Why is Los Angeles disliked by so many people?

Reversed out

“It’s not a city, it’s an endless urban sprawl. Carpet store, lamp store, plumbing store, carpet store, plumbing store… on and on for as far as the eye can see.

Backing up that urban sprawl are suburbs that either have character but are old and shabby, or are little cookie cutter boxes made of ticky-tack, or are obscenely expensive, masturbatory dwellings for the over-privileged.

Things are so spread out that the idea of walking anywhere is laughable, so to get around from one plumbing store to another you sit in seemingly endless gridlock. No matter where you’re going it takes at least a half hour to get to. The highways aren’t much better than the surface streets.” —Ian Peters-Campbell

  1. “The people who live there don’t seem to realize how dirty it is. Even the nice parts look like they could use a thorough cleaning and a good coat of paint.
  2. It takes a minimum of 45 minutes to get to anywhere from anywhere within LA county, no matter where the start and endpoint are, and how you get there.
  3. For the most part Angelinos have all the warmth of moon rocks. Reminds me too much of DC.
  4. For such a huge, populous city they have a serious lack of culture. Anyone expecting entertainment opportunities like you would get in NY, SF or even DC will be sorely disappointed.
  5. Most parts of the city don’t feel safe. And this from someone who is from DC.
  6. It’s super expensive, but you don’t feel like you get anything for your money, like you might in New York.” —Eric Ruck

“Traffic is the complaint I hear from friends who visit there.” —Tom Worth

  1. “The fact that it’s an ugly city with few areas of spectacular beauty to its credit.
  2. You HAVE to own a car to live there successfully.
  3. It takes a lengthy period of time to get anywhere around there.
  4. It’s an expensive place to live.
  5. The ever-present air pollution.” —Jan Mixon

“The biggest misconception is that LA people are ‘too Hollywood.’ For one, LA is a massive city with a very diverse economy. You can go many days without running into a ‘Hollywood type’—unless you are in the entertainment industry.” —Steve Raymond

  • “Cars (smog and pollution)
  • Traffic (smog and annoyance)
  • Materialism (Hollywood)
  • False hope and shattered dreams (Hollywood)
  • Lack of appealing cultural hub/identity
  • Urban sprawl
  • Cars
  • Traffic” —Josh Siegel

“Apart from the Hollywood sign, the beaches and boardwalks along the Western edges, and the grimey abandoned-downtown-from-every-zombie-movie-you’ve-ever-seen, it’s all very plain-looking, and repetitive. Accomodating. Flexible. Mutable. Ever-adapting. You always feel just a bit that LA is live-editing itself to appear as relatively inoffensive to you as possible.

Layer on the pollution, the weird movie scene, and the low-income areas, and as an outsider or occasional visitor, it’s really hard to imagine ever living there, or ever having a good reason to do so, barring being discovered in one way or another.” —Dean Blackburn

  1. “For most of the 20th C, New York had a monopoly on TV networks, magazines, books, newspapers, and public opinion. The hatred of LA really got going with the Brooklyn Dodgers moving to LA. A special venom was saved for defectors, like Jay Leno,and others who moved to the promised land. Now that Bloomberg has rescued New York and LA is getting worse, there is a feeling of ‘I told you so.’
  2. For San Franciscans it is genetic, part of the culture, but no overtones of envy.San Franciscans know they have the best and that LA is not even second best. If you paid a New Yorker, he might move to LA, people from SF and the Bay Area would not. At one time SF was worried about the increasing financial power of LA and then came Silicon Valley. Game over.
  3. Crime movies are filmed in LA.
  4. One of the best arguments against LA is Bobby Fisher. At any other time in his life he is world famous, he performs at the top of his game. He moves to LA and is not heard of for 20 years and nobody lifts a finger to help him out of his eccentricities. This is a one-industry town and there is no community to help you.
  5. There are oil derricks visible from the beach, as well as homeless people. Ipanema or Cannes it is not.
  6. Your choice is city view or ocean view, you can’t have both. So who planned this place?” —Fred Landis

Answers taken from Quora question “Why is Los Angeles disliked by so many people?” Comments have not been edited for spelling and grammar errors. See also: “Why do some people hate Los Angeles?”

