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What are nightlife and clubbing like in Los Angeles, California?

seven local experts

Are there clubs? Are they any good? When do they close? Here's what seven local experts had to say about nightlife in Los Angeles, California.

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First, Los Angeles is EXPENSIVE! Nice hotel rooms here average around $250/night. More permanent accommodations cost so much that you will need a spouse, partner, or other person to help pay rent. If you want to buy a house, even a tiny one in a terrible neighborhood, will cost at least $400,000 (nearly half a million US dollars), and a decent house will cost anywhere from $1 to $20 or $30 million. There is an extremely large population of homeless people here as a result. Los Angeles natives like me are rare because of massive immigration from around the country and the world. You will meet people of every persuasion from every country you can imagine, but especially Mexico, our neighbor to the south. So many people from Mexico and Latin America have moved here illegally to grab low-wage jobs at even lower wages than the legal minimum that employment can be difficult to find for low or no-skilled people who are here legally and seek at least the minimum wage. The minimum wage here is $15.50 per hour, which is not enough to live on, so if you don’t have top education and skills you will probably need to have at least two jobs to survive. If you do have excellent knowledge and skills, such as a doctor or Ph.D., high tech guru, computer systems engineer, or developer, big business executive, movie/TV production professional, or entertainment superstar, then you can do quite well and live lavishly with easy access to virtually anything your heart desires.

The shopping and dining options here are unlimited and absolutely top tier for those who can afford it. There are also limitless things to do: movie theaters, live theater, concerts, clubs, and bars, live tapings for various television shows, famous and magnificent university campuses such as UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount, and Occidental College where President Obama attended, along with dozens of other such institutions of higher education, museums, libraries, huge open spaces such as Will Rogers State Park and massive Griffith Park, the Observatory, Gene Autry Western Museum, California Science Center, casinos, professional sports games such as basketball, football (American), baseball, and hockey. Soccer is steadily growing in popularity, but it is nowhere near as popular as in other countries. There is fabulous, beautiful, and interesting architecture all around to roam about and admire. There’s beautiful Marina del Rey, where the luxurious yachts of the wealthy are docked, and where you will find even more restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. There’re world-famous Hollywood Blvd., the Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air, Disneyland (the original one), Universal Studios (the original one), and other theme parks to explore and lose yourself in! And then, there are the GLORIOUS beaches where sun and fun abound. Santa Monica may be the most famous of them, and the most fun with rides (including a huge Ferris wheel), dining, shopping, and other entertainments. You can enjoy all this and much more IF you can afford it, which is a big if.

But despite the high cost of everything here, Los Angeles is relatively safe considering there are likely 20 or 30 million people here from all over the globe, with probably a third of them being illegal immigrants who have not been vetted by any official immigration agency. There is rampant crime, to be sure, so you have to keep your wits about you and use common sense (such as not strolling the streets at 2:00 in the morning or wandering around the wrong neighborhood), but much of that crime is of the type you don’t really see if you’re not looking for it. Drugs and alcohol, unfortunately, are everywhere. There are horrible people here and absolutely beautiful ones, both in and out. There are followers of pretty much every Faith on earth, with a church, temple, or mosque on nearly every block, as well as many people who believe in nothing.

I hope you can see from this that Los Angeles is as big and diverse as you can imagine, and it can be an absolute heaven on earth for those who can afford it. I forgot to mention the main attraction, L.A.’s unparalleled weather, which is generally mild year-round with magnificent sunshine and ocean breezes most days. The city is dense, intense, and highly urbanized, but simultaneously laid back and very relaxed largely due to its horizontal, rather than vertical development over the decades, giving it a spread-out, low-density feel. Traffic can be horrendous, especially on the 405 Freeway, of course, parking is problematic and EXPENSIVE, and public transportation is the pits — slow, unpredictable, and unpleasant. There are Uber, Lyft, taxis, and many other private transport options, but these are also very EXPENSIVE. It’s best to have access to a car because the land area of Greater L.A. is IMMENSE. From the northern Valley area to the Port of L.A. in the south, it will take an hour to drive the distance at high speeds on the freeway! It’s the same going from the beaches in the west of the city to its eastern expanses.

Some people complain that Angelinos are not friendly nor welcoming, and that may be true, but it may be because we are witnessing our hometown explode from a sleepy “country village” of a city into a gigantic mega-metropolis virtually overnight, which has totally changed EVERYTHING. But, in all, it’s a wonderful place to visit for rich tourists, and can still be a nice place to live even for those of us who struggle to afford it.

Brianne, says: 2023

If you’re moving to LA KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS! Each pocket of LA has something different to offer, and they can be vastly different vibes. Figure out what you want from your neighborhood, and search for one that matches your vibe. Silverlake for example is chill/artsy, while West Hollywood is always busy/great if you love nightlife.

Jonathan, says: 2023

Los Angeles is an incredibly vibrant and sprawling city. While rent may be high in some of the more popular areas, there are some really wonderful alternatives if you are willing to venture away from the tourist hotspots. In North Hollywood, the rent is reasonable, the people are warm, and the bars and restaurants are just as exciting as innovative as anywhere else in the city.

Pearlene, says: 2020

Los Angeles has many venues and activities to attend. It is a city filled with all types of ethnic foods, cultural events, music, art and so much more! We have some of the nicest museums to explore such as The Getty Museum. We also have amusement parks for example, Universal Studios for those who enjoy movies. There are plays, dances and the Hollywood Bowl once a year puts on concerts. If you have children, they will enjoy many activities too like Griffith Park which has pony rides and Train Town. There is always so much to see and do in Los Angeles. You’ll want to stay and enjoy all the excitement of our city.

Candace, says: 2020

If moving to Los Angeles, California, don’t forget to bring your sunscreen! You can look forward to relaxing days at the beach and a vibrant nightlife. This diverse and multicultural city has so many things to offer and you can experience history, art, theme parks, and most importantly, amazing cuisine!

Hailey, says: 2020

Los Angeles is a city of beaches and sunshine. The city has perfect weather for most of the year. The Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and Disney concert hall are amazing places to visit but with these come the cost of housing and the nightmare traffic. But if you like that lifestyle, there’s no better place than the land of opportunities, Hollywood!

Johanna, says: 2020

Los Angeles is the city of angels. It is home to the Staples Center and plenty of great attractions. Los Angeles also has several eateries, museums, and bars. Along the west coast there are several places to barbecue and sight-see. Santa Monica houses the infamous ferris wheel. Also, Santa Monica has a pretty cool pier for shopping and more fun.

Leslie, says: 2020
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