24 things that definitely happen to you when you move to LA

Your first year as a transplant can be full of surprises, but the following are pretty much guaranteed, for better or worse. So much to look forward to!

Photograph: Aitor AguierregabiriaThis looks nice. Too bad you'll only experience it twice a year... thrice if you're determined.

Living in Los Angeles is pretty tops, though it definitely takes some getting used to. Even the good stuff feels weird at first (beach day in November? Celebs at your neighborhood bar?). But you'll settle in, we promise. And to help smooth your transition into big-city life, these are the things you should prepare yourself for. (Just don’t give yourself away in the meantime by uttering one of these 67 things an Angeleno would never say.) Welcome to LA!

Transplant from New York? Here are 31 reasons why that was a very good move.

Single? See what you have took forward to in the dating world (hint: not much).

One thing's for sure—you'll develop a serious love/hate relationship with LA's freeways.

1. You will not go to the beach nearly as much as you think you will. Sorry.

2. You will finally understand a century's worth of songs about California.

3. You will relax. Though it could be all that medical marijuana you're smoking (or inhaling second-hand).

4. You will learn that not all apartments come with refrigerators and/or stoves. It’s weird.

5. You will probably not become a vegan, but you’ll eat vegan regularly.

6. You will quickly learn to say “the” before the name of every freeway, lest you be shunned.

7. You will recognize your neighborhood barista in a Mentos/Progressive/Verizon commercial and claim to be friends with them. Hey, they know your coffee order.

8. You will wonder where the mountains went, then realize it’s just a smoggy day.

9. You will consider driving down to Mexico just because you can.

10. You will stop to smell the flowers, because you’re not rushing around as much, and flowers are literally everywhere.

11. You will feel guilty about buying produce at the grocery store instead of the farmers market.

12. You will watch Clueless again, and like, totally get it.

13. You will develop strong feelings about parking, tacos and “actors” that weren’t there before.

14. You will be annoyed at the lack of good food delivery options. This feeling never goes away.

15. You will slowly turn into one of those people who puts a sweater on when it drops below 65 degrees.

16. You will start to think 45 minutes is an acceptable amount of time to get from place to place.

17. You will learn to avoid Hollywood Boulevard at all costs.

18. You will order something animal style and love/hate yourself for it.

19. You will get a tan sunburn in February, and learn to buy sunscreen year round.

20. You will walk less, realize it, and either accept your car-bound fate or become an avid walker/biker.

21. You will get used to coyote sightings in your neighborhood. You (or someone you know) will lose a small pet. These things will be related.

22. You will have no idea what month it is for about a year, until you get used to the region’s subtle seasons.

23. You will bond with someone who lives on the opposite side of town, hang out once and then never see them again.

24. You will insist the West Coast is the best coast. And you’ll be right.

Been here a while? What happened to you when you first arrived? Let us know what else should be on our list in the comments section below.

Follow Kate on Instagram @kate_em_up



I lived in LA from 1994 to 2009. I couldn't wait to get out the last 5 years. The entire Westside underwent such gentrification. This means all the rich people buy up all the cool and grungy places and make them impossibly expensive. When I first moved there I ended up at the Venice Beach Drum Circle every Sunday for several years.  The spirit was killed by the cops because rich people started buying up the lofts on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. It's all about money and cleavage. So glad to be outta there! However, in my 20's and early 30's, it was fun! And dating life? Forget it! Men just want the next pretty girl. I am surprised anyone gets married in LA. 

Mark P

You learn to judge distance by time and traffic conditions as opposed to miles.

Josh M

LA is not for everybudy. Neither is every place else. If you don't mind renting a room or living in a corner of one and paying rent high enough to cover a mortgage elsewhere or spending half your days in traffic and finding a olaxe to park. Then it might be for you.

phimcachnhiet n



Angela W

Moved to LA from  London in 1981, left for Seattle in 2003 and would give my eye teeth to move back - traffic, crime, materialism notwithstanding 😀

Cynthia P

Eventually, you convine yourself a $5,000 rent payment is a a good deal compared to a $3 million dollar mortgage. And you say it with a straight face.

Timothy P

If you work in the city, you'll be spending 20 hours a week driving to and from work

Most people tend to keep to themselves and don't really care how your day is going

You'll have to rely on apps and social media to make new friends if you don't already have a friend base

6 Best Apps For After Moving To A New City


Carole S

You get use to not having a close friend, cause people will only be friends if they don't have something better to do that day.

