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Old 08-10-2009, 12:37 AM
 
10,141 posts, read 14,904,073 times
Reputation: 6125

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Downtown LA was always the number one thing I did with all of my out-of-town friends and family when they visited. We'd take the train or the subway (depending on our location at the time) in, then wander around, thereby getting rid of several stereotypes at one time: (a) there is no public transportation in LA, (b) there is no downtown, (c) downtown, if there is one, has no street life, and (d) LA has no history.

I think there are tourists out there who try to find the "real" LA, or at least the LA beyond the standard tourist stops, but it can be difficult to find, and I wonder if some of the people most interested in that sort of thing tend to go elsewhere for vacations because they buy into the stereotypes, too. Even the better guidebooks still have a tendancy to focus on the traditional sites. I understand that, to a point -- the Venice Boardwalk is worth a visit, as is the SM Pier -- but I wish there was more of an emphasis to point out some of the other stuff. Of course many tourists don't want to see that; they're coming to LA because they want to experience the stereotypical LA vision of palm trees, beaches, celebrities, and glamour. There's nothing wrong with that, either, other than the fact that so many people end up leaving believing that that's the "only" LA. It's like if someone spent their entire vacation in Manhattan hanging out on the Upper East Side and went home thinking they knew the "real" NYC. It's one reality, but one of many. That's what makes these large American cities so interesting.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:43 AM
 
1,447 posts, read 3,521,098 times
Reputation: 1431
Quote:
Originally Posted by BergenCountyJohnny View Post
L.A. is a truly great city, and most of the L.A. bashing that goes on is based on ignorance and prejudice based on negative stereotypes spread in the media. It's really, at this point, my favorite city, and I consider it on par with NY in most things, as well as seeing how it is ahead of NY in some things.
great post. i mentioned this in another thread, but IMO LA is an easy target for the haters. there are several reasons for this, but one of the most significant of these is that the city simply hasn't received the massive amount of hype and positive buzz in recent years that nyc has enjoyed since the mid-1990s. plus, it's obvious to me that quite a few of the naysayers enjoy "piling on" LA based on stereotypes, half-truths, and what they think they know, rather than what they have actually seen and experienced themselves.

it's ok if someone doesn't like LA, as we all have different priorities, budgets, interests, and expectations. but it's disturbing how so many folks have reached their conclusion about the city based on hearsay or some lame tv show/movie rather than extensive first-hand experience. because of its sheer size and diversity, LA offers different things for different people, but far too many of the haters seem to think that the one little slice of LA that they've experienced is representative of the region as a whole, rather than recognizing it as a single element in a multilayered kaleidoscope of neighborhoods, cultures, cuisines, climates, and so forth. and then there are the people who just aren't big city people, but seem to think that LA's big city issues are unique to LA.

one thing i've come to realize is that many people don't want to view LA with an open mind. i guess it's more convenient for them to reduce such a complex region into a handful of less-than-flattering stereotypes. LA is far from perfect, but it seems to receive so much more venom for its flaws (real and alleged) than other regions with similar/equivalent shortcomings that happen to be trendy at the moment.

as far as i'm concerned, a city like LA will always have a bulls-eye on its back. its relative level of trendiness will fluctuate depending on popular tastes and media coverage, but ultimately LA will always be the object of people's affection, revulsion, and everything in between.

Last edited by pbergen; 08-10-2009 at 01:53 AM..
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:29 AM
 
Location: Pasadena
1,285 posts, read 1,862,588 times
Reputation: 1207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Inquirer View Post
wow so you base your facts off of some stupid website anyone hardly see? Dude LA is a great tourist place. When MJ died tourist were all over the place.
OK, if you have friends visiting LA for three days, where should they stay? What should they do? I mean if you have uptown_urbanist as your tour guide I'm sure she can give you a fantastic experience. If you have me as your tour guide I'm pretty sure I can give you a fantastic LA experience too.

The reality of the situation is - it's a really tough city for tourists. People who go to SF can stay at Union Square. People who go to NYC can stay in Manhattan. Sure you won't get the "real" SF experience in Union Square and the Fishermans Wharf but what you get is decent and you still feel you're in SF. And it's pretty easy to find a lot of good restaurants in NYC or SF - they are very close to the tourist centers and it's pretty easy to navigate and a cab can easily take you there. Same thing with Chicago. Same thing with Philadelphia. Same thing with DC. Same thing with pretty much every large American city.

But LA? If you stay downtown you pretty much have to travel to get to any of the amenities. Staying in Hollywood (the tourist part), Beverly Hills or Santa Monica pretty much puts you in West Side or Tourist Central, and getting out of West LA to go anywhere is not exactly easy for newbies visiting for the first time. You have to deal with traffic patterns that are unusual and frustrating to people who don't understand the city. You have to deal with a public transportation system that is spotty, but certainly underrated. You have to deal with large amounts of travel to get from location to location. You can't just stay downtown and get to a large number of amentities with a 2-3 mile cab ride like you can in most cities. That's why it's a crappy city for tourists.

