Los Angeles is the second largest city in the country, second only to New York City in terms of population size. It’s also one of the country’s most famous cities, known for its place in the film industry, appearing in countless films as well as being a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. The city of L.A. attracts visitors looking to catch a glimpse of the rich and famous which has become known for being the unofficial home to celebrities of all industries including the movie and music business. Because it has become synonymous with the world of cinema, it has a reputation for being a glamorous, over-the-top city with a flair for the glitz and an affinity toward the wealthy lifestyle. It’s one of the many things that draw people to the West Coast.
Beyond its affiliation to Hollywood, Los Angeles is also well known for its high-end way of life. It is home to some of the most famous affluent neighborhoods in the world including Beverley Hills, Hollywood, Bel-Air, Malibu and the infamous 90210 zip code, all of which are defined by the rich. Along with those residential locations that people love to visit, the places they eat, shop and have fun at are also sought after tourist locations like the famous Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica, to name a few.
With plenty to do and see, you are going to find that some of these attractions might not always quite match the hype surrounding them. Here are fifteen pretty harsh reasons why L.A. is overrated and another five great reasons to still book a trip to the City of Angels.
20 OVERRATED: The City Might Be Too Big
Los Angeles is the second largest city by population with millions of residents, but it’s the physical size that might be overwhelming. At over 500 square miles of size in the city proper, which doesn’t even begin to include the outside areas that are just as popular, L.A. is very spread out which makes for incredibly long commutes. Getting from one side of the city to the other often results in a 90-minute ride simply because of the sheer distance one has to travel. Planning a day out or a night of fun also requires extensive planning around how far you are from your destination.
19 OVERRATED: The Traffic
With so many millions of residents living in the city to go along with constant tourists adding to the population count year round, it should be no surprise that the number of vehicles on L.A.’s streets and freeways can be overwhelming. In fact, the traffic can get so bad that it is often cited as the most negative aspect of Los Angeles. In addition to the city being so physically spread out which already makes for long commute times, the traffic only compounds the issue. What should be a twenty-minute drive can often result in two hours of frustrating time in traffic.
18 OVERRATED: Downtown Is A Bit Underwhelming
Although the city’s center is one of its main hubs and home to many of Los Angeles' highlights, it’s still a downtown that doesn’t quite stack up to the ones you see in other major cities like New York City, Boston and Chicago. There are things to do and during the day it’s a busy location with much of the city’s workers making their way to downtown, the center for all things business, but it’s only until very recently that the L.A. has been making a concerted effort to spruce up the area.
You will find plenty to do, but don’t expect to be completely blown away.
17 WORTH THE TRIP: The Weather Is Near Perfect
One major reason to book a trip to Los Angeles is the near-perfect weather you will find all year round. With an average yearly temperature hovering around 75 degrees, it’s hard to find complaints when it comes to sunny California’s climate. In the winter, it doesn’t get blizzard cold and during the summer it doesn’t turn into a scorching desert either. The skies always seem to be blue and you are pretty much okay to wear shorts and a t-shirt for most of the year!
16 OVERRATED: Hollywood Has Set False Expectations
When people think of Los Angeles, Hollywood often comes to mind first before anything else. With good reason, as the city was home to the rise of the cinema industry and attracted star power unlike any other place in the country or world. The unfortunate truth is that Hollywood has migrated to other cities that can offer cheaper solutions for filming like New Orleans and Toronto while also exploring the iconic landmarks of cities like New York.
With the film industry starting to taper off a bit, the allure of Hollywood has also died down some so it’s probably best to temper some expectations when visiting the city. But either way, be on the lookout for celebs as many of them still call L.A. home.
15 OVERRATED: The Number of Quintessential L.A. Landmarks Aren’t Plentiful
Bear in mind that the number of iconic Los Angeles landmarks are fairly limited. There is, of course, the world famous giant white Hollywood sign that overlooks the city and the often visited Hollywood Walk of Fame as well. But beyond a few quintessential iconic locations in the city, you might be a bit underwhelmed by the lack of otherworldly attractions that call Los Angeles home.
14 OVERRATED: A Lot Of What is Found Here Can Be Done in Other Major U.S. Cities
You’ll find that a lot of the attractions found in the city can actually be done in many other major cities across the United States. Other than the landmarks that have L.A. written all over, there are simply a number of things that can be done in your own hometown city that you are paying to do in Los Angeles.
Most other major cities have zoos, theme parks, museums, and sporting events, albeit at a fraction of the cost and with much better commutes.
13 WORTH THE TRIP: The Beaches Are Gorgeous
Los Angeles is situated right off the coast of California with the grand Pacific Ocean on its shores. Any person visiting or living in the city can commute to the beaches which all offer incredible blue waters, active waves for surfing and some very well kept sands. There are more than enough beaches to choose from that are sure to exceed expectations including Manhattan Beach, Malibu Beach and Santa Monica Beach.
12 OVERRATED: It’s Expensive
This is one of the more well-known harsh truths about L.A. It is expensive. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world, not just in the country. As a visitor to the city, you’ll find yourself shelling out some serious cash just to have dinner at a nice restaurant or simply buying some of the essentials at the local pharmacy that you might need for your stay.
