I never really gave this city a chance when I was growing up here. “It’s a monster,” I always tell people whenever they ask me to describe it. I do maintain that — Los Angeles is a unique, sprawling, overwhelming, occasionally irritating monster — but, like any villain ought to, it’s also got some sass.
I hate to say this, I hate it, I HATE it, because it’s the thing that everyone always says first and it’s such a cliche — but guys, the weather. Or lack thereof, really. I mean, Jesus:
Driving home from work early on Fridays. Sorry.
The weather makes it so easy to do things. You can go outside without having to think twice about whether or not you remembered to put on your wool socks, and you never have to shovel your car out of anything while your fingers slowly go numb, knuckle by knuckle. It’s so easy to move in this city, provided you avoid certain stretches of freeway during rush hour. It’s so easy to be outside, or to move from one indoor place to the next, or to get anywhere once you accept that it will take you 45 minutes in current traffic to do so.
I think one of the reasons I hated Los Angeles so much when I was younger (aside from the fact that I was a brat) is that I didn’t really experience all that much of it when I was growing up. Having convinced myself that parts of the city were “unsafe” (I mean, I guess there are unsafe parts) or “too touristy” (again, pretty valid) or “too far away” (so much traffic, always), I operated almost entirely in this little bubble I’d created for myself, one that didn’t really encourage any exploration, danger, or discomfort.
Shopping after I get off work early on Fridays. Sorry.
But then again, you could say the exact same things about Chicago — overall, it’s a much more dangerous city than Los Angeles, and it has its share of traffic and touristy draws — but that didn’t stop me from exploring the city and giving everything a chance. Probably because I’m so worldly and adult now.
Since I moved back here almost two months ago, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my favorite parts of Los Angeles again and exploring all of the other parts for the first time. I’ve spent hours on unfamiliar freeways and even ridden the metro once (who knew it actually covered a decent amount of ground? “Decent” being a generous term, but still), and I’ve been to new bars and restaurants, and even a movie screening.
Cue Temper Trap from that scene in “500 Days of Summer” when he’s showing her the architecture. Sorry.
I’m not much of a believer in bucket lists, so that isn’t what I want to call this — but I have developed a list of things I’ve never done in Los Angeles that I want to try. I started this list shortly after moving back, and I’ve already accomplished a few of these goals. I’m leaving them on the list now as I post it because a.) I enjoy using the cross-out-a-word feature, and b.) I’m proud of my progress.
Los Angeles Delights
Drink on a rooftop bar
Ride the metro
Hang out at the various piers (
Hang out at Griffith Park Observatory
Do a touristy bus tour. Bonus points for using a fake accent. Bonus points for using a fake accent that actually sounds like a real accent, unlike most of your fake accent attempts*.
See a celebrity eating brunch
Do the beaches
Take a dancing class (in honor of your new [not so]guilty pleasure: Dancing with the Stars)
Visit the Central Library downtown with every free second of downtime that you have
Drive your dad’s convertible along PCH
Visit Joshua Tree
Beach camping in Malibu
Attend street events/festivals (
Grilled Cheese Fest: check. St. Patrick’s Day street festival: check.)
Buy art from a local artist
Get a tattoo (not really, Mom)**
Visit The Last Bookstore
Museums that you haven’t been to yet (or haven’t seen in a while)
Movies at the Hollywood Forever cemetery
Taco restaurant that Jason Segel’s character from I Love You Man proclaims is the best taco in LA (Jenn-approved)
Go see comedy shows
Watch a live taping of a TV show
Stage a taste test of all the classic hole-in-the-wall doughnut shops
Extremely hipster picture of somewhere in/near Hollywood. Genuinely sorry.
Ok fine, I apparently haven’t done as much as I thought I did. I’ve ridden the metro. It’s a start.
*generally, at a certain point in any given bucket list, I begin to address myself directly.
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