Culture

Seven Los Angeles Truths Every Traveller Learns

Hindsight is a handy tool, but it doesn’t necessarily help when you’re hungover and hungry, stuck in a car for an hour from Downtown Los Angeles to the airport with a driver that isn’t interested in talking, but is interested in hardcore heavy metal music, and you wished you had changed your flight out to a later date.

Don’t get blindsided by the Tinseltown shine. There are certain lessons you can learn on your first LA visit faster than Eminem can rap, but wish you’d known beforehand. So here are 7 truths you should know before you pop your Los Angeles cherry.

Everyone is an actor or actress

The waiter you’re flirting with: actor. That dog you’re ogling to pat: actor. Your Uber driver (who is ignoring your attempted baits into conversation): actress. The other Uber-Pool passengers in the car with you: about a 75% chance they’re transplants trying their luck with acting in La La Land.

May as well tag into the drama and embrace improv comedy lessons at ComedySportz LA in North Hollywood for AU$91 (US$65).

Traffic is worse here than in Sydney or Melbourne

 

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Unless you’ve packed some time-travel in your hand luggage, try to avoid being on the road during peak hour. Compartmentalise your daily activities by area. Need an area mash up example? We thought you’d never ask.

Hook yourself up with full day bike hire for AU$25 (US$18) at Ride! Venice and cruise up Venice Beach Boardwalk toward the wonder of Santa Monica Pier, treat yourself to a cocktail at The Bungalow, cool off at – and learn about the history of – the Anneberg Community House pool for AU$14 (US$10) admission. Browse for vintage treasures at The Wasteland (Santa Monica), then make you way back to Abbott Kinney Boulevard for some more retail therapy. Befriend dogs and a delicious meal at Gjelina. A whole day sorted and you didn’t even need to drive – thank us later.

No one knows what “chips” are.

It’s “FRIES” people.

An In-N-Out binge is as tasty as it looks

 

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You know how they say models take photos with burgers but don’t actually eat it? You can put that myth in the bin, along with your In-N-Out wrappers when you’re finished demolishing your burger and fries. It would take some seriously divine willpower – and probably the whole LA RAMS defense team –  for anyone to hold back from this classic Los Angeles feed.  Opt for the classic cheeseburger combo for AU$8 (US$5.65). We recommend taking a before and after selfie for evidence.

There’s a reason the airport is not called reLAX

los angeles truths lax busy

As the world’s sixth busiest airport (and third busiest in the United States), LAX customs can be the mission for your patience you never asked for. Make sure you have your ESTA out and ready to keep the queues rolling, because there’s nothing like a custom officer scorned. Even queuing for coffee on your way back out through LAX can incite pre-flight anxiety.

Kill the wait time – and your boredom or worry – by striking up a chat with a queue comrade. You’ll soon learn that LAX airport has diverse and eccentric people traffic, which provides for intriguing chin wags. Introverted? LAX has free wifi for that.

The healthy food options are also genuinely delicious

 

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Ideally, you won’t need to drop into a burger joint too often, because Los Angeles has an incredible culinary scene… even it when it comes to vegan requirements. Cafe Gratitude, in the Arts District, Larchmont and Venice, is a go-to favourite for the health conscious, and an uplifting experience in itself when you need a mood boost. If you’ve done a number on yourself and need to cure your hangover, try AU$5.50 (US$4) refreshing cold pressed juice popsicle from Press Brothers or opt for a bunch of Aussie-owned cafes serving up wholesome breakfasts of champions and your favourite coffee brew. Being healthy never tasted better.

You’ll want more time in Los Angeles than you think

los angeles skyline

Whilst some iconic LA experience are worth it, shed your first timer vibes and fake it til you make it… as a local. Drink a charcoal smoothie (and probably the Kool-Aid) whilst simultaneously people watching (or listening) at Erewhon market in Santa Monica. Dine all day in a smorgasbord of restaurants along the Silverlake portion of Sunset Boulevard. Surf or perve on appreciate the surfer talent (whichever is more your vibe) in Manhattan Beach or make a day trip to Huntington Beach.

The Hollywood sign may be a tourist favourite, but that sign is also looking out over the tremendous substance of Los Angeles, waiting to be discovered.