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  • Anonymous

    Interestingly enough, all of these sound like they could have been written in 1988, when I left LA for graduate school in New England and did not return. If anything, all these have been amplified with sprawl. So the fundamental issues are not dealt with but are repeated outward until they hit a natural or economic barrier. Ocean, mountains, dessert, lack of access to water supply, another city, housing collapse, collapse of defense industry, etc. 
    The dirty city remarks are also interesting – like when you see a celebrity in person, they have a crusty artificiality to them. LA is old and artificial at the same time. That is either charming or not. As time wears on the city, it is less charming. 
    For certain great cities, like Paris, old and dirt was amazing at certain points in time, because it was genuine and layered. Krakow, Poland was also this way after Communism ended but before Poland took off economically. It had become so interesting because of benign neglect. But LA does not suffer from physical neglect. It suffers at least more than many other great cities from a kind of cultural, architectural, and social malaise. I am probably not the first to say that.

  • http://twitter.com/bgfa Bert Green Fine Art

    After living in Los Angeles for 13 years (I just moved to Chicago recently), I was made aware that most of the criticisms of LA were the usual, garden variety clams of “plastic-ness”, superficiality, car-culture dependence, etc. They always made me laugh, though, because I lived there (downtown) without a car for years and met some of the most amazing people from all over the world. These critics were themselves people who were focused solely on Hollywood, and who would never dare explore the city of transit, no matter how easy it might be. Go figure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708020490 Chris Loos

    The criticism of LA from San Franciscans cracks me up.  They hate LA because its “full of assholes”.  But doesn’t the superiority complex make them the assholes?

    I also met someone from the Bay area recently who told me they don’t like LA because it “doesn’t have the diversity of San Francisco”. It was a strange thing to hear. I feel like this is the most diverse place I’ve ever lived, and I’ve lived in extraordinarily diverse cities like DC and London before I moved out here. Meanwhile when I visit SF I feel like I’m just surrounded by a bunch of other white people.

  • rgultimatehealth.com

    los angeles is liked what is not liked is all thec raziness wackiness fakeness drama bs and danger most people living there brings i have lived in los angeles for over twenty years and it is one og the fakest places on the planet there is everyone follows and copies one another just so they can feel important accepted fit and belong funny thing is thay dont even like who they try so hard to follow and copy .. i guess its the image they try to impress people they actually fail to live up to .. that and the fact there crazy as all batshit here theres moe crazy people in los angeles then they are in whole countries and other states its prejuditce faake full of bs and drama if i could afford to i would of left eons ago honestly its not the sate or town i dislike its the people there issues bs drama fake ness etc trust me i ve been all over the countyr and out of it once and los angeles is not all of that … robin gist in los angeles

  • Reality Check

    I lived here for almost a year now,.. LA is disgusting. The problem,… Mexican’s. They lay their trash everywhere and take advantage of the California work code that makes it damn near impossible for them to be fired for their laziness. I’ve worked with one girl, that if she was in NY she would have been fired in a heart beat. She never did as she was told, came and left as she pleased and would not clean anything other then what was directed to her from upper management. I asked my boss why she didn’t clean and he said “Different people have different levels of clean”. Everyone I asked says LA was amazing about 20 years ago, but because of the success of Hollywood in the 80′s and 90′s during the boom time, mexicans jumped the fence and have placed themselves at every McJob there is; They are not very bright at those jobs either. I had to have my transmission replaced in a car, 3 weeks later I had to go to the shop and explain to them how to do it. Mexicans are only good for manual field labor that takes no brains, nothing else. This all sounds incredibly racist, but it’s reality. Google the average IQ of a Mexican it’s 87, and that’s a generous number. Combine that with little education and the fact that their culture is considered to be one of the laziest cultures in he world. Yea, people wonder why LA has a bad rap… That’s just the starting point.

  • Hello

    Mexican is not a race its a nationality. Hello. That’s like saying Italian is a race lol. Or the South African race. lol!

