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Welcome to Hollywood-land

New arrivals will find Los Angeles to be somewhere between an American Eden and a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

Palm trees sway beneath constantly sunny skies, bikini-clad beauties frolic in the sand by the glittering Pacific, nightclubs throb with hot young stars, and swingers cruise the boulevards in the latest pimped-out rides.

The vision of Hollywood as a neon hotbed of craven back-stabbers clawing their way to the top of the "industry" only takes into account one segment of this sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles extends ever outward as the second largest city in America, an endless expanse of culturally, ethnically and socially diverse neighborhoods.

But most young people do move to L.A. to make it in the entertainment biz, and it's never easy. You'll have to network, pitch and audition like crazy while still finding a way to pay the rent. That struggle creates a communal feel among aspiring actors, writers and filmmakers who spend their days as waiters, bartenders or personal assistants while pursuing their big break.

When your shift is done, the recreational options abound, from glitzy West Side nightspots to modish East Side dive bars. Nightly house parties are off the hook, and as long as you know someone who knows someone you're in. You'll want to dress sharp but casual. Blue jeans are standard issue, and tattoos abound.


Locating an apartment in L. A. won't prove difficult. Craigslist offers plenty of new listings every day. You should probably also sign up on, the best site for finding new digs. While L.A. boasts a vast array of neighborhoods, a few stand out as particularly attractive to young arrivals.

East Side: Los Feliz, Silverlake, Echo Park

Santa Monica, Venice

West Hollywood

Do YOU live in Los Angeles? Tell us about it.


L.A.'s traffic often proves infuriating. Find a place to live near where you work, or your commute might drag on for hours. Make sure to arm yourself with the Thomas Guide, the bible of L.A. navigation. It will help you unlock the unending labyrinth of freeways and boulevards as you discover the delights of your new home.

Local Lingo

Another city that's been famously influenced by a diverse group of residents, LA is also well known for its Pacific surf culture and the glitzy Hollywood set. The city is trendy and fun, and locals are constantly coming up with new slang that works its way throughout the United States. There's also some tried and true native-speak to learn before you go.

One of the most infamous things about LA, the traffic, has spawned many local terms, like Sigalert. You definitely don't want to be stuck in the vicinity of one of these - it's a traffic accident that will tie up traffic for at least two hours.

Speaking of traffic, when you're talking about a highway or major road, it's referred to as "the (road number)" for example, "the 405." If you're a public transit kind of person, then you'll be taking The Metro in the city.

The general lower region of California is known to natives as SoCal.

Sam Lanckton Sam Lanckton graduated from Columbia and worked at The New York Times for four years before moving to Los Angeles. He will soon be absurdly rich and famous.

Walt Disney Company
DirecTV Group
20th Century Fox
Sony Pictures

Consumer Products
Hilton Hotels

The official city website
LA city guide, events
LA Young Professionals Society

PR Young Professionals in OC

What do you love about working here?
It's always exciting. If you're pursuing something in the creative field, you're never totally secure in your work. It's a positive and negative. It can switch on you. For me it's challenging and creatively stimulating. I see the lack of consistency as a positive.
Andrew, 24
University of Michigan, Film Director/Editor

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