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The Biggest Complaints About Los Angeles — And Why They’re Wrong

We get it: you love to hate on L.A. But your most common disses are unfounded and unfair. Let’s straighten this out.

1. There’s no culture.

I guess theater, art museums, the opera, and the Philharmonic don’t count? Los Angeles has a rich cultural history that too often gets overlooked. Of course, the implication that film and television aren’t culture is also ridiculous. Take a trip to LACMA, check out the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and attend a show at the Mark Taper Forum. Then we can talk about culture.

2. There’s no history.

Believe it or not, this city didn’t just spring up out of nowhere. Go for a stroll down Olvera Street, the oldest part of Downtown L.A. Experience the Latino culture that dates back to the 1781 founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de los Ángeles. There are structures in the city older than the Dolby Theatre.

3. There’s always traffic.

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Yes, traffic is part of living in Los Angeles. But it’s not an inevitability. Ask a resident which hours to avoid and which streets to take, and you’ll be cruising along with minor impediments. I’d tell you what route is my favorite, but I like having some secrets. Besides, I don’t want to sound like a Saturday Night Live sketch.

4. Everyone is an aspiring something.

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It’s true: a trip to Starbucks will force you into encounters with would-be screenwriters, actors, directors, and producers. But why is that such a bad thing? There’s a lot of competition in Los Angeles, which for many of us, inspires a drive to work harder. Being surrounded by creative energy is great inspiration — far more than being stranded in the middle of nowhere.

5. Anyone who isn’t in the industry is a bitter failure.

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Some of them, maybe. But believe it or not, not every creative person in Los Angeles is trying to get famous. If you get to know the right people, you’ll find there’s actually a lot of camaraderie and a genuine desire to do good work — whether that means a small theater production or a shoestring-budget indie film.

6. Shallowness abounds.

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Oh, please. We’re no more Kardashian-obsessed than you are. (If anything, we’re dreading the effect her baby with Kanye might have on traffic.) While the entertainment industry is largely image-based, not everyone subscribes to that mentality. Outside of the reality TV bubble, you’ll find sincerity and, yes, actual human decency. I know it’s hard to imagine.

7. There’s no natural beauty.

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Seriously? This one I just don’t get. Between the beach, the hills, and the palm trees, I think it’s safe to say Los Angeles has lots of natural beauty — not to mention a distinct look that distinguishes it from so many other cities. I could go on about the beauty of its architecture, but for now, we’ll just focus on all the Mother Nature-supplied gorgeousness.

8. There are no seasons.

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No, there are seasons — they’re all just really temperate. Since when is the weather being pleasant most of the year a bad thing? I get it, though: sometimes you want to put on your winter coat. One of the great things about Los Angeles is its proximity to so many different climates. You can drive into the desert or the snow, depending on which suits your fancy. Just make sure you dress accordingly.

9. There’s no central destination.

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Tourists who want to head to Downtown L.A. will be disappointed — and probably a little skeeved out. There’s no one place to go in Los Angeles, a city that is often criticized for being so spread out. But that just means you have more options. Those that aren’t feeling the vibe in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills can try Los Feliz or Echo Park. Hating all of L.A. is a bit of a stretch.

10. Everyone is way too chill.

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Ugh, super laid-back people are the worst, right? Actually there’s something nice about the slightly calmer atmosphere in L.A. as opposed to — oh, I don’t know, New York? We might walk a little slower, but that’s because we’re appreciating our surroundings. Or we’re kind of stoned. Another point in Los Angeles’s favor: medical marijuana dispensaries everywhere.

11. All the “hippie shit.”

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I get it: you’re tired of hearing about yoga, meditation, and raw vegan food. But did it ever occur to you that we’re a lot happier because we’re zen? No, not everyone in L.A. dives into the granola world, but those of us who do aren’t trying to be obnoxious — we just want to feel more settled in a chaotic space. The fact that we’re annoying is icing on the carob cake.

12. It’s not New York.

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This is maybe the only fair criticism of Los Angeles: it isn’t New York. It isn’t San Francisco or Chicago or Austin either. See, while all you non-L.A. people hate on us, we appreciate cities that aren’t ours. There are obvious differences between the West Coast and the East Coast, but that’s all the more reason to take vacations. Celebrate diversity, haters.

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