You rescue a pet or two for companionship.

You love it when it rains for a change, cause you can sleep better .

You don't know when there is a Holiday, unless you are a shopper. You start not decorating for Holidays, cause Thanksgiving and Christmas don't feel like it, cause there are certain flowers that start blooming. Some trees bloom in February. If you want to see snow you can go to Big Bear or Lake Tahoe.

You drink wine more cause it's everywhere! You can buy it in everywhere you go in, with the exception of some clothing stores.

You find you can't sleep in cause once the Sun comes up it's really bright, and the air is light, so you can't get back to sleep even if you try!!!!✨

The food even at the high end Restaraunts can never compare to NY cuisine!!!✨ You keep hoping, but it always disappoints.

But, everyday you go out and you look around you at the topography of Sunny Cali. There is no denying the incredible natural beauty of the place and you are glad to be here and count your blessings that you are here!!!!✨❤👍✨🏄✨🏇🏊🚴🏂🍷🍻☕🍇👍❤

Frank L

When buying a car it is mandatory to drive it pass a hundred.

Bill W

New Angelenos feel every earthquake that occurs. They feel the ones no one else can if they've lived here for longer than a year. They will have a bookmark to a Seismograph live-cam and run to their mobile device every time they think they felt the earth move. If a new Angeleno is roomies with a veteran, the veteran Angeleno will tire really fast of the newbie doing the Chicken Little dance in the wee hours of the morning.

Frank T


Los Angeles is closed you'll have to go back!

Nuna K

You'll recognize the NY drivers that Denver drivers misidentify as California drivers.

Shawn K

@Nuna K And Denver drivers are THE ABSOLUTE WORST EVER.

Don H


Vadon (

It seemed everyone I met was also from somewhere else.  I moved to Modesto where I found a cluster of natives and a wife. Her parents were born in Los Angeles.  circa: 1965-1972...

Peter P

At sometime, you will travel back to where you came from for a wedding or funeral.  You'll feel like an outsider in your hometown... but you're ok with that. 


Coming from Chicago where you could check out a man who you meet with someone who knows him I found some of those who I met in L.A. had reinvented themselves and were bogus. This was before the internet; now you can google and do a background check.

Anne Marie C

It all depends on the time in your life that you move to Los Angeles. I moved here after living in New York for almost 15 years and it is just what I need at this point in my life. After so many years of snow and cold weather and six months out of the year needing to wear a coat, this city is paradise. And, I will add that the attitudes here are warm and friendly in general and people go about their business and you can go about yours. There are many wonderful things to do here and great people to meet. You just have to find your communities and enjoy.

Esaragi H

Some of the statement's aren't relevant to the title though O.o" 

Chuck H

I came here from Detroit almost 40 years ago.  Never regretted it.

Good things:  You can actually find a job.

                     We are not snobs like in Northern CA.

                       There's an optimistic feeling all the time.

                        You can and will go to the beach in all seasons.

                         It smells like ripe cantaloupes in February.

                          Hollywood is nice again, but I've loved it through the bad times.

                           Hollywood is the real and only center of L.A. although Downtown is now awesome.

                            You will use the word 'awesome" a lot.

James W

@Chuck H I heard there's some surf round that part of the world too ;)

Robert B

You know that no football team is good start; now if only the Kings, Clippers, Dodgers, and Lakers would find new homes also maybe people would stop yapping about them and get some work done. What was that you said? I must like the Sparks, Dolls, Galaxy, Kiss and Ducks; to tell the truth how many really consider them sports franchises, well serious sports franchises anyway. If by some miracle all of these teams would disappear today So Cal and Nor Cal would be better off. Central California doesn’t really matter because they suck up water to grow nut trees, fruit trees and vegetable gardens for export to China and let us not forget the low desert area of the Imperial Valley, "A hundred billion gallons of water per year is being exported in the form of alfalfa from California," Yes, they grow opulent greenery that gets exported to feed Chinese cattle. "Is it more efficient to use water for a golf course for the movie stars?" "Or is it more efficient for farmers to use it to grow a crop and export it…. [Also] Japan, Korea and the United Arab Emirates all buy Californian hay. Why don’t we just send them the Kings, the Clippers, the Dodgers, the Lakers the Sparks, the Dolls, the Galaxy, the Kiss and the Ducks and we’ll keep our water and Hollywood and like our redonculous pizza, there really is good pizza just not authentic Chicago deep dish, dang it was horrid, but it wasn’t pizza and the snow skiing and the surfing and of course Hollywood Blvd on Oscar night. Yes, I too have been to the Playboy mansion but I didn’t see anyone not even Hef or any girls, I was setting up tables for Hollywood Bowl Jazz Festival night.

ed d

And after about a year of living in LA, you will have an incredibly shallow understanding of it.

