Comparing the East Coast to the West Coast of America

The USA is an enormous country with a rich history and a diverse range of cultures. Each state has its own laws, customs, quirky traditions, and way of life! Although the East and West coasts share similar values and ideals, someone from California may not have the same lifestyle or personality as someone from New York. Because of this, a light-hearted sense of rivalry has developed between the inhabitants of the different coastlines. If you are planning on embarking on your English language journey in America, knowing a little more about the different sides of the country might help you figure out which coast is right for you. You have to decide: are you an East Coast or a West Coast sort of person?

What kind of study and travel experience are you looking for?
What kind of study and travel experience are you looking for?

 

Climate

In the East, the weather varies greatly. It’s all about the seasons! Enjoy warmth and sun in the summer, and (depending on how far north you are) delight in beautifully colorful autumns and authentic, snowy winters. New England, the northernmost portion of the east coast comprised of Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, is famous for its variety of seasons. This is the sort of place where you can truly experience spring, summer, autumn, and winter!

The West Coast, on the other hand, is much more consistent when it comes to weather. With mild winters in California and comfortable summers a little further up north, the temperature stays relatively constant all year around. The southern states seem to get the best of the weather if you like it warm and dry, while you are more likely to experience some rain the further north you go.

Get a taste:

East: Check out our school in Boston, the gateway to New England, for a sample of every season.
West: Head to Huntington Beach to enjoy sunny afternoons after class.

Take a day trip to the Sequoia National Park in California.
Take a day trip to the Sequoia National Park in California.

 

City Layout

The East Coast is the oldest part of the United States. As a result, there are a few more years of history and the areas are more densely populated. This makes it a great place to visit historical sites and museums if you want to get to know America a bit better. It also means that the cities are a bit easier to navigate when walking or using public transportation.

In the West, cities are often less densely populated and more spread out, which means the city layout is completely different. You find bigger houses, more land, and a more laid-back attitude. You may need to travel for entertainment or shopping, but this will give you the opportunity to explore a bit more of the country. There is less to see in the way of historical tourist attractions, mostly because the cities on the West Coast are much newer.

Get a taste:

East: Check out Philadelphia for lots of sights and concentrated history.
West: Explore Los Angeles for the epitome of a sprawling urban expanse.

New York City is mapped out on a grid. It's easy to navigate!
New York City is mapped out on a grid. It's easy to navigate!

 

Dress Sense

The East certainly takes fashion seriously. You only have to take a look at the biannual New York Fashion Week to see how important style is, and this is especially true in the larger cities. That being said, considering how varied the weather conditions are in the East, fashion often comes with a pinch of practicality as well—you can’t wear designer heels in the snow!

However, on the West Coast, people don’t seem to be worried about coming across as too underdressed. Casual, comfortable fashion is favored, particularly in areas where outdoor pursuits are more common, such as a day at the beach or a hike along the coast. But that doesn’t mean that people in the West aren’t fashionable! Their fashion just leans more on the comfortable side. And of course, there is the famous glamour of Hollywood. Even the celebrities get cozy on their days off!

Get a taste:

East: Surround yourself with trendy, fashionable New Yorkers – our school is located on the 63rd floor of the Empire State Building!
West: Enjoy the easygoing come-as-you-are attitude and study in our downtown San Francisco school.

Dress to impress in a big city or a cozy beachside town.
Dress to impress in a big city or a cozy beachside town.

 

Time Zone

There are some countries in the world that span across two or three time zones, but many fall within one. The USA is so big that it spans four time zones (and that’s only mainland America – in total, there are 9!). Pacific Time (PT) covers the West Coast. You then have Mountain Time (MT), Central Time (CT), and the East Coast falls under Eastern Time (ET). The difference from one side of the country to the other is 3 hours, which means at 8am East Coast time, it’s an early 5am in the West. You might want to consider these time zones when deciding whether to head to the east or west of America.

Get a taste:

East: Choose the East coast and study in the political center of Washington, DC.
West: If you’re set on the West Coast, study in sunny Santa Barbara.

Always keep in mind what the time difference is like back home!
Always keep in mind what the time difference is like back home!

 

So which side of the Americas are you on?

If you prefer the East Coast, we have schools in:

  • Boston
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington
  • Miami

Or if you’re a West Coaster, find your ideal school:

  • Seattle
  • Portland
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Barbara
  • Los Angeles
  • Huntington Beach
  • San Diego

Feel free to visit our website and explore all our other USA schools.

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