Hollywood celebrities, legendary rock venues, multi-million dollar mansions, bleach blonde hair, chiseled bodies, and plastic surgery are just some of the images that pop into my head when someone talks about the City of Angels. Until recently, I had zero desire or interest to visit this world-famous city mainly out of fear – the fear of being bombarded with fakeness.
When the opportunity presented itself for me to spend a few days in Los Angeles for my company’s annual Sales Kickoff, I thought it was time for me to put these preconceived notions of Los Angeles to the test. It was also an opportunity to reconnect with my friend and former co-worker, Lorie, who I had not seen in three years. Yes, this is the same Lorie who I went ice skating with on the Eiffel Tower.
With three days to spare before Sales Kickoff, I sure as Hell made the most out of my 72 hours in LA. During this time, I noticed that there is more to this city than we are made to know. Was I wrong all along about the fakeness of Los Angeles?!? Behind the glitz and the glamour, Los Angeles (surprisingly) offers a lot more to the first-time visitor than one can imagine!
Gorgeous Scenery & Climate
First and foremost, Los Angeles is one of the most scenic places in the world. Surrounded by mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles has plenty of outdoor activities for everyone – surfing, hiking, bicycling, skate boarding, etc.
Griffith Park Observatory, Malibu Pier, and Runyon Canyon were just some of the places that allowed me to enjoy the grandiose views of Los Angeles County. Combined with the good weather – it felt like late Spring/early Fall weather in Canada – I was overwhelmed with a sense of serenity unlike any feeling I have had before on past travel experiences.
Los Angeles is by no means short of attractions for its millions of visitors each year! Beaches, night clubs, amusement parks, and high fashion shopping are just some of the activities that tourists can enjoy here over the course of a few days. While it is quite easy to spend a boatload of money in Los Angeles, it doesn’t have to be the case.
Whether you spend a day at Santa Monica Pier or few hours taking photos along the Hollywood Walk of Fame or take a walking tour of Beverly Hills, it is quite possible to still have a fat wallet at the end of your LA trip. In fact, the most money I spent during my time here was for a hockey ticket to see the LA Kings takes on the Calgary Flames. Mind you, I just needed a single ticket for myself, and there happened to be seats available for this game with a 50% discount.
Super Friendly People
There is a saying that “people you meet from LA aren’t really from LA.” Boy was that cliché saying ever true! Lorie and her husband, John, moved here several years ago – Lorie is from Tennessee and John is from Boston. I also met a couple of Cougars who were a bit friendlier to me that I would have liked. Both of them, coincidentally, came from Chicago although neither of them knew each other as I met each one separately a day apart.
By far my most memorable moment in LA was meeting Bulgarian Tony, who moved here several years ago to be a photo stand-in for Orlando Bloom in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series. Tony helped me find my way to the Staples Center after taking the subway down from Hollywood so I could make it to the LA Kings – Calgary Flames game on time. Had this been New York City or any other large American city, I am not sure that patience and friendliness would have been reciprocated.
So there you have it – three factors that completely changed my perspective of Los Angeles. By no means is this an exhaustive list of the factors that gave me a positive outlook on LA, but they are enough to make me completely change my outlook on the City of Angels for the better.
Have you ever had a 180 degree view on a city you’ve never visited before? Where was it and what factors changed your mind – for better or for worse?