If you’ve never been to Los Angeles, you may have some pre-conceived notions about the city and what it's like there. The big Hollywood movies don’t help. It makes us see L.A. in a way that actually might not be the reality. In spite of what you may think, this Californian city isn’t always as glitzy as it appears to be. Of course, it’s an awesome city and it’s called the City Of Angels for a reason (aside from the direct translation), bur behind that there’s also regularity about it. The way the movies represent L.A. makes us feel like it’s this perfect place full of perfect people with perfect weather. The movies lead us to believe that nothing with flaws could reside in Los Angeles.
If you have visited L.A. then you will probably know that the stereotypes are false. Much of what we believe isn’t actually true. And if you’re an L.A. resident reading this, you’ll probably even find some of the misconceptions hilarious. No doubt L.A. residents will be shaking their heads as they read this. Let’s just say you’ll have a different perception of Los Angeles by the time you’ve finished reading this article.
Here are 20 myths only people from L.A. know aren’t true.
20 It’s always bright and sunny
Maybe because it’s in California or maybe because the movies we’ve watched make it look ultra sunny, but we can’t imagine L.A. having bad weather. In reality, the city does have its bad days when it comes to weather. It’s not always as bright and sunny as you would imagine. In fact, L.A. receives an average of 14.93 inches of rainfall every year. This is a city where the winter is both the sunny season and the rainy season. Generally the sky is always clear, but that doesn’t mean the city never sees rain. Los Angeles certainly gets its share of cloudy, rainy days.
19 Myth! Everybody has a tiny lapdog
We’re not sure whether it was Paris Hilton or Elle Woods from Legally Blonde who gave us this notion that everyone in LA (specifically females), all carried around a little lapdog in matching outfits. That’s the impression we got but it seems that might not be the case. Sure, there are people in LA with lap-dogs but you’ll see people walking other breeds on the streets. According to a 2012 study, the favourite dog breed for LA was the bulldog.
That might mean we won’t be seeing a thousand Bruisers if we ever land in LA. It’s more likely going to be a thousand bulldogs.
18 Myth! Nobody walks
LA is a big city and many things tend to be far away, which is why a lot of locals always go everywhere by car. We’ve also seen it in the movies, how there seems to be a stigma around walking around this city. In actual fact, there are plenty of walkable areas in LA including Downtown LA, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Venice Beach and Pasadena.
We’re not claiming LA residents are comparable to New York residents as far as walking goes, but it is possible to go places on foot and people do. Don’t forget the Runyan Canyon hiking area.
17 Myth! Everybody is a celebrity
People tend to think entertainment is the main industry in Los Angeles. That’s actually not true. Manufacturing is the number one industry in the city. As for the entertainment industry, that only ranks around 6th. So you can see that it’s pretty far away from first place, isn’t it?
Los Angeles is actually the largest manufacturing area in the United States. Although it might seem that way at times, not everyone who lives in Los Angeles is an A-lister. You’ll see plenty of ordinary folks here who work in a variety of industries from manufacturing to retail to health care.
16 Myth! Everybody looks perfect
Of course there are lots of beautiful people in Los Angeles, like there is in every city throughout the world. On the other hand, like everywhere else in the world, there are lots of LA residents who have their imperfections. Outsiders think all LA people look flawless 24/7 and that their lives are totally ruled by beauty and looks and all that superficial stuff.
LA people get a pretty bad rep when you think about it. Folks in LA actually tend to be pretty liberated when it comes to looks and style, so you won’t see an immaculate person every meter. Once you forget the Beverly Hills stigma, LA is actually quite ordinary.
15 Myth! It’s a concrete jungle
Believe it or not, LA boasts a lot of greenery. Between its tree-lined streets, green patches and many parks, Los Angeles isn’t the concrete jungle you would expect. Indeed it is hard to believe, especially as this is an industrial city. But there are plenty of opportunities for you to see greenery in this city.
Take Griffith Park – that’s 4000 acres of greenery. The Santa Monica Mountains and of course The Hollywood Hills also offer a green backdrop for the city. If you take a drive into the inner city of LA, you will discover neighbourhoods of homes with lawns and trees.
14 Myth! Driving is a nightmare
With 26 million cars in LA, it’s easy to see why driving could be a bit of a stress factor. However, driving isn’t as bad as you would think as long as you avoid the rush hours. You don’t need to spend all the day in traffic jams if you know how to do it wisely.
Avoid the rush hours and it won’t be a lot worse than in other big cities. If you stick to carpool lanes, stay local and travel at night, you won’t see much of LA traffic. Of course it’s still congested but nowhere near as much.
13 Myth! All the A-listers live in Hollywood
One of the most common misconceptions about LA is that all the movie stars live in Hollywood.
In reality, it’s more a case of the wannabe actors living in Hollywood. The big actors and actresses live in a more elite address.
So if you visit Hollywood with the hope of seeing all your favourite big stars, then you might find yourself disappointed because most of them are living elsewhere. Even if you go on one of those special celebrity home tours in LA, you aren’t guaranteed to see beyond the mansion hedges. Chances are, you won’t see a glimpse of the celebrity.
12 Myth! It’s always smoggy
People generally assume that LA is always smoggy. While the summer and fall are particularly smoggy, the winter and spring in LA boasts lots of clear sky days. Plus, the beaches are not smoggy all year round. So yes, there are going to be times in LA when the smog is especially bad, but there are also lots of times where you will see nothing but clear blue skies.
The number of fog alerts in LA has plummeted from 100 per year (in the 1970s) to nearly none now. In other words, don’t believe absolutely everything you read about LA because not all of it is true.
