What you need to know!
Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable and passionate about giving us all information in a clear and concise way. The tour was very well planned and organised and was not tiring.
We did the Hollywood tour and loved it! The tour was at a great pace and the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable and made the tour fun. Thank you
Booked the Wild Wild West To Now tour, our guide Terry was great! (He) was very knowledgeable and the tour brought us to some really cool DTLA areas we've never been to which was so much fun! Definitely worth the reasonable price. THANK YOU TERRY!
We had an Amazing Murder, Mystery & Ghost tour with Damien and Dante... thank you very much from Italian Girls... very interesting and funny… absolutely recommended!
My boyfriend and I took the Heart of Hollywood Tour and had a wonderful experience with Stuart. Really helpful for personal questions, funny, full of knowledge and a passion for Hollywood. Can't recommend this enough!
Angela took us inside some beautiful Broadway theaters, told us about LA history and was very enthusiastic about her city. The great thing was that she actually took us inside the buildings. Plus after the tour we went for the 35cent cocktails! Great tour and great guide!
I did the Historic Core Tour!!! It was an awesome walking tour and very informative even for this Angeleno!! I am downtown daily and drive past this area and never knew the history of various locations of the city!! This provides that!!
My son and I booked and completely enjoyed a private tour. We had a wonderful evening! Damien took us on a fun, informative tour. My son loves photography, and Damien did not disappoint, as he took over 300 photos!
Los Angeles Myths/Reality
Los Angeles is uniquely misunderstood. There’s the L.A. that exists in the mind, the myth or legend if you like, then there’s the real L.A. – as we call it. And there are lots of Los Angeles myths that are repeated with such conviction that they’ve become accepted as facts. Why? Well, everyone thinks they know L.A., after all they’ve seen it so many times on television and in movies. Maybe they’ve even spent a day or two visiting the city of angels and have had those misconceptions confirmed. Unfortunately even a lot of people who live in Los Angeles don’t know the city very well – partly because many residents of L.A. aren’t actually from the city (in fact 50% of the population of Los Angeles County aren’t from California, never mind the city itself). Why does that matter? Well, the nature of Los Angeles is that you can exist in your own little bubble, going from home to work and back (by car), sprinkled with trips to the local Costco and neighborhood Salvadorian restaurant, without ever properly getting to know the city as you could, or should. You can’t trust anyone!
So, just for fun, we decided to play myth-busters and blow-up 12 of the biggest Los Angeles myths and reveal the reality.
1. Los Angeles is just low-density suburban sprawl.
Wrong! Actually L.A. is the densest major city in the U.S. Thought that was New York, right? Nope, it’s us. When people think of New York they think of Manhattan, which is very dense, but the other 4 boroughs are much less so, whereas Los Angeles is uniformly built up. The city is spread out, but that’s a separate issue.
2. Los Angeles doesn’t have a downtown.
Hopefully, if you’ve been elsewhere on our website, you’ll see that we have tours of downtown, so you’ve already figured out that this isn’t true. It is correct that it’s not like the downtowns of other major cities, where the largest proportion of commercial activity happens. That hasn’t been true since the 1940’s, but it’s making such a comeback that one quarter of all the apartments under construction in the Los Angeles area today are being built there.
3. Everyone in Los Angeles works in the entertainment industry.
If you go to a smart Westside restaurant and your server is a good looking, polished waiter they’re likely an actor, but less than 200,000 people work in the entertainment industry in L.A. The population of the metro area is over 20 million, so literally 99% of people have nothing to do with the entertainment industry at all. Other than enjoying its products. Oh and how do you get that waiter to give you really great service? Tell them you’re a producer ;-).
4. People in Los Angeles are flaky and fake.
Admittedly this is a hard one to quantify – without getting into the realm of personal experience. But to give a couple of measurable examples on election night in 2016 Los Angeles voted to raise taxes to expand public transport and build housing for the homeless. That’s right, we voted to increase our own taxes in order to improve the city. California also approved a ballot measure to legalize the sale and use of marijuana, which may explain some flakiness.
