Get us in your inbox


15 reasons summer in New York just can't compete with summer in LA

Written by
Time Out Los Angeles editors

Hey, New Yorkers. Can we clear something up...for the millionth time? LA is a real city, which means that like every other city in the world, it has real benefits and also real downsides. And on that honest note, we are fine with people taking shots at LA—but only when there's actually some substance. At this point, we react to the latest New York Times trend piece proclaiming LA's "recent" status as a real and cool city with a classic Valley Girl eye roll. But every now and then, we see a typical let's-shit-on-LA list written by our sister site Time Out New York that simply cannot be ignored. Like this one below, titled "15 reasons summer in New York is way better than LA." In the words of our patron saint Cher Horowitz, AS IF. We couldn't help but set them straight, point by brutal point. (Love you, mean it.)


1. Our rooftop bars, parties and restaurants have the world’s most iconic skyline as their view and it never stops being breath taking-beautiful. LA has a lovely vista of urban sprawl.

We see your cliché and we'll raise you a cliché: "A picture is worth a thousand words."

2. LA’s beaches have pretty people sunbathing. Coney Island is home to Nathan’s Hotdog Eating contest, the Mermaid Parade, a totally weird and phenomenal sideshow and two famous antique rides—the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel—that very few people have died on.

Hold on a second: you're pitting Coney Island against the iconic, gorgeous beaches of Southern California? You can keep your funhouse beach. We're proud to have some of the best beaches in the entire country. No contest, friends.

3. SummerStage: free, awesome concerts of all genres in Central frickin’ Park. Central Park is not in LA.

Here are just two ways LA does free summer concerts:

4. With the end of August comes the US Open when all of the best pros descend upon our fair city. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, we can assure you that Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Andy Murray are just as good looking in person as they are on TV.

Speaking of beautiful people at the US Open, check out these babes at the US Open...of SURFING. You can go watch them tear it up every year for free in Huntington Beach, just a short trip down the coast.

 (Photographs: Michael Lallande, courtesy US Open of Surfing 2015)

5. When we do free outdoor screenings of Ghostbusters we’re right by the streets being destroyed which makes our heroes’ eventual victory sweeter than a roasted Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

First, this doesn’t make sense. Second, we have outdoor movie screenings among Hollywood’s most famous dearly departed. Third, Ghostbusters was filmed in Los Angeles, too.

6. While we’re at it, there are free outdoor screenings everywhere. New York is home to 1,700 parks and beaches, and it seems as though half of them show a movie at some point during the warm months, meaning we hardly ever have to pony up cash for our Hollywood entertainment.

Have you seen how packed our outdoor summer movie calendar is with screenings? They may not all be free, but you can't put a price on a mosquito-less outdoor movie.

7. We can take in amazing public art, chow down on delicious grub from food trucks and frolic to our heart’s content at the beautiful Governor’s Island, only a short (and cheap!) ferry ride away. Even better, the entire island is completely car-free—where in LA can you say that?

Governor's Island is cool, sure. So is Catalina Island: world class diving, great snorkeling and beaches, hiking, and golf carts instead of cars. It's about an hour away by ferry, but who cares when you're on island time?

8. We travel by subways, trains, ferries and busses to our nearby beaches, so we feel free to party—and drink—the day away, without having to worry about a designated driver.

Our light rail line starts running to the beach in Santa Monica early next year. We're getting there. Until then, we'll make a day of it.

9. The ubiquitous summer stench of urine and boiling garbage only makes us walk more briskly (did we say mention that we walk everywhere?), while LA’s smog is likely to invoke an asthma attack.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Smog is not unique to Los Angeles. Every major city has smog, including New York. Just because you may be walking past all those idling, gridlocked cars instead of sitting in one, it doesn’t mean they aren’t emitting exhaust and contributing to your city’s air quality—and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re somehow magically avoiding breathing it in as you huff and puff through your stressful New York day. Some days, air quality is just as bad in New York as it is in Los Angeles. And by the way, LA doesn’t have a “ubiquitous summer stench” of any kind, except maybe the scent of barbeque—you know, because of all the outdoor living space we enjoy. And it’s more of a nice, appetizing smell than a “stench,” so enjoy your eau de boiling garbage and urine.

10. Music festivals. Honestly, we’re a bit overwhelmed with how many we have: Governors Ball, Electric Daisy Carnival, Northside Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Afropunk Fest, Full Moon Festival, Gigawatts and Electric Zoo, just to name a few. Beats driving to Coachella.

FYF Fest, Echo Park Rising, Culture Collide, HARD, Abbot Kinney Fest, The Bluegrass Situation, Folk Yeah Fest, Burgerama, Desert Daze, Moon Block Party, Psych Fest, Topanga Fiddle Fest, Old Time Social... "Beats driving to Coachella." Most of you fly out here to go to Coachella anyways, because Gov Ball doesn’t even come close.

11. Award-winning actors clamor at the chance to be cast in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park productions, and we get to see them for free. In LA, you get to see award-winning actors out shopping for free.

It’s absolutely awesome that we rub elbows with respected actors in the grocery store or during downward dog. But we also get to see them star in musicals at the Hollywood Bowl, show up as surprise guests at just about any major show, or even the tiniest club. We're okay with our Shakespeare a little less star-studded.

12. Los Angeles is scheduled to get its own bike share program next spring, but in NYC we’ve been riding around the city with the summer breeze in our hair on our thousands of Citi Bikes for a while now.

We bet you'll be longing for that breezy feeling in November—right when Santa Monica's bike share program starts up. Things will have just started thawing in New York when Downtown LA gets its bike share program next spring.

13. The overwhelming humidity just means we get to pull off the wild-and-frizzy hair styles without even trying—we swear it’s all the rage.

Southern California beachy waves are the natural look that launched a thousand hair products. You can't beat the real thing.


14. No matter what neighborhood we live in, chances are we got some awesome Seamless delivery options which means more time in the A.C. and not stuck in traffic.

Uh, we have delivery too, including really cool chef-driven delivery services like this one. Also, we'd rather take advantage of our dry, hot summer weather and find a shady patio instead of hiding inside, relying on AC and Thai takeout.

15. Oh hello there, Montauk, East Hampton and Fire Island, we only remember you every single Summer Friday when we hop on a train and head out for an impromptu three-day mini-vaycay. A train you can drink on.

We’re sad for you that you can only take these trips for 3 months out of the year. Oh, hello there Ojai, Big Sur, Joshua Tree, Mammoth, Catalina, San Francisco, MEXICO… we never forget you because we visit you year-round.

Latest news