By Tess and Christina
It’s 4:00p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, and the chatter of tourists can be heard up and down Rodeo Drive, a popular tourist destination in the City of Angels and a central part of the romanticized view of Los Angeles portrayed in movies, television and tabloids.
But how does this street represent our city? And why do so many tourists visit? What about Rodeo Drive is so enticing?
One anonymous woman from Ann Arbor, Michigan said she was visiting for the “ambiance of the fact that this is where the movie stars hang out. I want to experience the glitter and the glamour.”
She’s not the only one who believes Los Angeles is a city of wealth and celebrities. Victoria from Australia was on an extended trip with her husband to travel across America. She said they were visiting Los Angeles to “see all the things that we see on TV all the time.”
Frank from New York came to LA for the first time with some friends for a very different reason: the Dodgers game. “They won,” he said, proudly displaying his blue jersey. “We’re having a great time.”
Susan from Canada said she thought Rodeo Drive was “just a road” until the friend she was visiting told her and her daughter to get out of the car and drove away, leaving them alone and confused. Fortunately, the friend returned after parking to explain the significance of Rodeo Drive.
Bethany from New York City came to LA to visit friends.
“I love the warm weather and the cleanliness of the city,” she said.
Many tourists had stereotypes about Rodeo Drive and Angelenos.
“I think it’s a fairly wealthy area,” Victoria said. “Actually, I thought it would look more generally wealthy than it does.”
Fernando and Francisco from Argentina said that before they came, they believed “[the stereotypical LA resident] has money, [and] thinks that material things are important.” After spending some time in LA, however, Fernando said, “It’s better than I thought. The people are cool.”
It makes sense that Victoria and Fernando had believed this stereotype, when one of the primary tourist hotspots is a shopping area. However, Rodeo Drive is also an iconic site. “It’s a really old road, and it has a history of being a really successful street… a place for fashion,” Rula ’14 said.
Cameron ’15 agreed. “The fashion’s really good there, so I totally support tourism,” she said. “[Tourists] should be able to shop too.”
The store clerks on Rodeo seemed to have a positive impression of tourists. An employee at Ilori, a sunglasses store, told us that 90% of her customers are tourists and most are international. “They are all very polite,” she told us, and have “better manners than the Americans.” Ouch!