Top Things Alumni Should Know About Los Angeles:
Although there are a handful of people who are able to live and work in the same neighborhood,
it is imperative for most people to have a car and have a navigation system in your car or through
Parking lots are a rarity, so most times you’ll need to valet. You may get lucky finding a street
parking spot at a parking meter. Downtown LA has a number of pay lots located throughout the area,
and Santa Monica has parking garages in some parts. But if you’re anywhere else in the city, you can
try to park in a neighborhood or on a side street. Be sure to read the parking signs carefully. Parking
enforcement is tough. Almost all parking meters around the city take credit cards.
If you are driving somewhere and you think it’ll take 20 minutes, give yourself an hour. Learn side
streets and try to avoid the freeways as much as possible, especially during rush hour. Whenever
possible, check a mapping device for traffic updates. Try using phone applications like Google Maps
and Waze. Construction on the 405 Freeway has been known to lock up traffic on the Westside. On a
bad day, it could take an hour to drive just a few miles. Consider your commute to work if you are
choosing a new place to live.
Once you have a new job offer, remember to take into account state and local taxes while planning
your budget. They may be higher than you are used to.
The Valley and areas near Pasadena are generally 10-20 degrees warmer than central Los Angeles
and the communities near the beach.
If you happen to see a celebrity, be respectful of their privacy. Ask for an autograph only if it seems
appropriate. Remember, this is their city, too.
Ride sharing apps like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar are widely used and cars are plentiful, so a car is
almost always just a few minutes away. Unlike NYC, you won’t find cabs waiting at every corner, or
even driving by regularly. In addition, Los Angeles cabbies rarely have that atlas knowledge that NYC
drivers have, so it’s best to know generally how to get where you’re going, if you’ll be taking a cab.
You should always arrange for transportation if you plan on having a drink, and be aware that there
are random DUI checkpoints scattered throughout the city.
For USC grad students, Silver Lake/Los Feliz are popular areas to live and for UCLA grad students
the area of West LA (the neighborhood’s name) that is enclosed by Wilshire Blvd./Santa Monica Blvd./
Sepulveda Blvd/Westwood Blvd is a very nice/popular area.