Why I ‘hate’ Los Angeles

I have been to LA 5 times in the last 5 years. That’s quite a lot for someone who doesn’t even like the city. I’d much rather be going to New York each year or visiting new places. But every summer I attend VidCon and over the years I’ve accumulated more and more friends in LA (friends who already lived there, or since moved there – stop moving to LA, people!)

When I was 17 I visited New York City for 5 days and I just got it. I could feel the energy of the city and it spoke to me. This sounds so corny but it’s true. I feel at ease in New York, it makes sense to me. When I first went to LA I didn’t get it at all. I couldn’t immediately get a sense of its vibe and so it confused me. It was so sprawled out and I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t explore in the way I wanted. No-one walked. What the?! Being a Brit and living in London for the last year and a half walking is my jam. I walk everywhere. It’s how you discover new places to eat, drink and dance. In LA you have to know the cool places to go ahead of time and then drive there. And then you can’t drink because you’re driving. How uncivilised.

LA was soulless to me. It had no heart. Nothing pulling me towards it. Except bloody VidCon every year. I always thought LA was a great place to visit. I could see all my friends, hang out on the beach, go shopping in Santa Monica, get my nails done, maybe do some hiking. Maybe. But I couldn’t see myself living there. All that time spent in your car waiting in traffic. It taking hours just to get to the other side of the city. At least when I spent 40 minutes on the tube I can read my book. You can’t read whilst driving! I guess that’s why audio books and podcasts are so popular. But I love my physical books!

I was recently on a trip to Las Vegas and I thought I might as well go see my friends in LA for a few days whilst I’m in the area – “the area” being based on a British perception of the size of the USA. I was only there for 3 nights and I was staying with my friends who have a place by the beach (score!). I realised that this was my first in LA when VidCon wasn’t happening and I started to like it. I got to feel more of the rhythm of the city and hang out with my friends when they’re not stressed/exhausted from VidCon. I had a meeting in Hollywood about a new web series I’m making, I went to the Getty Museum with my friend Alex, I organised a dinner with a bunch of friends in Venice, went to brunch, hung out and filmed some videos with Laci and went to my friend Karen’s birthday drinks. That’s more like it.

Five days was all it took for me to fall in love with New York but it took me five years to fall in love with LA.

Are you an LA or New York kind of person? Or neither? Which city in the world would you love to live in? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Currently I live in Madrid, I’m actually from South America (Venezuela), and I really like it here in Spain. USA to me is more like a place where I can travel to but I don’t see myself living in NY (which I really love) or any other city in America. I guess i like Europe a lot more than America haha!

    Ps: i haven’t been in LA so NY i choose you!

  2. I’m a New York person which is why I think I love living in London so much they’re very similar in vibe to me. But I’ve never actually been to LA and I have friends who love it out there so who knows?! x

  3. I think I’d be more a NYC kind of person, if I could abide America. I dig cities with good public transport – London, Paris, Hamburg. Those kinds of places. Never been to the US, probably never will.

  4. I can’t do big cities. When I moved to England to teach in Thetford, most of my fellow Canadian teachers chose to live in Norwich, which is twice the size of the city where I grew up. I settled down in Bury St Edmunds instead and enjoyed it very much. The city where I live now is about 100 000 people, but it feels smaller.

    I understand what pulls some people to the energy and rhythm of larger communities, but I like the peace and quiet of small towns!

  5. I haven’t been to NYC, LA, or London, so I can’t be 100% sure, but I feel like none of those are the right place for me. LA is to laid back, and both London and NYC seem to busy and intense. I feel like Paris and maybe Amsterdam have the perfect balance of “busy” and “chill” for the type of lifestyle I’d like to have.

  6. Hmm as a person who has been to neither city and has no interest in going, this was interesting to read!
    But to answer your question I’m a neither kind of guy, I dislike big cities- Bristol where I live is as big as I’d like to live in!

  7. I’m originally from rural Vermont in the US, from a town with only a couple thousand people, dirt roads, and no traffic lights. As such, I wouldn’t want to live in either NYC or LA. Big cities make me anxious and nervous, what with the teeming masses of people and the huge buildings and so much going on. I can see why some people like it, and maybe I could get used to it, but for now I’ll stick to smaller cities!

