Tell me what I need to know about living in LA
October 25, 2011 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Moving back to LA. What do I need to know?

Moving back in January after a 20 year absence and looking for insider's perspectives. Tips, what to avoid, what to take advantage of, etc.

A few things to know:

I will be living in Hollywood
I will be carless (I know it's better to have a car, but I don't and won't)
I will be looking for work, and am an arts critic
I like adventures
I am gluten free and a vegetarian, or, as I call it, the most obnoxious diet in the world
I like well-made cocktails

Tell me what you would tell anybody who is about to move. Except: Don't move to LA. If you dislike it, consider moving away, but I have always loved LA, and miss is, and will be glad to be back.
posted by Bunny Ultramod to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
20 years? I guess one big change is the rail system. They're pretty good, particularly if you live near a stop. Find a place near the red line and you'll have east access to a bunch of the city. Downtown will be particularly easy to get to (getting between Hollywood and Downtown is probably easier by subway than by car most of the time), and next month the Expo line opens to Culver City (it will eventually go to Santa Monica).
posted by mr_roboto at 12:46 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

In Hollywood for gluten free and vegan -- you're going to want to try M Cafe, Hugos (amazing) and Vegan Glory (ask for Bragg sauce instead of soy sauce on anything to avoid gluten, and they're very aware of gluten issues). You'll be please to learn that, in Hollywood, your obnoxious diet is relatively common.
posted by iamscott at 1:05 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: You'll be please to learn that, in Hollywood, your obnoxious diet is relatively common.

I am pleased by that. Thanks!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:06 PM on October 25, 2011

Hollywood is arguably a lot nicer than when you left. Not every single block, but there's been a lot of urban renewal going on. Rents are also up, so is your place already settled?
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:06 PM on October 25, 2011

Response by poster: I've got a lead on a place on Cherokee, but if anybody has suggestions, they'd be appreciated.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:08 PM on October 25, 2011

Real Food Daily is another good veg restaurant. And Follow Your Heart, but it's out in Canoga Park and if you're carless that probably isn't going to be very accessible.
posted by something something at 1:19 PM on October 25, 2011

Response by poster: Well, that's only about two hours by train, or three by car.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:28 PM on October 25, 2011

There are also countless Well-Made Cocktail places in Hollywood -- the Library Bar at the Roosevelt looks like a salad bar, half the time, there are so many fresh ingredients going into things. Depending where you end up, that will possibly be walkable for you. Thirsty In LA is a great LA cocktails reference and a good place to start.

If you're not going to get a car, maybe consider a bike? Lots LOTS more people biking in LA now, and it might make getting from A to Z easier for you in certain instances.

Welcome back!
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:28 PM on October 25, 2011

Response by poster: I'll be doing some extra work, and apparently you can get a bump for having your own bike with some regularity, so that's definitely in the cards.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:29 PM on October 25, 2011

There is a Real Food Daily on La Cienega near Beverly Blvd in WeHo.
posted by jbenben at 1:30 PM on October 25, 2011

Cole's has a speakeasy. They do a great Monte Carlo.
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:30 PM on October 25, 2011

Honestly, if you live in Hollywood as opposed to near Hollywood, travelling by bicycle and rail might actually put you at an advantage, as traffic into and out of Hollywood has gotten so miserable that I don't even like to go to Los Angeles at all anymore (I live in Orange County near the Los Angeles County border).
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:50 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Really really good cocktails, you say? Try Tiki-Ti.

Griffith Park Observatory has been re-done. Totally worth checking out, especially during the clear weather.

Welcome back to L.A.!
posted by Temeraria at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

I live in Hollywood. Since you won't have a car, if you'd like to have easy access to downtown - and actually quite a lot of LA - I HIGHLY suggest living within an easy walk of a rail station. I would make that your number one priority when finding an apartment, in fact.
posted by insectosaurus at 2:30 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well if it's cocktails you're after and you're downtown: Varnish, the Edison and Seven Grand are all great.
posted by ob at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2011

Response by poster: Tiki-Ti is the first tiki bar I ever went to. I go back every time I visit. When I move back, I intend to drink every cocktail they offer.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:08 PM on October 25, 2011

Check out Veggie Grill. There's a few locations close to Hollywood (one nearish West Hollywood, another in Farmers Market). I personally haven't been but many friends enjoy it and they do have gluten free options.

