Cultural Experience | Los Angeles

L.A. and N.Y.C. : The Never Ending Comparison

Some of the many reasons these two cities are NOT to be compared

Growing up in Los Angeles, I can’t help but call it the best city in the U.S.  However, after having friends and family live in New York City for a few years, they have tried to convince me otherwise.  There has always been that ancient comparison and competition between New York City and Los Angeles.  After visiting the Big Apple myself, I have come to the conclusion that these two cities simply cannot be compared.  They are both so terrific in their own way, which is probably why so many people have homes in both cities.  Both of them have their pros and cons, but I truly believe it depends on the personality of the person choosing where to live.  If one wants a more rapid lifestyle, N.Y.C. is the place to be.  But, if someone is more laid back, L.A. is would be a better pick.  If you are pondering the main differences between the two, look no further.

1. The Weather. 

LA: If you’re into the “four seasons” this might not be the city for you.  Los Angeles is pretty much at a constant 68 degrees and Sunny.  It is a huge deal if it rains here.  However, if you want to live somewhere you do not have to worry about the weather, this is your city.  You can go outdoors any day, even in the winter, wearing shorts or jeans and a light sweater.  This is definitely not the place to find a “White Christmas.”  The weather is constantly gorgeous.

beach, LA, weather, sunny

Typical LA beach day, mid February

NYC: If you are ready to face the wrath of a NYC winter, do not let me stop you.  Unfortunately, along with the beauty of the four seasons comes the storms and blizzards of the winter.  However, if you are able to look past that, the autumn leaves and spring flowers are gorgeous.  The summer is perfect as well!  The east coast definitely knows how to create a picturesque day.

NYC, New York, Snow, Winter

Snowy Winter Day in NYC

Summer, NYC, East Coast

Perfect Summer Day in NYC


2. Transportation.

LA: Unfortunately, LA is known for its terrible traffic.  When deciding when to leave somewhere, one must always consider rush hour, or even any hour.  The freeways are packed during mornings and evenings and sometimes even the afternoons.  If you’re not used to sitting in your car for an excessive amount of time, this might not be the city for you.  LA is pretty spread out, so a car is almost necessary.

LA, Los Angeles, Traffic

Friend from New York posing in the LA traffic

NYC: New York has got the whole transportation thing down.  Minus the parking.  Don’t have a car? No problem.  Take the subway, catch a cab, or WALK!  People walk around in the city more than they drive cars.  It is far easier to get around here than in LA.  This also has to do with the fact that NYC is much more compact than LA is.

Read more student travel inspiration from California and New York

3. Scenery

LA: Los Angeles has got it all.  From the beaches, to the nature, to the tall downtown buildings, its long stretch provides for plenty of different views.

LA, Hikes, Malibu

LA Hike, Malibu

NYC:  Although New York is a tiny city, it can make for some tremendous scenery that is unmatched anywhere else.  No matter where you are, you are going to get the city vibe.  If the hustle and bustle is what gets you going in the morning, New York will steal your heart.  All the nature you need can be found in Central Park, but even there you cannot escape from the sounds and people of the city.

View of the City, NYC


View from a building in NYC


Central Park, NYC

4. Food.

LA:  Los Angeles is well known for a lot of different things. Food is definitely one of them.  To name a few: In n Out burger, authentic Mexican food, and amazing sushi.

Sushi, LA,

Delicious Sushi in LA

In n Out, California, West Coast, LA

In n Out Burger


NYC: New York is famous for food as well.  However, their specialty lies in the street food: Hot dogs, one dollar pizza, and the best ice cream you’ll ever taste from a truck called Mister Softee.


Mister Softee Truck


Enjoying a delicious Softee Cone

 5. Road trips

LA:  What is great about Los Angeles is that a quick road trip can get you to some cool spots.  For example, a four hour drive can get you to Las Vegas and a 3 hour drive north can get you to the vineyards of Santa Barbara!  You can even take a long drive down to Mexico for some genuine Mexican food.  And in the winter, a three hour drive up some mountains will get you to Mammoth for some snowboarding and cabin life.


My best friends on a trip to the Central California Vinyards


The Bellagio in Las Vegas


View from the top of the slopes at Mammoth Mountain

NYC: Because New York is surrounded by tons of small East Coast states, road trips on this side of the country will take you to whole new states! You can get to places like Boston and New Jersey.  Living here provides a great opportunity to so easily discover other states in America.


Boston, Massachusetts

 6. Night Life

LA: Los Angeles night life is a lot of fun.  Downtown LA and Hollywood are full of new and different clubs all the time.  Bars and lounges are also a hit pretty much any day of the week. However, the downside is that clubs in LA are all closed by 2am at the latest.

NYC:  I must say that New York takes the prize when it comes to night life.  Their outdoor views are breathtaking, the vibe is cooler, and they stay open until the morning.  Because of the late hours, people are able to go from bar to club all night, making for a more exciting and interesting evening.


View from a club in the meat packing district

Hopefully this list will highlight for you some of the many differences between the cities.  It is always the best idea to visit them for yourself in order to get the feel of the place.  In the end, it is clear that both LA and NYC are doing something right.

Gian Ryan

UC Santa Barbara | 10 stories

Hi there! I'm Gian. I am currently a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara studying political science. In my teenage years I have been around the states and Europe to places like France, Spain, and England. I have visited Morocco and Lebanon. I am studying abroad in Florence, Italy in the coming fall. I'll be spending my summer in Los Angeles writing some fun and informative articles about traveling in college! Can't wait to get started.

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