  8. I haven’t been to LA or New York, but i visited London last year and fell in love with the city. The vibe of it is just great. And when you have locals to explore the city with it just has a very different feel to it. I’m planning on visiting New York next year after I’ve finished my degree and got a proper job. Sooo i guess I’m choosing New York over LA at least for now 😀

  9. I haven’t been to LA but I went to NYC last summer and actually found it a bit too overwhelming. I liked it enough but I definitely don’t love it like a lot of others do. Boston is my favourite American city (so far); it’s like NYC but more historical and smaller and I spent two months in the area so I guess there’s an emotional attachment there too. But London is always number 1 ?

  10. I’ve never been to either, but I get more of a pull to go to New York. I really want to visit there and maybe live there for a little bit, depending on how life goals. I feel like I’ll only visit LA, as nice as it looks I would hate having to drive everywhere!

    Jemima x

  11. I grew up “right around the corner” from LA; & by that I mean 1 hr or more away including the ever constant flow of traffic. As a kid I only knew it as ‘that place that’s close to Disneyland” & “that place where famous people like Britney Spears live”. It wasn’t till I was a teenager that I kind of understood the appeal. At least for my friends who wanted to be actors/musicians etc. But for me it wasn’t there. My aspirations were to be a writer not the next contestant on American Idol. I’m 22 now & I can honestly say I’ve only ever been there a handful of times despite living fairly “close”. The city itself feels too jam packed w/ people & cars & smog. And as a person who doesn’t drive & loves walking or riding a bike is way to spread out & disjointed. The only thing I like about that place is Hollywood Boulevard & Universal Studios/City Walk cause HP is coming to town!

    I’ve unfortunately never been given the opportunity to travel to NY; as much as I’ve wanted to. (It’s on my list right up there next to Italy & France). When I was 19 I traveled to England to meet my online friends. This was the first time I had been to Europe, a place I thought I would only be able to go once I was in my 30’s w/ a couple kinds & a wife. As a child I had heard so many stories from my Nannie & Grandad of them growing up in England. Europe became a mystical land that didn’t seem real, like something out of a fairytale. So the moment I stepped off the plane I felt like I was coming home. I got to walk around London for a few days give or take & the energy felt so beautiful, like anything could happen. The trip only lasted 2 1/2 wks, but it felt like a lifetime. Boy do I wish I could’ve stayed forever. A couple of my friends who lived in & around London thought it was insane that I wanted to live there; or in England in general. “HELLO! You live in AMERICA aka CALIFORNIA. it’s SUNNY over there! LA! HOLLYWOOD! OMG -insert famous actor/actress here; LIVES THERE WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO LEAVE THAT MAGICAL PLACE?! etc.” To which I responded “Yea and your point?! I’ve lived there my whole life, the “glamor” has since worn off”. (Then again it was never really there to begin w/). There hasn’t been a day since that I haven’t thought about England & wanted to go back, whether for the same amount of time or for longer. My life goal is to live there for a yr, if possible. Screw San Francisco; I left my heart in London.

    Sidenote: I do find it funny how people who’ve lived in a place for the majority of their lives can’t understand it when another person wants to live there. They go so far as to make excuses as to why everyone should stay far away, & how ridiculous that you don’t see the appeal of where you live. Almost as if because you were raised there you are apart of this strange ‘members only’ club. Are we saying this place isn’t good enough for our friends or is it another reason entirely. Something interesting to ponder.

    1. Isn’t it strange how the places that are closest to us we often don’t visit? I’ve spent 99% of my life within driving distance of Chicago, but I’ve only been there once as an adult. I’ve been to NYC more and it’s half way across the country.

  12. It has to be New York for me, i have been twice and i love it… I just loved the feel of it, even though it was a busy city, it didn’t bear down on me like other cities i have been experienced. I have never been to LA, but I would love to give it a go! Even though i liked New York, i REALLY loved Chicago… Now that is a city!!!

  13. Definitely LA, I’ve been in love since the very first time I’ve been there, would make it better if you could walk and live like in London , but I’m American so I’m used to driving. LA just has a magical feel to me where you can do or be anything you want.

  14. There is such a difference between visiting a place and living there. For me, day to day routines revolve around the ease of the lifestyle and a big part of that is the weather. In my early twenties I did the typical antipodean thing of heading off for London, travelling across the US for three months on the way. I lived in London for 18 months and loved it. After a period of adjusting, I fell into the groove of life in a big city, although to me London always felt more like a large town than the teeming metropolis that is New York. The weather is atrocious though and that getting dark thing a 3.30 pm in the winter is a total bummer. I have been back to NY several times and still get that surge of adrenalin when I get there. But as for living there – nah not so much.

