During my college years at Berkeley, everything people in the Bay Area ever said about Los Angeles was incredibly antagonistic and criticizing.
Northern California has an intense superiority complex when it comes to their southern brethren. But despite the hate from my Bay Area friends, I spent a significant amount of time getting to know L.A. throughout my life and the city of angels started to grow on me slowly but surely.
On the surface there are a lot of reasons to hate L.A.. The most frequent ones people never fail to mention are that Angelenos are fake and shallow, it’s too hot, you have to drive everywhere and yes, the traffic is absolutely menacing (although Joseph Gordon-Levitt smartly counters that people who like singing in their cars love L.A. Look for the link to his article below.) Now, let’s get past the obvious downsides and look at what makes L.A. great.
Los Angeles is unbeatable for those who love variety. There is an endless variety of everything here from foods, jobs, activities, events and people. It seems that if you live in L.A. you have a choice in whether your lifestyle is fast paced, laidback, exhilarating, 9-to-5 or anything in between. There are many districts and neighborhoods, each with its own distinct vibe, and the scenery options range from the beach to the valley and even snow covered Big Bear Mountain. Whatever you’re looking for, from rare ethnic food ingredients or any underground music scene, you will most likely find it in some corner of Los Angeles where everything under the sun seems to come together.
The best kind of variety found in L.A. is the diversity of people. Los Angeles is a hard, genuine testament that America is a melting pot where families of all racial and ethnic groups settle and live here for generations, and people from all over the world keep coming. I see people of multiple racial groups present together in public spaces throughout the city and whatever ethnic background you possess you will not feel out of place, which makes this city an exceptional place in the entire world.
The biggest misconception the outside world has of Los Angeles is that every single person is about that glamorous Hollywood life and thus superficial and unkind. But considering there are 10 million people living in the district of Los Angeles among which the snooty A-list crowd is a very small minority, that notion couldn’t be more wrong. Although the strong presence of the rich and famous influences the psyche and lifestyle of many inhabitants, the majority of Angelenos are real people who are laidback and open and simply trying to make it in this enormous and dynamic city that they call home. Which brings me to my next point.
The hustle in this city is phenomenal. Los Angeles is an economic and cultural mecca where almost any occupational sector and vocation can thrive. Creative minds and artists from all over the world gather in this one place where they are constantly creating, sharing and making connections. People work damn hard and you get the feeling that everyone is following a pipe dream. I meet Lyft drivers who are aspiring actors that pick me up after an audition and tell me about it on the way home. My best friend is an engineer who makes music in all his free time and is doing everything he can to make it as a producer. Even my aging stepfather built an entirely new company in order to pursue his dream of creating music and guitars. In Los Angeles there is boundless energy and optimism and everything seems possible, because here it is.
My favorite actor in Hollywood, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, wrote the most memorable and personable article for Los Angeles magazine in which he says:
When you’re in L.A., you can make your own experience. There’s so much more space, you have the room to make your own world.
And that is the precise sentiment that makes me want to stick around. Although I often miss the highly visible queer, politico crowd of San Francisco, I don’t doubt that there is something in store for me in big, sprawling L.A. as long as I go searching for it. There is a sense of never-ending discovery because there is so much and you’ll never get to know all of it. You have to create and find your own niche or as many niches as you want to be a part of, and it’s this challenge of searching for what you love that makes Los Angeles the new frontier for so many around the world.