New York City Versus Los Angeles: Which Coast is the Best Coast?

Although New York City and Los Angeles are on opposite geographical ends of the U.S., they have some of the largest populations and most expensive homes. New York City is synonymous with a fast-paced lifestyle and cramped living quarters, while Los Angeles is often characterized as casual and ostentatious. Both cities fight for the affection of the entertainment business, fashion industry and restaurateurs, but only one city can claim the best coast title. Whether you’re considering a big city move for a job, a long distance lover, family or simply for adventure, carefully consider the advantages and drawbacks of these two powerhouse cities.

We asked locals from New York City and Los Angeles to share reasons why their coast is the best coast. So, put on your boxing gloves and prepare to take a side. The Big Apple meets the City of Angels, and we’re about to have a cultural showdown.

1. What is your city’s source of pride? How does it trump the opposite coast?

A View From High line Park. Source: Samantha Baculi of Bursts of Samm

A View from High line Park. Source: Samantha Baculi of Bursts of Samm

I think LA is the perfect place to pursue a dream career because you’re constantly surrounded by creative people who are also pursuing a dream. The opportunities feel endless here. Despite the stereotype of LA being “laid back,” people work extremely hard to make their dreams happen. But we’re also good at enjoying life at the same time-which I think is rare. We take time to stop and smell the roses (or the ocean), which, in the end, gives life to our ideas and workflow. — Erica Wernick of LA Bound (Los Angeles)

What makes New York really great are the people. As a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, New York City redefines what it means to be an American. Immigrants from every corner of the globe make their way to the Big Apple to live out their dreams and experience what it means to a New Yorker/American. Not to mention the incredible food, world-famous art, arguably the best live shows in the world and people with more heart and soul than anywhere else. — Brandon Mar of Fresh NYC (New York City)

2. If you’re a transplant, what brought you to your city? If you’re native to the area, why do you stay?

Almost everyone in LA is a transplant! We are one big happy orphan family. I moved to LA for the TV/film industry, but the weather was a big draw as well. — Erica Wernick of LA Bound (Los Angeles)

I moved from Florida because I knew NYC would be full of opportunity. I initially came here because I wanted a better career, but since moving, I’ve experienced so much more than I could ever have living somewhere else. You have the opportunity to do amazing, once-in-a-lifetime things. There are all sorts of short lived off-Broadway shows or exhibits that you can’t see anywhere else. Like one time, I visited a giant adult ball pit and it was free! Another time, I went to a food festival celebrating only doughnuts and it was in a nightclub. Totally random, but completely fun.  — Heidi Kerr of City Ambition (New York City)

3. Describe the pace of life in three words. 

View of Los Angeles from Griffith Park.

Fast, exciting, unforgiving. — Heidi Kerr of City Ambition (New York City)

Relaxed, ongoing, exciting. — Rhiannon Gillis of Rhiannon’s Interiors (Los Angeles)

4. What makes you a true New Yorker or Angeleno?

If thoughts of living anywhere else (yes, including Westchester) gives you the hives. — Jessica Tiare Bowen of Used York City (New York City)

For me, it’s a feeling. Every time I land at LAX, I breathe a sigh of relief and think, “I’m home!” In general, it’s finally getting the Californians skit on SNL. — Erica Wernick of LA Bound  (Los Angeles)

5. What do you like least about your city?

The constant need for competition for perfection. — Rhiannon Gillis of Rhiannon’s Interiors (Los Angeles)

While I love almost everything about New York, public transportation can get slightly irritating if I’m being 100 percent honest. That and New York post-snow slush. — Samantha Baculi of Bursts of Samm (New York City)

6. Describe the cost of living in your city. Do you find it comparable to the surrounding states?

Pacific Palisades, California

Pacific Ocean views in California.


LA is one of the most expensive places to live now. Rents are high when compared to salaries. — Christiano Sampaio of Loftway (Los Angeles)

The cost of living in NYC is higher than most places states because of all the convenience. You have clothing stores, all types of restaurants in every neighborhood. — Johnnybell Sanchez of NY Trendy Moms (New York City) 

7. What advice would you give to recent transplants looking for an apartment? Besides living with roommates, what are other ways to keep your cost of living down? 

