LA_guidehalf

3 steps to tolerating this terrible place I love:

If there’s one thing you should know, it’s that LA is not likable. It doesn’t try to be, and we Angelenos don’t actually expect you to like it here. It’s a city that’s easy (in fact, fun) to hate. Difficult to love. I personally love to hate LA, and kinda hate how much I love it. It’s a city that is so unique, that is set up in a way that makes so little sense, that it’s quite understandable why people are underwhelmed when they come visit, in the same way that it is quite understandable why people want move here.  
 
If you don’t like LA, just give it some time. It took me 10 years to learn to like LA. It wasn’t until a year or two into college that I started to understand it and in turn, start to love it. But I hope to show you how to at least appreciate LA.
 
First, you have to shift your frame of thinking. Don’t think of LA as a city. Think of LA as a clusterf*ck of mismatched neighborhoods, woven together in a patchwork fabric that together accumulates enough population to be considered a city. Then, explore each of these patches. Take time to understand the nuances, to see the uniquely LA mix of Hollywood culture, ethnic enclaves, and sometimes buried roots in Hispanic history. The best way to discover and enjoy LA is at the street level, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood, investing some time to appreciate each the subcultures and everything that blends in between.
 
Not all of LA is for everyone. And believe me, those of us who have the (mis)fortune of living here all have extremely strong opinions about different parts of LA. But there is an LA for everyone, if you’re willing to go find it. If it’s not here, just move a couple blocks over and try again.
For a city that has a reputation of being “shallow” and full of beautiful people, it’s ironic that you have to look beneath the surface to truly see its beauty. 
 
LA is objectively…not a pretty place. Sure the weather is beautiful and the beaches are iconic. And sure, the palm tree lined streets can be photogenic AF against the clear blue sky. But this ain’t Paris; LA was not built with beauty in mind. The architecture is a mess. Everything mismatched and patched together much like the city itself. It’s at the same time claustrophobic and spacious. There isn’t a through-line, there’s no underlying story that helps make sense of it all. 
 
It becomes painfully obvious that we lack an icon when you realize that the only “recognizable” landmark is the Hollywood sign. Literally giant letters perched on a balding mountain. Our downtown “skyline” is unremarkable. Palm trees aren’t ownable for the brand. Neither is the beach. When all the cities around the world light up their landmarks in colors, we literally light up the giant glow sticks of LAX. 
 
Over the years, I’ve learned to accept the fact that LA isn’t beautiful. At least, not in the traditional sense. But it’s there. You just gotta be creative. Because when the sun hits at just the right angle and you crop it just so, I think you’ll find yourself falling in love with this city too. 
Even as someone who actually loves LA, I don’t think it’s a great vacation destination. Our lifestyle isn’t exactly tourist-friendly. Normal in LA means navigating around the entertainment industry (ie: don’t bother driving through Hollywood Blvd on a weekday night), budgeting an hour to get anywhere in this physically monstrous and very decentralized city (lol @ all the people who visit and stay downtown, thinking it’s the city center. Jokes on you! But actually jokes on us, because we live in a city that makes no sense!), and oh yeah, dealing with the hell that breaks loose if it rains (seriously, we weren’t built for more than a sprinkle so please just cancel everything). 
 
When it comes to tourism, we lack on the “tier 1” must-do attractions, but then go all in on the places that you usually save for a second or third visit, or you know, if you live here. I wouldn’t even know where to start to build an itinerary for a 3 day first time visit to LA. 
 
You see, LA is a much better place to live than it is to visit. There’s very little to appreciate if you’re only here for a few days. But it’s the everyday moments, the random encounters that can only happen in LA that make it worthwhile. It’s a place that is better for coffee shop meetings than it is for sightseeing. We’re known more for weekday brunches and taco trucks than we are for reputable art institutions. When you think about it, we actually specialize in making LA feel like someplace else that carries a little more culture and personality. 
 
The things we love are things that are way too quotidian for visitors to appreciate (though our idea of quotidian is very different from other places).  LA is a place where work blends with play, but one doesn’t really have meaning without the other. Where we all share some kind of giant inside joke by virtue of being here. Where we welcome all, but hate everyone (read: overheard LA). 
 
