Los Angeles: Expectation vs. Reality



L.A is one of those places that we all hear about, read about or see on T.V (or all of the above). So if you’ve never been there yourself it’s pretty common to have a bunch of expectations about what it’s actually like.

I’ve been to Los Angeles once before but I was a lot younger and honestly I barely remember much at all, but this time was different. I’d scrolled through so many Instagram photos, read posts on L.A, watched vlogs from people who lived there….I was ecstatic to go there for myself and it ended up surprising me in more ways than one.


Expectation? The food is going to be sub-par…

Reality: L.A knows their food.

I’m not sure why but I expected the food in Los Angeles to be all around bad or low quality, but I couldn’t have been more wrong (granted I didn’t go to any dives or super low budget places though).

I’m a bit of a food snob but the food I had in L.A seriously surpassed my expectations.  With the meals I had the ingredients were top notch, flavours were amazing and L.A seems to offer a little bit of something for everything food-wise.

Depending on where you go, prepare for some seriously ‘healthy’ menu items though. It seemed like all of L.A was carrying around a green juice.

I’d recommend:


– Fresh gourmet sandwiches @Mendocino Farms
Maca/Acai Bowls @Liquid Juice Bar
Fresh baked cookies @Milk Jar cookies
Fish and Chips @Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Gelato @Amorino Gelato

Expectation? Rodeo Drive is a must-see, so it must be good

Reality: Over-hyped. 

I came, I saw, I wasn’t overly thrilled. Granted I’m not Rodeo Drive’s kind of clientele (I can afford a Burberry lipstick but that’s about it) the whole experience of going there just fell a little flat for me.

It’s not that it wasn’t beautiful or picturesque or Instagrammable as hell, it’s just that the street itself is overhyped. The way some people talk about how you have to stop at Rodeo Drive sort of makes it into this big experience and then when you realise that it’s just a shopping street filled with shops you can’t afford and you’re probably not going to casually run into Leo DiCaprio or any other celebrity, the thrill wears off a little. I feel like Rodeo Drive is one of those places that if you visit L.A, everyone is going to ask if you went there so you go to make sure you avoid the whole “How could you not go to Rodeo Drive?!” speech. But unless you’ve got money to burn, it’s nice there, but don’t expect to have your socks blown off.

Expectation? Everyone’s going to have a dog….

Reality: Dogs. Dogs everywhere (and I mean everywhere). 

In L.A it felt like everyone had their dog with them…all the time. Out to lunch? People are sitting next to their dog. Grocery shopping? There’s a dog cornering the tomatoes. Catching an Uber? The lady before you just jumped out of the car with her dog in the backseat. Walking around? Dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs- everywhere. I really don’t think L.A is the place to go if you’re either allergic or scared of dogs because it just seems like it’s the norm there to bring your dog with you everywhere, which is the complete opposite of Melbourne!


Expectation? Venice Beach is going to be quirky

Reality: Words can’t describe Venice Beach. 

I read somewhere that words can’t describe Venice Beach and I have to agree with that, it’s one of those places that you need to experience for yourself. Walking to Venice Beach from Santa Monica, it was like walking into another country. Compared to Santa Monica, Venice has this eclectic vibe that’s a little more unique and a lot less perfect and manicured.

Some of the cafes looked great, others looked a little seedier but overall the mix of people there is unreal and the place always seems to be buzzing with activity. Saying that, I’d recommend visiting during the daylight hours because for me personally once the sun started setting I was ready to leave.
If you’re looking for the most picturesque time to explore choose sunset, we walked around just as the sun was setting and everything was looking particularly beautiful, if I do say so myself.



Expectation? Santa Monica is going to be a postcard come to life
Reality: Santa Monica is like a beautiful little oasis. 

Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Burbank, Malibu, Santa Monica- it seems like there are so many different areas to L.A that it’s hard to keep track. Even though I definitely haven’t been to them all (or anywhere close) one thing that amazed me was how different Santa Monica felt from everywhere else I’d been. The Pier itself is just how you’d imagine- filled with people, bright signs, people’s hopes and dreams and that classic relaxed vibe that comes from living near the beach with a little hint of ‘The O.C’ vibe creeping in.


Santa Monica felt like a little oasis away from the hustle and bustle of some of the other more central places. Everyone seemed more relaxed (almost a little too relaxed at times) the atmosphere didn’t feel as competitive and honestly it was hard to believe that all of this was only about a 20 minute drive away from Beverly Hills…although let’s face it in L.A everything takes longer because of the traffic!

If you’re visiting L.A and you’re not sure where to visit, make sure you add Santa Monica to your list!




Have you been to L.A before? What did you think of it?