Be prepared to reach deep into your pockets while visiting and if you live here, well residents are already used to the astronomical cost of living in Hollywood.
11 OVERRATED: Public Transportation is Pretty Much Non-Existent
There is no great public mass transit system in the city. For a city of its massive size, the hope for residents and visitors is to be able to use an affordable and comprehensive transportation system, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
The city has trains and buses that can be used, but its sprawling size often requires commuters to have their own source of transportation which is not great for visiting on vacation. The options are often limited to using an unreliable transit system which can take an eternity or spending hundreds on Ubers and Lyfts throughout your stay.
10 OVERRATED: It Is Very Crowded
When you do find a great place within the city to visit, you’ll find that you are going to have share the space and the fun with others. Actually, you’ll have to share it with thousands as the city is often very overcrowded and the attractions are some of the most packed locations, sometimes making for a frustrating visit. Lines can get long and elbow space can get tricky.
Try to look up some of the lesser known activities that are just as fun and even more reminiscent of what L.A. truly is about to avoid the crowds.
9 OVERRATED: Hollywood Walk of Fame
Speaking of overcrowded and famous attractions, the Hollywood Walk of Fame is probably somewhere toward the top of that list. Considered a quintessential L.A. landmark because it is the only attraction of its kind in the world, most visitors have the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a must-see on their vacation checklist. Although it’s likely a place most tourists should see as a bucket list item, it’s probably best to not plan an entire day around it.
In truth, it’s an overrated site that is a tourist trap with many street artists looking to make a quick buck off those idling around the concrete stars, snapping photos.
8 WORTH THE TRIP: Close Proximity to Nature
Los Angeles is a sprawling mega city with millions of people and modern architecture throughout, but one of the great reasons to pay a visit is the magnificent nature surrounding it as well as its close proximity to some pretty impressive greenery found in national parks.
Once you have finished up visiting the sites around the city, it might be worth it to take a drive up to Joshua Tree National Park or even go a bit further to Sequoia National Park for some breathtaking views of greenery and nature.
7 OVERRATED: Santa Monica Pier
One of the most visited areas in the city, the Santa Monica Pier is famous for tourists. Although it overlooks the beautiful ocean and is a well-kept location, the reality is Santa Monica Pier is another tourist trap with overpriced souvenirs and subpar food being served by countless restaurant chains.
There are simply other landmarks that offer the same beautiful views of the sea and incredible beaches that have better food for less money. Venice Boardwalk is truer to the soul of the city and more fun!
6 OVERRATED: Rodeo Drive
Often considered one of the more famous streets in the world, Rodeo Drive ranks up there with the likes of New York City’s infamous Broadway and Miami’s Ocean Drive. L.A’s call to fame when it comes to streets is centered on the city’s affluent demographic.
Rodeo Drive is home to Los Angeles’ high-end retailers and shops. Although the street is pristine and gorgeous, filled with boutiques and stores, the truth is the average person simply cannot afford to shop on Rodeo Drive. It’s nice to stroll through there, but that’s about all that most can do when visiting.
5 OVERRATED: Celeb Tours
One of the most commonly booked attractions for Los Angeles visitors are the infamous celebrity tours. People are drawn to the rich and famous and getting a chance to catch a glimpse of them in their world is what fills these tours up to capacity. The unfortunate truth is these tours often end up being a bus filled drive for a couple hours through the city’s nicest and most famous neighborhoods without a single celeb sighting.
Instead, tourists on the buses end up snapping photos of nice homes and their locked gates or the trees covering the property, used as a means for privacy.
4 WORTH THE TRIP: Food and Diversity
Los Angeles is one of the more diverse cities in the country with a significant migrant population from the Hispanic and Asian communities. With the large influx of such diverse populations and cultures come incredible food options. The culture one can experience while in the city along with the diverse food you aren’t sure to see in most other cities are excellent reasons to do some exploring around some of the lesser known parts of Los Angeles.
3 OVERRATED: Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is a pretty big draw where a lot of the tourist action takes place situated right next to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It makes sense that a lot of tourists want to visit the Wax Museum which contains wax sculptures of the most famous celebrities around, considering many folks associate the city with famous faces.
The truth is that Madam Tussauds is a fairly famous chain attraction that can be found in many other major cities like NYC and San Antonio, Texas.
2 OVERRATED: Disneyland
This entry is a controversial one as there are diehard Disney fans around the world ready to defend the famous mouse’s playground at every turn. The harsh reality is that Disneyland in Los Angeles is often considered the lesser version of the park when compared to Disney World in Orlando. If Disney themed fun is what you are looking for, you are likely better off booking a trip to Florida. If you are simply seeking thrill rides, try Los Angeles’ other theme parks which are sure to deliver on the excitement such as Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
1 WORTH THE TRIP: The Nightlife
Los Angeles is well known for its part as a party city to the celebs and with great reason. Famous faces flock to L.A. to visit many of its world-famous nightclubs, bars, music venues and celeb-themed parties. If there was little luck spotting a famous person on any of the celebrity tours during the trip, there might be much better luck in the city’s nightlife. Be sure to dress up and go all out as the party scene in L.A. is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!