5. There’s no public transport in Los Angeles.
Again if you’ve been elsewhere on our website you’ll know this is false. Admittedly the Metro system is not up to where it could, or should, be, but due to the increase in funds from Measure M (see above) transit options are rapidly growing.
6. You have to have a car to get around in Los Angeles.
We’ve partly answered this one above, but just for good measure we’ll say it again – it’s a totally untrue. Even more so because of the recent growth of ride-sharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft. This may have been true twenty years ago or more, but not any more.
7. No one walks in Los Angeles.
Admittedly the walking experience in much of Los Angeles isn’t great – not to mention often downright dispiriting. A combination of lack of public transit for many years, the complete dominance of the car and the sheer size of the city have all conspired against walking in LA. However things are changing. There are many places that you can walk here, such as Santa Monica, Pasadena and downtown. In fact Walk Score rated Los Angeles the 13th most walkable city in the U.S.
8. There’s no culture or history in Los Angeles.
There are lots of variations on this that we’ve heard over the years, usually from tourists whose friends have passed through L.A. and haven’t bothered to properly get to know the city. Sure, Los Angeles is a relatively young city (being founded in 1781), but there’s a TON of culture and history here, from world-class museums, such as the Getty and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), to opera, classical music and theater at the Music Center, to smaller museums such as the Huntington and the Broad, to the biggest historic downtown of any major city in the U.S. (including the biggest historic theater district in the country). If you don’t think Los Angeles has any history or culture that’s on you, not us.
9. Los Angeles doesn’t have any seasons. It’s always sunny in L.A.
Well this is changing due to climate change (believe it or not, but L.A. did once get snow in the winter on a semi regular basis), but we do have seasons here, although about 300 days a year are clear. First we have a rainy season between January and April. In June we have a phenomenon known as ‘June Gloom’ (in May the same phenomenon is known as ‘May Grey’, in July as ‘No Sky July’), which is when warm air meets the cool water of the Pacific, leading to low cloud cover in the morning. Then there’s summer (aka pool-party season) as temperatures build, until they reach a peak in late August and early September. Then we have fall and winter – which are admittedly much nicer than the summer in many parts of the world. Oh, and of course, there’s pilot season – which is traditionally from January to May. This is unique to LA and you’ll experience it when you see an actor in the car next to you changing their clothes, going over their lines and driving all at the same time as they rush to what they hope to be a successful audition for the next hit TV show. Wish them luck!
10. Los Angeles is built in a desert.
This is one of the most pernicious and long-lasting of Los Angeles myths. It was begun by the Los Angeles Times in the early twentieth century, when they were promoting the construction of what was to become the Los Angeles Aqueduct (which coincidentally later made the newspaper’s then owner, Harrison Gray Otis, extremely rich). Actually L.A. has a Mediterranean climate – which is why it was a farming town in the nineteenth century.
11. Los Angeles is expensive.
This is 100% true. Although, perhaps surprisingly, there are a lot of free things to do in L.A. There are a ton of free museums in downtown, such as the Broad, the Chinese-American Museum, the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, the Avila Adobe (the oldest building in Los Angeles) and the LA Plaza de Culturas y Artes. The Getty and the Science Center are also free. And you can hike in the Hollywood Hills or Griffith Park and enjoy the great views for nothing.
12. The food is terrible in L.A. Everyone’s into the latest food fad. People in Los Angeles don’t eat real food.
There’s a bewildering array of quality cultural food options in L.A., from Little Ethiopia, to Thai Town, to Alhambra and Monterey Park (Chinese food), to Little Tokyo and beyond, not to mention a lot of great Mexican food (as you’d expect). There are also a huge number of establishments serving more conventional American fare if that’s your thing (see our Where to Eat in L.A. section here for our recommendations on all these options and more). Admittedly going out for a meal in Los Angeles can be hit and miss sometimes – but it’s far more hit than miss these days. You can also buy good produce in most supermarkets and Farmers Markets and you can even get good coffee here now!
What do you think of our list? If you have any suggestions of your own for Los Angeles myths email us and let us know.