Why I Love L.A.~ Let Me Count the Ways!
I love L.A. but for some reason, people love to hate Los Angeles, or L.A., as it’s called. And yet as of 2009, more than 19,000,000 people choose to live in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, which includes the whole basin, including Orange County which is next door to Los Angeles County, and parts of Ventura County which borders Los Angeles on the West. So based on results, maybe some people besides me love it!
The area includes many, many small and large cities all clumped together, so that when you drive, only a sign tells you that the name of the city has changed. Otherwise, it looks and feels the same as the street you were on before the sign declared you are in a different city.
And yet, many of those cities and towns have their own character and charm so Los Angeles is really many little communities bound by a geographic location… and an overall vibration. I love it! Here are some of my favorite reasons why I love L.A.
L.A. has Filtered Sunlight and Fantastic Weather
It’s Haze, not Smog
Before the word smog was ever invented, the Indians that inhabited Los Angeles basin called it the “valley of haze.” There is almost always a thin haze in the air, even on days when there is no smog. But that is exactly what keeps the weather here so wonderful and the sun’s bright rays from raising the heat factor. Don’t get me wrong: there are days of intense heat here, but they are not often! And the haze keeps the sunlight from being as intense as it is in other locations. Artists really appreciate the light here! It also makes for some awesome sunsets. Especially whenever there is a volcanic eruption going on anywhere on the “ring of fire” around the Pacific….so we often have brilliant red sunsets like the one below.
Then on top of that, the humidity factor is low! It hardly ever rains! There is enough humidity near the ocean to keep everything green, but that’s all. It is really just perfection. . It is never too cold and almost never too hot. L.A. is a year round party town and an outdoor enthusiast’s dream…and for someone like me who loves the sunlight and really does not like rain, it is ideal.
The Palm trees sway in the gentle ocean breeze, and the sunlight is filtered and the temperature is between 65-85 year round. 19,000,000 people seem okay with it…
L.A. Has Entertainment Galore
And Celebrities and Awards Shows, and Culture, and Great Food, and Music!
And we have World Class Hotels, and museums, and art museums. All the great concert shows stop here…
And we get the new movies first, the new fashion first, the new everything first!
If you’re star struck like me, you can visit all sorts of Celebrity hangouts and nostalgic places.
And you can get to the award shows early and watch the stars arrive. My children used to dress up for the Academy Awards every year and go with a group of friends to watch the stars…and then work as seat fillers, whereby if a star gets up, someone fills in the seat until they come back, so when the camera pans the audience, it looks filled at all times. They loved attending those events!
My two youngest were “drama freaks” as the kids call them…and they were often “extras” on TV shows. So we made the trek from Orange County to Burbank and occasionally I would be a seat filler too, on audience shots. My children loved it!
Where else would this happen but in L.A.?
L.A. is a Children’s Fantasyland…
Some Major Attractions Here Are:
~Disneyland in Anaheim
~Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park
~Universal Studios in Hollywood
~Magic Mountain just North of the city, in Valencia
~Just 2 hours away is Sea World
~Only a little over an hour away is Legoland
~There are several mega Water Slide Parks
~One of the World’s largest and best zoos is 2 hours away.
~The Wild Animal Park where animals roam wild like in Africa is about an hour and a half away.
L.A. Has Countless Beaches
The coastline continues for miles and miles. L.A. is built along the coast and the shoreline continues down the coast all the way to Mexico. There are all kinds of little beach towns, each with its own charm and personality.
I have lived in San Diego, San Clemente and worked in Laguna Beach and Manhattan Beach and Torrance, all beach communities, and have friends in many others. It is wonderful to be so close to the beach! I took my children at least once a week during most of their childhood… and feel blessed to be able to share it with them.
The Mountains Are Within 2 Hours of L.A.
For Skiing or Boating
The Los Angeles Basin is ringed by several mountain ranges in all directions.
And wherever you drive, you can reach lakes and ski resorts, and quaint mountain towns…in the middle of pine forests. Ski in the Winter, fish, water ski, swim, just ride around the lake in your boat in the Summer, it’s all wonderful.
Like most mountain ranges, the edges of them slowly fade away into smaller and smaller hills and there are canyons in between these foothills, as they are known. That is why so many homes in Los Angeles are on the sides of hills. The hills run everywhere all over the basin, and many are tree covered, with homes peaking out from between the leaves and twinkling lights at night to compete with the stars.
When I fly home to L.A., I always get a window seat and watch for the lights of the Basin to light up the sky. You see the sky lighten from miles away. And then you are through the mountain range and you see lights in all directions, and then a dark void, where the ocean is. It makes my heart jump with joy…such a magnificent sight, all those lights…and I’m almost home.
Griffith Park and its Planetarium are in North Central L.A.
