Photo: The Aurora Hunter
Los Angelinos are mainly laid-back and casual breeds of people and are fully aware that millions of tourists invade our city 365 days a year. There are a few rules about how to see the real LA, and if you can’t follow directions, it really pisses us off.
1. Call California Cali.
Yeah, we hate that word. Even though you can walk into any tourist trap store in Venice or Hollywood Boulevard and pick up a trucker hat with “Cali” emblazoned in big letters, real Californians never use the term “Cali.” Much like you don’t call San Francisco “Frisco” or New York the “Big Apple.” Immerse yourself, try and fit in, and don’t use that lame word.
2. Drive everywhere.
Driving in Los Angeles is no joke –- we do have severe traffic — wall-to-wall, bumper-to-bumper, Armageddon-esque like traffic. The infamous 405 Freeway can get jammed up at three o’clock in the morning. Road rage runs rampant across all freeways and literally can become a blood sport. If you are a visitor to the City of Angels, and especially a first-timer, and you are not sure if you can handle our massive traffic, do yourself and all of us that navigate-the-soupy-mess-of-our-freeways-on-a-daily-basis a favor: take an Uber or Lift car wherever you go in Los Angeles.
Why would you want to spend your vacation fraying your last nerve as you try and find your way to Hollywood or Beverly Hills? Sit back, relax, take in the sunshine and let the genius of Uber cart you around Los Angeles and leave the blood sport to us experts.
3. Be ignorant of the city layout.
Los Angeles is a unique, sprawling city that spreads far and wide. Lifetime Angelinos still can get lost. The center of the city does not begin and end in Downtown LA. Heck, most of us will avoid DTLA like the plague.
Know your geography, get a lay of the land, see where you are and understand it may take you an hour and a half (or more) to get from Hollywood to Santa Monica or two hours (or more) to get from Silverlake to Pasadena. We are seriously a vast and expansive megalopolis — become real friendly with your Google maps app on your smartphone.
4. Only stick to Rodeo Drive.
Many people that come to Los Angeles think the Valley is another country, and you may need your passport. The San Fernando Valley is an actual place, featured in such classic films as Boogie Nights, The Karate Kid, and, of course, Valley Girl. The Valley stretches from the movie studios of Disney, Universal, and Warner Brothers in Burbank to the canyons of Malibu. Yes, that Malibu. The Valley has award-winning restaurants, pristine hiking trails and is home to the famous family that is featured on Keeping up with the Kardashians.
Try exploring and experiencing more of LA than the ever-trendy and overpriced Rodeo Drive.
5. Complain about the weather.
Yes, we do have seasons and, on occasion, we have weather in Los Angeles. Even if you are used to the frozen tundra of the Mid-West, you may need to bring a jacket in December. Don’t start complaining as you head out to Harry Potter Land that we have June Gloom in July; it will burn off and be beautiful by lunch. Los Angeles is not an actual TV show, but we do play one on TV, and yes, we do have weather here.
6 Be paranoid about earthquakes.
What we don’t have in LA is a season for earthquakes, much like hurricane season or tornado season in other parts of the country. Yes, from time to time we have earthquakes, and some have been devastating in the past. Most of the time we have them, we deal with them, and we move on with our day. Most of us won’t even get out of bed for less than a 6.0 on the Richter scale. So, don’t come running up to us asking if we felt every little tremor. We feel them, order our triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato and move on.
7. Get star struck with the celebrities.
The main reason that Los Angles even exists is the fact that we have more celebrities per capita than any other place on the planet. That does not mean you tourists have to run after any celeb, screaming like a school girl at a One Direction concert, hunting for Instagram selfies at your first real-life sighting. We see celebrities all over Los Angles. We live by celebs, we eat with celebs, we get gas with celebs, we get stuck on the 101 Freeway with celebs. Act like a local, be cool and unless they are walking down a red carpet, do not disturb their pseudo-natural environment of the Beverly Center.
8. Bag on our food scene.
Don’t just eat at the Hard Rock Café and your hotel’s bad breakfast buffet. Los Angeles has an eclectic and diverse culinary scene that will blow any wannabe foodie away. There is a reason that famed LA Times writer Jonathan Gold was the first food critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for writing about food in Los Angeles.
LA’s culinary trail reaches far and wide, from Culver City to Reseda. Expand your taste buds to find authentic Mexican food at a strip mall in Downtown LA, the most amazing pho in Koreatown or awesomely tasty Persian food in Glendale. Even the famed Dodger Dog is a grilled, meaty, tubular sensation that will dazzle your taste buds.