If you live near the subway station in Hollywood, you are actually not that bad off, as long as you aren't trying to get to the Westside (Santa Monica, Venice, etc). It's rather easy to get to Downtown, North Hollywood, Pasadena, etc. Pair it with a bike and you'll probably get to places faster than your friends with cars and you won't worry about traffic and parking. The busses aren't too bad and generally you can find out a way to get anywhere (especially if you bring a bike since you can attach them to busses now), but it requires patience as it may take even a few hours to get somewhere relatively "close."
posted by xtine at 3:09 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Between the light rail and Metrolink, having a car isn't as necessary as it once was. They're also getting more bike-friendly.
posted by luckynerd at 3:21 PM on October 25, 2011

Floré on Sunset near Hyperion has pretty tasty vegan and gluten-free food. I hear there is a Babycakes somewhere downtown.

As someone who primarily gets around without a car, I find the bike+train combination to be incredibly useful. In general, I can get to places on my bike a lot faster than on the bus. The train helps get me go a little further (or when I'm feeling lazy). This does mean that I really don't go certain places (ie the westside) unless I am in a car.

We live in East Hollywood near a red line stop and are pretty happy with being near stuff without being in the middle of it. We have a well stocked corner market where I can get cheap produce and corn tortillas. There is a Jon's less than a mile away. If we wanted to, we could stumble home from Tiki Ti. I don't have the constitution to deal with the clusterfuck that is Hollywood Blvd around Vine and Highland on a regular basis. But, if you want to live in the thick of Hollywood, there is a now a Trader Joe's at Selma and Vine. And a Fresh and Easy at ~Orange and Hollywood.

If you want adventure, I know that these apartments by the high tower are being remodeled and will be on the market soon.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:35 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

(on the market=for rent)
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:35 PM on October 25, 2011

Well, that's only about two hours by train, or three by car.

Not really. I think you should spend time getting from one place to another to figure out how long it takes...

Although seriously, your attitude is GREAT for LA. You will show up everywhere early...spectacular!
posted by hal_c_on at 3:56 PM on October 25, 2011

Chili Addiction has great vegan and gluten free options, plus I've never been disappointed by what Chef Johnny makes. They are on La Cienega just North of The Beverly Center, (West Hollywood?).
posted by 6:1 at 4:23 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Welcome back to LA!

Find a place near a Red Line station.

Join LACBC to keep up with bicycling news and information.

Career: that's a tough one to help with since I don't know many in that field.

Good cocktails at Seven Grand, Varnish at Cole's, 1886, and the Bona Vista Lounge atop the Bonaventure (it rotates!).

Tons of places to eat a vegan/gluten friendly diet. Whole Foods is the biggest chain for specialty diets, but you will probably find a local market that caters to your needs. Fresh and Easy is another good chain with clarity on ingredients.

Lot's of place all over for adventure from wilderness to historical spots to surfing and skiing. Harder to get to without a car, but all doable. If you're more specific as to what you consider adventure, I'm sure we can help.

Overall advice: Find a social group around something you like hobbies or sports, and ask them to suggest places. As you know, LA is huge and has gotten bigger. Many neighborhoods have changed dramatically in 20 years.

Lastly, but most importantly, wear sunscreen every day.
posted by Argyle at 4:49 PM on October 25, 2011

Not a vegetarian, but I went to Veggie Grill last week and it was deeeelicious.

Welcome back!
posted by mogget at 5:32 PM on October 25, 2011

Bunny, not sure if you're celiac or just like eating gluten free. If your allergy is serious, feel free to memail me and I can give you tips on which restaurants take gluten seriously, and which are less particular.
posted by iamscott at 6:15 PM on October 25, 2011

You'll want to check out the Culver City galleries

In Culver City/West LA, good gluten free pastries here
posted by biscuits at 10:34 AM on October 26, 2011

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