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-   -   Do You Like Los Angeles? (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/do-you-like-los-angeles-380088/)

rjw_lgb_ca Dec 18th, 2003 07:17 AM

Alisa: Yeah, downtown Long Beach is getting a fresh dose of class nowadays. And the new entertainment/shopping complex down by the Aquarium is going to help bring that area back. It should all be ready in time for the Grand Prix next year!

For those who say that LA has no soul, I would beg to differ. It has multiple souls. It's not one area, it's many. As I've said before, the LA metro area is a microcosm of the entire world-- yet it's unlike anything else. It has had to make it up as it goes along. And that constant state of self-definition does make some uncomfortable; it's almost impossible to get one's arms around the area as a concept. Now where I live-- Long Beach-- there is definitely a "soul". It's not high-class, it's not that interested in impressing others-- we love Long Beach because for us it's a great place to live, and we frankly don't care if outsiders like it or not. Something's right here-- my condo's value has almost quadrupled in the 6 years I've owned it!

ardbroilach Dec 19th, 2003 11:21 AM

As visitors from overseas we found LA pretty soul-less. Everyone knows it is a car city, but there are just no landmarks (apart from the Hollywood sign, which was a big disappointment) with which to identify. The tour of the stars homes in Beverley Hills and Bel-Air was morbidly fascinating (and our tour guide obviously loved his job) but there is no heart to the place. Santa Monica was pretty enough but does that count as LA? We got the feeling that there may well have been a lot more to see and/or experience but we had no idea how to find it.

Marilyn Dec 19th, 2003 11:33 AM

All large cities have multiple neighborhoods or ethnic areas, and each of those has a personality or identity. But when I compare LA to SF or NY, for example, I don't get any overarching sense of place, no unity of identity. It's hard to express, but New York has a personality and a soul that is made up of, but more than, Chinatown or midtown or SoHo. LA feels more like a collection of disparate communities. Some of them are fascinating places, or even places I might like to live, but the city as a whole just doesn't seem to have an identity.

rjw_lgb_ca Dec 19th, 2003 11:56 AM

Exactly, Marilyn! That is the history of Los Angeles-- disparate communities connected by necessity (hook-ups to LA's water supply were only allowed when a town became part of the City of Los Angeles). "LA" exists as a concept more than a geographic entity. LA is utterly unlike any other city in the US-- the Pioneer Spirit has transmogrified into a constant need for Reinvention. Collective history is ignored, or stuccoed-over, and a new identity arises with the fresh coat of paint. LA lives constantly looking at the near future from the present, ignoring the past; that lack of interest in history is what you are feeling is its lack of soul, and you're not wrong in that regard. It is in LA's neighborhoods and neighboring cities where you find history and real culture and soul.

Love4Travel Jan 3rd, 2004 11:00 AM

My goodness, what a wonderful string of thoughts. I am also a native, raised in the Torrance area, in the 50s, when there was a lot of open land. I think what make LA so interesting is that there is something for everyone.

I have lived in many communities in LA, and now live in Altadena (the foothill area north of Pasadena). We love it here, as do our adult children. Our boy loves to surf, snowboard, skateboard (yeh dude); and our USC Med School daughter does the clubing scene in downtown LA & Hollywood, and of course shopping for the latest styles.
My husband & I travel a lot, and when we compare other areas with LA, we think LA has much to offer (let alone the weather). The thing to keep in mind about LA is that it changes rapidly. Eg. only 15 years ago, Pasadena Old Town was just that, old and ugly with homeless on the streets; now what a difference! If you haven't visited in a while, give LA another look-see.

GVS Jan 12th, 2004 08:42 AM

I lived in LA and am now living in NYC. In hindsight, LA has a way better quality of life (access to direct sunlight, better, cheaper healthclubs, better rent prices and WAY better produce). But in the end, when I am thinking of raising a child and trying to give them the best leg up, I would want them to be raised with the east coast work ethic in east coast schools. The "Im OK, you're OK" brand of education and lifestyle of So Cal doesnt do a child any favors in their formative years.

wsoxrebel Jan 12th, 2004 08:49 AM

I really need to visit LA again. We went for a 24 hour business trip to a non-trendy area. I had always heard about the healthy California lifestyle and expected to see cute guys on skateboards. Mostly we saw tired people waiting at busstops and an incredible number of donut shops.

anne321 Jan 12th, 2004 10:59 AM

I love LA. I live in the East Coast and visited California for the first time last year. LA to my surprise was one of my favorite cities. It is like no where else. There are lots of fun things to do and the weather is great.
The Getty Center and Mullholland drive are a must.

swalter518 Jan 12th, 2004 11:23 AM

Unfortunately, I was unimpressed. I wouldn't say I hated it but I found it really frustrating that it was so unwalkable and had no "heart" to the city. To me, the best things about my favorite big cities, NYC, Rome, Paris, Chicago, is that there is a center from which you can walk. LA to me was one big suburb. We stayed in Brentwood, which was nice, but everyone looked the same- blonde, skinny, holding Starbucks cups. My favorite part was getting out of LA to San Diego.

