How to L.A.: Your handbook for day-to-day living in Los Angeles

(Illustration by Dan Carino for LAist)

Los Angeles is a dizzying place to wrap your head around, whether you're a lifelong Angeleno, a wide-eyed transplant, or you fall somewhere in between.

Its labyrinth of freeways and surface streets (and a little bit of ocean) connect an abundant 88 cities. It's one of the most diverse populations in the world. It's an incubator for the industrious and a cautionary tale for some of society's most difficult problems. L.A. does not lend itself to easy explanation or navigation — literally or figuratively.

We’d like to help with that.

How to L.A. is our ongoing series of practical guides for day-to-day living in Los Angeles.

Hamburger - EAT
Find all the best places to get your grub on.
Palm tree - LIVE
Navigate the trials and tribulations of being a resident in L.A.
Beach ball - PLAY
Make the most of our bustling arts and entertainment hub.
Briefcase - WORK
Learn what it takes to earn a living here and get that gig.
Light bulb illuminated - UNDERSTAND
Learn why things are how they are — and how to make them better.

Icons via The Noun Project: hamburger by Florent Artis, palm tree by kareemovic3000, beach ball by andriwidodo, briefcase by Alex Auda Samora, light bulb by Oksana Latysheva.

This project was informed by collective experience — ours and yours — and it's the culmination of years of trial and error, whispered tips, lightbulb moments, maddening research, doing things the wrong and hard way, and getting lost in the crush. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in L.A. — you’re always figuring things out. We hope this spares you some of the learning curve.

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Share Your L.A. Pro Tips

Have a nugget of wisdom you’ve learned from living in L.A.? Help a fellow Angeleno out! Here are a few we’ve received so far.

If you’re flying, fly out of Burbank. But if you must go to LAX, try to fly out of Terminal 6 or 7 as often as possible.

(Icon by Andrey Vasiliev via The Noun Project)

Get an L.A. Public Library card — it’s a gold mine of perks, like being able to read The New York Times for free.

(Public domain icon by via The Noun Project)

If you see valet services blocking off public streets for parking, there’s an LAPD hotline you can call to report it: (323) 929-2568

(Icon by Gan Khoon Lay via The Noun Project)

Don’t park under a palm tree in windy weather.

(Icon by Andrejs Kima via The Noun Project)

Yellow curbs! Free parking all day Sundays and weekdays 6 p.m. - 7 a.m. in L.A. city.

(Icon by Dan Hetteix via The Noun Project)

Cutting across Hollywood? Screw Fountain, take Willoughby (hop on at Gower, off at La Cienega).

(Icon by Hea Poh Lin via The Noun Project)

If you're going downtown for a big march/protest/crowded event, take the Metro from North Hollywood (or any end-of-line stop).

(Icon by Chunk Icons via The Noun Project)

We’ll aggregate and publish the best tips we get. Fill out the form below to submit yours: