Is Los Angeles Better Than San Francisco?
In the last few months there doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by where I don’t hear about a friend who has moved or is considering a move to Los Angeles. When and if they decide to make this move to the endless sprawl that we know as LA, they suddenly become full-on SoCal propagandists. They brag about the fact that the rent in Los Angeles is cheaper, the beaches are better and that they may have spotted a celebrity while going grocery shopping. The longer their diatribe continues, the more I wonder if life in The City of Angels is better than it is in the City By The Bay.
San Francisco is an actual city in the classic sense.
I hate comparisons between LA and SF because they’re dramatically different places. San Francisco is an actual city in the classic sense. It’s densely packed and light on sprawl. San Francisco is one of the only places on the West Coast that feels like it was built before the automobile industry successfully lobbied the US government to carve up the country for the arrival of cars. And cars are cool, but I hate them… If that makes sense? I love driving on open roads and feeling the wind in my hair as my music blares. It’s one of the most freeing feelings in the world. Yet, cars are also some of the most oppressive pieces of shit to ever exist. This is especially true in American cities where traffic and pollution eat away at our daily lives.
Downtown LA is filled with skyscrapers and the streets still smell like piss and prosperity.
Los Angeles is a city too. It’s a quasi-suburban city. Downtown LA is filled with skyscrapers and the streets still smell like piss and prosperity. You’ll see rich people in Teslas drive past human misery just like you do in San Francisco. But in LA those people are going to drive 30 miles to the valley in bumper to bumper traffic and somehow still be in LA proper. In San Francisco they only drive 3 miles back to their luxury apartment in the Marina District where they secretly consider voting for a Republican despite the Biden sticker proudly displayed on the bumper of their electric vehicle that they absolutely bought to save the planet. In LA at least they admit it’s a status symbol. In San Francisco the bourgeoisie pretend to be progressive heroes. Both suck, but our suck sometimes sucks a bit more when coupled with San Francisco’s signature dash of pretension.
So in other words, both kind of suck. But does their suck suck less than our suck? I honestly don’t know. I do think our good is better than their good, but opinions are like assholes.
When I was a kid my dad wanted to start a business and he moved me to Glendale for a year. The business failed and we headed back to Oakland. It wasn’t a horrible place, but it wasn’t really remarkable either. We lived in an apartment about 10 miles from DTLA. We would regularly drive between the land of low rise apartment complexes, car dealerships and single family homes that was Glendale to the gleaming skyscrapers of DTLA and I remember it being somewhat unimpressed.
The one thing I do recall from the year I spent in Southern California is the fact that winter didn’t exist. There was a big ass mall I was at in what I assume was Glendale and it was December. There was a massive Christmas tree outside. It was maybe a week or two before Christmas and it was at least 75 degrees outside. For whatever reason, I found that jarring. I can’t trust a place that is 70 + degrees in the winter. LA weirds me the fuck out.
Despite me being weirded out, I admire that LA is a city built on creativity. While Hollywood is corporate, it’s composed of people who have some sort of dream. You have actors, writers, comedians and all kinds of other weirdos who end up in the City of Angels to see if the wings on their back are capable of flying. I respect the courage it takes to make that choice.
It really doesn’t matter which one is better. If you find the possibility of happiness in a dream, whether that dream is in LA or The Bay, you should chase it. Keep chasing the California Dream and hope to God that you’re fast enough to outrun the California nightmare. At the end of the day, it’s all we have.
That line sounds like a fucking Red Hot Chili Peppers lyric. Lol.