  • Ogechi Ibeanusi

    I hail from the Bay Area. The notable traits that seriously irritate me the most about Angelenos are their lack of humanity, community, and critical thinking. This city is vapid, soulless, unsophisticated, overwhelming uneducated and extroverted, and Angelenos always overly inflate the status and supposed “greatness” of their city (defensiveness, very indicative of inferiority complexes.) Literally, I’ve been here for six months, and most of the interesting/real people I’ve met so far were transplants from NYC, recent immigrants/internationals, and surprisingly, people from South Central. It’s very much a doggy dog insider city where everyone is extremely delusional and thinks they’re the most exciting/interesting/diverse thing. In addition, the urban planning behind this city is terrible; plant life is utterly nonexistent; I can’t even drink the tap water. It’s almost as if they built this city with no intention of making it livable. In the Bay Area, we have a strong middle class and yet we have an income inequality problem. In Los Angeles, however, there’s poverty everywhere; the city literally looks somewhat like Johannesburg. If you come from cities like the SF, NY, DC, Singapore, Hong Kong, it might not be your cup of tea.

  • kejth

    As a native New Yorker who’s lived in both LA and the Bay Area, I find your comment very ironic. If there’s any city that truly exaggerates its status, it’s San Francisco. SF is a mid-sized city with a population of merely 800k, yet residents have a tendency to gush ad nauseam about how great their city is, and they misguidedly try to compare it to NYC — it’s actually quite annoying. Also, they really get offended when anyone bashes it. Just ask Peter Shih, the NYC transplant who posted an online article titled ’10 Things I Hate About You: San Francisco Edition’.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/16/peter-shih_n_3768505.html

    Peter Shih was nearly chased out of SF by local residents.

    On the other hand, Angelenos don’t really seem to care if you talk trash about their city, probably because they’re so accustomed to it.

    Also, you do realize that the real reason you dislike LA is probably because you’re from the Bay Area, right? If there’s anything I learned while living in the Bay Area, it’s that there’s definitely an inferiority complex embedded in the Bay Area’s culture. Bay Area residents have a pathological, compulsive need to bash LA. While it is true that LA draws criticism from a lot of places, nowhere else is the animosity more prominent than in the Bay Area.

  • Ogechi Ibeanusi

    Oh my god shut up = silence any dissent = everyone on the internet who wants to bully and police someone’s opinion. Seriously, I’ve lived in the Bay all my life, and there are definitely distinct differences between the two regions. And I wasn’t trying to compare SF to your marginally better than Los Angeles but still shitty city that also looks like Johannesburg, has the same amount of delusional mindset from it’s residents who are live in misery, and boasts a ton of inequality, poverty, and racial violence/police brutality on a daily basis as well. I was just trying to point out the fact that Los Angeles lacks the qualities that major metropolitan/diverse cities such as London, Hong Kong, SF, NYC, DC all have ie educated populaces/workforce, metro stations, sky-scrappers, civic society, large strong centralized city governments, a social contract. Lastly, I never boasted about or tried to exaggerate the greatness of the bay area/sf because after all greatness is subjective. Additionally, unlike people who come from major cities like NYC or LA, I don’t have to lie or delude myself about the greatness of sf bay area because like most Bay Area/SF residents we see reality clearly and are very open to hearing outside opinions/critically assessments of our city. Yes, we have a homeless problem, yes our infrastructure is crumpling, yes san francisco has inequality, yes sf isn’t that great as residents make it out to . The difference between me and you is that I don’t shy away from dissent or criticism. I actually encourage it, and I don’t have to delude myself in order to make me and my city seem special like people in Los Angeles. Hence, the reason why people from SF don’t like people from Los Angeles.

