Recently, I attended two conferences in Marina del Rey, California. Marina del Ray is a small community on the beach just south of Venice. These two cities form a series of beach towns just southwest of downtown LA. Just one of many “micro” areas within the larger metropolis of Los Angeles.
Being from Las Vegas, I have traveled to LA many times. And often it is to stay within one of these micro areas, usually for a weekend. Each one has its own sights, its own charm. To give a few examples, Orange County[ beaches in Orange County like Laguna, Newport and Huntington; Hollywood and Beverly Hills; downtown; south beaches like Venice, Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo; Long Beach; north beaches like Santa Monica and Malibu; and the list goes on.
The thing is, I always went for a weekend, which even a long weekend is 3-4 days, and during that time I’m often either super busy with tourist-type stuff (shopping, sight-seeing, sporting events, etc.) or totally unplugging by laying on a beach or by the pool. So I don’t think I’ve really spent a chunk of time in LA just enjoying the neighborhoods, people, and special places that make these micro areas special and unique.
I didn’t go into the week thinking that would change necessarily, but I did know I would be in LA for a week because my wife and I had already scheduled a weekend in Santa Monica visiting her business school friends (and now my friends!). So two different micro areas, but still a week in LA is longer than I’ve ever been.
I came away with an appreciation of weekday life in Marina del Rey, and I liked it a lot. Very casual, fitness is clearly important, and it seemed like there were great people everywhere. I’ve always liked Santa Monica and it didn’t disappoint this time either, quiet, casual elegance. Great food. Fresh air.
I started to really think I could live in LA, except I knew I had spent a week in LA unlike how it usually is when you live there, since I hadn’t had to drive, and therefore hadn’t dealt with the traffic!
I am going to look for a time next summer when we can take a week and explore LA some more, a great adventure so accessible.