365 days in LA. Well, almost. I’ve lived in LA for just under a year and have had some time to think about my experience.
A friend invited me somewhere and I asked him about the parking situation. He scoffed and said, “Wow, you’re becoming a true Angeleno.” Flattered, as I thought I’ve finally shown signs of shedding my Toronto skin, this got me thinking about other things I do now that I didn’t really do before.
And if you’re reading this, you’re probably considering moving to LA and need some tips on how to blend in or you’re simply curious about the city.
Here are 7 ways to be an Angeleno.
1. Know your nicknames
“Cali.” That’s a common nickname for California… If you’re not actually from California. Most Californians and Angelenos don’t say that – they just say California. I’m not entirely sure why, but Angelenos are rather sensitive when people use that nickname. Maybe it’s because it shows that someone is an outsider, who knows.
And guess what, there are others. Don’t say “Frisco” or “San Fran” when referring to San Francisco. Though SF seems to be fine. Don’t call Orange County “The OC,” like the TV show, it’s just OC. Don’t shorten San Diego to be “Diego,” though SD seems to be fine.
So, to be sure you’re being an Angeleno, don’t use those cringe nicknames – they’re a no no, just don’t.
2. Get used to natural disasters
Did you know there were 7,117 fires in 2017 in California alone? And there’s an average of 1,000 moderate earthquakes a year?
From what I’ve heard, fires and earthquakes are normal. Not only that, Angelenos are used to it and simply laugh it off or comment on how it doesn’t affect them. A lot of the fires happen in dry, bush areas. And California is vast… Chances are a fire is going to catch.
And did you know California is due for a “big one” earthquake? One the likes of the Rock’s “San Andreas” movie? Scientists know it’s going to happen, but they don’t know when.
What do Angelenos, well some, of them do? They prepare! Angelenos either do these things: Get certified to handle it, stock up on supplies, leave California altogether, or do nothing. I’m thinking of getting certified actually.
3. Be a Dodgers or Angels fan – not both
The hatred between the LA Dodgers and LA Angels is real. They even have separate stadiums in very different parts of LA.
When I say real, I mean people get into fist fights and cuss each other off during games. It’s really hard to imagine, but Angelenos get passionate for their teams.
Speaking of teams, that goes for the LA Lakers and LA Clippers. I’ve heard that the Lakers are the “boujee” team, while the Clippers are the “ghetto” team. This is also really visible when you see the cast of celebrities that attend a Lakers game, while Clippers games don’t generate as much publicity and star power.
Point is, pick a team and stick with it. I’ve opted not to participate in this battle. Go Raps go!
4. Drive aggressively
My motto when it comes to driving is, “A good defense is a strong offense.”
What I’ve found common in LA is aggressive driving – speeding, cutting others off, making illegal moves. I’m not saying that to be an Angeleno you have to drive like a dick. What I am saying is to drive with 5 steps ahead in mind, and be strategic when you’re on the road. If you wait for others to let space open up for you, that’s not going to happen. Also, if you’re driving too slowly, you will get beeped.
Don’t forget to install a dashcam. For the love of scientology, get a dashcam!
5. Plan parking accordingly
You know how LA is crowded? There’s no better way to tell that than with the abysmal parking situation. 9 times out of 10, when I go somewhere, parking is hard to come by. Since then, whenever I go somewhere, I actually Google where the parking spots are and see when parking is the least limited and plan my trip accordingly.
Or, I just Uber or Lyft. It’ll spare you the stress. I’ve actually turned down going to certain events and places because the parking situation is tight.
Not just that, follow the signs religiously. See above? I was the unfortunate owner of my first LA parking ticket because I choose to ignore the signs. As far as I knew, you’re not able to park where there’s red paint. And as you can see, no red paint. But that sign says that you can’t park there in the mornings on Saturday. Confused, I decided to chance it and waited to see what happened. And LA parking enforcers are like robots. They will get you and charge you with a ridiculous $75 ticket.
6. Understand an area by visiting at night
Neighborhoods in LA look vastly different in the morning than at night. If you’re considering moving to an area, visit it at night to see what it’s really like. Why?
There are dangerous areas in LA. Take for instance Chinatown, where “Rush Hour” was filmed. Its crime is 692% higher than the national average! Little Tokyo, another LA neighborhood, which may sound like a cute vibe, is also really dangerous. There are regular claims of physical assault that happen there. I’ve spent a few nights in Little Tokyo and yes, I guess it did kind of feel unsettling when I saw security guards patrolling the neighborhood.
Point is, Angelenos will know to scope out an area at night to know what it really feels like. Also, if an area has cheap rent or housing costs, it’s likely because it’s a dangerous area.
7. Know your hiking
California has a lot of gorgeous views. Parts of LA have really stellar hiking spots – there are tons of options. There are hiking trails for beginner hikers, advanced hikers, and expert hikers.
So far, my favorite spots have been Solstice Canyon in Malibu and the Hollywood Sign Hike. I’m really looking forward to hiking the Bridge to Nowhere in Mt Baldy, though I may need to get good at hiking to be able to traverse that one.
Also, look the part. Buy hiking clothes – or athletic clothes at least. If you’re not dressed the part, you’ll be teased for wearing the wrong gear.
There you have it, 7 ways to be an Angeleno. This is in no way an exhaustive list, and this is only what I’ve learned in 10 months. I’m sure as I continue my LA life, I’ll learn more and will share them accordingly.