Randyforgt Jan 12th, 2004 12:12 PM

Just returned from a weekend visit with my girlfriend!..1st visit for her to Calif and she loved LA.I have always liked LA,so much to do,beaches,musuems,shopping,Hollywood and BH,ect.And I love going to games at Dodger Stadium!....I love LA!

Iregeo Jan 17th, 2004 09:49 AM

Just found a reason to love L.A.! It's close to Mammoth!

mrwunrfl Jan 17th, 2004 10:52 AM


I love LA.
Warm temps, blue (or blue-brown) sky
Horse racing, baseball
Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
Swimming pools, movie stars.

dean56 Feb 17th, 2004 12:26 PM

At the tail end of a business trip late last week, I spent an afternoon along Hollywood Boulevard...have to say I got a kick out of it...Walk of Fame, Chinese Theatre. Then, spent about four hours at the Getty Center - very impressive. The collection was "ok", but, the building architecture, lighting, the gardens, and views were all outstanding...I would definitely go back next time I'm in LA.

emd Feb 17th, 2004 03:03 PM

Gigib, one of the best memories I have is a hike I took alone in Topanga Canyon park. It was exactly what I needed after a week of travel to LA for intense work one Oct. I bet few people who go to LA get out to the canyon. It was great.
I have spent alot of time working in LA, weeks at a time, over the past 10 yrs., both in hotels and w/a friend in Santa monice. I love the intimate jazz clubs up around Century City. I like Pasadena's Old Town. The beach experience is not one of the best for me, but it has it's own unique feel as well. I haven't done alot of the touristy stuff (I've yet to go to the Getty), but I feel I've gotten to know the city and its outlying areas some, and I do understand why some of my friends from the D.C. area have transferred to my firm's LA office. The weather is a big part of it, but it's also a diverse city. Like Houston, where I used to live, I think you have to get into the city to appreciate it. And like Houston, alot of people just hate it.

Roccco Feb 17th, 2004 05:23 PM

Reasons to love L.A.

Close to mountains and beautiful hiking/trail running routes.

Pacific Ocean and its beautiful beachside communities

Proximity to Santa Barbara and San Diego

Other great communities in the Westside and in Pasadena and surrounding foothills

Diversification

Great weather

Property values that skyrocket (If you are an Angeleno and ever don't like it, you could sell your house and buy like TWO of them in most parts of the country)

Proximity to Ski Lodges for those that ski

(Live) Theaters and Plentitude of Museums/Art Galleries

Freedom of owning your own cars and having a place to park them!

Being able to have dogs and not forcing them to live unnaturally in an apartment or house for six months each year

So many reasons to love living in L.A. :)

dwooddon Feb 18th, 2004 12:56 PM

A couple of observations: first, obviously some of us like it here because there are about 13 million of us in the greater LA area and more coming every day.

Second, as several people have alluded to, LA can be all things to all people, depending on where you find yourself. We do have core cities - several of them in fact. Wander around Century City, the Olvera Street-Chinatown complex, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, et al, and you'll find core cities to equal any in the world.

The fact that LA has become a generic term for southern California is well illustrated in this thread. There have been mentions of Long Beach, Santa Monica, Torrance, Ventura, Pasadena, the LA County fairgrounds, Pomona, Westminister, and a variety of others. In fact, none of these areas are in Los Angeles but they are all part of the generic LA.

I live about 70 miles from downtown LA in south Orange County and do not think of myself as living in LA. I suspect though many people from other areas would consider this LA as well.

