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Culture Shock: Moving to Los Angeles

Congratulations on your long-distance move to Los Angeles. It’s time to pack your stuff and head to the sunny, bustling and ever-exciting metropolis known as LA. Your move to Los Angeles should feel nothing short of exciting, as Los Angeles is not only one of the biggest and most populated cities in the U.S. but it’s also the home of Hollywood and all forms of entertainment from music and live performances, to events and festivals all year long.

Here are a few things that a long-distance mover might want to know about moving to Los Angeles.

Parking Will Be a Challenge

If you’ve ever had to relocate from a rural area to the suburbs, you may have noticed a slight difference in your parking options. And if you’ve ever gone from rural/suburban to a pure urban environment, those differences become noticeably more pronounced; parking garages, parking meters, the occasional ticket under the windshield wiper, and the ever-present threat of having your vehicle towed should you elect not to pay.

To many urban residents, the challenge of finding free parking can be either a fun game or a personal challenge. When moving to Los Angeles, however, you’ll need to accept the reality that nothing is free, especially parking. And considering how some places may charge to park while you shop for groceries, it may lead you to reconsider the benefits of having your food delivered.

Because if the parking doesn’t get you…

Driving Will

All traffic jam clichés started someplace, and we’re betting they all originated in Los Angeles. Interstate 405, State Road 110, US 101, Wilshire Boulevard; you will get to know all of them, and odds are you will experience severe traffic delays soon after you arrive in the city. Our advice? Keep the car tuned up, the air conditioner charged, and something to listen to while you wait. You could become very well-read in a single Los Angeles afternoon.

Oddly enough, while the traffic always seems to be backed up, the sidewalks have a reputation for being sparsely populated, probably because everyone is too busy driving. Consider investing in a bike and a helmet. If you intend to weave in and out of traffic on the bike, also consider more insurance. Or possibly armor. Also, blinkers don’t get used and traffic lights tend to be treated more as suggestions than commands when the LAPD isn’t present.

And look on the bright side…

It’s Usually Sunny

Generally speaking, Los Angeles is known for having warm weather, the statewide thermostat apparently locked at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and an aversion to any season that isn’t summer. That might lead new residents to conclude the natives spend all of their free time at the beach or hanging out by the pier.

There is some truth to that statement. Beach town culture has a strong presence in Los Angeles, particularly the Santa Monica Pier and the Manhattan Pier, which gets bonus points for confusing out-of-towners who are REALLY sure Manhattan isn’t anywhere near California.

West coast beaches feature fantastic waves for surfing and more water sports than you can shake a scuba tank at, but if you’re not a beach person, don’t worry; as of now, there are no requirements for new state residents to spend all their time at the beach.

If you’d rather stay inland, Los Angeles does offer a host of free places to visit, including the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Bowl, and Rodeo Drive, all free to visit (even if the parking isn’t).

A word about the landmarks: with any movie or show set in California, it’s common for the landmarks to be shown one after the other. Do not make the mistake in believing they all stand next to each other, however; the Hollywood sign stands 9 miles away from Beverly Hills, and neither landmark stands near the beach, no matter what Google says. 

You may experience déjà vu when you see these landmarks, which might be odd if you’ve never been to Los Angeles before. Should that happen, don’t panic; you probably have seen these things before, and that’s because you are…

Looking at Every Film Set Ever.

Even if you’ve never been to Los Angeles, odds are good you’re already familiar with many of its landmarks and features.

Moving to los angeles - looking at film sets

How is that possible, you ask? Simple: every square inch of Los Angeles has served as either the set or the background of almost every television show/movie/miniseries ever. Or at least they used to be. Big budget Hollywood productions have been relocating out of state more and more lately, but the City of Angels continues to maintain a strong film industry. You may find your traffic commute hindered by a film production crew and you can observe a show or movie being made at any time of the day; the film industry features some of the most grueling work hours imaginable. If you want to find work in the industry, you can get work as an extra very easily if you live in Los Angeles; just check out the local agencies, get some pictures taken, get your information to the agency, and be prepared to wait; they’ll call you (probably). Don’t get discouraged; there’s no such thing as an overnight success. 

The Diverse Culture

Featuring a blend of Spanish, Mexican, and Asian cultures, the melting pot that is Los Angeles can be a truly wondrous thing to behold. Never mind the sheer volume of food offerings, many of which come from food trucks; the celebrations of these cultures means you can experience everything from Chinese New Year celebrations, Cinco de Mayo events, Halloween carnivals, Gay Pride parades, and everything in between.

And that’s not including the celebrity culture.

Yes, moving to Los Angeles will increase your odds of seeing movie stars and celebrities on a day-today basis. And should you happen to see your favorite performer, you’ll have the chance to meet them. A quick word on approaching the rich and famous, though: if you do spot a celebrity, don’t charge in and demand an autograph/selfie/the shirt off their backs. True, celebrities won’t run away like frightened deer, but they may not be up chatting with strangers, especially if they’re busy doing something like switching out a flat tire or trying to dress a fussy child. Use common sense. Celebrities are people too, even if they are attractive, wealthy, and privileged.

And in a way, you’ll be privileged too, because you’ll learn pretty quickly to…

Roll With the Locals

Plastic shopping bags get frowned upon here, the prices tend to be pretty high for everything, the waiter staff at any given restaurant will be manned by many a hopeful actor and actress, which means they’ll all be stupid attractive, and dogs are welcomed pretty much everywhere.

We don’t mean trained support animal dogs or seeing-eye dogs, either. People hanging out in restaurants with their dogs will be a regular sight in the City of Angels, especially during brunch. Oh yeah, brunch will be a thing, too.

But you may find you’ll want brunch to be a thing. Moving to Los Angeles means exposing yourself to various new cultures, ideas, and experiences, some of them exclusive to the region. Ready for an adventure? Move to Los Angeles and see what happens next.

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