Why Living in Orange County Is Better Than Los Angeles

Let’s be honest: Orange County basically lives in LA's shadow and often gets picked on, like the tween forced to sit at the kid’s table during Thanksgiving. But you know what, irrational haters? Orange County stands just fine on its own, thank you very much. And while the OC'll always live in LA's smog, we don't live in their shadow -- and here’s why: 

Better beaches

Let’s be realistic here: all Southern Californian beaches are comparatively polluted. But between the two counties, OC has the superior surf and sand. When people think of California's bright and sunny beaches, they're envisioning Surf City, USA and the Wedge -- not Redondo. Heal the Bay's annual Beach Report Card named three Los Angeles beaches in their Top 10 Beach Bummers list of the most polluted California beaches of 2015. Orange County had only one: Huntington State Beach came in at 10th. Huzzah for almost not being on a bad list!!! 

Orange County actually breeds Los Angeles' talents

LA gets the credit, but you can thank OC for breeding the likes for Gwen Stefani, Tiger Woods, Roy Choi, Will Ferrell, and countless more talents from all walks of life. Don’t like any of them? Undeniable talents like Marlon Brando, Dita von Teese, and Steve Martin all cut their teeth here, too. And of course, once the stars are done with the pretension and BS of Tinseltown, they inevitably come south to get away from it all. Looking at you, Kobe, John Wayne, Philip K Dick and, uh, Jenna Jameson?


This one’s a duh, but Anaheim is home to, modestly, THE GREATEST THEME PARK OF ALL TIME. People travel from all over the world just to come to Disneyland. People travel up to 25 minutes if the traffic’s not that bad to come to Universal Studios. The recent and pending addition of the Simpsons and Harry Potter expansions might draw in nerds from around the globe but the Mouse House has had a steady following from Disnerds since the 50's. And when Disney's Star Wars Land expansion opens? Game over. 

Orange County smells better

You'll typically only smell human urine on the streets of Orange County after a wild weekend night in our county's few downtowns. A day in Los Angeles is a day spent playing, “What's That Offensive Odor?” and nobody wins. A look at the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2015 report reveals that, yeah, we both failed in two of the three main air pollution categories: Ozone and Particle Pollution 24-hour. But guess what? OC did pass in the Particle Pollution Annual category and LA failed by a significantly larger margin. So you guys suck more, comparatively! Also, OC asks, giant apocalyptic gas leak who?

We're stealing your music scene

Once upon a time, popular music acts would stop in LA and then pass right on through OC on their way to San Diego, stopping here probably only to pee unless they’d already done that on the streets of LA. The last half-a-decade has changed all of that (minus the peeing), thanks to the likes of Burger Records and the Observatory concert venue. Now big acts will skip LA to come play at the Observatory or Constellation Room, and festivals like the Growlers’ annual Beach Goth and the crazy-diverse Burgerama bring tons of bands -- and fans -- up from LA. And speaking of Burger Records, it’s the buzziest label in SoCal… and it operates out of a little lime green room in a Fullerton industrial park. 

Our food scene is a force to be reckoned with

Orange County has cultivated world class chefs for decades. The problem was, they almost always felt the need to move on to bigger cities to make a name for their talent and to experiment. Not so anymore. Orange County is now a destination for celebrity chefs—homegrown or imported—to start their food empire. Roy Choi of the Kogi truck fame is an Orange boy and his parents owned a restaurant in Anaheim. We have Jason Quinn who took on the Food Network with the Lime Truck and won before taking on the status quo of the restaurant industry with his Playground restaurant in Santa Ana. We have Amar Santana building his dining empire with Broadway and now Vaca. And if young, hip chefs aren't your thing -- we were the county to bring back Southern California fast food cult favorite Naugles in 2015, 25 years after it folded.

Orange County has less traffic

While driving on the 405 N between the 55 and Long Beach at 5pm is something you'd only wish on a bad ex or evil boss or both, driving in the vast majority of Los Angeles -- freeway or street -- is a punishment that should be reserved for tow truck drivers and puppy killers. 

So the Los Angeles Times reported in late 2015 by way of the American Highway Users Alliance, that Seal Beach has the distinct honor of the number two worst traffic bottleneck in Southern California. 10 more stretches of freeway from Los Angeles County are in the top 30. And when you look at OC's only mention on the list, you realize it blocks up... right at the Los Angeles County Line.

It's less crowded in Orange County

“It's more crowded in Los Angeles because more people want to be here,” you may quip. Wrong. No one wants to be anywhere where it takes 45 minutes to park and walk to your destination, just to wait in an hour line to get into an oversold event, over-paying all the way down the line for the privilege. The US Census Bureau says Los Angeles County had 10.11 million people call it home in 2014, while Orange County had 3.01 million folks. You may say LA's more popular for a reason, but we say that's 7.1 million less assholes peeing all over everything. 

Oh yeah: free parking everywhere

Because paying $5-$30 every time you go out is for chumps.

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Taylor Hamby is the Web Editor at When she's not telling the stories of the freaks and geeks of Orange County, she can be found drinking in a costume, partying like it's 1899. You can find her at @TaylorWrites on Twitter.