Richard B

OC and LA is wonderful. Met OJ and Nicole at the Playboy Mansion Before their issues. OJ was a really nice guy. I skied and surfed in the same day. Try that any place else in the US. .

Thomas G

Never been there before!!! But am going to em april, i decided to memo there!!!! Am a french currently living in Brazil. I wanted to say that i am finding this site really useful and fun to read!!! 


In Los Angeles, you compete for any parking space at the mall, restaurant…, be prepared to spend at least two hours of your day in the freeway, you’ll find yourself or others waking up early or leaving work late to avoid freeway traffic, public transportation is really bad must have a car, you only go downtown when you go to court like jury duty because downtown is like Mexico City unsafe, Spanish is the unofficial second language so at some point you wished that you would have taken Spanish in High School instead of French, some jobs require you to be bilingual i.e. English and either Spanish, Armenian, Chinese or Korean, there are areas where you feel that you are in some third world country, a modest one bedroom apartment in LA is about $1500 and last but not least homeless homeless and more homeless.


What we really need around here are more Brits

Liam H

This is a response for anyone new to this discussion. Santa Monica is an amazing "hub" for fellow Brits. Look for a pub called "Ye Olde Kings Head"

li j

been here 6 weeks and kinda miss NYC...like a lot....I get it, perfect weather everyday but honestly, it's like a film set here, still feels surreal. and please don't start me on how NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO DRIVE here, for starters, it's clear that everyone is adamantly against and refuses to SIGNAL...like EVER....just go from lane to lane (or 3 or 4) with NO SIGNAL whatsoever. in NYC that'd get you shot or at least a loud yell but here, ehhh, it's all cool, dudes. ick. however, my first celebrity meeting was when I walked out of a restaurant in west Hollywood and literally walked right onto the sidewalk and looked up and there was a pornstar, right in front of me. Yep, Ron Jeremy and his friends has just left the restaurant I was at. He was very jovial and friendly and gave me a good strong arm around the waist, pulled me in towards him and planted a kiss on my cheek. Quite the gentleman, I must say. Of course my boyfriend (very pro-porn, we are) was rather blasé about it, neither impressed or offended, just blah....but he did joke about how I'd have to apply tons of sanitizer to my cheek. LOL then again my 2nd celebrity sighting was a very different type. I walked up to Chad Lowe and a woman (brunette, mousy, petite woman I assume was his wife) at the Tom Petty concert at the Forum. Chad was very handsome, patient and engaging. I gushed about how much I loved him in "Spencer" and he was clearly flattered. Yeah, I referenced "Spencer" which was a good show and I really always thought it didn't get a fair chance. I still think the NEVER RAINING lifestyle is weird. It's been 6 weeks. Maybe I'll start to love it.

Bryan J

@li j I think you just pined for for the days when not signalling would get you murdered.......did you just wax nostalgic about murder for illegal lane changes? Is that what I saw?

Steve R

@li j So now it's been six months. Did you love it or leave it?

David P

Okay, you do realize that aside from the farmers market, vegan bits, and relaxing, none of this happens outside north of Ventura or east of Riverside and that south of Camp Pendleton mostly only the "the" in freeway references, 45 minutes to get anywhere, and sunscreen apply, right? You're pretty much talking about only LA, to which you can add you'll have a sense that what you're experiencing is "California" and "West Coast" when it's really just one city and a couple burbs.

Sara Fay moderator

@David P That's why we called this post "24 things that definitely happen to you when you move to LA." Cheers.

Michael Z

Come on vacation, you'll leave on probation!!!

John Z

I have been here 25 years and now I wish to move to the Midwest,

Joshua D

You will come here and think so Cal Is the hottest thing since sliced bread and never even take a look at the really good stuff up north because your stuck in a fantasy world all about trying to make it as a movie star. You probably will never see anything past so cal because your stuck in your bubble. You probably moved here from out of state and have no clue that your going back where you came from because your not gonna make it. 

