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When Does One Become An Angeleno? Part 2

Visitors watch the sunset from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. (Andrew Cullen for LAist)
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Last week, we asked around our newsroom to find out when our KPCC/LAist colleagues think one can reasonably begin to refer to oneself as an Angeleno.

The answers were heated, but the message was clear: it totally depends on who you ask.

So, we asked you! And like our co-workers, you have strong opinions. Many of you cited a certain number of years; others pointed to various driving milestones.

And an overwhelming number of you put to rest the stereotype that people in L.A. are nice but phony -- most native Angelenos told us in no uncertain terms that if you weren't born here, you don't get the title. Ever.

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We got a lot of answers, but as you'll see, several overarching themes prevailed.

When does one become an Angeleno?


  • You've got to be born here.
  • When you're born in L.A. and reside here, you're an Angeleno.
  • When one is born, raised, and lived in this great city over the decades.
  • Sorry, but the correct answer is when you are born here OR when you have a child born here. Real Angelenos are born, not moved.
  • My criterion, applicable to myself alone? I live in the same house to which my Mom brought me home after giving birth to me.
  • Only when you've been born or raised here.
  • Being born at the original Cedars of Lebanon.
  • I may be being too technical here but, to me, an Angeleno is someone who was born here in Los Angeles.
  • If you moved here, never.


If you've lived in L.A. for...

  • A minimum of 5 years.
  • Roughly 10 years.
  • Over 50% of your life.
  • 20 years.
  • At least 5 years.
  • 15-plus years.
  • As long or longer than where you originally transplanted from.


When you...

  • Get your first $70 parking ticket.
  • Drive to the curb.
  • Encounter a film shoot/movie premiere/celebrity event and the only thing you care about is that it's causing traffic issues.
  • Refuse to travel 5 miles because you might get caught in return traffic.
  • Use time instead of distance to tell people how far something is.
  • Know all the traffic bottlenecks on the freeway.
  • Make small talk that consists almost entirely of you comparing your driving routes with everyone else present.
  • Can merge onto a freeway and from lane to lane without fear.
  • When you've cried on the 405.
  • Can tolerate driving downtown L.A. with no complaint at all.
  • Know the best times to avoid traffic.
  • See that @POTUS is in town and can route yourself around the street closures.
  • Watch reruns of SNL's "The Californians" and see the driving directions in your head.
  • Get rear ended on the 405 for the first time.
  • Cancel plans because you know parking will be bad.
  • Know at least three alternative routes to avoid gridlock (and the 405).
  • Don't complain about the traffic and give yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination.


When you...

  • Know L.A. and complain about it. I have yet to meet an Angeleno who doesn't complain relentlessly about the perfect weather.
  • Understand LA city/county politics and are actively fighting for a city that exists for people over profit.
  • Start to feel connected to the California environment and appreciate its magic.
  • Know where the iconic murals are.
  • Remember the Fox Carthay Circle Theater.
  • Know the places that are worth the hype and which aren't.
  • Know at least one person who was "supposed to be at Sharon Tate's house that night."
  • Call Westfield Culver City the Fox Hills Mall.
  • Consider Botox, fillers, yoga, meditation, sound baths, sensory deprivation, cryogenics and/or having a maid or gardener entirely reasonable ways to spend a paycheck, but buying a house sounds like a ridiculous fantasy.
  • Start thinking of an old t-shirt, ripped jeans and sneakers as semi-formal attire.
  • Don't live in Hollywood or Venice.
  • When you are comfortable in neighborhoods where the neighbors don't look like you.


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When you...

  • Have eaten at Tommy's on Rampart on the way home from downtown.
  • Know to order animal fries at In-N-Out and you know they serve hot chocolate.
  • Know the origins of places like Canter's.
  • Drink green pressed juice and like it.
  • Have had an original Mai Tai at Trader Vics in the Beverly Hilton.
  • Embrace the multi-cultural aspect of LA. When you've gotten a bagel at Langers, a taco from a truck in Lincoln Heights, eggs at Whizin's, spices at an Armenian market in Glendale, and on and on.


  • When you've been in L.A. long enough to see a street or area completely change, like Melrose Avenue in the '90s versus Melrose Avenue now.
  • When the neighborhood you live in transitions from sketchy to edgy to hip to douchey, and the distinctive stores and restaurants that gave it its charm are displaced by national chains.


When you don't...

  • Gentrify a working-class neighborhood.
  • Make Los Angeles the default scapegoat of all of your personal problems.
  • Mind the smog.
  • Have any intention of leaving.

When you do...

  • Understand the history of Los Angeles and your place in it.
  • Leave L.A. and realize you miss it.
  • Stop talking about missing the lady who feeds the pigeons in Central Park, take up tennis and marry your real estate broker. (True story.)
  • Know you're gonna stay forever.

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