Moving to LA
December 4, 2013 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I've just recently come back from a week-long vacation to Los Angeles where I got to stay with my aunt and we had a great time seeing things and visiting places. The weather was amazing and I realistically thought it was the best vacation I have ever been on. She really wants me to move there.

I'm 22 years old, working as a mobile developer, and I live in a terrible place (still... but have been really getting to the point where I can actually move on due to a better income and other circumstances. I also study part time and go to Brooklyn College (currently one day a week due to work and the need to not feel completely cramped time-wise). I just started my current job a month ago, but I don't feel that lingering around New York will improve anything.

My aunt says that she can help me there in California (potentially staying with her until I finally get a job, find a place... I do get job interview offers through LinkedIn/email/etc. pretty often lately...). As opposed to the rest of my family who lives in New York (part of it religious and the rest of it a bunch of scummy leeches).

Is moving to LA a good thing to do? I can and will manage even with public transport and New York weather is just depressing me. I feel that even better weather will improve things for me.
posted by antgly to Travel & Transportation (27 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
If there is a better situation in which to move cross-country than when you're a 22-year-old software developer with family you can stay with, I can't think of it. The only thing that would make it better would be if you already had a job lined up.

I think you should do it, or at least start applying for jobs out there. You don't like where you are! You like California! It doesn't have to be a permanent decision!
posted by mskyle at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Come on out. We'd love to have you.
posted by mykescipark at 11:54 AM on December 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


DO IT. You hate where you live now, and your aunt (who I assume you get along with) offered to let you crash for awhile. Start looking for jobs out west, but with the offer of a free place to stay, if I were you I'd just take the plunge. From the situation you've laid out, I seriously doubt you'd regret your decision.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 11:56 AM on December 4, 2013


DO IT! Great food, culture, nice people (my best friendship group ever was in Santa Monica- man, I miss that crowd)

And just in case someone tries to say that the weather won't solve your problems- well they either live somewhere warm, or have never lived somewhere warm. You can get out more and be more active- its great.
posted by misspony at 12:10 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes. I finally realized my California dream by moving to LA in 1987. Had to leave in '94, and now I'm becalmed up here in Silicon Valley, but I'd move back to LA in a heartbeat (media's better down there), best thing I ever did.
posted by Rash at 12:13 PM on December 4, 2013


I feel like easily half the people I know in L.A. came here -- like me -- to escape lousy weather and to push the restart buttons on their lives. And you know what? I don't know anyone who regrets it. Come on out! L.A. is great!
posted by scody at 12:14 PM on December 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


From the Southbay to the Valley
From the Westside to the Eastside
Everybody's very happy
'Cause the sun is shining all the time

Do it. Moving here was the best decision I ever made. It's a wonderful city, it really is.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:15 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you are a good mobile developer and you live on the west side, you can fall out of bed and get three job offers before you hit the ground. If you send me a MeFi mail with questions about the area, the companies, or the industry, I will gladly send you one back with answers.

Do it.
posted by milqman at 12:22 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh hell yes. Bring those coding fingers, and come ride the wave of the tech boom here in Silicon Beach (ugh, I hate that nickname, but still).

I think you'll find it intoxicating (while the boom lasts). It just seems like a fantastically fun window of opportunity for a young person with your skills...the young 'un tech social scene here is off the chains. (It's even still fun as an old codger in tech.)

Come on out! With your aunt having your back, you are perfectly positioned to rock this thing.
posted by nacho fries at 12:23 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You have supportive family here and you are 22 and you have skills that fit with jobs we have here! NO BETTER TIME to move somewhere! Come on out to LA!
posted by Countess Sandwich at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If there is a better situation in which to move cross-country than when you're a 22-year-old software developer with family you can stay with, I can't think of it.

I heartily second this comment. I moved to LA when in a similar position, except that I was just moving from a couple hours away and had a job lined up. I rented from my cousin for about a year before moving closer to my work, and getting the leg up with reduced rent from her gave me the chance to save up, look for a better job, and in general safely establish myself in LA as a 22-year old recent grad. You're pretty much in the best possible position to make a big move like that.

