The Low Down Dirty Tips To Living Like An LA Native

by Gabriela Traverso

While to some, the idea of moving to Los Angeles may sound admirable and inspirational, to others, it may sound foolish and unnecessary. Yet, the move to LA, specifically, reflects the American Dream. If people from other countries move to the US in search of something grander, people in the US move to LA to achieve the same thing.

Sure, New York is just as grand (if not more so), but something about LA evokes a sense of glitter and gold. Maybe it’s Hollywood, the high-standing palm trees or the perfectly sculpted bodies, but for whatever reason, moving out west seems to flood one’s brain with dopamine.

Moving here absolutely leaves butterflies fluttering in one’s stomach, but unfortunately, butterflies have a short lifespan. Before you know it, the dopamine will subside and stressors will begin to fill the gaps — stressors may include the culture shock, the new responsibilities, the changes, the differences and other everyday realities.

At this point, all of the bad things people have said about LA before you moved will probably begin to resonate and make sense. But still, I don’t regret my decision to move — even with the bad stuff I’ve faced, I couldn’t see myself in any other city because the unique awesomeness of LA isn’t available in any other place.

Los Angeles is huge, which is both fantastic and atrocious. It can mean driving ridiculous distances and sitting in traffic for what feels like forever, as well as never, ever running out of things to do.

There will always be something new to discover — a cool spot to check out, or something else uniquely entertaining. It’s important to remember that there’s a place for every kind of person here. The snooty ones, the hipsters, the junkies — you name it, LA has it.

Whether you want to get into film, television, writing, music, comedy or anything else, this city offers you an audience, a place to practice your craft and workshop amongst like-minded peers. There is something truly remarkable about being surrounded with people who are pursuing interests that are totally different from your own. Here, even the wildest dream is acceptable.

There are amazing restaurants and bars — most are decorated distinctly and offer something different. Whether it is gourmet or just delicious casual food, the cuisine never gets boring because there is always something new to try.

Of course, there are also the physical splendors! LA offers more diverse geography than any other large US city. From mountains, to beaches, you can go hiking or surfing — there are endless outdoor activity options. Even the sunset here seems to have a different hue (but who knows, maybe it’s just pollution).

Now that I’ve identified much of the city’s splendor, let me address the things that aren’t so great about it. Many things about this city do suck, so check out these tips about how to deal with the problems.


Read the signs! If you don’t see a sign, look for one — it’s there, hiding and waiting to ruin your day. I lost count of the number of citations I got during my first month here.


They are everywhere here — they’re deep, sharp and ready to give you a flat tire at any time. Learn to actually watch for them in the streets.


Every person in this town who has a dick intends to use it. Any decently attractive girl know that guys will hit on them, but they probably don’t expect the guys to just go for it. In LA, the guys WILL go for it; there’s a strange sense of entitlement in this town, particularly when it comes to your lady parts.


Just don’t drink and drive — it’s not worth it. A DUI can cost you up to $10,000 and you definitely don’t want to have a suspended license in a city like Los Angeles.


Get to know people before you choose to trust them. I have a recurring problem in which I believe every person to be good and trustworthy until proven otherwise. But here, it may be productive to employ the ideal of guilty until proven innocent.


Don’t assume someone is gay and promptly unleash all of your dirty little secrets. Underneath his designer jeans, this guy probably has a massive boner, and before you know it, you’ll be getting a bit more than you bargained for from the guy you thought would be the Will to your Grace.


You can smoke almost nowhere here, so watch out for citations.


You know that registration sticker affixed to the back of your license plate? Grab a razor and slash it! Apparently, it’s common for people here who don’t have money to renew their registrations to steal other people’s stickers, leaving you at risk for a ticket because you had no idea that your sticker was even missing. Slashing it prevents a thief from trying to rip it off since they’ll have to deal with tiny pieces.


Also, live generally close to the places you like to frequent. Initially, the drive may not seem so bad, but soon, you’ll realize that you’ve pretty much been hibernating because driving is a drag.


Carefully choose the location of the restaurant in which you’re going to work. Hint: Santa Monica and Venice tip well.

Photo via We Heart It