  • kejth

    There’s nothing in my last comment that would indicate that I shy away from dissent. You. on the other hand, seem to be less receptive to it. Opening your comment with “oh my god shut up” certainly doesn’t indicate openness to discussion, so please spare me the pretense. The tone of your comment is actually quite typical of the way Bay Area residents respond to criticism of their beloved region. As I said, Peter Shih was nearly chased out of SF by angry residents because he posted a SATIRICAL list of the city’s faults/shortcomings. Some SF residents tried to boycott his company and posted signs urging him to go back to NYC, so far from being a progressive city, SF has actually revealed itself to be very provincial. Do you think residents from NYC/Chicago/LA/London would have acted so childishly in a similar situation? No, they would not have, because they are so large and cosmopolitan that their residents don’t have a quasi-chauvinistic attachment to their respective cities — unlike SF, a medium-sized city whose residents contemptibly exude city/regional pride. NYC may experience lots of poverty and income inequality, but SF does so to an arguably greater extent. Hence, you, as a Bay Area resident, are hardly one to talk. SF boasts the largest growth in income disparity in the US, and it ranks as the least affordable city for the middle class.This is undoubtedly, at least in part, due to the influx of tech workers who are flooding SF’s housing market and driving up the cost of living, which brings me to my next point. The Bay Area is not necessarily, as you mentioned, the most economically vibrant region in the US; unlike most large regions, the Bay Area is dangerously dependent on one or two sectors: tech, and to a lesser extent, finance. Perhaps you might remember the dot-com bubble burst that nearly drove the Bay Area’s economy into the ground? Real world-class regions rely on multiple industries, and have a more varied and less volatile economic base. NYC itself boasts strong sectors in fashion, finance, entertainment / media / television, tech, etc. While the current upswing in Silicon Valley is admirable, it is only a recent development (last ~ 7 years) which may or may not last, whereas NYC/Chicago/LA have historically been the dominant economic powerhouses in the US for the last century. The NYC, LA, and Tokyo metro areas are the three largest economies in the world by GDP. Where does SF come into this? It ranks among the likes of second-tier cities/regions such as Boston and Philadelphia. Also, SF’s diversity is a joke. There are too many people who work in the same fields (tech and finance), and ethnically, it’s much more “white” than NYC and LA, which are home to many more (distinct) spoken languages. Additionally, the Bay Area is not completely devoid of discrimination and homophobia incidents. For instance, about 4 SJSU students racially intimidated their black roommate, and I believe one of the perpetrators hailed from Woodacre, in ‘progressive’ Marin County: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_25387139/san-jose-state-hate-crime-black-student-files

    And let us not forget about the Oakland male teen whose skirt was set on fire in a notorious homophobia case:

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_24457008/oakland-man-stable-condition-after-set-fire-aboard

    As a Bay Area resident, you may hold the pretense that your region is a bastion of progressive thought if you wish, but you should know this status/title is illusory and that the Bay Area isn’t any more “progressive” than any other politically liberal stronghold in the US. The truth is, SF and LA are equally shitty cities in their own ways.

  • Ogechi Ibeanusi

    Okay, clearly I can’t debate a person who’s unreasonable and can’t see clearly. To make this short, the point that I was trying to make is that I notice that people who come from the large cities with the most cultural influences particularly from LA and NYC (with the exception of Chicago) tend to exaggerate their city’s hollow grandeur the most. Obviously, LA and NYC’s greatness is a two-folded-on one hand, you have a large city that has hegemonic, economic, and cultural power and on the other hand, a lot of residents, the have nots, usually live in miserable conditions. Also, I wasn’t trying to say that everybody should believe that the SF bay area is the best region because I believe so (although it is the 3rd smartest region behind Boston and Stamford, CT in the US with NYC ranking 16 and LA ranking 32, the third most diverse region in the US behind Alaska and NYC, boasts a diversified and vibrant economy with a myriad of industries: tech, finance, biotech, education, medicine, tourism, Napa, cuisine, organic farming, sustainable energy, environmentalism, and is the only region in the US with more people migrating to the SF Bay than people emigrating out.) Like I said before (apparently you didn’t listen), greatness is subjective to each person in that greatness is obviously going to be different for each person. And clearly, you haven’t stayed in the SF Bay that long to know that that one incident with some random guy isn’t the way a lot of SF residents respond to criticism. Most SF residents complain about city conditions on a daily; hell, it’s so ingrained and apart of the culture here to actually complain and even protest about city conditions and issues (ie the new wave of tech businesses, gentrification, why the city has changed for the worse in recent years, local government and Mayor Ed Lee, politics, rising costs of apartments.) And again, I welcome the criticism you’ve just made; we do have our incidents of homophobia and racism (it’s the United States after all), but compared to LA, NYC, and most other regions in the US, it’s not as overt or extreme/hateful. I’m black and my black friend from New York even told me that she was surprised to find a dearth of white people who call her nigger on a daily basis. At least, I own up to my city’s bullshit/problems and embrace criticism unlike people from major cities like Los Angeles and NYC who just lie and delude themselves all day with happy thoughts/hollow dreams and do nothing to try to improve their city. It’s funny how people from LA and NYC think in such a way that doesn’t involve critical thinking. This isn’t suppose to be about competition; instead, this argument I’m proposing is about objectively criticizing living standards and pathologically aspects of different cities and their cultures to then do something about it and engage in honest and mature discourse. How is not talking about stop and frisk measures in NYC, normal and healthy? How is not talking about LAUSD’s crowded schools, normal and healthy? How is not talking about the homeless problem or gentrification in SF and the ways that it’s pushing out residents further out into the East Bay, normal and healthy for any city’s future and economic vitality? God, take the ego and delusion out of this conversation. No place is 100 percent perfect including my beloved SF Bay Area. However, it’s one thing to become defensive about certain aspects of one’s city and another thing to completely ignore problems and silence any type of serious discourse about another city and its problems like I saw so pervasively in LA.

