Northern California vs. Southern California: Who rules the West Coast?

Kira Walker/File

Some of us here at the Clog are Southern Californian natives recently introduced to the rivalry that Northern Californians rage against their southern counterparts. The fact that most of this summer Southern California has been enjoying warm, sunny weather while those in Berkeley have had to wear a sweater to their summer classes is cause for reflection on this rivalry. We wonder: Is Northern or Southern California better? To help us all make up our minds in this polarizing debate, we have gathered a list of what we think are the most important pros and cons. Read on below to see who ultimately rules the West Coast.

A chef working at Chez Panisse.

Northern California pros:

Foodie heaven

Birthplace of the farm-to-table movement, home of wine country and location of four of the 12 three-Michelin-star restaurants in the country, Northern California seems to empirically have Southern California beaten on this one.  Southern California, however, has better and more authentic Mexican food as it’s much closer to the Mexican border.

Refined culture and intellectuals

Having a city like San Francisco, which has a history built within its core, Northern California has more of an array of unique museums, libraries and distinct architecture. The presence of the Silicon Valley, Stanford University and UC Berkeley also contribute to this sense of brainiac atmosphere.

Public transportation

It’s much easier to get around if you don’t have a car, which many Berkeley students appreciate. Thanks to BART and the Bay’s bus system, you can wander where you please without a huge hassle.


Northern California cons:

Gloomy weather

It’s generally cooler and (allegedly) rainier in the north, whereas most of Southern California is a warm desert.

Use of the word “hella”

We think “really” is a perfectly sufficient adverb. You can’t just add words to the English language like you’re Shakespeare. Just hella stop.


Southern California pros:

Superior beaches

The beaches in Southern California are world famous — and you can use them all year. Additionally, more shark attacks occur in the north compared to the south, and if that’s not enough to make you prefer the Southern California coast, we don’t know what is.

Better attractions

Disneyland is really a reason all by itself, but Southern California is home to other theme parks, museums and attractions just as worthy of recognition. The San Diego Zoo, for example, was just named the best zoo in the world by TripAdvisor.


Last time we checked, California was called the Golden State, right? With average temperatures in the 70s year round, rays of sun continually shine brightly on this part of the state.


Southern California cons:

Beware of local surfers

One of our fellow bloggers was struck in the head by a kook’s surfboard, resulting in a trip to the MRI. Some locals act like lions in Africa, with a territorial instinct over “their” ocean kingdom. They definitely need the reminder that the ocean belongs to everyone.


Many parts of freeways become congested, and you could be stuck for hours at certain times of the day. Not only is the traffic itself miserable, but it also contributes to the pollution that exists most prominently in the L.A. area.

The lack of rainfall

Northern California is filled with lush forests like the redwoods, which contrasts with the dry climates of Southern California. And we all know that although the sunshine may be beautiful, the drought is no joke.


And so, without further ado, we give you the ultimate victor …



Dun …

Neither! It’s ultimately a personal preference. If you live in California, you’ve already won.

Image source: abear-andabowAaron Goodwin under Creative Commons

Contact Natalie Dardaine at [email protected].

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  • tiddle

    I don’t mind the more gloomy weather. It’s better to have water than not at all, as the recent multi-year drought has shown us all. And if one wants some rays of sunshine, you can always take a trip south-bound.

  • Kera

    You didn’t even use “hella” right in a sentence.

  • 12centuries

    Why is it that every article that talks about Northern California thinks that it’s northern border is Marin County? Redding, Eureka, Crescent City are all completely different ecosystems, both culturally and climatically, but they rarely rank even a casual mention.

  • Aaron Winterhalter

    I was born in Northern CA, I have lived in Sacramento, San Francisco,
    and Davis, I also lived a good part of my 20’s in San Diego and I am
    currently living in Laguna Beach. So I can offer perspective on both places.

    The beaches in Southern CA are not
    really better than Northern CA, they are certainly more recreational, and warmer. However the rugged NorthernCA beaches are some of the most beautiful coast lines in the world but you wont find any resorts or people playing Frisbee on them for the most part.
    Only in Northern CA can you follow a stream through

    giant trees to the edge of a cliff where the stream turns into a
    waterfall that trickles down into some of the most amazing tide pools
    ever imagined. In Southern CA you can sit in traffic breathing smog. However if silicone in Bikinis is your thing and you don’t mind the littered
    beaches full of pretentious people Southern CA might just be the right fit for you. Northern
    Californians in general are more laid back, are more concerned with
    things like Art, Music, and Organic Life rather than who has the
    fanciest car or the nicest shoes. And while both are expensive, you can live outside the bay area in Northern CA for not much more than other states, but there is no place in Southern CA that anyone in their right mind would consider affordable, combine that with the total lack of any real jobs because guess what the heart of Technology is in Northern CA? Sure you can work at Trader Joes for 14 bucks an hours, but trying paying your 2300 a month apartment rent with that. Northern CA seems to be the clear winner, unless your born into wealth and have a huge trust fund. Northern California is simply Hella-Better, and hey they have a public transit system.

    Other things worth mentioning.

    Northern CA brought you Death Metal and American Punk Southern CA brought you Hair Metal and No Doubt.

    People in Northern CA don’t follow trends, and they only wear flannels because it’s cold, northern CA is a place where Farmers markets, healthy living, progressive thinking, and Farm to Table is not a trend, not a fad, its the way they have been doing it since as long as I can remember.

    Snow sports are a joke in Southern CA, come to Heavenly.

  • Jason Williams

    Also in So cal you don’t have to be an engineer to get a job. And there’s more women.

    • Ryan Alexander Yefimov

      like im sure

    • Baller

      You don’t have to be an engineer to get a job up here tho lmao