Southern California is the home of the laid-back surfer dude and the happy-go-lucky Valley girl, right? And a midcentury wave of fresh-off-the-farm, Midwestern rubes really shaped this city as we now know it, it seems. Somewhere around here is a soft and gooey middle.
Or maybe not. A lot has happened since the Gidget '60s: L.A. grew a pair. Our fair city has become dark and mean. At least if you listen to America's domestic tourists:
Conde Nast Traveler recently asked its readers to rate American big cities for friendliness, and Los Angeles didn't fare too well.
In fact, we ranked as the sixth unfriendliest city in the U.S. of A. Here's what the mag says:
Los Angeles may have the image of being all glitz and glamour, but our readers have also seen the "dirty and crowded" side of Lalaland. One reader says, "It's lost its charm for us," while another voiced a common complaint for just about any megalopolis: "Too busy and too many cars. Don't like it."
Here's our take:
People come to L.A. expecting that SoCal we described at the beginning of this piece -- the place of beaches, yoga and general mellowness. In other words, San Diego.
What they get is the second largest city in the nation and a globally rocking metropolis that's bigger than some countries. The divide between expectation and reality breeds disappointment.
But we won't apologize. We have it all.
Charleston, S.C., was ranked as the friendliest place in America. That's nice, but you'd still have to go to South Carolina to get there.
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And L.A. is not half as mean as the New York–adjacent city of Newark (No. 1 on the unfriendly list). While we're pointing fingers, this will make you feel better:
Anaheim was No. 9 on the unfriendly list. It's the O.C. town that's home to the "happiest place on earth," Disneyland.