Wednesday, April 8, 2009

is l.a. the best city in the world?

Yesterday morning, I flew to California for a work-related trip (and staying with my family for a couple of days). I flew direct to LAX. A few minutes before we touched down, the flight attendents announced that all electronic devices needed to be turned off for the remainder of the flight. Reluctantly, I turned off my iPod and became aware of a conversation going on behind me. Two 20-something guys were talking about the stuff they planned to do while in LA.

I started flipping through a magazine to help pass the time until I heard one of the guys say, "Dude, LA is the best city in the world."

OMG. Seriously?

I know I am quite West-Coast-centric. However, there is no way that LA is the best city in the world. It most certainly isn't the best city in the U.S. And I feel like I should know. I lived in LA for four years and, before that, lived in Orange County which is about an hour away. I think I know LA. And there is no way that LA is the best city in the world.

LA is quite the sprawling little mess. The traffic is horrific. You can't get around without a car. The beaches are ok (BTW, I think Venice Beach is the worst beach I've ever been to). Of all the major hangouts in the LA area, the major draw for about 95% of them is shopping (not that there's anything wrong with that--but, mentally, I need more than that). Oh...and the air quality! You can actually see what you're breathing.

LA is not all evil. The club/bar scene is awesome (although not for me anymore). Yes, the shopping is fantastic if that's your thing (well, it's my thing). I LOVE the diversity of the city. But, no, LA is not the best city in the world.

My international travel experience has been minimal at best. However, I've travelled the country a lot and been to quite a few major cities. I could think of a couple of U.S. cities off the top of my head that are better than LA--New York and San Francisco immediately come to mind.

I'd love to know what you think. Have you been to LA? Did you love it? What is the best city you've been to and why?


Lexiloo said...

I've been to LA once and it was scary. Okay, maybe not, but not my favorite! Two years ago, I was in San Fran for a conference. I spent a few extra days there and then S flew out to meet me and we drove to LA. I tried In-n-Out for the first time, I went to a Korean BBQ and a sushi place, where I had the MOST amazing sushi roll and can't remember what it was called. We drove down into parts of OC to see the beaches. I also went on The Price is Right, which was, clearly, one of the highlights of my life :)

I had a good time, I'd go back again, because there was SO much I didn't see, but I could never, ever live in LA. I loved and adored SF and am trying (unsuccessfully!) to convince S that we should move there.

The best city in the world? Really? My top five-

(not in order, per se)

Krakow, Poland (yes, totally biased!)
Boston, MA
London, UK
Vienna, Austria
Vilnuis, Lithuania (totally under-rated!)

I'm sure that most would not agree with my choices...but I love them!

(sorry for the long comment...!)

have fun at home!

Juliet said...

This is an interesting question! I've just skirted L.A., so I can't say much about that, only that I don't really feel the need to go back, ever.

I'm actually not fond of big cities, so my criteria for choosing my favorite city are probably different from other people's. That said, in the U.S., Seattle has to make the list (it's my hometown and I have a love-hate relationship with it), D.C. for stuff to do, a lot of which is free, and New Orleans and Charleston, SC for atmosphere. Internationally, I love Rome to pieces (have lived there and met my husband there--so much history and way more to see than I will ever get to), Venice and Florence are pretty, and Munich is fun and there's lots to do.

media concepts said... recently rated Los Angeles #19 out of the world's top 29 cities, behind U.S. cities Miami, San Francisco, and the winner of the entire poll, Chicago. However, Los Angeles received a perfect score in the "Dating and Sex" category. Perhaps that's what your ebullient fellow passenger was thinking about when he uttered his exclamation.

anOCgirl said... actually, i haven't had it yet and it's normally the first thing i do after landing (before dropping off my luggage at home). you were on the price is right? that is awesome!

i too would love to life in SF if it weren't so expensive. :(

juliet: seattle...i might be travelling there sometime this year. if i do, i'll have to pick your brain on fun things to do and good places to eat.

is rome not a big city?

media concepts: good point. i certainly forgot that boys occasionally like to think with their penises.

Bilbo said...

I've been to LA several times, and can say in all candor that the only thing it has going for it is that my younger son lives there and I can visit him. The thing I most remember is he horrendous traffic: eight lanes, bumper-to-bumper, either not moving or moving at 80mph. My favorite cities are:

Wiesbaden, Germany
Colorado Springs, CO
San Francisco, CA (except for the Fisherman's Wharf area)
Zihuatanejo, Mexico (beautiful and friendly, with fewer hyper-aggressive street vendors)
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (nothing like the beautiful Bavarian Alps).

Juliet said...

Oh, Rome is a big city, but I love it anyway!