    Los Angeles on the other hand was a place that I longed to visit right from when I was a kid. I visited several times and even lived in Southern California after I left London. I “got” LA right away. Maybe it is because I was used to having to drive to get anywhere as is the norm in Australia and New Zealand. The weather certainly is a plus too and there is definitely something about the Pacific Ocean that those who inhabit the shores of the Atlantic will never understand. I well remember flying into Los Angeles from London, via New York and catching my first glimpse of that beautiful blue for the first time in almost two years and somehow feeling like I was home again.

    As time has gone by however, I realise that priorities change, and the things that I thought were important in my twenties don’t seem to matter much any more. The constant hustle and the total irrelevance of you as a person (please don’t think of it as anonymity – it is not the same thing) of living in a big city make life somewhere calmer seem more appealing.

    My wife and I have been back to LA and NY in recent years and for me, the gloss has well worn off. Los Angeles hasn’t changed since I first visited in 1981. Sure, the edges of the place are now further out than ever, but to me, it really looks as if it has been caught in a time warp. And not in a good way! So much of it is looking old and tired and while in the 1980s a visit to the US felt like a peak into the future, I find now that the whole place feels decidedly behind the times. It is as if in trying to catch up, our part of the world went flying past and left the US in the rear view mirror. They can’t even manage to have a proper system of measurements for pete’s sake. How hot is 78 degrees anyway? And as for fluid ounces, don’t get me started!

    We moved to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland some 14 years ago and what it a joy it is to live somewhere that has better weather than LA, beaches to die for, sub tropical gardens and are only an hour away from a major Australian city. We have access to theatres, a wonderful gallery at GOMA, international flights, concerts, major sporting events, world class shopping and a lifestyle that most people would simply die for.

    So, back to the question – New York or LA. Neither thanks, happy to visit but really there are so many better options when it comes to day to day living.

  15. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I have this desire to visit LA, but I don’t think I’ll like it. For the reasons you’ve said above.
    I’ve visited several big cities in the southern half of the US (Phoenix, Austin, Memphis) and haven’t really liked any of them.
    But the big cities in the north, (NY, Chicago, Toronto) I’ve had great experiences.

    I’m not sure why.

  16. I’ve lived in Texas all my life, and I’ve barely been outside of it. I’ve never been to LA or NYC, so I don’t know, but NYC’s reputation scares me. Too busy, too many people, too much going on. LA sounds a lot like Texas, so I don’t feel motivated to move there. I always wanted to go to England when I was younger, but I think I loved the idea of it more than the reality. These days I’m not sure there’s any city where I’d feel at home. Maybe a nice rural, wooded area miles from anything would be more my speed. I think I just want to retreat from the world.

    I’m glad you finally love LA, since you’ll probably be visiting it often over the years!

  17. I totally understand what you’re saying here! Back in the end of December I traveled to Ireland for the first time and I have never felt so at peace anywhere in my life. I’m not really a city person myself, I have been to New York and with the exception of Kinokuniya bookstore, and central park, there aren’t many places there I like to go to. I think it’s too much hustle and bustle for me, and it’s kind of too much all at once. When I was in Ireland, I liked that Dublin wasn’t crazy busy and if it got to be too much you could hop on a bus and go out into the countryside for a bit. 🙂

  18. I am neither an LA or NY kind of person.

    LA and NY city are some of the dirtiest, crummy, congested, unfriendly places on the planet.

    I live in Orlando, FL and like it, … if you like sweat dripping off your nose. If you go out in the summer you have to wear sunscreen and long sleeve shirts (I have had four melanomas from the beach). I love the beaches, fishing, and the seafood. (I have been to the attractions enough, that they don’t interest me). That puts some perspective on my opinions about NY and LA.

    Orlando, has become a place where Spanish is almost a requirement to do much of anything. Creole is often spoken, and there is a Haitian consulate here.

    Traffic is OK, but we have virtually no mass transit.

    I traveled around the country (US) on business for 25 years, and have visited almost any city in the US. There a lot of better places than LA and NY.

    Am planning solo trips to Britain and Israel this year.

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