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Not For Tourists Writes on the Right Way for Residents

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Years ago it seemed in vogue to tote the Thomas Guide around town to get you out of a geographical bind. LAist remembers investing a small fortune in one (with zip codes, naturally), using it with gusto for a month or two, then filing it in the trunk where it became victim to an errant and explosive container of yogurt. Soon the almighty street reference book became as noxiously scented as it was outdated, never to be replaced. Recently, however, we remembered a sleek and tighly packed volume that clearly stipulated it would cover LA from a resident's perspective. The book is, in fact, simply called Not For Tourists (or NFT if you're feeling edgy) and the current 2005 LA edition is exactly what this lost resident needs.

The origin of NFT: LA comes from the company's simple philosophy: "People need to use the cities they live in, commute into, or travel to effectively." So they created guides with highly graphical maps that break the city into neighborhood grids in a congruous manner that puts the smackdown on the old Thomas Guide's map-scavenger hunt, which had us flipping from page to page, following a coding system that rivals Dewey and his Decimals. The sleek guidebook also features color-coded indexes of important categories, like airports, libraries, malls, parks, museums, and sports. Much like LAist's family tree, the NFT series began in Gotham and branched out from there, and now covers SF, Chicago, Boston, and DC, too.

Thumbing the pages, we easily appreciate the neighborhood maps that list for us living essentials, like banks, pharmacies, gas stations, schools and supermarkets. LAist also enjoys the clever and minimalist blurbs about city landmarks, for example, remarks for the Helm's Bakery Building (Culver City, Map 24): "They used to make bread, now they sell furniture." And really, what more do we need to know? We're filing the NFT: LA 2005 in the front seat, and we're going to use it often. Because in LA, sometimes the bottom line is just as simple as knowing where you are, and if you're lucky, where you're going.

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Not For Tourits Guide to Los Angeles 2005 $19.95
Available in most bookstores, from the NFT Website, or, your best bet is to get it for $13.57 on Amazon.