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Los Angeles and San Francisco
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Cameron Venti/Maarten van den Heuvel

L.A. was voted dirtier and more stressful than San Francisco—but that’s just like your opinion, man

Hella sad.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

These marine layer mornings have us thinking about the Bay Area a bit recently—well, that and the fact that San Francisco stomped all over Los Angeles in the Time Out Index.

It’s true: In our recent survey of 27,000 city-dwellers around the globe, San Francisco topped the list of the best cities in the world (L.A. came in 11th). And look, we Angelenos can normally look the other way at these one-sided cross-state rivalries, but some of the detailed city-versus-city statistics seem pretty dire.

San Francisco was voted more beautiful, less stressful and less polluted than L.A. by a wide margin. Three quarters of San Francisco residents think of their city as beautiful versus half of Angelenos; only 17% think San Francisco is stressful compared to 38% in L.A.; and a mere 12% consider San Francisco polluted as opposed to 53% in L.A.

You can probably at least partially blame a bunch of that on our abusive relationship with cars: L.A. was deemed the most inconvenient city in North America, and only 18% consider it easy to get around without a car compared to 67% in San Francisco. L.A. was voted slightly less sustainable and considerably less green, too (like the environmentally-friendly green, but the color one works too in dry-as-dirt SoCal).

In addition, nearly half of Angelenos consider their city to be overcrowded compared to just 10% in San Francisco—which, you know, is a lovely sentiment coming from a place with million-dollar starter condos and land so valuable that it started relocating cemeteries outside of city limits about a century ago.

It wasn’t all lopsided, though: Our levels of community spirit were surprisingly similar, as were our thoughts about our cities being no-so-dangerous, close to green space and not-so-easy to make new friends.

So here’s where we’re supposed to stage our city-pride–filled rebuttal, right? About how our beaches are better? That we’ll take L.A. tacos over Mission-style burritos any day? That the Dodgers and Lakers are better than the Frisco Like Buttons or whatever their sports team are? Eh, we don’t really want to expend too much more energy on this, so we’ll instead leave with this flippant aside about San Francisco: It’s a cool place to visit but we wouldn’t live there.

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