Do the research and look for the neighborhood that works for you. It’s easy to stay local and save money when you’re not going too far from home. Also, I think it’s highly important to get a place that you love. You’d be surprised by how much money you save when you’re doing more inside your home, than out. –Rhiannon Gillis of Rhiannon’s Interiors (Los Angeles)

Being a super close walk to the subway is worth its weight in gold … refuse to live further than a 5-minute walk to the nearest train, even if it means living further out in the boroughs. (Trust me, the NYC winters can be brutal). The best way I’ve found to keep cost of living down is to zero in on what’s really important to you and your lifestyle, and then cut everything else. For example, if you’re REALLY into going to the gym, paying $ 180+ for that Equinox membership may be worth it for your sanity. But then cut out cable, cabs and eating out excessively to offset your costs. — Jessica Tiare Bowen of Used York City (New York City)

8. Would you rather have an apartment with upgraded amenities? Or one located in close proximity to public transportation?

Santa Monica Pier. Source: Erica Wernick of LA Bound

Santa Monica Pier. Source: Erica Wernick of LA Bound

I like newer places, so I would choose a nicer place. LA is not big on public transportation and I never use it, so that would not be factor for me. — Christiano Sampaio of Loftway (Los Angeles)

I would much rather live in an apartment near public transportation. I think it’s so important to feel close to society. Especially as a native New Yorker. Having public transportation close by gives you the freedom to enjoy the city even more. — Johnnybell Sanchez of NY Trendy Moms (New York City)

Living in an apartment near public transportation. Besides the fact that I find pre-wars 100 percent more charming than the cookie cutter modern buildings, my train of thought is … how often am I REALLY going to use the rooftop deck, gym, playroom and common room? Twice a year? OK. But I’m going to be taking public transportation 365 days a year, twice a day, making it much more useful to my lifestyle. — Jessica Tiare Bowen of Used York City (New York City)

9. What are your thoughts on owning a car in your city?

 I believe there is no reason to own a car in NYC. Most places are walkable and there are many transportation options. — Johnnybell Sanchez of NY Trendy Moms (New York City)

Unfortunately, a car is basically a necessity in LA. If you don’t own a car, there are always options for you: buses, subway, Uber/Lyft. But our public transportation is not top notch, so I find it much more convenient to be able to drive myself around, no matter how bad traffic gets. LA is extremely spread out, and not super walkable when you’re trying to get from one neighborhood to another. — Erica Wernick of LA Bound (Los Angeles)

10. What’s your go-to brunch spot? What do you order?

Food from Smorgasburg. Source: Samantha Baculi of Bursts of Samm

Food from Smorgasburg. Source: Samantha Baculi of Bursts of Samm

My favorite brunch spot is Tipsy Parson in Chelsea, without a doubt. They serve food that is just so comforting and I have such a good meal every time I visit. Their BBQ pork spoonbread is amazing, but the real star of the show is their biscuit with honey butter. — Samantha Baculi of Bursts of Samm (New York City)

I enjoy the brunch at the Sunset Marquis hotel. They have a huge buffet and the tables are surrounded by a garden away from the street. The other must go spot is Nobu Malibu. Just beautiful. — Christiano Sampaio of Loftway (Los Angeles)

11. What’s your favorite summer event?

The concerts at the Santa Monica Pier are great and fun to attend. They built a stage by the ocean and bands come every Thursday. — Christiano Sampaio of Loftway (Los Angeles)

One of most unique event during the summer is “Summer Streets.” Seven miles of precious public space the streets — closed off to motor vehicles and opened to people to play, walk, run and bike. Summer Streets provides space for healthy recreation and encourages New Yorkers to use more sustainable forms of transportation. — Brandon Mar of Fresh NYC (New York City)

12. What’s the best free activity in your city?

A trip to Smorgasburg. Source: Heidi Kerr of City Ambition

A trip to Smorgasburg. Source: Heidi Kerr of City Ambition

Movies outside. They are everywhere. You can go to large events or small. Just choose which movie you prefer and go. There is something about sitting outside on a blanket, drinking a glass of wine and watching Princess Bride for the 569th time that is a perfect reminder for why I love living in Los Angeles. — Rhiannon Gillis of Rhiannon’s Interiors (Los Angeles)

I’m just obsessed with our fabulous New York Public Library and the incredible amount of free events it offers! I take my son to our local branch’s weekly baby lap time, which features read-a-louds, songs, dancing and tips for parents on how to integrate reading into their children’s lives. All for FREE. Meanwhile, there’s so many private mommy-and-me classes that charge upwards of several hundred dollars for the same exact thing. The library also offers author lectures, computer classes, language learning, book clubs, film screenings and so much more. — Jessica Tiare Bowen of Used York City (New York City)


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