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 Magazine‘s 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
- Local Specialties
- Quality of Life and Visitor Experience
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.
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Buffalo, Niagara Falls N.Y
- Omaha, NE/Council Bluffs, IA
- Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
- Austin-Round Rock, TX
- Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
- Madison, WI
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomingon, MN
- Denver-Aurora, CO
- 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.
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.
Day three, a hike up the hill next to the Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park.
We were both suntanned, and tired, but fit and happy by the end of the weekend.