When people think of LA, they imagine glamorous Hollywood, home of the stars, but it’s so much more than that. In fact, the county of Los Angeles is made up of a whopping 88 cities, many with names you’ll recognize—Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Marina del Rey.
That’s a lot of variety, culture, and food ready for you to experience in the area. If you’re moving to LA, here are some ways you can start becoming a Los Angeleno.
Everyone knows that Los Angeles is home to some of the biggest film and TV studios in the world. But did you know many of them are open to the public? Universal has turned its tour into a full-fledged and well-known theme park, but take the road less-traveled by going on a tour of a working studio like Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, or Paramount Pictures.
Echo Park is a beautiful neighborhood situated in downtown LA, home to a lake that offers stunning views of the city skyline. Rather than enjoying the view from the shore, jump in one of the pedal-powered swans and ride around the lake at sunset. It’s one of the city’s best-kept secrets for a romantic date night.
Echo Park is a beautiful neighborhood situated in downtown LA, home to a lake that offers stunning views of the city skyline.
Many would consider In-N-Out Burger an LA institution, and no matter where you lived before, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of its savory burgers. While natives will endlessly debate which is better—In-N-Out or Shake Shack—there’s only one way to experience In-N-Out: via the secret menu. Now you have no excuse not to try a burger “animal style.”
Before the famous Los Angeles Zoo in historic Griffith Park, there was an older public zoo in Griffith Park. Opened in 1912 and shut down in 1966, the remnants of the park are still around. You can adventure through the empty ruins, including hidden paths and empty animal enclosures on your own, or take a guided tour.
If you’ve heard anything about LA before moving to town, it was probably about the traffic. Natives will often advise you not to get on a numbered highway, like the 10 or the 405, during the day and to avoid it at night if possible as well. But why bother driving at all? Get a TAP card and ride the bus—which offers surprisingly comprehensive service—or any of the half a dozen shiny new light rail lines which crisscross the city.
Did you know that there are working oil derricks scattered around LA, pumping oil right out from under your feet? Most people don’t, because they’re hidden in plain view, disguised as tall buildings. For example, there’s one that looks like a synagogue at Pico and Cardiff, and an enormous windowless office building on Pico in Mid-Wilshire. Go on a hunt to find them all.
It might sound a bit morbid, but it’s actually quite pleasant. The Hollywood Forever Cemetery projects movies on the wall of a mausoleum throughout the summer. Just buy some tickets, bring a blanket, and turn it into a family picnic.
If you’re moving to LA, don’t forget to bring your pup. LA is one of the dog-friendliest cities you’re likely to ever live in. Nearly every mall in town is pup-friendly, with dog play areas, water bowls positioned outside shops, and even pet treat dispensers. Be sure to check out The Grove, Third Street Promenade and Century City Mall to ensure that your dog is treated like royalty.
It’s 320 feet long and takes about a minute to traverse, but the Angels Flight inclined railway is a unique treat that will make you feel like you’re stepping back in time. The railway takes you up Bunker Hill in the heart of downtown LA, from Hill Street to Grand Avenue. Until recently, it was one of LA’s secret gems, but after being featured in the movie La La Land, the railway has become a popular tourist destination.
Los Angelenos love their coffee. And while there’s a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on any corner that doesn’t already have a Starbucks, many natives go out of their way to find independent shops that make Instagram-worthy cappuccinos. Some local faves include west Hollywood’s The Butcher, The Baker, the Cappuccino Maker, and Dinosaur Coffee in Silver Lake.