Can anyone talk to me about LA? And where can I go for more info

(8 Posts)
WalkTheLime Wed 02-Jul-14 16:58:26

So it looks like DH will need to go to LA next year for a year or so and we're trying to figure out how it will work for me and the DCs.

What I really need to know at this stage is where in the sprawling city we should move to and how schooling works out there.

If anyone could answer some questions or point me in the direction of a book/website that could help that would be great.

OP’s posts: |
lljkk Wed 02-Jul-14 17:04:13

How old are your children?
There are some MNers in LA, if you try the living overseas board.
Because of traffic jams I would try to live within 10 miles of your DH's job, closer if you can afford it.
Good city site where you could get HEAPS of info.

WalkTheLime Thu 03-Jul-14 12:33:41

DCs are 8,6 and 4. I'm happy to home school initially if we need to wait for places.

That site looks great. Thanks.

If there are some MNers in LA I'd love to hear from them.

OP’s posts: |
HelloLA Fri 04-Jul-14 21:36:47

Hi WalkTheLime, I lived in LA for 3 years but moved back to London a year ago. Have you been on BritishExpats.com? The US board is pretty active. People there can be a tad negative about LA (citing urban sprawl, superficial mindset, endless traffic), but I actually found it a really interesting, diverse place. More like a collection of smaller cities than a single big one. Wonderful to be in easy distance of the mountains and the ocean. And California in general is fantastic.

The traffic is indeed horrible, though, so your DH's job location will be important. Do you know roughly where he'll be working? And do you drive? Public transport there is pretty dire, so you'd need to.

KierkegaardGroupie Sun 06-Jul-14 20:38:54

It is an amazing place to live but schools are not great everywhere. Where would your husband work?

WalkTheLime Mon 07-Jul-14 14:41:29

Thank you so much for your replies. DH will be working somewhere around Burbank/North Hollywood (exact location TBC and probably a bit of work from home).

We were thinking of Silver Lake/Los Feliz just because it's not too far and DH stayed there on a recent trip and really liked it.

We live in a city right now and walk/bus to lots of places which it seems like we won't be able to do so much in LA. I'm pretty aware it will be a culture shock but I'd like to minimise that as much as possible (especially for me!). I would like to live somewhere that feels urban rather than suburban and that's close enough to get to interesting places/parks etc for us to have easy day trips.

As we're not sure how long his stint will be, I'm happy to home-school all or some of the DCs but I'd like the option of a local school, especially for the eldest. Does it work like the UK with catchment areas/waiting lists etc?

OP’s posts: |
HelloLA Fri 11-Jul-14 10:01:23

Silver Lake and Los Feliz are really nice. My impression of them is as vaguely arty, alternative areas, but still family-friendly. Louis Theroux and his family lived for a while in Los Feliz:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26661688

We lived in LA pre-kids, so I don't know much about schools, but AFAIK catchment areas are fixed: if you lived in the catchment then you get a place. General advice always seems to be look for a good school first and then housing second.

Apparently there are some fantastic public (state) schools in LA, and some really dodgy ones; not really any different from London, but I think -- and I could be wrong -- if you happen to live in the catchment area of a bad one in LA then you're stuck with it (no expressing preference for another).

Here's the British Expats Wiki on schools in the US:

britishexpats.com/wiki/Education:_What_do_I_need_to_enroll_the_kids_in_school%3F

And here are some recent British Expat threads you might find handy for links and local info:

- family moving from London to Santa Monica

britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/london-santa-monica-cost-living-help-836306/

- another family going from London to LA

britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/where-live-la-family-829055/

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AmericasTorturedBrow Fri 18-Jul-14 12:41:50

Hi OP, I've been living in LA for the last 2.5yrs with my 2DC and DH.

Schools wise yes everywhere is catchment, but there are ways of applying to schools if you love outside the catchment. However it is stressful and over subscribed so I'd highly recommend doing schools research on greatschools.org then renting something in a good schools boundaries.

Definately rent close your DH work - the work ethic for most industries is hard so you don't want to be stuck at home most evenings on your own because it takes him 2 hours on the freeway to get home!

Los Feliz and Silverlake are great neighbourhoods but like everywhere in LA they are neighbourhoods. Most people live in apartment blocks or bungalows (single family homes) so everywhere outside of Downtown feels surburban. It took me a long time to get used to that! I live on the Westside so don't know Burbank that well but it is pretty surburban and dull. NoHo less so.

I have a few friends who homeschool and are members of various homeschooling groups so if you go in that direction I'd be happy to put you in touch with them.

LA is a much better city to live in than visit, there's so much to do and you can get out to deserts and mountains and Unspoilt beaches (and Mexico!) very easily.

Be wary of BritExpats....they are in general pretty cliquey and negative to newbies so just take everything with a pinch of salt! Glean the facts and move on....

Feel free to PM me, my DC are younger than yours but my eldest is about to start kindergarten so I've just been through the whole schooling process and as I say I do really enjoy living in LA - once you get over the unexpected culture shock!

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