Comparing These Two Southern California Cities From Someone Who Has Lived In Both Places
Los Angeles vs. San Diego, California cities
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Lifestyle Blogger
The question is often posed to me. Which city is better, Los Angeles or San Diego.
As someone who has lived in both places, here is my answer.
For me, it’s San Diego and here’s why that is the case. Keep in mind that LA is an awesome place and you can’t go wrong with either to visit or live. I just happen to prefer San Diego for the following reasons:
1.) It Is Easier To Get Around San Diego Than Los Angeles
The best argument for San Diego is that it is simply way easier to get around than in L.A. First of all, the area is about half the size of Los Angeles (a quarter of the size if you include the Valley and Orange County). So the distances you are likely to be traveling are not nearly as long in San Diego. So you won’t be stuck on the freeway or on crowded surface streets as long; this can be agony in L.A.
One of my favorite LA traffic nightmare stories is when I was headed across town (during rush hour) to go to a press event. I was in Hermosa Beach and the event was in Hollywood. It took two and a half hours – 2 1/2 hours! – to make the approximately 30-mile trip because traffic was so heavy and there was no good way to get there in the first place. Public transportation was not an option. The press event was hosted by Tourism Switzerland and I joked that I could have gone from one side of Switzerland to the other in the same amount of time. That’s true, too. You simply don’t have to put up with this in San Diego.
Many of San Diego’s main attractions – the beaches, the La Jolla cliffs, marinas, Balboa Park, Coronado Island, Little Italy and the restaurant-and-bar dominated Gaslamp Quarter – are all within 10 miles or less of one another.
San Diego also has excellent public transportation whereas LA does not; see point #2 below for more information.
And if you are visiting and relying on Uber or Lyft to get around, you will save a ton of money in San Diego compared to what it would cost in L.A.
2.) San Diego Has Excellent Public Transportation; LA Does Not
With a trolley, the Coaster and Amtrak, as well as buses that go everywhere that actually run on time, San Diego blows the doors off of LA when it comes to public transportation. In fact, I don’t even have a car anymore. I would never attempt that in LA. I either ride my bike or take any of the above transportation methods to get around the city.
By the way, the cost of an all-day transportation ticket, which covers the trolley and all buses is just $6. And if you are one to say “I’m not taking the bus!,” keep this in mind: the stops have a code you punch into your smartphone that texts you the times of the next three bus arrivals.
Plus, do you really want to hunt for and pay for parking when you go to the beach? There’s no worrying about parking tickets, either.
3.) San Diego Is More Friendly Than Los Angeles
To find the nicest, friendliest people in L.A., you need to go the Beach Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach. Other than that, good luck, especially in Hollywood (Santa Monica is a mix of friendly South Bay folks and the “Hollywood types”).
In San Diego, friendly people are everywhere. I used to wonder why this is the case until I moved here. Then I realized people are that way because they are so happy that they live in San Diego!
4.) LA Has More Bad Areas To Avoid Than San Diego
There’s kind of an unwritten rule among those who live in Los Angeles not to “go east of the 405.” That’s not really true because Westwood, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, the Sunset Strip and Hollywood are all east of the 405 and downtown – known by its hip nickname of DTLA to residents – is now a desirable place to live.
Still, it signifies that there are a lot of bad areas to avoid and most of them are “east of the 405.” In San Diego, the main north-south freeway is the 5, and its simply not true here not to “go east of the 5.” In fact, there are not really many unsafe places in San Diego. It is considered by many crime experts to be one of the safest cities in America.
5.) The Casual Nightlife Is Better In San Diego Than Los Angeles
While the club scene in L.A., far exceeds that of San Diego, the casual bar scene is way better in S.D. The beach bars in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are more numerous, fun and – unlike in L.A. – many look out over the beach. The bars and restaurant/bars in the Gaslamp present just about any kind of nightlife you can imagine. I call it a mini-Las Vegas.
There are more rooftop bar by far in San Diego and there are far fewer “poser” bars.
BONUS: The Summertime Events In San Diego Top Those In L.A.
San Diego has its signature event ComicCon in July (you don’t need to attend, either; just walk around the Gaslamp), as well as Del Mar Opening Day and the whacky Over-The-Line tournament. LA has beach concerts and Smackfest in Hermosa Beach, but you pretty much have to be a beach local to know people to fully enjoy them. In San Diego, the more the merrier!
LA Vs. San Diego Conclusion
So that’s five good reasons that I personally prefer San Diego to Los Angeles.
But before I end this post, I am going to be fair to the place where I lived before coming to San Diego. So, I am doing a second post on the 5 things that are better about Los Angeles than San Diego. To read it, click the link here.