L.A. One of the most tourist driven places in the world. This year I went on my second trip to the city of angels, the first being in 2009 and I can honestly say, twice is more than enough. The celebrity capital of the world is filled with tourists, is smoggy, dirty and filled with some of the rudest people I have ever encountered. But here’s a more detailed list of why I think it’s very overrated.
2020 update: I actually think L.A has a lot more to offer now and this was just how I felt at the time of writing, after two not so great experiences in L.A. Take it with a grain of salt, because I know some people who say it’s their favourite city, but it just wasn’t mine and that is okay!
One of my most vivid memories from my first trip at just 15 years old was the scary people I encountered on Hollywood Boulevard. I remembered homeless people screaming out, hip-hop artists trying to shove their ‘talent’ down my throat and too many people dressed in cheap, stained costumes trying to get money for every photo. I am sad to say, that in 2014 it was no different. The men were very creepy (I was a young blonde girl walking the streets alone) and overly intimidating. If they weren’t intimidating, they were extremely rude. One day, on the public bus armed with my suitcase, a local forcibly pushed my suitcase out of his way complaining and almost had me in tears.
This was my ‘view’ of the city of Los Angeles. The pollution was so thick, I could hardly make out the sky rise buildings that weren’t all that far away. Not only does it affect the view, but when walking around downtown L.A or Hollywood I would encounter horrible smells. The streets are very dirty and filled with litter. Beverly Hills is a nice breath of fresh air… literally, and was easily the nicest area around L.A. I would definitely recommend spending an afternoon there to check out Rodeo Drive and the amazing cafes and restaurants in the area. Be sure to check out the famous Il Pastaio for the best pasta in town (and affordable).
No celebrities in sight
This is undoubtedly one of the main reasons tourists flock to L.A, but your bubble is about to be burst because celebrities actually avoid the area and spend their time in their security manned gated communities. I did a ‘celebrity homes’ tour and was very sad I wasted the money afterwards because most houses that you can drive up to are covered with walls or trees to of course block people for their privacy. Who’s to know if these homes REALLY belong to who they say they do? If you’re really into your celebs it might be cool, but I wasn’t overly excited by it all.
I enjoyed San Diego & San Fransisco a lot more
San Diego is a very short drive from L.A and free from the swarms of first time travellers. The beautiful and endless options of beaches, year-round great weather, relaxed attitude and close proximity to Mexico make it an incredible city. Old Town is a major highlight being the closest thing to a Mexican experience without crossing the border. La Jolla and Coronado Island are other major highlights.
San Fransisco, whilst a fair way from L.A, is one of the most interesting cities I have ever been to. The Golden Gate Bridge is remarkable along with historic Alcatraz Island and the famous cable car experience. The Mission area is a must for the alternative crowd. The beautiful buildings ranging from the Victorian to the Modern and everything in between make every street a new experience. San Fransisco did however, have a large number of homeless people. In saying that they tended to stick to the one area (the Tenderloin) and I was rarely bothered by them elsewhere.
Once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it.
Having done Disneyland and Universal Studios when I was 15 and not being a big ‘theme park’ lover, I wouldn’t rush back for those reasons. I believe I’ve done it all and due to the factors above, I didn’t love it. Other cities around the world such as New York, San Fransisco, London and Prague have me screaming for more, no matter how many times I have been (I have been to New York 7 times and counting), but in my opinion, L.A is not one of them.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the city of angels, after all, I am only one person with one opinion..