  • Keith

    You can’t be serious. New Yorkers and Angelenos are very vociferous about pointing out issues in their cities. New Yorkers complain constantly about the outrageously high rents, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an Angeleno who doesn’t openly gripe about the soul-crushing traffic. There are active efforts to address these issues. NYC has the most aggressive rent control in the country, and there are ongoing efforts to reduce traffic in LA (ie expansion of public trans, addition of bike lanes, etc.). You’re either willfully blind to your surroundings, or you haven’t really spent significant time in NYC or LA. What makes you think that New Yorkers are silent on stop-and-frisk practices? They have staged protests on this and many other issues. Ever heard of Occupy Wall Street? What makes you think Angelenos don’t criticize LAUSD’s crowded, low-performing schools? There have been many reform efforts, including erecting new charter schools. Most residents in NYC and LA don’t delude themselves about their city’s greatness. In fact, they spend more time talking about how much they hate their respective cities than how much they love them. On the other hand, I spent 3 years in the Bay and heard residents gushing and praising their region on a daily basis, and found that Bay Area residents are quite defensive about it. When I brought up Peter Shih to you, I wasn’t generalizing the entire city based solely on this one example. I don’t need to do that; I can attest to this based on my own experience living in the Bay Area. Coming from NYC, where the public transportation system was relatively seamless, I sometimes complained about the unreliability of MUNI and BART to my acquaintances/friends who were Bay Area natives. Most of the time, they responded with wrinkled eyebrows and awkward stares, and just dismissed my comments with “Well at least it’s not as bad as LA’s” — as if their region’s value/worth was somehow contingent on its being better than LA. Even more irritating was how frequently I heard Bay residents (and I’m not necessarily referring to you) making invalid point-to-point comparisons between the Bay and NYC (ie “SF is the west coast equivalent of Manhattan, and Oakland the equivalent of Brooklyn”). Additionally, I don’t feel that racism is any less prevalent in the Bay than anywhere else. Even if it was, the difference is negligible and wouldn’t be noteworthy. In fact, I encountered many people who asked me about my race and I noticed that Bay people are more racially cliquish (associate more often with their own people) than anywhere else.For the record, I’m a gay Asian man and while I did notice the Bay to be slightly less homophobic than NYC or LA, that was the only redeeming aspect of the Bay’s so-called ‘social progressivism.’ Yes the Bay Area does have sectors in medicine, education, and tourism — almost every region does, and I didn’t deny this; but the Bay Area has a disproportionately heavy reliance on the tech sector (and finance to a lesser extent); if another dot-com bubble crash were to occur, the Bay Area’s economy would be severely devastated like it was a decade ago. The recent uptick in the tech industry is essentially the only reason why Bay housing prices have skyrocketed and why the population is growing in the Bay. And what do you mean the Bay Area is the “only region in the US with more people migrating to the SF Bay than people emigrating out”? That would imply that every other region is experience a population decline, which is not true. Yes, the Bay Area is growing quickly, but that will plateau very quickly as well, and many regions in the US have fast-growing populations:

    http://www.geekwire.com/2014/seattle-population/

    And just for the record, I don’t think Alaska is the most diverse in the US. By most measures, NYC and LA are respectively the most and 2nd most linguistically and culturally diverse regions in the US.

    http://www.usefoundation.org/view/56

    http://www.daynews.com/latest-news/2013/03/top-10-culturally-diverse-cities-in-the-world-15031

    And I know “greatness” is subjective to each person, I don’t need you to clarify that for me. The point I was trying to make is that people from the Bay often exaggerate their region’s “greatness” more than people from large cities like NYC or LA. I know this first-hand from experience.

  • Michael

    your racism is so ridiculous and misguided it’s practically plain bitterness