Griffith Park is a large municipal park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. The park covers 4,210 acres (17 km²) of land, making it one of the largest urban parks in North America. It is the tenth largest in the United States.
It has also been compared to Central Park in New York City, but it is much larger and has a much more untamed, rugged character than Central Park does.
On the edge of a plateau in the park sits a magnificent observatory and planetarium, with a view of the whole Los Angeles Basin and the Pacific Ocean. There are many astronomy programs there…a great place to take your kids if they are intrigued by celestial happenings!
Are in the North Los Angeles area, in San Marino
If you like botanical gardens, you are in for an awesome treat. Huntington was a billionaire who hung out with people like Rockerfellow, DuPont, and Getty. He was responsible for the trolley system built around Los Angeles and the Western part of the transcontinental railroad. He and his wife were avid art and book collectors and added an incredible library and the gardens at their estate. It will take you several hours to all day to walk the grounds. There is a little cafe with wonderful food and a nice atmosphere in the trees if you like to be outdoors, or an indoor dining room if you don’t. (I have never sat inside)
My son and I like to visit in the Spring when they have an annual orchid show.
Oh yes, the art galleries are fantastic also! The original Blue Boy and Pinky by Thomas Gainsborough are there, and major exhibitions feature European art masterpieces.
Is 26 Miles Across the Sea from L.A.
..and a whole world away, and a step back in time too.
I have been there many times, at both ends of the island, and on several different boats, and explored every trail accessible to humans…
Catalina is in many ways more primitive than Hawaii. There are only about 3200 people living in the main city there, Avalon, and about 200 living all over the rest of the island. Only 565 cars are allowed on the island at one time, so getting a permit to have one and getting it over there can take 25 years or more.
Instead of cars, residents rely on bicycles, golf carts, and buses.
There is only one main grocery store, and one post office. Everyone who lives there knows everyone else. It is safe for children to play in the streets at midnight, and for young women to walk home unescorted from the few bars there.
I would love to live there, and it is always a blast to visit. Many Southern California people go there for the day, just to shop and enjoy the clean pure air, and have a fantastic meal. It is great fun.
Getting there is part of the fun, actually. You can take a speed boat and get there in 45 minutes to an hour, depending on where you leave from, or you can take the 2 hour boat, which is what I like to do. It’s slow enough to allow you to see Dolphins and sometimes they follow the boat all the way there!
And you can take the really slow boat which takes 3-4 hours but if you are camping, it is the only one that accommodates “all the camping gear you want to bring.”
All the boats have food and drinks available.
Of course, many people sail over in their private boat, and you can also rent a private sailboat or motor boat to get there, and moor in the harbor when you get there.
You can also take a helicopter which only takes 25 minutes or so, and there is a tiny airport which can accommodate a small plane only.
Most people take one of the public boats.
You Have to Have a Map to Get Around in L.A., Even if You Live Here
Seriously, every January everyone runs to their nearest Staples store to buy a new Thomas Guide which is a book about an inch thick with a map of the city, sectioned off and put on those pages. So around here, when you give an address, you can help by saying the Thomas Guide page number. The reason for this is that a regular size map doesn’t really accommodate the whole city unless the streets are really too small to see. These books are so valuable that you can resell them. Now if you read the notes below, this doesn’t make sense, but people do buy the used ones to save money. Crazy but true. Even now when people have a GPS on their phone!
L.A.’s Only Challenge is the Traffic!
It’s legendary, but not in a good way! Here is a Guide to Help You …
Driving in L.A.
A guide for visitors (or returning residents) to Los Angeles
First, you must first learn to pronounce the city name; it is L. A.
The morning rush hour is from 5:00 a.m. to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 p.m. Friday’s rush hour starts on Thursday, just after noon.
The minimum acceptable speed on most freeways is 85 mph. On the 105 or 110, our speed is expected to match the highway number. Anything less is considered “Wussy.”
Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. L.A. Has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. However, in Malibu, SUV-driving, cell-phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.
If you actually stop at a yellow light you will be rear ended, cussed out, and probably shot.
Never honk at anyone. EVER. Seriously. It’s another offense that can get you shot.
Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of L.A. And Orange and Ventura counties. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day’s driving a bit more exciting.
MapQuest does not work here–none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do, and the freeway off and on ramps are moved each night.
If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been “accidentally activated.”
If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55 – 65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be “flipped-off” accordingly. And if you return the flip, you will be shot.
Do not try to estimate travel time– just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning. Always keep a packed suitcase in your trunk for unexpected sleepovers.
And finally, why is the L. A. Freeway called the ‘405’? Because no matter where you are going, it takes 4 or 5 hours to get there…
or alternately, because traffic stops every 4 or 5 minutes.
But it’s worth it for sure, every last minute of terror and/or boredom on Los Angeles freeways is a journey to some place wonderful! I love L.A. and always will!!!
Photo is from Wikipedia.