Los Angeles Local Life

How to be a Good Neighbor in Los Angeles

If you’re new to Los Angeles, know that it’s easy to get caught up in all the glitz and glamour and feel like you’re on a never-ending vacation. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the local etiquette, you might not even realize that your breaking unspoken rules for being a good Angeleno. With the sunny weather, beautiful beaches, endless opportunities in entertainment, and a melting pot of residents to meet, some people forget what it is to be a good neighbor in Los Angeles. In nearly every city, people tend to follow their own set of rules, but in a city like Los Angeles, the secret is to simply be cool and unfazed.

If you’re curious about how to be the best neighbor you can be in this city, here’s a helpful list of tips to help new residents fit in.

Approaching Celebrities

You never know when you'll run into a wild celebrity / Shutterstock

As you might already know, Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world and a great place for celeb spotting. This means that celebrities don’t just live in the city, they actually go out and do the same things any normal resident would do, whether it’s grocery shopping, hiking, or enjoying a meal with their family at a restaurant. A common mistake that many newbie residents and visitors make is aggressively approaching a celebrity with their phones out, simply assuming they would be happy to have their pictures taken with you. Although there are some celebrities who won’t shy away from taking a selfie, be sure to evaluate the situation and be considerate of their privacy, especially if they’re with children or a loved one.

Beach Etiquette

Practicing good beach etiquette will make sure you and your neighbors have a relaxing time in the sand

Even though the beaches in Los Angeles are spacious and picturesque, many newcomers mistakenly believe that these sandy spaces are a free-for-all, do whatever you want, and pretend it’s a Baywatch-type of beach. In real life however, the beach is way less romanticized—though there’s the occasional swimsuit photoshoot. Surfers don’t actually surf shirtless (that would hurt), and lifeguards aren’t scantily clad like some TV shows depict. According to the department of LA County Beaches, beach visitors must follow several rules and regulations. This includes no alcohol, smoking, nudity, fireworks, glass containers, crazy music, or sleeping overnight at the beach. There are several dog-friendly beaches open to the public, but for the regular beaches, animals are typically not allowed.

Ask Before Petting Someone’s Dog

Be curteous and ask the owner before petting their dog

Los Angeles is where owners walk their dogs in baby strollers and professionals can bring their dogs to the office. Some dogs even have more outfits and accessories than humans. People in LA take their pets seriously and treat them as part of the family. If you happen to be hiking or walking past an adorable dog, check with the owner first before petting their dog. Refrain from feeding another person’s dog without permission as well. Although intentions might be good, many dogs have allergies or dietary restrictions that prohibit them from eating certain foods.

Meet at a Central Location

Use a landmark or major building as a meeting spot / Shutterstock

If you plan on meeting a fellow resident in town for lunch, shopping, or any other activity, be aware of both of your locations. In a city as large and traffic-congested as Los Angeles, a commute can be as short as five minutes to well over an hour traveling to another neighborhood. For example, a neutral place to meet someone who lives in Santa Monica if you live in Downtown is probably central LA, near Fairfax or La Brea. This way, the commute is the same for both of you. Being aware of your location within Los Angeles in relation to whoever you’re meeting will show that you’re being a considerate neighbor.

Be Environmentally Conscious

Volunteering isn't the only way you can practice being environmentally conscious in LA

Most people in Los Angeles are environmentally conscious, opting to bring their own totes to the grocery store instead of getting a plastic bag. Polluting is a big no-no, and you’ll be judged if you don’t recycle. Although it’s not like this in every neighborhood, areas like Santa Monica, known for its re-wilding programs and self-sustainability, constantly encourage residents to be environmentally responsible.

Networking Goes Both Ways

Making relationships is key to being a good neighbor in Los Angeles / Shutterstock

Many people move to Los Angeles with a dream of making it big. On top of having talent and a good work ethic, you need to network. A common mistake that many newcomers make is assuming that others are there only to help you. However, relationships go both ways. Don’t just ask yourself what someone could do for you, try asking what you can do for others as well.

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