I was born & raised in Los Angeles, California, granted at different pockets of this large county at different points in my Life. I was raised where many would call the “real Chinatown” or “Little Taiwan” in Hacienda Heights/Rowland Heights. I spent my college years outside of LA in Riverside where I found surprisingly much joy in the ‘simple life’. Post college were the years I really began to explore the heart of LA in West Hollywood, West LA, Downtown. My wanderlust gets me bored very easily. I pack my car up every weekend to a different city if I’m not able to fly across the globe.
I want to share with you my 10 reasons why I Love LA/Southern Cali. And roll out November (my birffday month) with more posts elaborating what, where, when, why, how to go. I dedicate this post to those friends from out of town needing a guide as I’ve found myself writing pages each time friends visit (with joy of course!). I dedicate this especially to the friends who have grown up here like me, but have taken for granted what a wonderful place So. Cal is on this huge earth that we share!
1. Diversity, Culture – You will find every ethnicity here possible. You will find virtually every type of individual with different goals and ambitions. It’s the ones who wondered, and then wandered to the big city so they could really break out of their shell, find themselves and make it big. Often in small towns, outlandish/unique behavior is not considered the norm. Come to LA, and it is a bare requirement, we encourage it. ‘Whats your niche? What’s your brand?’ is the most common question to your identity, even in the job setting. I don’t need a masters degree or read all the books to understand the different cultures. I can just ask my classmate, chef, co-worker, taxi-driver, neighbor or friend.
America is made up of different ethnicities. Even the whiteys, Anglo-Saxons, are technically of European ethnicity, although assimilated today in our melting pot, have all formed to be “Americans”. My parents have migrated from Taiwan to America 30 years ago. My grandparents migrated to Taiwan from China 60 years ago. Today, millions of other Chinese reside in LA. Millions of other Asians, Hispanics, Africans, Middle-eastern have all come, and stayed for a better life. What they brought was their culture & history for us to learn & cherish, food, music, art and traditions that have contributed to what makes our society.
An Equal Opportunity - America’s founded on equal opportunity right? Well there are still some racism in smaller towns and more conservative states. There always will be discrimination – here, there, anywhere. Many minorities have come to LA and made it big. Some of our most successful CEO’s in LA/Real Estate & Business Investors are Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Hispanic. You can come here and start as a dishwasher, and make your way to management in a year. You can start Grassroot campaigns and find any type of grants that will support it. It’s that diverse & welcoming.
2. Ethnic Districts - I might have to name this my FAVORITE part of LA. I can’t eat the same type of food every day. I am constantly wanderlusting my taste bud from Italian to Indian one day, Japanese to Ethiopian the next. All I have to do is hop in my Prius for 20 minutes and I can find it at the ethnic district or even walking distance from my house. In the next post, I will give you insight to all the neighborhoods: The real China Town, J-town “Little Tokyo” (2), Korea Town, Little Ethiopia, Little Armenia, Thai Town, Little India, and more.
And trust me, I’ve been to other big cities like Chicago, SF & NY. They might have a few unique ethnic districts with restaurants tastier than ours, but LA still has the most. My friend in Chicago is thinking about moving here with the food being the driving force.
3. Nature - Southern California has got it all. Beautiful beaches, Lakes, Hikes and mountains to ski/snowboard. This isn’t just a matter of seasons. You can visit any time of the year within a half hour drive (without traffic, duh). I love spending a Saturday hiking in the Palisades, and then laying out in Malibu. Rollerblade from Santa Monica to Venice and shop at the boardwalk. Paddle board in the Marina, and make my way to lunch in Manhattan Beach.
4. Yoga, Green, Health – Yoga studios are popping up every corner like Starbucks. Not only because it’s become ‘trendy’ to partake in, but with our busy lives, it is important to find a way to relax. LA traffic is crazy, and our hustle-way-of-life needs some centering of the soul. Yoga was brought to America less than a century ago. Yogananda among other renown Yogi’s have started centers in LA like the Self-Realization Temple to teach us a different way of thinking that is healthier for us.
California is all about Green Green Green. Green transportation, Green living, Green Food, Green air. Eating organic is not a fad lifestyle for villagers or the Vegans anymore. In Santa Monica & Venice, Whole food’s, organic farms, Yoga studio’s, green buildings, Ayurvedic clinics are a dime a dozen. Come here for some healing & detoxing.
5. Restaurant & Nightlife - Just as #4 talked about all the healing and detoxing, I bring to you the extreme opposite – Gluttony of LA. I belong to both extreme ends. The most glamorous restaurants owned by world-famous Chefs & celebrities is worth checking out in West Hollywood, Hollywood, Downtown, Beverly Hills, and in the Valley. Any evening of the week is a good evening to go. In fact, Mondays or Tuesdays have better scenes than a Friday or Saturday. The nightlife in Hollywood is always vibrant & everything it’s hyped up to be. Downtown LA has opened up LA Live, and has many very eccentric bars in old bank vaults & warehouses. Although California is not allowed to serve Alcohol legally past 2am, you sure don’t feel that energy among the going-out crowds who are ready to party all night – find an after party in the Hollywood hills.
6. Awesome Museums – You don’t need to travel to France to see some of our world’s finest art. I have friends who visit for a week and spend it mainly exploring our museums. LACMA, Getty, Griffith Observatory, MOCA, just to name a few.
7. The City of Dreams – Various cities have been named this. But I still see LA as the place, especially if you’re in entertainment. The Hollywood glam may not be what it use to, but it’s still very alive. As I mentioned in #2, minorities that make it big, this one is more for the artists or entrepreneurs. From a small town and want to make it big? Unless you pursue that dream, a dream would be just a dream. Pack your bags & hitch a ride to LA like Hilary Swank or Britney Spears. Live in a trailer for a few months or years, waitress at a hot spot and your next big gig might just appear. Aspiring movie stars, singers, tattoo artists, Yoga teachers, Venture capitalists, students flock from across the state & across the world to come to LA to make it. Here you’ll find agencies, job opportunities, some of the best Universities.
8. It’s always sunny in LA – I love sunny weather. It makes me happy. It’s November, and its 80 degrees out. Occasionally it rains, and then it pours for 2 days and the Angelenos go a little loco. They tweet and facebook and don’t know how to go on, then the sun comes out & we forget it ever happened. Once a decade, El Nino or a flake of snow comes down and it’s all over breaking news. But other than that, it’s sunny and it makes us friendly.
9. Gorgeous people - I’m not going to rank LA as the smartest people in the World. Not because I don’t think they are, we’ll just keep it at that. But I’m going to say that LA & OC are cities filled with the best looking, best put-together, best bodies COLLECTIVELY compared to any other cities in the world. There are hot people everywhere, but as a population, they’re hot even compared to Miami & NY. The hot weather makes us want to wear little clothes and tan which makes us look more toned. All the Hollywood stars near by pressure us to always look grand. Its an alarmingly superficial statement, but it’s worth noting as a top 10 of LA. We work hard to stay in shape, even if we have no clue if Toronto is in east or west Canada.
10. Liberal, free-spirit, open-minded Energy – Conservatives are a minority here. Conservative issues won’t be your problem. California was very close in legalizing Marijuana & Same-sex Marriage. Pot dispensaries are everywhere. Our gay friends can be as open as they want. This acceptance says something about the free-spirit minds of our locals. And these liberals running our pot dispensaries in Venice & Marina del Rey aren’t just a bunch of hippies, they’re successful business owners, doctors, yogis, director/producers.
E-mail me, Facebook me, with what YOU Love about LA! I’d love to hear it