Hey! My name is Paula and I am a pediatric travel nurse currently working on my third assignment in San Francisco, California. This post is about my second assignment, which I spent travel nursing in Los Angeles, California. I was there for seven months and it was absolutely amazing. My first assignment was in San Diego, so I didn’t want to go far. Plus my sister lives in Las Vegas, so Los Angeles was the perfect place to go next.
When I got the assignment at CHLA or Children’s Los Angeles it was like the stars aligned and it was meant to be. Before beginning my second assignment, my expectations were different from those of my first because now I kind of knew what this whole travel nurse life was about. It was great having people to hang out with and explore the city. Los Angeles is such a big city and there are so many things to do here, which is why when the hospital asked me to extend I didn’t hesitate.
Favorite spots in Los Angeles
Thirteen weeks went by so fast and I knew I wanted to explore more of what LA had to offer. My favorite things to do in LA included: going to Manhattan Beach, Malibu Wine Safari and Malibu in general, hiking trails at Griffith Park, sunsets at Santa Monica Pier, exploring my favorite Hollywood spot The Last Bookstore, and going out as there are so many restaurants to choose from.
My top spot to go hang out with friends was probably Mama’s Shelter cute little rooftop bar with great views of the rest of Hollywood. Another great bar you can’t miss while travel nursing in Los Angeles is Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. It’s a speak-easy that doesn’t allow flat-brim hats with old timer’s music and the entrance being a refrigerator door.
Blind Barber & No Vacancy are two more speakeasies tucked away in Culver City and Hollywood. They’re elegant bars, but I’m not going to spoil the fun, so you’ll just have to check them out for yourself.
Additionally, I signed up for a service that gave me access to attend live shows filmed in Hollywood. I was able to score tickets to go see Jimmy Kimmel, James Corden, and Steve Harvey. This was so fun and an awesome experience I could share with friends when they came to visit me.
I would encourage travel nurses to take an assignment in Los Angeles because there are so many things to do whether you enjoy hiking, beaching, city nightlife, or being a tourist. You can definitely find something to do during your off days.
I don’t regret any of my time in Los Angeles. The only complaint I have is that traffic is not that great, and you need patience when driving anywhere. Hopefully, this was helpful for any travelers that are unsure or on the fence about travel nursing in Los Angeles. Be encouraged to step out of your comfort zone and go check it out! After all, that’s what this travel nurse life is all about.
I treat every experience as a learning experience and try to remind myself to keep an open mind and adapt to whatever challenges come my way. That’s the best advice I can offer someone thinking about pursuing travel nursing. This attitude helped me have a great experience during my assignment and I was able to make friends with both travelers and core staff.
Living in Los Angeles
One thing you should know before travel nursing in Los Angeles is a few up-and-coming areas with relatively affordable housing. Silver Lake & Culver City are both becoming increasingly safe neighborhoods that are bustling with young professionals and families.
But just so you know, relatively cheap housing for LA is not relatively cheap compared to the rest of California, much less the rest of the country. Think long and hard about the housing offered by your staffing agency when travel nursing in Los Angeles.
Travel nursing in Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a Sunday trip to Venice Beach. Grab a drum and join the weekly drum circle that’s impossible to miss! Venice Beach is as Southern California as it gets with plenty of skateboarders, weight lifters, and hipsters. Just make sure you’re there during the day as it can get a little sketchy at night.
If while travel nursing in LA you want to watch some of the world’s best surf, head to the public beach just north of the Malibu Pier. If you want to get away from the throngs of people, continue north to Zuma Beach.
Food in Los Angeles
The food of Los Angeles could have an entire book to itself. The Taco Trucks are the best-kept secret when it comes to Travel Nursing in Los Angeles. Some of the best Taco Trucks are El Chatos on Pico & Olympic and Chorizo Taco Truck in Hollywood by the corner of Sunset and La Brea.
The Asian food in Los Angeles is on another level. Overall, it’s better than the Asian food of New York. New York has comparable Chinese food, but as far as Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, & Japanese food, Los Angeles has NYC beat. Some of the best areas for Asian Cuisine are Sawtelle, Koreatown, Chinatown, and Little Tokyo.
Koreatown is a must-see while travel nursing in Los Angeles. Get a massage at Wii Spa and then massage your bellies with Korean Barbeque. Often an all-you-can-eat experience with steak, pork, chicken, and veggies, Korean BBQ might just be the best meal in town.
Some of the pricier options aren’t all-you-can-eat, but might as well be with the sizes of their portions. Kang Ho-dong is your best bet. But know that on a weekend night you’ll wait 2 hours as they take no reservations. Pro-tip: go on a weekday or Sunday.
If you’re not from the Pac Rim, it’s hard to find bad Sushi in Los Angeles. But your standards for Sushi, or Poke, will sky-rocket upon travel nursing in Los Angeles. Vietnamese Pho is also one of the best ways to take in the Pac Rim.
Visit Los Angeles on your next travel assignment
The best way to get to know California is by getting to know the people. While some Californians can be clicky and tough to get to know, there are others that’ll welcome you and become lifelong friends.