So if you wan’t to like LA, try living here, even if it’s just for a couple days. As long as you grumble about traffic and the weather, no one will ever know! 

a city of neighborhoods

a few of my favorite places

Coffee | Philz
October 29, 2020
LA Guide | HomeState
October 22, 2020
LA Guide | Laveta
October 15, 2020
Eat | Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
October 5, 2020
LA Guide | the assembly
September 28, 2020
Drink | Pressed Juicery
September 14, 2020
LA Guide | Coffee Commissary
September 7, 2020
Stay | Freehand Hotel
September 5, 2020
LA Guide | Bowery Bungalow
August 20, 2020
LA Guide | Otus Thai Kitchen + Coffee
July 20, 2020
LA Guide | Doubting Thomas
July 16, 2020
LA Guide | Konbi
July 11, 2020
LA Guide | kismet
June 25, 2020
LA Guide | Blu Jam Cafe
June 13, 2020
LA Guide | Mh Zh
June 11, 2020
LA Guide | Great White
June 5, 2020
LA Guide | Triniti
June 1, 2020
LA Guide | eightfold coffee
May 28, 2020
LA Guide | joan’s on third
May 25, 2020
LA Guide | superba food + bread
May 21, 2020
Coffee | Intelligentsia
April 20, 2020
SF Guide | Tartine Bakery
April 9, 2020
LA Guide | Lunetta
March 23, 2020
LA Guide | La Tropezienne
March 19, 2020
LA Guide | go get em tiger
March 9, 2020
LA Guide | Paramount Coffee Project
February 24, 2020
LA Guide | Petit Trois
February 13, 2020
LA Guide | Original Farmers Market
February 10, 2020
LA Guide | Simonette
February 3, 2020
LA Guide: Lodge Bread
January 23, 2020
LA Guide: ROW DTLA
January 20, 2020
LA Guide | Alfred Coffee
January 13, 2020
LA Guide | Bar Nine
January 6, 2020
LA Guide | Grand Central Market
December 23, 2019
LA Guide | Poketo
December 16, 2019
LA Guide | Artelice Patisserie
December 5, 2019
LA Guide | 310 Coffee
December 2, 2019
LA Guide | Republic of Pie
November 11, 2019
LA Guide | Olive & Thyme
October 28, 2019
Chicago Guide | Fairground Coffee & Tea
October 21, 2019
LA Guide | Skylight Books
October 14, 2019
Coffee | La Colombe
September 6, 2019
LA Guide | Marugame Udon
September 3, 2019
LA Guide | The Grove
September 1, 2019
LA Guide | The Bigg Chill
July 31, 2019
LA Guide | Luv2Eat Thai Bistro
July 26, 2019
LA Guide | All Time
July 23, 2019
LA Guide | Republique
July 14, 2019
LA Guide | Ostrich Farm
June 29, 2019
LA Guide | ChitChat
June 27, 2019
LA Guide | SK’s Donuts
June 22, 2019
LA Guide | Fiona
June 20, 2019
LA Guide | Maru Coffee
June 19, 2019
LA Guide | We Have Noodles
June 17, 2019
LA Guide | Pikoh
June 6, 2019
LA Guide | Bella Pita
May 27, 2019
LA Guide | The Apple Pan
May 23, 2019
LA Guide | Pollen
May 17, 2019
LA Guide | Amandine Patisserie
May 6, 2019
LA Guide: Seoul Tofu
April 29, 2019
LA Guide: Porto’s
April 22, 2019
LA Guide | Tsujita
April 15, 2019
LA Guide: The Pie Hole
April 8, 2019
LA Guide | Hashimoto Nursery
April 1, 2019
LA Guide | Dinosaur Coffee
April 1, 2019
LA | Manuela
March 18, 2019
LA Guide | Friends & Family
March 4, 2019
LA Guide | Pizzeria Mozza
February 28, 2019
LA Guide | Highly Likely
February 25, 2019
LA Guide | The Punchbowl
February 4, 2019
LA Guide | carrara’s
January 21, 2019
LA Guide | groundwork coffee
January 14, 2019
LA Guide | Bistro Na’s
December 30, 2018
LA Guide | Tilt Coffee Bar
December 17, 2018
LA Guide | Griffith Observatory and Park
December 6, 2018
LA Guide | Bottega Louie
November 12, 2018
LA Guide | Midori Matcha
October 29, 2018
LA Guide | Bondi Harvest
October 1, 2018
LA Guide | Point Five
August 15, 2018
LA Guide | Cafe If
July 16, 2018

itineraries & guides

DAY TRIP: SANTA BARBARA

stories & muses

a tale of two cities
prettycarbs of la
donut crawl

WANDERLOGUE COPYRIGHT 2019