So you've decided you're going to move to Southern California. The beaches, the accessible mountains, the nightlife, the awesome local organic food, and of course the limelight of Hollywood where dreams can come true. What's not to like? I'm here to tell you the Ten Commandments of living in Southern California as I have lived here all my life. My grandfather went to Los Angeles High School, and my great-grandfather was a city planner for Burbank, which is still one of the most prosperous cities and airports around. Without further adieu, my top then rules for living in Southern California, or near L.A.
Lists are popular nowadays so let's call this the craft beer drinkers' guide to moving to or visiting L.A.
10: You moved here for the weather right? Get outside, or live somewhere cheaper!
Sounds simple, but most people who move out here think that L.A. is just another big city, but I must say if you aren't active and nature loving, you will get burnt out. Hiking, biking, going for walks, playing at parks, and going to the beach are all things that will help keep you sane and renewed. Not to mention, it is the reason your rent is so high, so stop right now if you're planning to move and want to save money. Not to mention the drive from Santa Barbara to San Diego isn't and there are a lot of cities in between that offer plenty of great jobs, but that's a long drive for someone who can't care less about the hills, trees and oceans. Everyone looks fit or has workout clothes mainly for this reason, so if you have to always look high fashion or love video games and Netflix too much this place may not be for you.
9: The only fast food chains worth visiting are In-N-Out or Chipotle
I don't care how hungry you are or how rushed you feel... there is no reason to go to any fast food chain other than these. In fact, I'm sure most people who were born here want the others out. We can all sing the In-N-Out commercial song like it was a lullaby, and they are ethically run and pay their employees well, making them the only fast food chain that isn't a jerk. Chipotle claims all of their ingredients are non-GMO, and is sort of healthy (minus the sour cream, cheese and tortilla) and it's FAST! In-N-Out offers vegan and vegetarian options on its secret menu too, so what's not to like on the cheap?
8: If it's late at night taco stands or food trucks are your answer.
Visit the highest rated ones in your area. If you go to any of the major chains that aren't 24 hour diners that have been there for years, you have no excuse. Most are open all night or until 3 or 4 AM. I am allergic to nitrates so I avoid the street hot dogs even though they are delish after a night out.
7: Don't start smoking tobacco near a restaurant/bar or around people you don't know without asking first.
This is definitely one of those things I hate to mention since it is mostly a "live and let live" area, but we like our air clean as it can be since we already hate enduring smog and most of us want to drive a hybrid car if we don't already. It is also technically illegal to light up a cig or cigar within 20 feet of an establishment or restaurant. Even though most people will just ask you to move or put it out... you don't want to be that person who needs to be told. Oh, and if you light up a cigar on the patio at a bar or club EVERYONE HATES YOU! Do you mind if I smoke here? Will usually get you in the clear, and don't be mad if the person you ask says "no." Not to mention, cigarettes are vile and ruin your ability to taste, will eventually kill you, and aren't sexy so you should quit anyway, but you know that already so don't kill the messenger.
6: You need a car. You will spend a lot of time in your car. Be happy about it.
If you think you can taxi around or walk everywhere you won't be able to do much. We all zip around like x-wing pilots, and some people even do it in huge trucks, so get a car, learn to drive it well, and plan to spend a lot of money on gas while you meet people all over, or prepare to inconvenience everyone you meet by asking them for a ride. A 30 minute drive is a walk in the park for most of us. So much that we will usually drive 45 minutes just for dinner, good thing there are always cool things to stop and do on the way. Have an extensive music collection or a great conversation with your passenger. It's always worth it. The best food is in the valley, and there are places to see along the coast in each direction so you'll want to have a car.
5. We say funny words. Don't point it out.
Some of us will call a meal "dank" or say "hey" instead of hello. This does not mean we are not professionals and don't have an extensive vocabulary. Something can be "totally" great and you can be "rad" but not if you act like we are aliens from another planet. Got it?
4. The freeway is called a freeway, and the highway is called a highway.
Listen, we don't care what you say, that four-lane thing is called a freeway.. less lanes and 55mph - it's called a highway. There are highways in the desert that go up to 75mph but they are also less than four lanes. Get with it or look like an idiot when you don't know what a freeway is. Don't you watch movies? They call them freeways and you should too.
3. Protect the wildlife, and embrace it.
Do not touch wildlife. This means do not swim up to a Sea Lion, or go near one on the beach, and don't kill anything, not even snakes or tarantulas. Believe it or not, this was once a healthy and incredible ecosystem, and in some wildlife corridors it still is. Mountain lions are nearly decimated and deer get hit by cars on a regular basis, so act with love and not some weirdo attitude that makes you think you are the king of nature and not its servant. Go to town hall meetings and protect wildlife corridors if you live here. It is our only hope.
2. If you litter or think recycling is a joke. You are a problem.
Plastics are awful, need oil to be produced, and must be recycled. Use reusable bags or sustainable products at all costs. One of the many reasons is our very sensitive but amazingly vast marine life. If you must use these products (clean water on the go is important) then please for the sake of all that's holy recycle them and do not add them to our landfills, and do not allow your straws, cup lids, or sodas to get into our oceans and kill our fish, whales, dolphins and sea lions. They belong to the planet and you are ruining the ocean if you do this. Yes just one straw. On Memorial Day the beach looked like a dump, and this could not have been from locals.
1. Do not ever leave anything visible in your car. Ever, ever.
It's always the same old story for transplants... even the ones who have been here. You see the ocean, you pull over, you get out of the car and run towards the water to frolic, and when you return to the car your window is smashed and your stuff is gone. You're usually safe otherwise, and won't see much crime in most areas. Whether it be cheap sunglasses, change, phone, wallet, or purse with all your stuff in it: If it is visible, don't cry when your window is smashed. Hide everything and you should be safe, or better yet, lock your valuables in your truck or glove compartment. I usually just bring them with me. This rule should be worldwide but people don't know. Now you know. This list meant as a genuine PSA, and should be taken seriously. I love you.