Pros and Cons of Living East Coast vs. West Coast

Which is better, East Coast or West Coast? This question has baffled people for decades. But honestly, people are making it more complicated than it seems.

It’s like making a toddler choose between ice cream and chocolate or simply asking someone how they’re doing – there’s no right or wrong answer. Both the East and West Coast have their fair share of attractive features and fantastic opportunities, as well as flaws and unpleasant qualities. It all comes down to your personal preference, way of life, budget, and day-to-day necessities.

With that said, you’re here to learn about specifics, right? So to cut the chase, let’s start with:

The East Coast

When talking about the East Coast, New York City is often the first city that comes to mind. The city brims with American history and architecture. Although surrounded by areas rich in natural beauty, life in this part of the East Coast is highly modern and urbanized. Entertainment is commonly defined by massive establishments, man-made attractions, and glamorous experiences.


  • Affluent and luxurious lifestyle. The Big Apple has always been known for its exquisite sense of fashion. Now, couple that with the availability of retail and popular brands. If you’re a fashionista, this place is heaven. And even if you’re the tight-fisted type, it won’t be long before you give in to the trend.
  • Plenty of opportunities. As a world center for finance and communication, New York City never runs out of companies looking for new talent. Its favorable job market, paired with a thriving economy, will ensure that you’ll find a position no matter what niche you specialize in.
  • Home to millionaires and celebrities. Not to say that West Coast cities don’t have their share of celebrities, but NYC attracts them in droves. The presence of these individuals helps boost the city’s economy. Expect to get used to familiar faces from TV, like Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, and Jessica Biel, walking casually along the streets.
  • You can travel the world. Although not literal travel, the area’s diverse culture (it’s estimated that NYC residents speak some 600+ different languages representing hundreds of different cultures) lets you experience activities and taste cuisines unique to other countries. Simply speaking, you can have Mexican tacos for breakfast, Chinese ramen for lunch, and Filipino chicken adobo for dinner!
  • You won’t run out of things to do. No kidding. NYC is a 24/7 city. Whether it’s about work, having fun, or spending time with your family, you will always be on the move. There are countless events to attend, concerts to hear, parks to play in, and festivals to enjoy. Some of the top picks include:
    • Parks: Washington Square Park, The Battery, and Central Park
    • Museums: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim, and Museum of the City of New York
    • Festivals: Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Feast of San Gennaro, and Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
The city brims with American history and architecture.


  • Cost of living. You might already know this, but the cost of living still sits at the top of the cons list for emphasis. The cost of living in Manhattan is 148% higher than other major cities in the US, according to Investopedia. 
  • Unpredictable weather. Despite the advancement in forecast technology, the mood of NYC skies can still be hard to predict. One moment it’s sunny, then it drizzles, but by the time you take out your umbrella, the sun starts to peek through the clouds again.
  • Fierce competition. The disadvantage of having plenty of opportunities is that it invites people from all over the country. You won’t be the only one aiming for a particular position. So if you want it so bad, you’ll have to boost your confidence and improve your skillset. 
  • Concrete everywhere. Nature enthusiasts and fresh air lovers will find it challenging to adapt to the jungle of concrete and thick air pollution in New York City. But don’t worry too much. Central Park and the Botanical Gardens always offer an escape from the bustle of the metro area.
  • Horrible traffic. Despite NYC’s superior transit system doing an outstanding job, it doesn’t change the reality that it’s densely populated and one of the most congested cities in the world.

Now that you’re done with the eastern seaboard, it’s time to take a look at the other side.

The West Coast

Welcome to the shoreline that faces the great Pacific! People usually like to link the West Coast to California right away, but it’s more than that. There are plenty of amazing places that share the same seaboard, such as Seattle, Portland, and the entire Pacific Northwest. Although not as extravagant as the NYC experience, this region has its own charm that never fails to captivate visitors and locals alike.


  • Lush greenery, scenic views, and picturesque landscapes. There’s no denying that nature blooms at its finest on the West Coast. To make things even better, many nature-loving citizens actively encourage waste segregation and protest against activities that harm the environment.
  • Growing industries. If New York City is known for its prowess in finance, Seattle and Portland have made a name in the tech and manufacturing industries. Portland has so many tech companies, including names like Intel,  that it has the nickname, Silicon Forest. Both cities boast a steady increase in their job markets over recent years. If you’re looking to land a position related to tech and digital services, West Coast is the place to be.
  • Great place to start a business. Washington State, in general, is a great place to start a business. The region’s steadily growing economy, large millennial population, and educated talent pool will guarantee that you won’t run out of people assets for your new company.
  • Amazing food scene. One of the things that makes the West Coast great is that it doesn’t seem to run out of wonderful restaurants that serve unforgettable dishes at reasonable prices. Whether you’re a local or a first-time tourist, there’s always a new flavor for you to discover.
This region has its own charm that never fails to captivate visitors and locals alike.


  • Gloomy weather. West Coast features two weather types. First, you have the crowd-favorite Californian climate — a Mediterranean climate with mild temps and sunny skies year-round. Then there’s the endless depressing drizzles and gray skies of Seattle that can cause many woes, among them, a bad case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • Lack of diversity. In contrast to the wide variety of culture in California, the West Coast’s northern regions lack cultural diversity.
  • The high cost of living. Even though expenses are nowhere near as costly as in NYC, they’re still higher than the national average. And although rent in Seattle is high, it’s been pretty stable for a long time, so you’ll know how much to budget for housing.
  • The infamous Seattle Freeze. This pertains to the widely held belief that you can’t make friends in Seattle. It’s not necessarily always the case, but it is indeed true for the most part. Residents tend to be shy, introverted, and anti-social.
  • Active seismic activity. If you plan to move anywhere on the West Coast, prepare to experience earthquakes on a more regular basis than on the East Coast.


West Coast or East Coast, in the end, the decision will fall in your hand. Now that you know what makes each region great and undesirable, it’s time for you to weigh your priorities and make your move.

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