Our team is made up of a medley of Los Angeles residents—from Geoffrey who's lived here his entire life to Leslie and Alina who are both recent East Coast transplants, and Emily who moved here nearly a decade ago. We all live in different parts of town (with the exception of Emily and Geoffrey, of course) and seldom have the same weekend plans but, despite the traffic and June gloom, we all love this city. Here are each of our favorite things about living in Los Angeles:
Emily: For me, L.A. has always been about opportunity. Ever since I was a kid and came to visit, I left with this notion that anything was possible here. I remember when I first stepped foot off the plane after landing in Burbank for the first time and there, straight ahead of me, was the entire cast from Friends. I panicked, staring at my feet, and when I looked back up, they were all curiously in the same exact position. Yup, I'd become star-struck mistaking a large cardboard cutout of the cast, thinking they were all just chilling together at my gate. But that's the kind of excitement that L.A. offers—you never know what's right around the corner. Whether it's the possibility of running into a celebrity, discovering "secret" beaches/bars/hikes, trying out fantastic hole-in-the-wall restaurants, or creating your own community within such a large city, it's truly an incredible place to live.
Geoffrey: You really don't get a sense of how large Los Angeles is, until you fly into LAX at night. As you begin to descend into the basin, you're met with a sprawling array of lights, that span the dark horizon and only end when they either hit the ocean or the base of a mountain range. It's both awesome and intimidating, but that's what I love most about my hometown, the sheer size that forms the most diverse cultural melting pot in the country. It's something I didn't appreciate until I got older, but living in a city that brings together such a variety of food, music, art, and people (living in incredible weather), makes exploring the vastness rewarding and part of the overall experience.
Alina: Before I visited Los Angeles for the first time, I fell in love with the city of Barcelona on a study-abroad program because it was nestled between the mountains and the sea. There pretty much isn't anything better or more magical than a bustling, hip, artistic, youthful, and historic metropolitan city that's got mountains on one end and ocean on the other. Since first stepping foot in Los Angeles, the similarities between the two cities were abundantly clear and I love L.A. most for that reason: You can hike a mountain for panoramic views of city lights and ocean off in the distance as easily as you can jump into that ocean and hang by the beach all day—with miles of culture (bars, restaurants, art galleries, theaters) in between. Then of course there's the weather, and Hollywood history in general. I am fascinated by the film industry, by Hollywood and cinema, and the golden era of movie stars, and I just think it's so cool and exciting every time I drive down Sunset Boulevard. Glitz and glamour with desert and palm trees, beach bums and Beverly Hills housewives, natural health nuts and plastic surgery addicts—L.A.'s got such a range of contradictions and there's something for everyone. It's really an amazing place to live your life and I simply love it.
Leslie: I think Los Angeles-based food critic Jonathan Gold said it best when he explained in the recent documentary, City of Gold, that the reason Los Angeles is so wonderful is that there are so many areas where different cultures have collided with each other. It's at those (sometimes literal) intersections where you find, in his words, "the most beautiful things." Unlike most cities, which grow outward from one epicenter, Los Angeles grew from its peripheries, which turned it not only into a sprawling, chaotic mess of traffic and public transportation nightmares, but into a melting pot of communities and cultures (think: the Mexican-Korean food truck, Kogi). This directly translates into amazing food, a rich arts scene, and interesting things happening every single night. Oh! And the produce. The tomatoes here are awesome.