Don’t Forget to Pack Your LA Map
If you’ve never been to LA before and are planning a trip, be sure to pack a current LA map to have on hand in your rental car. Most car rental agencies will provide you with a rudimentary map of Los Angeles, but they tend to be broad stroke snapshots of the major freeways vs. a reliable grid with street names and area landmarks. Some people have been foregoing maps all together in favor of using their mobile devices to navigate, but there’s nothing like a good, old fashioned map to get a sense of the city itself, which is spread out across a diverse topography (and is never interrupted by a phone call or text message). Truly, a great map can be one of your best traffic resources when it comes to surviving LA!
For example, it might be helpful to know that the 405 North is closer to the ocean than the 101 Freeway, or that the popular walk of fame is not in downtown LA (as some might assume) but in Hollywood. Most gas stations will carry a current map of the area and so will any AAA location. If you’re a AAA member, why not pick up your map of Southern California before you get on the plane? This way, you won’t get lost trying to find your way.
A Word About LA Neighborhoods
To truly understand an LA map, you first need to understand LA neighborhoods. Otherwise your map is little more than a meaningless grid connected by highways. It’s the neighborhoods that give the map meaning, where you can truly understand the culture of LA.
The Atwater District is family friendly. There are plenty of moms and dads, but their strollers are outfitted with hip hop bopping HiFi stereo speakers. It’s a cool place to raise a family without being totally square and boring. Beverly Hills is just what you’d expect, a place for movie stars. Highland Park is a great hangout for comics.