NYC vs LA … Which Coast is Better?
Most of us have dreamed of living in either Los Angeles or New York City. Each has their own unique charm, but they couldn’t be more different! We broke down the lifestyle differences between the two iconic metropolises to help you decide where you should live.
How’s The Commute?
Daily commute is one of the most important things to take into consideration when choosing a new place to live. You don’t want to be stuck in hours-long traffic, nor do you want to put in more effort than you have to.
Los Angeles: You’ll need a car to get around in L.A. — Period. Unless you plan on working within walking distance from home, a vehicle is essential for getting from point-A to point B as easily as possible. However, there’s a price to pay for traveling in comfort. You’ll need to account for the cost of gas, car insurance, registration and the time you’ll inevitably spend in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Sure, L.A. has public transport just like any other major city, but it’s nowhere near as convenient as NYC’s, nor is it as useful. Los Angeles’ Metro stations aren’t as accessible when compared to cities like New York or Boston. Just getting to a station is a mission in itself.
New York City: Work-life is made possible thanks to NYC’s subway system. There are stops everywhere, and you’ll never have to wait too long for a train to pick you up. The MTA will get you just about anywhere in the city in mere minutes. New Yorkers rarely drive in the city — nor would you want to. The streets are overrun with cabs, busses and aggressive pedestrians. It’s just easier to rely on public transportation!
However, just like L.A.’s unbearable traffic, New York has some extremely unpleasant train stations. Keep in mind some of the oldest stations are over 100-years-old, and many of them look like it! Some stops are big and shiny, but the majority are musty, dirty and reek of city smells.
Neither city can offer you a perfect commute, but I’d rather be sitting on a train full of people while on my way to work than have my eyes glued to the road while driving myself. At least you can occupy yourself with a book or your phone when you’re riding the train!
Plus, you’ll never have to worry about parking — something that can be a pain in the ass in Los Angeles. But before you make the leap, be sure to brush up on some subway etiquette.
Winner: New York City
Which City is More Fun?
This depends entirely on your idea of what ‘fun’ is. There’s no shortage of ways to spend your free time in either city, but it’s an easy choice based on your personality.
Los Angeles: Everyone has this idea that L.A. is nothing but beaches, palm trees and sunshine … but it’s not exactly what you see on TV. Yes, there’s tons to do in L.A., but people fail to realize how large the city really is.
Santa Monica is quite a way from Hollywood. Downtown L.A. is nowhere near where the Kardashians live. Having a fun night out requires lots of planning and once again, a car. People in L.A. are usually confined to their small section of the city and believe it or not, not everyone lives in West Hollywood.
New York City: Much like Los Angeles, NYC folk are usually confined to their borough — Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, etc. The big difference is a simple train ride will get them anywhere they want in the city, should they choose to leave their bourough.
I wouldn’t say there’s more to do in NYC, but it definitely requires a lot less planning. You’ll be able to knock out several activities in one day, rather than set aside a whole evening for one thing in L.A..
That said, each city has its own strengths when it comes to looking for something to do. New York is great for coffee dates, wandering the city, seeing a play and even bar hopping in The Village. Los Angeles shines when heading to the beach, going on hikes, traveling down the coast and generally spending time outdoors.
Now do you see why I said it’s hard to compare? That’s why I’m giving this one a DRAW.
Who Has The Better Weather?
Weather is an important factor when deciding on where to live. NYC and L.A. are polar opposites in terms of weather and if you’re coming from one coast to the other without doing your research, you’re in for a very rude awakening.
Los Angeles: As someone who was born and raised in Southern California, I can confirm our weather is much easier to deal with. It’s never too cold and when it’s hot, you always have the beach! The average temperature in L.A. sits comfortably in the mid 70s — *chef’s kiss*!
L.A. rarely has rainy days, and when it does, it doesn’t last very long. You won’t see snow outside the mountains and the most extreme weather you’ll witness is the Santa Ana winds. I like to say Southern California has only two seasons — Summer and Mild Summer.
New York City: The benefit of being on the east coast is you’ll actually get to experience all four seasons. NYC is breathtaking during winter, when the streets are decorated and the trees are covered in snow. It’s something I think everyone should experience at least once. Central Park during Christmastime is a sight to behold.