Jon H

I noticed right away the abundance of donut and liquor stores...definitely an L.A. thing

Claire S

You will lose 20 lbs because you spend February hiking the hills instead of hitting happy hour every day after work because it's no longer dark out at 4:30p and because you eat fresh produce instead of salty fatty take-out delivered to your apartment where you hide from the cold and recover from whatever satanic viral cocktail the germ infested subway was dishing at rush hour and you'll have the energy for said hiking and healthy snacking because the bitter winds and wet dirty piles of fecal trash-slush aren't sucking the last ounces of happiness from your seasonally starved brain and you'll actually go on said hikes and eat healthy food because that's normal in Los Angeles, it's socially acceptable to take care of yourself AND pursue your career instead of not-so-secretly being chastised as lazy for not sacrificing health and mental happiness and sleep and a social life for ambition and a fatter paycheck.

Kaitlyn B

Los Angeles has flu virus also

David L

Hey fucksticks, quit bitching about the goddamn pizza! Its ridonculous! No one gives a shit. Every city is known for certain cuisine. I've been to New York and had the "Mexican Food." It sucked a big fat donkey dick. Did I whine all the time about it? No! I just ate something else.

Deirdre A

You will miss the things you complained about on the East Coast: for me, that is real rain and thunder storms.


Hopefully you will not use the word "Cali".  It's embarrassing.  it's like saying "The Big Apple."  Just don't.  You can say norcal, socal, that's ok.  "Cali" is a dead giveaway that you're new.

Jay S

@kennystrain Uh, no. Born and raised in "Cali". And everyone I know also calls it that. Soooooo.

Abominog R

@Jay S @kennystrain  Lived most of my life in California, nobody I know calls it "Cali." It's likely to be taken as a silly neutral term, unlike "Frisco" (just don't) or "NorCal". "SoCal" is only used by weather reporters, not regular human beings who are native to the region. "The Bay Area" is acceptable, "SoMa" (South of Market) is NOT (only tourists and tourist websites use that).

Also, while "the" is ALWAYS used in reference to freeway numbers (5, 405, 22, 91, 101, 110, 15, 99, 805, 605, 710, etc.), do not EVER, and I mean NEVER use "the" before "O.C.", especially if you're living in Orange County. It's ALWAYS either "Orange County" or "O.C." 

Palm Springs is always just Palm Springs. 

High Desert and Low Desert seem to be losing favor, but they are still acceptable terms for areas like Victorville and Indio. 

"San Berdoo" is only used ironically, because nobody, including natives, has any affection for San Bernardino or its environs.

"Cat City" is fine for "Cathedral City."  Beach cities other than Long Beach (which, unless you're Snoop Dogg, is not "tha LBC") or those in San Diego County are commonly know by their first names only, "Redondo," "Manhattan," "Huntington", "Newport", or "Laguna." 

Orange County beaches face south, meaning that the sun travels parallel with the coast (i.e., when facing the water, the sun rises on your left side, and sets on your right side).

Avalon is the only city on "Catalina" (not "Catalina Island").

If you're a Spanish speaker, some of the names of cities are absurd, e.g., "Mission Viejo" (the proper Spanish would be "La Mision Vieja").  W-ever the F a "Laguna Niguel" is, nobody knows (the "Lagoon of the Nigueli" might be an approximation, but nobody knows the names of any indigenous American Indian tribes unless they have a casino, like the Morongo and the Pechanga).

In San Diego County, the beach towns are known primarily by initials (P.B., M.B., O.B. and I.B. for Pacific, Mission, Ocean and Imperial, respectively).  "La Jolla" is pronounced "La Hoya." 

There is a world of difference between the California coastal regions and the inland regions.  The Coastal regions are usually much more desirable, and expensive, to live in, plus what constitutes "Coastal" is basically anything west of the 405 or the 5.  Landlocked counties in Southern California and everything in Central and non-coastal Northern California resemble the rest of the country until you arrive again at the Eastern Seaboard (i.e., obesity, ignorance, fanny packs, Republicanism, domestic cars, fast food, cigarettes and big box retailers).

Everyone is annoyed with the existence of the Toll Roads, except on those occasions when they save you time.

Except for Orange County and every place landlocked, California is liberal.  Orange County and all inland areas are conservative.