11 Myth! L.A is culturally shallow
In the last decade, LA’s theatre scene has improved dramatically. Today you will find dozens of amazing performances every week. In the LA Music Center, you can find the American Ballet Theatre, LA Opera, the LA Philharmonic and Center Theatre Group. It’s far less of a cultural desert than you would expect.
The city is also rich in comedy, live music venues and improv. With over 230 museums, LA is certainly not shallow when it comes to culture. There is so much to explore here and that goes way beyond celebrity spotting. You will feel that culture as soon as you arrive in the city.
10 Myth! Everything is super expensive
Expensive things do seem to come in abundance in Los Angeles, but you don’t have to be rich to live here. Although it would be good if you are relatively wealthy because we never said it was the cheapest city in America. It might be second most costly city after New York in the U.S., but there’s still a lot you can do in the city for free. There are also lots of budget-friendly motels, hotels and hostels as well as inexpensive diners and restaurants. So if you are a tourist, make the most of free attractions and wallet-friendly accommodation.
9 Myth! Everywhere is sketchy
It depends on where you live in LA. There are definitely parts that are more dangerous than others. When driving in LA, it’s good if you can get good directions so you don’t end up somewhere you don’t want to be at night.
As for the tourist areas, they are just about as safe as other cities. It’s still a good idea to lock your car, avoid leaving valuables in sight and keep watch on your belongings. Then again, don’t you already do that? Doesn’t everyone already do that in the city where they live? At least, they ought to.
8 Myth! The frozen yogurt obsession
Los Angeles folks have a reputation for being frozen yogurt fanatics. Frozen yogurt is, after all, known to be healthier and contain less fat than ice-cream. It makes sense why it could be common here. However, it’s definitely not the most obsessed city in the states. The frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry has 16 locations in LA, but there is only one less chain in New York.
When you look at the statistics, LA isn’t always the biggest frozen yogurt fan in the US. Florida and Colorado are also home to a large number of froyo chains. They’re not as obsessed as you think.
7 Myth! Everybody drives a Prius
There is some truth in this myth. In 2012, Pricenomics stated that LA had the highest demand in the US for the Prius Hybrid. To say everybody in LA drives a Prius, on the other hand, is untrue. This was made clear when Edmonds reported that it was the fourth most registered vehicle in LA. Accords, Camrys and Civics came before it.
What we’re trying to say here is that yes, it is popular, but not that popular. The Prius is not everybody’s favourite car in LA. It would make more sense to say everybody drives a Civic, looking at the stats.
6 Myth! Nobody uses public transport
We’re not sure where this myth ever started because there’s absolutely zero truth in it.
With over 1 million bus boardings every day of the week, it’s pretty clear that LA residents do in fact use public transport.
And that’s just the bus. We’re not even including stats on other public transport. Then again, you can’t expect everyone to go everywhere in the car can you? It’s not like everybody’s going to be too happy about going places on foot either.
We know we said people do walk in LA, but it’s not so popular. The public transport is a useful community service so of course people are going to use it.
5 Myth! Fillers are as common as dental checks
LA residents do get more Botox than in other parts of the states, but not a lot more. It goes with the notion that everybody in LA is obsessed with their appearance, but that’s not true. Not entirely anyway. The same goes for the Botox myth. California as a whole has the biggest number of cosmetic procedures. But to say everyone in LA gets so much Botox is a bit over exaggerated. Not everyone does get Botox. On the other hand, LA is known for having more chest augmentation surgeries than in other regions. So they win on that one.
4 Myth! It’s overcrowded
There’s this notion that LA is really overcrowded. Some people worry they’ll feel hemmed in if they visit or move to LA. On the contrary, LA is more spread out than you think. When you compare it to the likes of Manhattan or other US metropolitan areas, LA is pretty vast. The good thing about LA is that there are a lot of square miles for the four million residents to spread out over. In a nutshell, you won’t feel as hemmed in as you would expect in Los Angeles. There is more space than you think. Still, don’t expect it to be totally desolate.
3 Myth! Everyone is obsessed with their image
Rumor has it that everybody in Los Angeles is image conscious. In truth, there are just as many people who are relaxed about their appearance as there are people obsessed with it. In 2007, the Department of Health reported that 35% of adults residing in LA are overweight and 20% of them are obese. In other words, LA isn't far from the national average.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people in LA who care about how they look. There are loads! We just wanted to make the point that it’s not an LA thing. Not everyone is fanatical about looking flawless.
2 Myth! Everybody in Los Angeles is blonde
Maybe we get that notion from the movies. Doesn’t it always seem like all the girls from the movies who live in LA are platinum blonde? We guess we just thought LA salons were constantly packed with 20-year-old females getting their roots touched up. But apparently that’s not so.
LA is also home to about 70 percent Caucasian, while Hispanic is the biggest demographic at 44 percent. In other words, not everybody is going to be fair-haired in LA. In spite of what the movies lead us to believe, you probably won’t even see many blonde-haired folks in LA.
1 Myth! Nobody reads books in LA
LA, as a whole, is seen as a pretty superficial place where all people care about is looking amazing for a selfie. That is totally false. Now we’re not saying you don’t get your fair share of superficial residents who wouldn’t even think of picking up a book to read. Still, there are lots of Angelenos who adore reading. Between 2012 and 2013, the LA public library received more than 14 million visits. In the same 12-month period, 15 million items were checked out.
LA really isn’t how you think it is. We all have our preconceptions but most of them are wrong.
References: tripsavvy.com, roughguides.com, buzzfeed.com