway doesn’t help much because there are not enough stops. On the bright side, driving is pretty straightforward, since many streets are laid out in a grid without many curves, and the freeways are well-marked. Only downtown areas have one-way streets. Therefore, driving is not so complicated. The car is the most popular means of transport with an average of 1.8 cars per person. Nevertheless, living without a car isn’t that hard, since LA is the 9th most walkable city in the USA. For instance, there are many shopping and beach areas that are perfect for walking.

The lack of culture is among the biggest misconceptions about LA

The city offers a wide choice of cultural events. The LA Music Center includes the magnificent LA Opera, LA Philharmonic, ballet and much more. Also, you can always find live music, improv, comedy and other performance arts. LA museums are definitely worth visiting. Did you know that LA County has more than 230 museums?! There’s the Natural History Museum, the Japanese American National Museum, LA’s newest contemporary art museum -the Broad, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), to name a few. Apart from the major museums, you can find numerous arts districts with artist studios and galleries all over the city.

Misconceptions about LA
There are numerous world-class theaters in LA

Contrary to popular belief, the prices are not insanely high

If you cannot afford a mansion in Beverly Hills, a private school for your child, dining at fancy restaurants or expensive concert tickets, do not worry. You can find reasonably priced houses, free public schools, budget-friendly restaurants and many more things. The costs and rent are indeed higher than in rural and suburban areas, but that is the case in most big cities. Monthly utilities costs are actually lower thanks to the weather. When it comes to entertainment, some of the top attractions in the city are free. So don’t let those misconceptions about LA being super expensive stop you from enjoying it.

These are some of the most popular attractions everyone can enjoy for free:

  • LA beaches
  • The Hollywood walk of fame
  • Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park
  • Venice Beach Broadwalk
  • Hollywood sign
  • TV show taping
  • La Brea Tar Pits

There are dozens of beaches, spreading over 70 miles, all of which are free.  You can even choose the kind of beach you like – sandy, rocky, remote, crowded, etc. Walking the Hollywood walk of fame and seeing your favorite stars’ stars is an unforgettable experience. There is a free astronomy museum in Griffith Park where visitors can use a telescope to observe the sky. On the Venice Beach Broadwalk, you can watch talented street performers (dancers, musicians, acrobats, jugglers, painters…), shop for souvenirs, play sports or take your child to the playground. Find one of several Hollywood sign viewing areas and take wonderful photos. The tapings of TV shows are a great opportunity to see your favorite celebrities and they are totally free. You can also see the La Brea tar pits and outdoor exhibits located in Hancock Park – the greatest source of prehistoric fossils, free of charge.

Misconceptions about LA
Hancock Park is one of many attractions you can enjoy for free

Not everyone lives in the gym and eats only salads

This myth about LA is only partly true. Healthy living is slightly more popular here than in most American cities. However, there are lots of fast food restaurants with greasy, high-calorie food. You can find literally every nation’s cuisine – Mexican, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, French, and the list goes on. Don’t believe the stereotype about Angelenos’ obsession with their physical appearance. Obesity is a problem just like everywhere else in America.

It is safer than you think

Certain parts of the city are more dangerous than others, especially at night, so choose your neighborhood wisely. Many neighborhoods are quite safe. You should always lock your car and take your valuables with you since thefts from vehicles are the most common crimes. Gangs do exist but they usually attack other gangs, not random people. Police monitor the streets, so there is no need to feel threatened.

With so many false and exaggerated stories, it is important to know the truth before moving to this city. It is an incredible place with so much to offer but, like any other city, it also has its flaws. Do not let common misconceptions about LA fool you. We tried to bust some of those myths, now it’s up to you.

February 12, 2018

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