By Trevor Mulligan
I have been living in Los Angeles for over 12 years now. I left Seattle not only to avoid the overcast, dreary days, but to chase an opportunity. There are a few things I miss about Seattle, but I especially don’t miss the weather. LA has provided me with more than I could have imagined. I met my amazing wife and we had two incredible boys. My wife and I cannot think of a better place that we would want to live and raise our boys.
In Los Angeles, we can find anything we want and we can find things we didn’t even know we wanted. We can see concerts large and small, eat at amazing restaurants, and walk through museums all around town. There is always something going on.
My wife and I want our kids to be world citizens, and what better way is there to achieve that than to have our kids attend a language immersion school program? We chose Mandarin, and couldn’t be happier, and the fact that it is available to us excites us. Learning about different cultures and experiencing things such as the Chinese New Year in Chinatown provides our boys with the opportunity to be immersed in another culture—a different way of life.
LA County is home to 100 museums that range from those that specialize in fine art to La Brea Tar Pits, where you can see fossilized dinosaur bones–there is no doubt that your kids will enjoy it! Local large music venues include Disney Concert Hall (home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic) as well as the very popular Hollywood Bowl and Greek Theatre. Getty Center (“The Getty”) is one of the world’s largest art organizations, and a favorite museum for many locals and tourists. Located on a 24-acre hilltop campus, overlooking the LA Basin, The Getty is home to two things: 1) One of the best views of Los Angeles, and 2) a world-class art collection. Best of all, it’s free! All you have to do is pay for parking, then hop on a tram ride up the hill. People can spend a whole day taking in amazing art and city views, and it is a great thing to do with kids.
Some neighborhoods are the cultural focal point for certain ethnic groups, the list below are some must-visit neighborhoods, which are rich in gastronomic opportunity.
Boyle Heights (Hispanic)
(Tehran + Los Angeles = Tehrangeles)
Little Armenia (or Glendale)
Little Tokyo (or Gardena or Sawtelle)
Chinatown (or Monterey Park)
Living in LA isn’t just about finding things to do in the “concrete jungle,” either. We are only a few hours away from camping at Joshua Tree National Park, and close enough to play in the snow at Big Bear. We have options at every turn. One top misconception about Los Angeles is that it’s a city. It’s not. It’s like 12 cities smashed together, bisected by a bunch of freeways and a mountain range. The point is, LA has something for everyone.
Being a stay-at-home dad in LA is the best. We have adventures all over town and, surprisingly for us, there are still more adventures waiting outside our front door. One of the greatest opportunities is to be able to swim and surf outside all year long, and we take full advantage of that. Our boys have been swimming since they were merely months old. My oldest has been known to surf on a chilly February morning, undaunted by the water temperature, and our youngest is able to participate in soccer camps during any time of the year.
There are so many museums, activities, sights, sounds, and foods to discover and enjoy, and the bustling cultural scene combined with the plethora of local attractions is what make this city so great. In fact, this city is quite livable and downright fun and interesting, and living here is never dull. Los Angeles has become more than just a home for us, it is our lifestyle.
Trevor Mulligan quit his job as an interactive art director in 2010 to be an at-home dad. The LA sunshine gives him ample time to swim and spend time at the beach with his two boys when he is not working on his blog OneSAHD, BadassParenting blog, or working with the LA City Dads Group. Find him on Instagram or Twitter @oneSAHD. To learn more about the LA City Dads Group, visit citydadsgroup.com/la!