16 L.A. Secrets Every True Angeleno Already Knows

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Secrets. Everybody’s got them.

Nurses, doctors, lawyers, teachers, garbage men… even major metropolitan cities.


But here’s the interesting thing about discovering the true nature of the city you live in:

The secrets are all out there, waiting in the open like rocks on an mysterious moon, just waiting to be gathered by some intrepid soul who might come to explore.

Question is, where do you start?

Well how about let’s begin with 16 secrets about Los Angeles (some more obvious than others) that we think every true angeleno ought to know. Some hacks. Some facts. All entertaining and all (at a minimum) vaguely useful.

And if you already knew all of these, congratulations, your L.A. insider cred is level 99.

If not? Your education starts right now.

Here’s the list.

1) If you’re going to a museum, you can almost always go for free.

Seriously, if you’re smart about planning your museum trips you can pretty much make your optional donations and pay nothing else. Some parking fees may be required, however.

Check out this handy page of free museum days in L.A. to see the full list of what’s out there.

2) You can park at yellow curbs more often than you think.

Can you park in that yellow zone after 6pm?  Totally.

And while you’re at it, make sure you learn about all the rules and regs regarding curb colors in L.A.



3) The quickest way to spot a transplant is how they identify the freeways.

It’s actually pretty simple.

A transplant says, “Take 405 south to 10 east to 110 north…”

A native angeleno says, “Take the 405 south to the 10 east to the 110 north..”

4) The first thing you should do when you get up in the morning is check traffic.

It sets the pace for your morning, and the tone for your day. I recommend using Waze to check your commute time right before you hop in for your morning shower.

Los Angeles Traffic Snapshot

5) If you always assume there is traffic, you’ll never be disappointed.

Speaking of traffic, keep in mind that this whole “traffic in L.A. sucks” things is really just an expectations game.

If you come to battle on the freeways every day with your expectations at floor level, all you’ll have to deal with are the pleasant surprise days when cars seem to move quicker than you thought!

6) In L.A., true bliss is living near where you work.

Last point on traffic…

One of the most important strategies for dealing with traffic in Los Angeles is this…

Live where you work.

Remember, time is your most valuable commodity, and the relationship between where you live and where you work will have a direct impact on how much of that commodity you will have to spare.

7) Never pay for a Westside Rentals account.

Ok, so let’s say you do decide you want to move closer to where you work, how’s that going to work? One option is the ubiquitous Westside Rentals.

Westside Rentals is a premium (paid) rental listing that we identify as one of the top 10 apartment hunting tools in Los Angeles.

When you purchase an account it costs $60 for 60 days. Most people, therefore, will not utilize the subscription over the entire term.

The idea here is simple, always check with people in your social network who have just moved (or maybe looking for a place) to see if they already have a membership you can access. At the least, maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll just gift you their name and password, if not you can always split it with them.

Definitely better than paying full price.

8) In N Out has a not-so-secret secret menu.

If you’re eating at In N Out and you’re not order off the secret menu, you’re not doing it right.

The In N Out Secret Menu

[Photo Credit: http://instagram.com/lizgarza93]

9) Whenever possible, don’t fly out of LAX.

LAX is an absolute nightmare. Though there are fewer direct flights out of Burbank or Long Beach, the smoothness of the experience getting in and out of the airport may be worth the extra time in the air.

10) Geographical affluence is defined by proximity to Walmart and Whole Foods.

First there’s Whole Foods Markets…

Whole Foods in L.A.

And there’s the Walmarts…


Walmart in L.A.

Notice any patterns emerge?  We’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

11) The best Chinese food is always east of the 710.

If you want to go authentic for your next Chinese food experience, center your Yelp map around the Alhambra / Monterey Park area and do some food detecting. Also, if you’re a westsider who prefers not to travel past La Ciengea, you need to just grow a pair and make it to the true east side some time.

12) The Hollywood Sign didn’t always say Hollywood

The original sign sat atop Cahuenga Peak (built in 1929) and was illuminated by 4,000 light bulbs, flashing “Holly-Wood-Land” in segments like some vegas casino billboard. The sign, however, fell into considerable disrepair over the decades and by the 1970’s it was an absolute wreck.

The sign was set to be torn down completely before none other than Playboy founder Hugh Hefner stepped in to lead the charge to rebuild the sign and preserve it as a historic landmark. Watch the documentary below if you’d like to learn more about this classic L.A. tale.





13) KCRW is the best radio station on the FM dial.

KCRW Chinatown Summer Nights

Hands down (in our opinion) the best combination of news, talks, and non-industry hyped music on the airwaves in L.A.

Also, they’re really good about letting you know about events and such (especially free ones) you might be into.

If it’s not already on your presets, go ahead and make the change now.

14) You don’t need a gym membership to exercise in this town.

Yoga in Grand Park.

Muscle Beach.

Runyon Canyon.

The Culver City Stairs.

Surfing at El Porto.

The beauty of our weather is that you can not only enjoy nature, you can get fit nearly year round without paying a steep gym membership cost. All it takes is a bit of imagination 🙂

15) The best way to end a night of drinking is with a taco.

Hmmm… actually, I can think of ONE way better to end the night, but that involves a bit of companionship.

But for the rest of the lonely folks out there, a taco from one of L.A.’s many delicious late night food trucks will have to suffice.

16) L.A. is the ultimate city of subjectivity.

I think it goes without saying that Los Angeles has some of the most incredible year-round weather in the world, accompanied by loads of art, culture, people, and opportunity.

Ultimately, however, the extent to which you experience that beauty is entirely in your own hands.

Do you live with purpose to expose all the wonderful secrets that lie within?

Or are you content to live in a bubble, letting life come as it may, hoping on pure chance to provide you with your next adventure.

The choice is completely up to you, of course. And that’s the real secret.


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