1. It’s really big. You’ll start to truly believe that 45 minutes is an acceptable amount of time to get somewhere. Anywhere. The city sprawls over 469 square miles – compare that to Paris’ 42sqm and you’ll start to see what I mean.
2. Everything you hear about the traffic is true. Gridlocked freeways are a miserable norm so you’ll be wise to get your head around the grid layout of LA and how freeways snake over the city to learn all the alternative routes. For example, avoid the 405 by taking the Pacific Coast Highway, Laurel Canyon or Sepulveda and remember that it can be quicker to take Franklin or Fountain than the congested thoroughfares of Sunset or Hollywood to get from East to West.
3. The art galleries. Whats there not to like about world class art collections that reside in starchitect homes with free admission in most places? Make The Getty Center, LACMA, MOCA and the Hammer your first ports of call.
4. The coyotes. Beware of your new neighbours – given the chance, they will eat your pets, go through your bins and make alarming noises at night.
5. The earthquakes. But you’ll stop feeling them after a while and become passive when people say ‘we’re due a big one, really soon’.
6. The beach in November. You’ll not go as often as you think you will, but its always nice to have the option. The option to go to the beach in November. Leo Carrillo and El Matador are my favourites, both in the Malibu area.
7. It never rains. And when it does, everyone loves it – despite the imminent threat of mudslides on Laurel Canyon. The garden is so green! I don’t have to wash my car this week!
8. Hiking. The numerous hiking trails of LA’s canyons are great for a workout, celeb spotting and incredible panoramic views that really help to put the city in perspective. Hiking is less fun in 40 degree midday heat – I always hiked Fryman after 4pm when it was cooler.
9. Palm Springs. Under 2 hours from LA, Palm Springs is the perfect weekend hideaway. Explore the iconic mid-century architecture, the star-studded history of Hollywood’s playground and the spectacular desert scenery at Joshua Tree.
10. You’ll finally understand the intricacies of Clueless.