Study Abroad Corner

9 things not to do in Los Angeles


There are so many different things that you can do in Los Angeles – the City of Angels. From going to movies, performing arts events, concerts, museums, galleries, to hiking and seeing the beautiful scenery and attending sport events… you name it, L.A. has it! Check out my previous article on what to do in Los Angeles on Friday nights HERE. With that being said, there are a few things that you should be aware and avoid doing while in the city. Below is a guide of things not to do in Los Angeles so you can stay out of trouble and enjoy the best L.A. has to offer.

  1. Don’t just eat at 1 eatery/fast-food place

  2. Source: Dawn
    LA is a melting pot of so many difference cultures and diverse food, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t explore new eateries and cuisines in the city! Don’t just stick with 1 eatery or fast-food place. Instead, go out and explore new places in different areas! Stop by Korea-Town and try All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) KBBQ, or slurp a bowl of ramen at Little Tokyo, or taste Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza (Batali is one of the Iron Chef America), or grab an authentic taco from a food truck… There are so many options for you to choose from! Trust me, if you just stick with 1 place, you’re definitely missing out the incredible food that L.A. has to offer!

  3. Don’t forget to tip

  4. Source: Food and Wine
    Just like with all other states in the U.S., don’t forget to tip at at places such as restaurants, bars, taxis, hotels! Tipping is a very common courtesy especially in the U.S. It shows your gratitude for the service, your generosity, and it usually makes up a very large percentage for the people who are being tipped. For example, tipping accounts for over 80% of the salary for waiters and waitresses. Generally, it’s best to leave 15% or higher (based on your total bill amount) for tips. I know that even though tipping is a definite must in the U.S., it’s only optional for other countries (e.g. Asian countries). But unless you want to be regarded with terms such as “the worst”, “horrible”, “jerk”, “cheap”, never forget to tip in the U.S.!

  5. Don’t forget to explore the diverse city

  6. Source: Expedia
    There are so many different things that you can do in the city, from attending art events and concerts (for those who love art and music) to going to the beach and farmer markets (for foodies like myself). L.A. is often referred to as the “Creative Capital of the World.” You name an event or attraction, L.A. has it. I made the mistake of not exploring L.A. and its surrounding cities until my junior year of college. So don’t just familiarize yourself and stay in 1 area, instead explore different cities to see what L.A. has to offer.

  7. Don’t jaywalk

  8. Source: Tampa Bay Times
    There are certain sections of L.A. that make you feel tempted to just jaywalk across. But don’t do it! You will get jaywalking tickets, and they can cost over $200! Instead, follow the crosswalk signals – better to take the long routes than be fined.

  9. Don’t be near the Hollywood sign

  10. Source: Netflights
    Did you know that it’s against the law to be near the Hollywood sign? This is due to the effort to preserve the sign against vandalism and safety concerns (the land around the sign is very steep and slippery). So unless you want to be fined by the police and even go to jail, don’t try to climb the fence around the sign or be near it! You can still see and admire this 45 ft tall sign from many tall places all over L.A.

  11. Don’t rely on cars all the time to get around

  12. Source: Wikimedia Commons
    You may see people driving cars everywhere in L.A., but you don’t have to rely on it as the only mode of transportation to get around the city. While it’s very convenient to have a car, there are still other alternatives available for those who don’t have cars (or those who prefer public transit), including taking the bus, the metro, and even biking (for those who are up for the challenge). I used to take the train a lot to get to places before I have a car. If you decide to take public transit, don’t forget to stay safe and be alert of your surrounding.

  13. Don’t forget to bring your ID to bars/clubs

  14. Source: Discover Los Angles
    While there’s no legal drinking age and people don’t really enforce it much in some countries, in the U.S., the legal drinking age is 21. Thus, bringing your ID is the most important thing to remember when going to clubs/bars and if you decide to drink. Security will check your ID before your get in, and if you’re under 21 (or they believe that you use a fake ID), you won’t get in!

  15. Don’t fall for Hollywood scams

  16. Source: World Wide Web Designers
    If you’re walking on the street and someone randomly approaches you, saying that he/she’s some famous producer/ director/ casting agent and want to recruit you, there’s a possibility that they’re scamming you! Don’t fall for Hollywood scams like this. We may secretly have that inner desire to become a successful actor/ actress/ model/ singer (you know, the next Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, or Tyra Banks), so we could be tempted to try it out, and ultimately fall for the scam. Never straight up believe these people. Instead, Google their name and company online, ask for a business card, and go to audition (if you believe that they’re legitimate enough) with a group of friends.

  17. Don’t travel to unsafe areas alone

  18. Source: Sanford 365
    This is pretty self-explanatory. There are areas that are safe in L.A., and there are also areas that are less safe that you should be aware of. Avoid traveling to unsafe areas alone (especially at night). If you must go there, travel with a group of friends and let 3-4 other friends know where you’re heading to. Ask them to check up on you or use safety apps such as Circle of 6 (you can read more about it HERE). Better be safe than sorry!

What do you think of these not to do things in L.A.? Do you have any other suggestions? COMMENT BELOW!

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Hue La

About Hue La

Hey there, I'm Hue (pronounced “huay”, not “hue” like how you would normally say it in English). I'm a USC graduate and traveler with 6+ years of study abroad experience in the U.S. I founded Study Abroad Corner with the goals of providing helpful advice and building a social network for fellow study abroaders around the world.

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