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More LA Myths and Misconceptions

More Things People Believe About LA That Are Not (Completely) True

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Thanks to Liz, Betsy, Berndt and all the readers who submitted their ideas for more myths and misconceptions about LA! If you have ideas to add, email them to golosangeles AT aboutguide DOT com with "Myths" in the subject line.

Read the original Top 10 LA Myths and Misconceptions or take the Los Angeles Trivia Quiz.

1. There are Topless and Nude Beaches in LA

Several people mentioned being surprised by this one when they got to LA. Despite the racy movies, TV shows and songs, LA and Orange County are pretty conservative when it comes to showing skin on the beach. It is illegal for women to be topless or anyone to be nude in public in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, including at the beach. People will even report you if you allow small children to run around naked on the beach. Excessive, but true.

The nearest nude beach is at San Onofre State Beach in San Diego County.

2. Lots of Movie Stars Live in Hollywood, and the Movie Star Maps Show You Where

This one has two parts. In reality, Hollywood has only recently risen above its seedy decades and regained a bit of glamor status. There may be a lot of wannabe actors living in this area, but anyone who reaches celebrity status has moved on to a more elite abode.

As for the maps, they may indicate where certain celebrities live in West LA, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and other upscale areas, but you can't see most of them over the walls and hedges. If you take the Movie Stars' Homes Tour, you'll at least get the stories and a bit of history to go with the view over the hedge.

3. People in LA Have No Taste (Fashion Sense)

This is an interesting one. A lot of fashion comes out of LA, since we are the number one garment manufacturing center in the country. We have a large fashion district downtown, which is also home to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. We have fashion cliques, like hip hop, goth, and nightclub chic, and then there's celebrity red carpet fashion. But it's also true that the everyday uniform of laid-back LA is shorts and flip flops - even if they're your dress shorts and glitter flip flops. I personally don't believe in fashion, and my flip flops come from the drugstore, but I wasn't born here. Any thoughts from locals?

4. It's Always Smoggy in LA

Well, only if you visit in summer or fall, and it's not as bad as it used to be. During the winter and spring, Los Angeles has plenty of clear blue sky days. The beach areas are less smoggy all year long. If you're looking down on an orange brown haze when you fly into the city, be prepared for smog. If you can see the ground from the air, or the cloud coverage is white, you can breathe easy.

5. LA Is a Cultural Wasteland

The LA Music Center is home to the LA Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Center Theatre Group and the LA Philharmonic, all world-class performing arts organizations. The theatre scene has improved dramatically in the last 10 to 15 years with dozens of high quality performances (and admittedly also some lousy ones) every week across the county.

LA has outstanding art museums including the renowned Getty Center and Getty Villa, as well at the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, to name just a few. In fact, art is everywhere, with multiple arts districts with galleries and artist studios offering Art Walks and Studio Tours

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6. There's Nothing to Do in Downtown LA

There's more to do in downtown Los Angeles than you can accomplish in one day. It's certainly worth a whole weekend. From the birthplace of LA at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site to Chinatown and Little Tokyo, you can explore the history and cultural diversity of the city. There are some great museums, historic architectural walking tours and of course, fabulous shopping in the fashion, toy, and jewelry districts.

You can attend a sporting event or concert at the Staples Center or Nokia Theatre at LA Live, or enjoy a performance or take a tour at the Los Angeles Music Center or Disney Concert Hall. And don't forget the ever-expanding offerings for Where to Go After the Show

Here are some of the most popular Things to Do in Downtown LA.

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7. Everything in LA is Expensive

Los Angeles Discount Programs
Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
There are certainly plenty of costly things you can do in LA, from pricey theme parks to exclusive fine dining restaurants and 5-star hotels, and don't get me started on the price of cocktails in Hollywood, but there are also plenty of budget-friendly chain hotels, motels and hostels, wallet-friendly diners and ethnic restaurants and free attractions. Check out the Top Free Things to Do in LA and Discounts on LA Attractions, Dining and Entertainment.
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