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A Skateboarding Travelers Guide to Being Proper in LA

Los Angeles, California. The wild West. Home of movie stars and golden sunsets, cloudless skies and mild, warm weather year round. Yes, it’s a special place: The birthplace of the skateboard, the environment that has mothered so many influential individuals in our industry. It’s a place that you’ll want to visit, a pilgrimage you’ll undoubtedly want to make. You’ll want to venture from near and far to see the sights, skate the hills, party with the stars, and live the California dream!

Who could blame you? The fact of the matter is that Los Angeles is a pretty damn cool location. Everyone, skateboarder or not, should experience it at some point in their lives. It has an appeal all its own. Yet there are a few aspects about LA you should understand that could prevent you from having a really bad time during your stay in Los Angeles. These are words of advice that will not only help improve the quality of your stay, but will also keep you from looking like a total kook while cruising about the LA landscape. So take it from a born and raised Los Angeles native, if you’re looking to pay us a visit, get out your note book and pay attention.

Fissmer getting funky on a concrete parking post.

Fissmer getting funky on a concrete parking post.

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Big hills, big slides, big fun.

Big hills, big slides, big fun.

Transportation

Ridin’ dirty: If you’re going to visit LA with the intention of gettin’ it done, you’re going to need to acquire a vehicle. Los Angeles was built around the roadway. The reason: Some jackasses lobbying for a tire company in the 1950’s thought it would be a good idea (profitable) to keep trains out of Los Angeles. The result is that we have a very complicated public transit system operating almost entirely on buses that isn’t at all like the one that currently operates in your own city or country. If you come here from another place and think you’ll be able to experience LA using public transit, you will get confused, you will get lost, and you will have a bad time. Do yourself a favor and rent a car.

Avoid the parade: You’re going to want to have a car while in LA, but almost as important as having a car in LA is not using it during the hours of 8:00am to 10:30am, and from 3:30pm to 7:00pm. Make sure to plan your day around these hours so that you’re not traveling in LA by vehicle during these times. Los Angeles has some of the most trafficked roadways in the world. In the mornings everyone needs to go to work, and in the evenings everyone wants to go home. If you don’t want to end up sitting for two or three hours amidst a sea of brake lights, avoid the parade and plan for traffic.

The prime numbers: 10, 110, 101, 5, 405, 134, 60, 605: You may not have any idea what these numbers mean now, but by the time you leave Los Angeles, you undoubtedly will. These are the major freeways you’ll need to know to get you wherever you need to go in Southern California. Knowing these different roadways, and their traffic patterns, will be essential while trying to navigate the greater LA area. Fact.

Stallin around in Downtown.

Stalling around in Downtown.

Jesus Jeronimo, airing the early grab driveway transfer.

Jesus Jeronimo, airing the early grab driveway transfer.

Landscape:

The big time: The easiest way to tell someone isn’t from LA is when they think they can get from the West side to the East side of LA in 30 minutes or less. Los Angeles is big. Like really, really big. At 469 square miles, (that’s 1,214 sq km) it’s the 12th largest city in the US, but the 2nd most populated only to New York, so naturally there are a lot of people here. If you’re looking to get across LA, or more importantly, are interested in having someone pick you up at the airport, understand that patience is a much appreciated virtue.

Home of the drive-by: Despite what you’ve heard, Compton and Inglewood are not the same blown out gang lands of the 1990’s that you’re thinking about. Apart from a higher concentration of low income housing, and the occasional noisy crackhead hangin out on the corner, what was once a sleepy, low income Los Angeles neighborhood, is… still a sleepy, low income Los Angeles neighborhood, just now with the lowest crime rate in 50 years.

I wear sunglasses, because my future is so bright: Los Angeles is the land of no seasons. Perpetually sunny (except for maybe one week out of the year), LA maintains a warm and sunny climate that hovers around 72 degrees fahrenheit all year round. Whether you decide to bring them with you, or pick up a cheap-ass pair at Venice beach, having a solid set of shades is advised.

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