Whatever you call it, it is our Paradise on the Pacific.

victorious Feb 19th, 2004 11:57 PM

I went to L.A Aug-sept 2001. I was 20 and it was my first big vacation by myself. My dream was to go to L.A and see the stars. I went to tv taping of Titus and saw the mansions of the stars. I had fun. But my first impression when I touched down at LAX was disgust! I saw the skyscrapers of downtown covered in filthy smog. I knew L.A had smog. But coming from a smaller greener city in Georgia I found L.A to be absolutely filthy! I'd always wanted to live in a place like Hollywood and be amongst the stars and live the great big city life. The grass isnt' always greener. And the grass really isn't greener in L.A but that's probaly because of the dry climate.

Then when I saw the houses they were so close together! How can you live with such tiny yards? And the price of a house in L.A is outrageous! You can buy a mansion in Columbus,GA for the same price as a shack in L.A! Even the gas is more expensive! As I riding in stepfather's cousin's minivan through Inglewood I asked myself what have I gotten myself into? So I understand where all the L.A haters are coming from.

But L.A warms up on you. I didn't even notice the smog after a day. I noticed the great weather. L.A is so dry none o f that Georgia humidity. The city is exciting. THere's always something going on and something to do. And the culture there's so many different people from all over the world. When I was on the subway I almost forgot what country I was in. By the end of the trip I hated to leave. I have forever been punching myself for not taking more time off but considering when I went a week before 9/11 staying an extra week like I wanted would have ended badly.

But I was 20 and therefore too young to rent a car. I was by myself so I had to rely solely on taxis and public transport. Never again will I step foot in L.A without my own car. L.A has horrific public transport. Which is a shame b/c unlike other sprawled out cities like L.A there is a real demand for it. And unlike my town which also has poor public transport but w/o the demand to justify any improvements. Although Johnny and Jane Middle Class aren't demanding better bus service the poor really need better public transport. Unfortunately in L.A and most of America not having a car will keep you poor. THe buses are so crowded and don't get you where you want to go in a timely fashion.

And for those who say L.A has ugly homes. I agree they are ugly. And did I mention the tiny yards? But as long as the neighborhood is safe and the people inside the ugly tract homes are happy that's what counts. And even if the neighborhood isn't safe a house's first and most important purpose is to provide shelter.

I'm supposed to be going back out there for my stepfather's family reunion in August. If I go it'll be so much fun. And I'll be old enough to rent a car! I'm going to actually sample the nightlife (b/c of no car I never went out clubbin' even to clubs that were having 18+ nights) So in the end yes I love L.A.

savvysearch Apr 17th, 2004 05:37 PM

LA definitely has a lot of mass produced houses, but considering the amount of people piling into LA post- WWII, you got to keep up with demand. But LA also has the most great residential architecture in the country. Many more than Chicago and upstate New York. Schindler, Greene&Greene, Wright, Neutra have famous houses here to name a few.


LA is by far my favorite city. And it's also the most interesting and complex. People living in LA are very priviledge because they are living in the midst of such exciting times. Not in terms of activity within the city, but the development of the city itself. Actually, the city limits are just arbitrary. LA morphs into Orange County and San Diego. It really does have the most democratic landscape of any western world city. And to think that it went from an agricultural town to an influential city that defines the New Economy in only 80 years is just amazing.

What's so facinating to me about LA is that it's only in it's early stages of development. The myth is that LA has no character or it's character is about constant change. But that really is far from the truth. The same could be said about Manhattan a hundred years ago. The truth is that it's in the middle of it's developmental stages and will continually reinvent itself until it establishes a stasis. It really is the city of the future being that it is the last significant outpost of immigration in the United States. So expect the demographic of the city in ten years to be completely turned upside its head.

Being on the Pacific Rim also plays a major part. South America and Southeast Asia is where the future is at. That's where the emerging new economy is happening, not in West Europe. And LA is a part of that. LA is going to feel the full affects of their influence. Especially now, since the city limits can no longer expand, so we have to go back to redeveloping its city centers.

Downtown LA, especially is going through an amazing transformation. It's so fitting that LA has the first great 21st century architectural masterpiece, the Disney Hall. Not only is it the first flawless public space in LA, I think it just might be the most beautiful building in the country.

The city is in the middle of a very precarious period. There are so many people there from Latin America that are first/second generation immigrants. When the 4th generation comes, American born, the landscape of LA is going to be so different.

pattysuericia Apr 23rd, 2004 09:48 PM

I absolutely love L.A.,not to mention the fabulous climate. What's not to like!!??

lyb Apr 24th, 2004 07:20 PM

>>absolutely love L.A.,not to mention the fabulous climate. What's not to like!!??<<

The pompous Lakers? :)


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