I've been in LA for 6 years working as an RN in Public Health, Ambulatory, Home Health and now Case Management. I LOVE it here, and totally embrace even the the bad things for the most part. Most people who visit here or move here find out it's not what they expected.
1) Best weather in the country. Not rainy like SF, not hot like SD; just right. Gorgeous all the time!
2) Diversity. Every culture, every class, every language and every food in the world is in LA and easily accessible. Great food town!
3) Things to do: beaches, mountains, desert, city, forest, art, Hollywood, hiking, night life, restaurants, surfing, biking, everything - right at your doorstep. Usually free, cheap and really exciting.
4) Celebs everywhere (although we leave them alone), it's fun to see them at the grocery store.
5) Health-oriented culture here, lots of people take care of themselves, public yoga, tons of organic farmers markets etc.
1) TRAFFIC. It will take you a year to really learn the freeways & follow the most important rule: you will never win the fight against traffic here. It takes an hour or more to get ANYWHERE. It is what it is. Accept it early on.
2) The sprawl makes a social life very difficult here. Hard to make friends because everyone lives so far apart from one another, everyone is a transplant, & everyone is flaky.
3) EXPENSIVE. Really, it's no joke. I can't stand idealistic ding bats who move here thinking they can find a "cheap" apartment or live without a car. NOPE. I've known a few who tried that and within a year they were driving & renting a $1500/shoebox studio like everyone else. Food is cheap, wine is cheap, fun activities outdoors year round is cheap but everything else - $$$$$$ (But, it's STILL cheaper than SF)!
1) The smog is not as bad as it used to be. On really hot summer days, yeah, you see that brown haze across the skyline but its nowhere near as bad as it was.
2) Not everyone is a plastic Barbie here, most LA residents are just regular folks trying to make a living.
3) Beverly Hills isn't what you see in movies & TV, it's actually pretty diverse.
4) Hollywood is a very scary, dirty, crime-ridden area.
My best LA advice for a nurse (& I've worked with travelers):
1) AVOID CEDARS-SINAI. No matter what. Stay away. At all costs.
2) Live West Side, Silverlake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Burbank, Pasadena. Choose carefully according to commute.
3) Have a free-standing GPS unit in your car. Don't use your phone for maps or GPS. You'll get a ticket even having a phone in your hand here! And mount the GPS on dash or lower CORNER, that's the law.
4) Make ANY connections you can with ANYONE, don't say no, (except to Cedars).
5) Have a solid vehicle that can handle the traffic, driving and crazy roads here.
Feel free to PM me with any questions!!!!