However … summertime in NYC is unbearable. Although the temperature doesn’t get as high as L.A.’s, the humidity will smack you square in the face. Everyone is musty, sweaty and gross. Consider that when cramming yourself onto a train during rush hour. 😖
L.A.’s weather is pleasant 99% of the time and the most you’ll ever have to deal with is the hot sun — nothing a cool breeze (or a/c) can’t fix. But in NYC, your day can be completely ruined by harsh weather. When the snow is coming down hard, there’s no way you’ll be able to get anything done. That’s why there’s a clear winner in this category.
Winner: Los Angeles
What Are The Cultural Differences?
A city’s culture refers to the community’s overall way of life. Each person is different and you can’t exactly rank which is better, but you can determine which suits you best. It all falls on what type of vibe makes you’re looking for.
Los Angeles: Despite what you may hear or see on TV, L.A. isn’t as snobby as you’d think. Although I can’t generalize the entire city, because each of its neighborhood’s are different, people are friendly for the most part.
Certain parts of L.A. are filled with transplants from around the country who come with dreams of making it big. You can definitely tell who is native to the area and who’s not. Locals are normally chill and you probably won’t see any snobby attitudes outside ultra luxurious spots like Beverly Hills or Calabasas.
However, since Los Angeles is so big, you don’t get the sense of community like you would in a closely knit borough. Since L.A. is made up of dozens of cities, each comes with their own culture.
New York City: You’ll quickly discover NYC is an incredibly diverse place to live. It has this extraordinary sense of community you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a melting pot of cultures and personalities from all over the world!
My favorite part about living in NYC was sharing unspoken rules with fellow citizens — such as not getting on a subway car if it’s empty or crossing the street with no care as soon as there’s a gap in traffic.
It’s true that time moves faster in New York — people are constantly on the move.
Once you get over the initial shock of New York’s fast-paced lifestyle, you learn to accept it and embrace it. More on that later …
Winner: New York City
How’s The Food?
I’m only including this category so I can just give it to NYC. There’s no competition. During the time I lived there I had food delivered every single day. New York didn’t have to wait for apps like Postmates or UberEats when it came to food delivery because most restaurants already offered it!
And don’t get me started on the New York pizza. A huge slice with a soda will only knock you back $1.50 … it’s a no-brainer! Not to mention the food carts scattered throughout the city. Grabbing a quick bite, or cup of coffee has never been easier.
Winner: New York City
Cost of Living
There’s no getting around the fact that both Los Angeles and New York City are crazy expensive to live in. However, when it comes to getting more bang for your buck, L.A. wins.
It’s easier to find a small apartment or even a room to rent in L.A.. Apartment-hunting in New York City is absurdly difficult and when if you do find a place, it’ll almost certainly be shockingly small and uncomfortable. You’ll also be paying a disturbing amount of money for a comically small apartment.
If you’re need space to breathe, you’re not gonna find it in Manhattan.
Winner: Los Angeles
Quality of Life
The old cliche ‘life moves fast in New York City’ couldn’t be any closer to the truth. People are always in a rush and competition is everywhere. The amount of people looking for jobs outweighs those available.
This can become a very stressful situation if you’re trying to start a new life on the East Coast. So unless you know exactly what you’re going to do, where to live and have the logistics figured out, it’s going to take a while to get settled in.
L.A. is a lot easier to settle into if you’re moving from a different state. California is pretty much the same throughout, but Los Angeles is the epicenter. Downtown L.A. is nowhere near as big as Manhattan, but it still feels like city-living, if that’s what you want.
If you’re looking to get away from the big city vibes, there are also hills, beach towns and deserts that each carry their own subcultures. You’ll soon learn that almost everything is calmer in L.A..
Winner: Los Angeles
New York City is the place to go if you’re looking for life experience and independence. There’s no time to mess around and you’ll be thrust into a beautiful metropolis of hard workers. Its culture will set you straight and smooth out your edges, and you’ll emerge a better, more worldly person.
Los Angeles is funner, but spread very thin. The city is full of transplants trying and failing to make it out here thanks to social media’s glamorization. Some are lucky, but L.A. is huge and if you’re trying to make it in entertainment, just know that so are the majority of newcomers.
One important element that NYC has over L.A. is the convenience of transportation. It’s just one less thing to worry about when trying to get your life together.
That being said … in the game of New York vs. Los Angeles, NYC definitely takes the cake!
A wise man once said if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.