So you want to move to Los Angeles. You know about the great weather, the easy access to beach and outdoor activities. You may even be interested in taking a peek at the famed Rodeo Drive and Hollywood sign — but let's take a look at some of the more little-known facts about LA.
LA is the second largest city in the US
Almost 4 million people live in LA, which is almost half of NYC's population of 8.4 million. The city and area attracts people of all ages, but upwards of 30% of the population is 25 to 44 years old. Chicago is third-largest with about a million fewer than LA.
LA is diverse
Walk down the street in downtown LA and you will see people from all backgrounds and ethnicities, from Hispanic and Latino to Asian and Pacific Islanders, as well as African-Americans and others. In fact, according to the 2013 US Census Bureau, 47.9% of the city's population is composed of people of Hispanic and Latino backgrounds.
LA is home to thousands of college and university students
One of the little-known facts about LA is that at last check, there were 113 accredited colleges and universities in the city, including UCLA. Students come from all over the world to study in this unique and welcoming environment.
If you need a change of scenery, you don't have to go far
Between the San Gabriel Mountains and the 75 miles of coastline, you can ski and surf in the same day if you'd like. The sandy beaches can provide hours of relaxation and sun, or you can hike up Mt. San Antonio, which is more than 10,000 feet above sea level. If you're more of a river person, within easy reach are the Los Angeles, Rio Hondo, San Gabriel and Santa Clara rivers.
Getting to LA is easy
Whether you're driving, flying or taking the train, getting to LA is easy. There are three airports nearby: LAX and the smaller Van Nuys Airport and LA/Ontario International Airport. If taking the train is more your style, National Geographic lists the LA/Chicago route as one of the top 10 North American Trips and Amtrak lists Los Angeles Union Station as the fifth busiest station in its network.
There are more than 100 museums in LA
Whether your taste runs to entertainment (The Grammy Museum) or to world records (Guinness World Records), there's a museum for you in the LA area. Visit just two museums a month and it will take you four years to visit them all. Many offer student rates so be sure to check ahead of time.
And LA takes its professional sports seriously
Whether you're into hockey, basketball, baseball, football, or even soccer, LA has a team for you. You can watch the games in person at places like the Staples Center (hockey's Kings and basketball's Lakers and Clippers) or Dodger Stadium (baseball's Dodgers), or get together with friends and fellow students to cheer on your favorite athletes.
Adopting a new city can be a bit overwhelming, especially as you adjust to your new life as a college student, but knowing all that LA has to offer can make this time of your life exciting and educational in many ways.
By Marijke Vroomen Durning