I can and will manage even with public transport

I will note that I think it's a pain in the ass to navigate life in LA without a car, but that depends on where your aunt lives and where you end up working. Your commute will really affect your quality of life, so do what you can to arrange your life so that you spend a minimum amount of time in traffic. Just as an example, I really enjoy living and working in West LA/Santa Monica, and would find it doable if more annoying without a car, but I need to drive around a lot to visit friends and family and for work.

But really, go for it! You've got a great opportunity to make a change, you should take it. Just make sure you work things out with your aunt in a clear way (how long can you stay with her? will she want you to pay rent? where are you gonna keep your stuff? etc.) to avoid any miscommunication about your mutual expectations.
posted by yasaman at 12:33 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's important to think of where you want to live in LA, *especially* if you are public transport dependent. There are crappy areas of LA to live in which you should steer clear of (I'd advise against downtown (though that has undergone a lot of gentrification - it is still underpopulated) and the area around USC for instance), there are wonderful areas of LA to live in. Public transport (the LA metro and buses are are actually of fairly good quality but the reach of the former is not that great (but improving over the long term), and the frequency of the latter can often be problematic) is actually a bit more common in crappy areas. The best areas, weather-wise, in LA to live are by the beach - Santa Monica and Venice ( the East side gets too hot in summer; on the other hand, East side is where 99% of the good Chinese food is), but there's no metro there yet (one day!) except to Long Beach ,which is kind of far from the center of LA. For nice areas with metro, maybe the Hollywood/Los Feliz area (both on the red line ; hipster central Silver Lake is also doable with bus/metro combo) or Pasadena (on the gold line - the nicest metro line by far.) These will all be pricey though. Somewhere more low-rent like Koreatown (purple line near red line) or Highland Park (gold line) might be a nice compromise.

It is totally possible to live without the car in LA and live happily and enjoy many things - it's just that you will miss out on a lot of the huge city, have less freedom, and will always be trying to get a ride with friends to events outside of the metro network. Given your mobile development career background, I'd suggest trying for a job in the "Silicon Beach" interactive/dot com cluster near Venice - but that will be a lot easier with a car.
posted by Bwithh at 1:21 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Earlier I left the house and it was so cold I decided to go back and switch my flip-flops for sneakers. And I live in Santa Monica, the coldest part of the area. Do it!

As others have mentioned, "moving to LA" is really just the top of the flow chart when it comes to deciding where exactly to live, but as far as your particular yes/no, I can't think of a more optimal combination of factors in a potential transplant.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:01 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


You will eventually get a car. Probably sooner rather than later - DO IT!!!
posted by jbenben at 2:06 PM on December 4, 2013


I am going to be the lone dissenter and say that staying in LA for vacation is categorically not the same thing as living there unless you have lots of money. Shoot for Pasadena instead if you can afford it, but if you're trying to stick to a really low budget, I don't think you're going to enjoy yourself as much long-term.

// I grew up in LA, was born there, lived there as an adult two years ago, am never going back, and I love cities
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:20 PM on December 4, 2013


FYI, here at Saltmine U, Academic Technology Services is looking for a mobile developer.

I'm an LA native; if you have specific questions, feel free to MeMail me.
posted by culfinglin at 2:47 PM on December 4, 2013


I moved to LA from Brooklyn when I was 20 because I realized that despite what everyone says that New York is an absolutely objectively terrible place to live.

Best decision I ever made. I'm never leaving. Come on out and bring a car.
posted by jnnla at 2:49 PM on December 4, 2013


LA is great and it sounds like you're in prime position to do it. One thing worth mentioning is that, for the vast majority of people, having a car is a huge advantage. Sure, it's possible to get by without one, but unless you are really into biking or don't mind spending a decent amount of time on mass transit, having a car will really open LA up for you. This is an insanely big city and much of it will be cut off to you without one, for all intents and purposes.

