The United States of America is a country filled with vast landscapes and many cultures. To outsiders, the USA might look like a homogenous country with respect to people, cultures, and languages, however, there is a great variance in the different regions as you dig deeper. This change might be subtle across the neighboring states but it widens at a broader level. One of the biggest divides is East Coast Vs West Coast. Both are extremely different when it comes to lifestyle, culture, and even the way people speak. Here are the key differentiators between the most starkly different US regions.
East Coast has more European roots. Europeans first came to the East Coast, built colonies, which explains the smaller towns bear striking similarity to the European homes. It is like taking a walk through history. Some of the historic sites are the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the Lincoln Memorial and White House in Washington, D.C., and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Buildings of historic significance can be seen everywhere.
As for the West coast, the history is very diverse and every bit as lively as one would like to imagine. It started off with the American frontier period, with the sufferings of the Oregon Trail, the Wild-Wild West and the immense Gold Rush. West Coast history is fraught with a few wars just over land and some over religious freedoms. But the west wasn’t just about outlaws, cowboys, and violence. The west helped the nation with its new ideas and identities. The diverse cultures, the spirit and quest for tranquility, have made the West Coast what it is.
2. City Life
The major difference or the reason why the two coasts are compared is because of the two famous cities, New York and Los Angeles, the former is on the East Coast and the latter in the West Coast region. These two places are very different. Cities on the East coast are large, whereas those on the West Coast are more compact.
As for Manhattan, it is large but it pales when compared to how vast Los Angeles is. In NYC most people don’t drive their cars as taking the subway makes things easier, you can travel from one end to the other in the city in an hour. Yet in Los Angeles, you could spend hours in the car to cross the city. The reason? Traffic in LA is like a breeze as compared to that of NYC. It isn’t just the traffic, the weather between LA and NYC is also very different.
New York, an East Coast city, is known for the fast-paced life. People always seem to be in a hurry, whether it brisk walking to catch the subway or bus or trying to check everything off on the to-do list. A very challenging life to live and to adjust to. It is a constant hustle to get places and to do things.
People on the West Coast are more laid back. They spend more time focusing on their health and exploring nature. People love going to parks and recreational places. It is all about palm trees, beaches and no worrying. In terms of cost of living Manhattan, NY has the highest cost of living in the USA i.e., 145.7% above the US average as compared to LA where the cost of living is 46.6% above the US average.
English is the official language of the USA but you have to travel across the country to realize how the same language can sound so different, sometimes almost sounding like a foreign language. The dialects on the East Coast are especially very famous. If you hear someone say “fuhgeddaboudit” instead of “forget about it” then you know that he’s from the East Coast and specifically from NYC as the NY accent doesn’t have “r”. They also pronounce the G really hard. Most -ir sounds in an east coast accent turn into -ar sounds. Words like fire and dryer sound like ‘far’ and ‘drar’
Just like the weather, the West Cost doesn’t have too many variations in their accent. Based on the dialect, it is hard to tell which place is a person from. Even though they speak the usual American english, they do have a few typical speaking habits. They have a discernable nasal twang and have a habit of replacing “t” with a “d” like Plato and Play-doh sound almost the same.
Other than this, the words and slangs also differ from one coast to another. What are sneakers for East Coast, are called “tennis shoes” by those on the West Coast. The roundabouts on the West Coast are called rotaries on the East Coast.
In New York, there are long, snowy winters with extremely hot summer. They have all the four seasons that vary from a beautiful snowfall in winter to the heat and humidity in summer.
As for the West Coast, the weather considered to be almost perfect throughout the year. Southern California is very sunny and warm all throughout the year, with the northern part being colder. Pacific Northwest (basically everything north of San Francisco), with winters comes rain and mist with the occasional snowstorm.
6. Cultural influence
New York is the hub for art, whether is it music, theatre or fashion. People from all over the world come to see and enjoy Broadway productions. The biggest event is the New York Fashion Week that happens twice a year, during which designers, models, and other fashionistas come to the city to unveil new lines for the upcoming seasons.
On the other hand, all the big-budget movie and TV productions are on the West Coast. Hollywood, a place that everyone around the world knows about is the jewel of West Coast. In L.A. you can even take tours to see the houses of all the celebs and the filming locations. The world-famous Starbucks, founded in Seattle by University of San Francisco grads in the ’70s.
Both East Coast and West Coast are poles apart in every possible aspect yet people in these regions love their cities and their culture. Both have their own problems and virtues so it depends on which one works for you. Which one of these do you prefer? If you have moved from one region to another then don’t forget to let us know about your experience in the comments below.