(Image via Terry)

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Despite the 20,000 judgmental stereotypes you have already formed by that first sentence, I: 1) do not have breast implants; 2) am not materialistic; and 3) am not stupid. So unless U bais mee Breast implants and a Prada Bagz stop judging me! Digressing.

Anyhow, I love LA! It’s a beautiful city with great food, beautiful people inside and out, and fabulous weather. However, LA can be daunting for tourists if you don’t know a few simple things.

Three basic things to know about Los Angeles:

(Source: http://www.sigalert.com)

1. Know when to move around traffic: If you can avoid being on the freeways during rush hour, do it. The best time to drive on the freeway is between 9:30am to 3:30pm and 7:30pm to 6:30am. Yes, believe it. But if you have a dinner clear across the city at 6:30pm, go early and explore the neighborhood. OR simply have dinner in whatever neighborhood you’re in! There’s tons of great restaurants in all neighborhoods. Sigalert (www.sigalert.com) shows you freeway conditions as they are happening. Avoid getting stuck in a traffic accident by looking up the traffic conditions ahead of time.

2. Don’t walk around Hollywood Blvd at night: Look, downtown LA, Hollywood Blvd, and Sunset Blvd isn’t somewhere you can walk around at night. Remember, Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman wasn’t walking around Hollywood Blvd for fun! If you do do this, be sure to wear your Rolex and your $2,000 digital camera where everyone can see. You’re going to witness a quick mugging… so bend over.

(Source: Google Maps)

3. Little Ethnic Neighborhoods: Los Angeles is a huge suburban sprawl. There are tons of ethnic neighborhoods in Los Angeles that you have to drive to. If you’re planning on doing any neighborhood exploration on foot, expect to do this within one neighborhood and then drive to the next. Noteworthy cultural communities to explore:
Little Tokyo: Believe it or not, there are actually Japanese people who live here. Spend the afternoon flipping through manga at Kinokuniya Bookstore or wander through the Japanese American National Museum learning about the Japanese internment camps.

Echo Park/Silver Lake: A gentrifying young hipster neighborhood filled with little boutique stores so that you can shop as your heart desires.

Olvera Street: Although Olvera Street is a tourist attraction now, it has a lot of historic buildings and interesting history with Mexican-Californian history.

San Gabriel Valley (Alhambra, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, etc): Highest concentration of authentic Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles. Los Angeles has the highest Asian population in the United States. You won’t find Egg Foo Young or General Tso’s Chicken here.

Leimert Park, Los Angeles: A lively artsy African-American neighborhood filled with history.

(Find more information about Los Angeles in the WanderRegions section of our site.)

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