TL;DR - you need a car.
posted by dhammond at 3:02 PM on December 4, 2013


Do it. It will also be easier to look for work up in the Bay Area - which is also wonderful - if you're already out here.
posted by mdonley at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2013


The tech industry here does seem to be steadily growing, the epicenter is along Santa Monica and Venice. To me that is not ideal, as I don't want to live on the westside but work in Venice so my commute isn't great. If you're looking at the startup/etc scene, there's a good chance you'd end up working over there so keep that in mind when looking at places to live (if you decided to live in Pasadena and got a job in Santa Monica you'd be hating life).

There are jobs everywhere of course, but there is a greater concentration of tech jobs in SM/Venice. The westside isn't horrible, the weather is slightly better than the rest of LA but the people/culture are slightly worse IMO. YMMV.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2013


There are jobs everywhere of course, but there is a greater concentration of tech jobs in SM/Venice. The westside isn't horrible, the weather is slightly better than the rest of LA but the people/culture are slightly worse IMO. YMMV.

I am an East Sider to the core, but a lot of people prefer living on the West Side to the extent that conventional wisdom is "West is best". Having no idea what the OP likes and is like, various West Side neighborhoods could be a great fit.

I think it's easier to enjoy LA with a car, but you can survive without one. Lots of people do it. Quite a few of my friends manage just fine without cars, but their worlds are geographically smaller than mine.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 3:42 PM on December 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Car depends entirely on where you live relative to where you work. I know people at my office who live in SM/Venice and either don't have cars or almost never use htem.

If you need to commute to the West Side from anywhere else, you're going to want a car. Central/East LA have more options (subway, etc) but connection to the westside from the rest of LA is either car or bus, and there are not many good bus options (inside the westside there are better options like Santa Monica's bus system).

Someday there will be subway connections to the westside, but thats like 5-10 years away IIRC.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:56 PM on December 4, 2013


The subway (actually, above-ground rail) terminating near the beach in Santa Monica is scheduled to complete in 2015; and the choo-choos already service Culver City, with connecting buses to SM/Venice.

Don't sweat the car until you get here and decide it's something you want (or not).
posted by nacho fries at 4:02 PM on December 4, 2013


"The westside isn't horrible, the weather is slightly better than the rest of LA but the people/culture are slightly worse IMO. YMMV."

Yeah, that's pretty much it. Westside is more burby.

Still, I moved here about, God, seven years ago now from Michigan, and absolutely love LA. Fuck yeah, man, come on out. Then call a meetup!
posted by klangklangston at 5:21 PM on December 4, 2013


I didn't want to come to Los Angeles, I haven't really settled into Los Angeles as much as I'd like after 13+ years, and I am still going to say come on out. For someone your age, there's a lot to like about this city.
posted by davejay at 5:42 PM on December 4, 2013


Culver City

Ah, yes. Forgot to mention that. Now that Culver City has metro that's a good compromise to be kinda near Santa Monica , and it's a nice area in its own right
posted by Bwithh at 5:47 PM on December 4, 2013


I pretty much hate LA and I would say "hell yes". Go. Or go to Seattle, or somewhere else. This is the time of your life to do that. This is the time to have new experiences.

It doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, there’s a chance something great will happen, and if it doesn’t what have you got to lose? You go there, you hate it, you go somewhere else. Years later, when it comes up in conversation you can say "I lived in LA for a while". Or you meet the love of your life, enter a dream career you never even thought about, and make friends for the rest of your life, any or all or which lead you somewhere else. Or all of the above.

LA is good for meeting people, starting something, and starting over. It’s a gateway, even if you don’t know you’re looking for one. If you sit in an apartment, watch TV and work at an average job it’s a really crappy place to live.

LA is made up of people just like you in their 20’s who moved there for the same reason you will (most of who will leave in a couple years), people just like you who moved there a few years ago, and a few of their descendants. And half of them moved from a country other than the US. It’s not possible to be an outsider, people just like to pretend it is.
posted by bongo_x at 6:32 PM on December 4, 2013


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