Photo credit: Chuck / Adobe Stock
NorCal vs. SoCal: What's the Beef?
February 12, 2019
Tupac and Dr. Dre had nothing but California love—for both NorCal and SoCal—but to many residents, there’s only enough love for one end. From Humboldt and the Bay Area to LA and San Diego, there’s a mild Northern California vs. Southern California rivalry on everything from weather to traffic to who has the best food and entertainment. Here’s what we’ve found out about the beef, so you can decide once and for all who gets your love.
SoCal Has Warmer Weather
Some people say it was Mark Twain who lamented, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Others say, “Stop falsely attributing quotes to Mark Twain!” Whoever came up with the line had a point. The sun-kissed beaches and surf culture many associate with the state of California is actually more typical down south, where some of the most famous beaches dot San Diego, LA, and Santa Barbara. Up north, weather is generally colder and wetter than for its neighbor below. LA’s average annual high temperature–71.7–is nearly 10 degrees warmer than San Francisco’s breezy 63.8. San Francisco gets about 68 days of rainfall annually, while San Diego typically gets just 43 (if that).
Tech or TV?
Besides the weather, one of the biggest differences defining the SoCal vs. NorCal rivalry is in their career scenes. Home to Silicon Valley, Northern California is an innovative tech haven with flagships for Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and more. Southern California has its own (smaller) tech scene called Silicon Beach, but it’s a microcosm. However, if you’re more into dining next to celebs, attending casting calls in your spare time or breaking into a coveted TV writer’s room, then SoCal is your creative Shangri-La: it has Hollywood. Need we say more?
NorCal Is a Woodsy Wonderland
Sure, SoCal has the San Bernardino mountains, the Santa Monica mountains, ranges across the Mojave, plenty of hills (Hollywood, Laguna, Baldwin, etc.), but all of that seems minimalistic compared to Northern California’s crown jewel: Yosemite. With more than 3,000 square kilometers of majestic waterfalls, deep valleys, giant sequoias, and granite peaks, this stunner consistently tops lists of America’s best national parks. And nearby are other gems like Sequoia National Park and Big Sur. Hiking enthusiasts would all agree that NorCal wins this one.
Traffic is a Cali Way of Life
Has there ever been a U.S. city (or world city) more synonymous with traffic and road rage than LA? The residents of SoCal’s largest city spend 102 hours in traffic each year. San Francisco, however, is not much better. In a survey of the worst traffic in the United States, LA topped the list, New York came in second, but San Francisco made third place. Its residents spend around 79 hours a year in gridlock.
Food, Music, Culture—Cali Lifestyle
What’s the hallmark of a California lifestyle? Beach culture? Outdoor festivals? Zagat-rated dining? Beer yoga? When it comes to food, entertainment, and culture, it turns out this one’s a draw. From North Park brunch spots in San Diego and craft breweries in DTLA’s Arts District in the south to San Francisco’s Embarcadero concerts and Napa wineries up north, there’s much to see throughout the whole state of California, after all. Fortunately, a drive along the 101, the 5 or, even better, the Pacific Coast Highway, makes it easy (and enjoyable) to see everything. I guess Tupac and Dre were right—maybe there is no beef, maybe it’s just “all good, from Diego to the Bay”.
Written by Erica Garza for Knockaround