I've been in LA all week - came down with a bunch of friends to support an artist friend (Sandy Yagi) and see as much as I can see. So far, I've walked through downtown LA which is full of new buildings and museums and is cleaner and much better managed than SF. We've been to the Norton Simon Museum and the Getty, both of which make our local museums look like provincial nothings. The traffic is as expected but the city is not as I expected. It's exciting, vibrant and full of more things to do than I have the energy for. The local art scene is full of a wide range of galleries and people who (gasp) actually BUY the art. The art in the museums is astonishing, with a depth and breadth in the collections that SF simply can't match.
Norton Simon's beautifully designed grounds and building made me sad for what the De Young could have been. We could have had a beautiful building instead of the metal lump that we do have, with it's inadequate space for traveling shows, overpriced cafeteria and boring landscaping. SF's museum guards should come down here and learn manners and better ways to deal with the public. LA even has public transportation and some of it, so I hear, is very efficient.
Once I get back home, I'll write in more detail about my trip but it's been an eyeopener. I love SF and could not stand LA's heat or traffic but in many ways, LA has SF beat.