I don’t know how to put this, but if you put the whole world into one city, it’d be Los Angeles. This was one of the hardest travel blog posts to write since this is a giant city that I both love and hate!
I love LA's internationality and diversity. You can find people of all ethnicities as well as the food and music culture they bring with them. But, at the same time, they bring their strange problems. In this article, I’ll tell you what you need to know before you arrive, where to go, not where you shouldn’t.
First of all, Los Angeles is not a city. It is located in Los Angeles County and has a population of more than 10 million. There are many regions in the Los Angeles area, one of which is the City of Los Angeles, with a population of about 4 million. At the same time, the City of Los Angeles has more than 80 districts and neighborhoods; it's a gigantic city. Many of them used to be towns on their own, but have been included in LA over time. If you ask how the weather is, it’s sometimes too hot, but it's not as uncomfortable as the humid weather in Texas. No moisture.
After studying computer science at Rice University in Houston, Texas, I had an internship as a UI Engineer in Los Angeles for about a year and a half, and I noticed how the city was close to the end, just like any other American city. First of all, you should know that a lot of homeless people are in LA and this situation will make you feel uncomfortable after a while. How? In LA, you drive everywhere, but if you want to walk on the streets, this is a very bad option because of the homeless set up tents everywhere. I lived at the intersection of Hollywood and Wilcox for a year and a half, but there are homeless people sleeping and doing their toilet on those famous stars. You can't sleep with all the police and ambulance sounds, and the streets are full of prostitutes. It is not a place to visit with family. You will understand when you visit and see the facial expressions of other tourists who are already in shock.
I'm not even talking about a particular neighborhood, because there's no neighborhood to talk about. In my hometown (Republic of Turkey), when you entered the apartment you’d smell the delicious aromas of home cooking. When you’re in Los Angeles, you smell weed everywhere. They're far from family culture. I recommend you to download the Nextdoor Neighborhood app on your phone before moving to an area and inform you of what's happening around you and learn the crime rates in your neighborhood. Eighty percent of the apartments are very old, usually built in the late 1950s and 60s, if you want to stay in a good place it’s $ 3,500 per month, and the price drops by half if you stay with a roommate. You need to use a car because public transportation has not been developed, but watch out for traffic tickets. I'm tired of the traffic fines and I'm not even counting the parking tickets! So the parking ticket is like one of God's commandments in LA, so get ready! If you’re coming for a short visit, do not rent a car. Use Uber or Lyft, this way is much cheaper. Or use a bike. Even though I had a car, I still rode my bike just because I was tired of all the traffic tickets! And people are always asking me can I use my country’s license. Yes, you can, but the most important thing is to make sure that you have a valid driver’s license and make sure you get car insurance when you are renting a car in the U.S. Keep in mind, if you’re under 25 years old, you pay approximately two times more for insurance.
You can’t see the actual American culture in LA. I mean, it is hard to find true American culture because it is a cut of many different countries. For this, I suggest you visit New York City and you can also read about my New York City experience. The majority of the population in LA is of Mexican origin, about 1.5 million, and about 800 thousand of it is Hispanic, ie, other South American immigrants. Koreatown was the most influenced me everywhere in Korean writings of workplaces, the streets in Korean, playing music, people eating in the street, in the Korean hospital, at 2 am in the parking lot of the old Korean uncles who had felt myself in the Seoul. But if you drive a little less than five minutes south, you’ll be in what looks like little Mexico this time; typical Mexican houses, Mexican restaurants. You drive more you will be in the Beverly Hills; the heart of LA. Its Jewish neighborhood is the most beautiful and cleanest place in LA, but it's impossible to get there or rent a house.
Another big problem in Los Angeles is traffic, so if you complain about traffic in Europe, read these two articles and you’ll see why LA has the worst traffic. 1- Surprising no one, Los Angeles is the most gridlocked city in the world. 2- Thanksgiving traffic jams in Los Angeles is “most epic'”. LA has the worst traffic, so if you want to go somewhere from Los Angeles County to a place in Highland Park, Silverlake, Koreatown, West Hollywood, Downtown LA, Venice, or Santa Monica, each one is an hour drive at least, and that’s not during rush hour. Sometimes you'll spend 4-5 hours getting somewhere which will normally take 15 minutes. That's why social life is zero. Yes, people usually think that Los Angeles has a good social scene, but that's a big mistake, and you'll see for yourself. You enter into a new environment and make friends, then you set the time to meet them, but they do not come. At first, I thought it was weird, but I started doing it in the next one because 1 hour to go there and 1 hour to come back you don’t wanna spend your time in the traffic. Everyone in LA has to work hard because when high mortgage payments mean car leasing, the system forces them to work like dogs, so they don't want to meet you and waste time in traffic. I like filter coffee and you’d think Americans have a coffee culture, but these guys don't understand anything other than making weapons and technology! They have great coffee brands, but they don't really work. Not to mention Starbucks! They are already trash, but I'm talking about LA, especially self-confident cafes. Like Blue Bottle, oh my god, horrible taste! I don’t understand how people can drink this? The most beautiful part of this kind of cafe is the very minimalist and cool designs, and branding marketing strategy the interior design of the cafe, the plastic cups are designed very nicely, but their coffee tastes very bad. The only drinkable coffee brand is Philz Coffee and they are inspired by Turkish coffee. On their menu, there is an Istanbul tea, Turkish coffee, and as a dessert, there is Turkish baklava. Yes, it's hard to believe, but it's so hard to find a nice coffee and chocolate place in Los Angeles, and ice cream is the same way. If you visit Salt & Straw in Beverly Hills, you will understand what I mean; flower from olives, goat cheese, and avocado ice cream? Disgusting! And people are waiting in a long line for this! I can't believe it! And they call us weird! I would recommend the Fatburger and In-N-Out for dining. It's my favorite.
One other thing to you need to prepare yourself for is the nightlife, do not expect a nightlife such as Istanbul, Hamburg, Amsterdam, or London. But if you want to have nice fun with your friends I would recommend the sides of Santa Monica or Huntington Beach. Please note that Las Vegas is only three hours from LA. If you hit the gas hard you will be there in two. Straight up the road, I was going there on weekends; Friday night to Sunday morning, a good option for those who live in LA.
Let's talk about the beaches. You know California is famous for its beaches and its most famous one is Venice Beach and Malibu Beach. The whole beach is full of homeless and marijuana users that have always set up tents if you don't believe it watched on YouTube. Malibu is the coast of famous rich people: Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and more, but there are also huge waves and beaches that are very dirty, neglected, and have no trace of life. Those who come to the coast already come to surf or to sunbathe on the beach, but none of them come to swim because you can't swim! Huge waves! The coast of Manhattan, where I go on a regular basis, is a beach where clean and elite people go, but the most logical is to go to San Diego, which is heaven on Earth, about one hour away from LA.
It's easy to hate LA. In order to love it, you need to spend a lot of effort. Worst of all, LA's not gonna like you either. LA doesn't care about you. In fact, nobody in LA cares about you. It’s the city of those who love to talk about themselves but do not listen to others. If you want my opinion, go to New York City is a great city and most importantly you will make great friends.
American philosophy of the city summary, people migrated from the outside of a place and everyone has a goal. Whatever that target is. And that's why the people of LA are much more hospitable than any other city. Netherlands, Turkey, Belgium or China you can’t count stranger as a local. Even if they live there for a long time. But everyone is local in LA. Anyone can migrate here, and this what makes California great and this is really amazing!