Why do I love thee L.A.? Let me count the ways

at Gregory and Peck - 5 minutes from Rodeo Drive

Last summer, Lisa and Michael, the neighbors opposite us, up and moved with their two children to a house on an acre of land in Santa Fe, NM and last week our next door neighbors Suzanne and Jeff packed up their home, to relocate with their small son, to Atlanta. I’ve enjoyed watching the children grow and will miss them, but I understand that the two couples uprooted their families to move so far, because they were able to buy homes with decent sized gardens, which they couldn’t afford over here in crowded southern California.

What do you look for in a city?  Jobs, large properties, safe streets, good schools, friends?

Have you seen Travel and Leisure Magazines annual survey of America’s 35 favorite cities which is rated on their website by about 50,000 travelers, in the following categories:

  • Best Times to Visit
  • Culture
  • Food/Dining
  • Hotels
  • Local Specialties
  • Nightlife
  • People
  • Quality of Life and Visitor Experience
  • Shopping

According to the 2010 survey, L.A. ranked at the bottom i.e. #35 for friendly people, and  public transportation & pedestrian-friendliness, and #34 for an affordable getaway, and the intelligence of its citizens. The few top scores were luxury stores at #4, big name restaurants #6,  and #8 for both big-name luxury hotels, and weather.

Really? I can’t comment on whether we’re ignorant, but I never go to the luxury stores, hotels or big name restaurants, and while I agree that the public transportation is abysmal, I must point out that we do have a clean, efficient, though very small subway system – get on the train at the North Hollywood Station, and half-an-hour later you’re all the way downtown at Walt Disney Hall, MOCA or Union Station for just $1.25.

BestPlaces.net isn’t rated by tourists on the internet, but by Bert Sperling who compared cost of living, crime rates, number of colleges, the health of the population, access to museums, theater, or sports events, as well as stability, to come up with his list of the 10 best U.S. cities to live, work or retire in (which I list below), and hope you’ll click on the link to read why he put Pittsburgh at #1. Yes Pittsburgh.

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Buffalo, Niagara Falls N.Y
  3. Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA
  4. Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
  5. Austin-Round Rock, TX
  6. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
  7. Madison, WI
  8. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomingon, MN
  9. Denver-Aurora, CO
  10. Indianapolis-Carmel, IN

So what do I like about living in Los Angeles? Last month when I entertained a 50-something woman for three days, I didn’t take her to a single high-end restaurant, or tour of Hollywood star’s houses, or do any shopping. We walked.

Day one, we went to one of my favorite places in southern California,  the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens,  founded in 1919 by rail magnate Henry Huntington who had a special interest in gardens (there’s a dozen different gardens on the 120 acres), books (amassed one of the finest research libraries in the world including the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, early editions of Shakespeare etcetera), and the art includes American as well as European artists.

cactus garden

Chinese garden


Day two, we went to the beach, near Malibu Pier (made famous by Arlo Guthrie’s song Alice’s Restaurant). The beach was almost deserted, we walked for miles on the lovely soft, white sand, strangely the only people we met were about half a dozen girls in bikinis, who were walking their dogs.

Where's everyone?

if you look carefully you'll see a girl in a bikini on the rocks

Day three, a hike up the hill next to the Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park.

from Dante's Peak in Griffith Park

We were both suntanned, and tired, but fit and happy by the end of the weekend.


About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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12 Responses to Why do I love thee L.A.? Let me count the ways

  1. boris says:

    Thanks for reminding me of the things we have but tend to ignore – the grass always seems to be greener (that is, if it grows at all)…

  2. Mahalia says:

    I like those things about LA, too, though i have never been to the Huntington (!). Also, you left out the farmer’s markets, with their local organic offerings year round. And, the weather. I think it would be fair to mention that twice. We here in Toronto all really love Toronto, but at this time of year there is a loud grumbling about the weather, as we prepare for the winter’s cold, snow, ice, slush, salt….

    • dearrosie says:

      I can’t believe you haven’t been to the Huntington!
      Thanks for mentioning the farmer’s markets. We are truly lucky to have so many markets with local organic produce all year round.
      That Toronto’s a beautiful city is true, that you have a long, cold winter is also true, but a winter where everything’s covered in snow, is truly beautiful.

  3. E fullstop says:

    I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 20 years and it’s taken me more than half of those years plus a graduate degree in urban planning to foster a deep appreciation for our city. Through all its idiosyncrasies and faults, it manages to offer us an extremely broad palette from which we are free to (mostly) choose the hues we like. For me those tend to center around culture, nature and food. For others, they center around other offerings.

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks for your interesting comment E fullstop.
      It’s true that L.A. offers something for everyone – whether it’s Hollywood stars or opera, art or architecture, oceans or mountains, great weather, multicultural food from all over the world (including the food trucks which are all over the city)…

  4. I LOVE it when people love their cities, will defend them from any “Top Ten” (bullshit) lists … and find things that are beautiful, worthwhile and fascinating about their hometowns. Everybody has different things that matter to them and as my mom used to say –that’s what makes it a horse race. So how can one city be all things to all people? It’s not possible.
    The fact is, when you live someplace, your life happens there — so your love is invested there, and that’s what makes it precious & special to you. I really loved the photos and explanations of the walks you took in Los Angeles!!

    • dearrosie says:

      Thanks for your great comment Betty, and I’m glad you liked my photos, I’m still such a beginner with the camera… I’m with you that a list compiled by a tourist who may have spent a rainy weekend in a city with a bad migraine or fighting with a spouse, or a whiny kid is bullshit, and that’s why I wrote this post in the hope that Travel and Leisure Magazine will read it and know that L.A. isn’t at the bottom of everyone’s lists.

  5. Pingback: this too is Los Angeles… | Wondering Rose

  6. This is great, Rosie! The Huntington sounds marvelous, and so does Malibu Pier and the walk you took near the Hollywood sign. I also like Mahalia’s mention of the farmers’ markets. All of those things sound appealing to me. I’ll also be there with my sister from the 2nd to the 5th, and then to San Francisco, so I wonder what she’ll have up her sleeve. 🙂

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