I love LA and I think it's an amazing city. But for a newbie coming to LA without a real good tour guide or a real knowledgeable person helping them, it's really difficult to navigate. IMO it's a pretty thin argument trying to say it's a great tourist city - it's not. But to be honest, part of what makes it a bad tourist city is what makes it a great city to live in. The amenities are diverse and spread out - you don't have to live in one specific area to be "close to the action" - it's everywhere. The unruliness creates really diverse and awesome, distinct neighborhoods, it creates so many hidden gems, it creates a city where the savvy and knowledgeable have a huge leg up over the neophyte. Sometimes being tough for tourists is why it's so great for locals.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:08 AM
 
10,141 posts, read 14,904,073 times
Reputation: 6125
Great point about the very things that make LA a tough tourist city making it a nice place to live. You can live in LA for years and never need to worry about getting bored. I know I've posted similar sentiments on other threads, but there's always something new to see, somewhere near to go. It changes all the time, too, so by the time you think you've seen it all there will be a whole new crop of interesting things to check out. And if you're living in LA you don't have to worry about fitting it all into one tightly packed vacation; there's always the next weekend, after all.

Hmm.. I'm not sure what my three-day vacation would be. I think I'd first give up the idea of seeing it all, and just figure that it's all the more reason to come visit another time! I think my itinerary would be: stay in Hollywood, then day 1: downtown, day 2: Hollywood and Griffith Park/Los Feliz, day 3: Pasadena (taking the bus one way, gold line back the other way), with maybe an afternoon/evening drive to Santa Monica and back (stopping for dinner in there somewhere). There are so many other things that would be fun, too; San Pedro, Venice, Koreatown, Sierra Madre (love the jam factory there - one of those unexpected LA experiences), museums of all sorts, etc.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:45 AM
 
1,447 posts, read 3,521,098 times
Reputation: 1431
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
Downtown LA was always the number one thing I did with all of my out-of-town friends and family when they visited. We'd take the train or the subway (depending on our location at the time) in, then wander around, thereby getting rid of several stereotypes at one time: (a) there is no public transportation in LA, (b) there is no downtown, (c) downtown, if there is one, has no street life, and (d) LA has no history.

I think there are tourists out there who try to find the "real" LA, or at least the LA beyond the standard tourist stops, but it can be difficult to find, and I wonder if some of the people most interested in that sort of thing tend to go elsewhere for vacations because they buy into the stereotypes, too. Even the better guidebooks still have a tendancy to focus on the traditional sites. I understand that, to a point -- the Venice Boardwalk is worth a visit, as is the SM Pier -- but I wish there was more of an emphasis to point out some of the other stuff. Of course many tourists don't want to see that; they're coming to LA because they want to experience the stereotypical LA vision of palm trees, beaches, celebrities, and glamour. There's nothing wrong with that, either, other than the fact that so many people end up leaving believing that that's the "only" LA. It's like if someone spent their entire vacation in Manhattan hanging out on the Upper East Side and went home thinking they knew the "real" NYC. It's one reality, but one of many. That's what makes these large American cities so interesting.
very well said.

the problem with stereotypes about cities - especially the really large, diverse ones - is that even if those stereotypes are true to an extent, they don't come close to capturing the wide range of people, experiences, and cultures. as you said, there are many realities in a major city like los angeles, and the reality that presents itself to one person may never become a part of another person's life in that same city. the truth is that these are all equally important and representative facets of the city's personality.

that's why i strongly prefer living in large, diverse cities:
no matter how much i explore, there's always something i haven't discovered - sometimes out in the open, right under my nose.
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:20 AM
 
Location: In a Lonely Place
230 posts, read 383,818 times
Reputation: 251
Quote:
Originally Posted by LASam View Post
I choose to believe people vote with their feet... and the 17 million people living in the metro area apparently don't agree with the 3,400 people in your survey.
About half of the 17 million couldn't read the survey in order to agree or disagree in the first place.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:44 AM
 
Location: West LA
2,318 posts, read 4,992,972 times
Reputation: 1050
Quote:
Originally Posted by SF49ers View Post
And how would you explain the large metro population of Detroit? Or Dallas? None of them are particularly fabulous are they?

People move where the opportunities are and LA's golden days (booming economy, lots of land) have long and past. Large amounts of illegals helped the population too. Are you oblivious to the population trends nowadays? Hint: Massive exodus out of LA.
According to Wikipedia, the MSA population of LA has increased 4.1% since 2000. San Francisco is up only 3.66%... Guess San Francisco is less desireable than LA by your logic. Detroit's population was down .62% and who says there's anything wrong with Dallas?
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:31 PM
 
6 posts, read 13,520 times
Reputation: 11
I don't know I've never had a bad impression of LA. Maybe because I first went there when I was 5. I love LA, but something about New York keeps me here.
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:23 PM
 
Location: CITY OF ANGELS AND CONSTANT DANGER
5,405 posts, read 7,970,741 times
Reputation: 2175
great post!!! i love LA and am suprised how much people bash on it, given how much they really know about it.

we can always stand to learn something new.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Inglewood, CA
1,575 posts, read 1,538,101 times
Reputation: 797
Excellent post and I enjoyed reading it. Very entertaining!

LA blew me away when I first visited 20 years ago as well. So much so that I moved here within a year. Other cities are nice, and I could live in the NYC or Bay areas and enjoy it, but they aren't LA.
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