A few days ago I had a reader ask me if I could put together a blog post about moving to The City of Angels - what it's like, what I did, what kind of tricks I may have up my sleeve, etc. - and I thought that was a great idea. I'm no pro at cross-country moves, but I did gain some insight and experience with my journey out west that I'd love to share with anyone who is considering taking the big, giant leap.
First, there are a few things you'll need:
- A kick-ass support system. This will mean different things to different people, but for me it was my mom. She not only 100% supported my decision to move 2,000-some miles away from home, but she also helped me do it. She was the one who sat shotgun through 13 states, she paid for the gas and hotel rooms that I otherwise would not have been able to afford, and she helped me move everything that was packed in my car into my new apartment. I honestly could not have made the move without her.
That being said - a support system is something different to everyone. You might have the finances to make a huge move, but you need someone who'll answer your phone calls at every point down the literal road when you need to hear someone say, "YOU CAN DO IT. KEEP GOING." Find that someone.
- A car. Los Angeles is a commuter's city. It's possible (but very rare) that someone can live in this city without a car. So there are a few ways of doing it:
- Driving the car you already own out to LA
- Shipping the car you already own out to LA and flying yourself here
- Selling the car you already own back at home and putting that money towards a new car once you've already flown out here
I did my research into each option, and I found that driving my car out and packing in everything that would fit was just the cheapest way for me to get to Cali. It also meant I got to take an awesome road trip with my mom, which was one for the books.
- An apartment. Or house. Or loft. Or whatever. There are a ton of different resources to find a living space, and if possible it's always best to rent through mutual friends (I found my first apartment through OU alumni). But if you don't know anyone out here who can keep their ears open for you, there are tons of great resources you can use to find a place. And don't be surprised if Craigslist is the most useful - I found my new apartment on Craigslist and know a few others who have found housing there as well. But if you're insistent on steering clear of Craigslist, you can try some of these websites/apps:
I could write an entire post on different neighborhoods and their cost of rent/nightlife/restaurant scene/etc - and maybe I will do that at another time. But each neighborhood in LA has its own vibe and characteristics - but some of the ones I'm most familiar with are listed here - research at your leisure!
- Santa Monica - prepare to pay ridiculous rent prices, but the small beach town feel with big city access is worth it to many
- West Hollywood - one of the most trendy areas of town with a bangin' nightlife and bar scene - also known as one of the gay capitals of the U.S. of A!
- Culver City - closer to the west side of town, it's quick access to Venice beach or Santa Monica. The area is safe and the downtown area is walk-able with lots of great restaurants and bars
- Silverlake & Echo Park - known as the "hipster capital of Los Angeles," these neighborhoods have plenty of eclectic cafes and yoga studios
- Downtown - where you live when you really want that "big city" lifestyle. It has a New York City feel with fewer people and more palm trees
- "The Valley" - comprised of Glendale, Burbank, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Studio City, Sherman Oaks and way more cities - you can save a ton of money by living up and over the hills in any of these areas
- Pico Robertson - MY HOOD! If you didn't catch my recent post about the move, Sam and I just moved to the area and so far we're happy with it! It's very central, so I can get to work in Santa Monica and Sam can get to work in the valley. It's super family-friendly, quiet and calm with easy access to lots of parts of the city.
Like I said - there are SO many neighborhoods to check out - and so many I have yet to explore!
In short, LA is an incredible city that I've grown to love in the 16 months I've called "the 310" home. I love that the beaches are close and the mountains aren't far away, and I can't say I miss the snow and icy Midwest winters. But I will say this: LA isn't for everyone. Just like New York, or Miami, or Portland or Austin isn't for everyone. The best advise I can give is to do your research, ask questions, and VISIT. Come get a feel for the city and immerse yourself in the day-to-day life as best as your can before committing your life to living here. And if you can't do that...sometimes winging it isn't the worst thing. It keeps things exciting.
As always - ask any questions I may not have answered! Use me as a resource. And for those of you that have no interest whatsoever in moving to LA and you still made it to the end of this post - marry me.