Difference between revisions of "Southern California"
Revision as of 21:39, 18 February 2013
Southern California is a megapolitian area in the southern region of the U.S state of California. The large urban areas comprised of Los Angeles and San Diego stretch all along the coast from Ventura to the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego.
To the west of Southern California lies the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands. To the south is the international border between the United States and Mexico. Towards the Arizona state border in the east lies the Colorado Desert and the Colorado River, and towards the Nevada state border lies the Mojave Desert. Though there is no official definition for the northern boundary of Southern California, most include all the land south of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Tehachapi Mountains.
Southern California is a culturally diverse and well known area worldwide. Many tourists frequently travel to South Coast for its popular beaches, and to the eastern Desert for its dramatic open spaces. Southern California, along with the San Francisco Bay Area, is a major cultural and economic center for the State of California and beyond.
Southern California as a whole is known for its mild and pleasant winters. However, there is a difference in climate between the coastal region and the inland region of Southern California. The coastal region streching from about Santa Barbara to San Diego is dry and mild, and generally touted as having the most pleasant weather in the USA, outside of Hawaii that is. In this long, narrow strip, summer temperatures generally run from the high 70s(F) to the low 80s(F). Year-round outdoor activities can be enjoyed, day or night, due to the mild climate that is dominated by Mediterranean-type weather.
The inland region (which begins generally 15 to 20 miles inland from the coast and east to the Nevada and Arizona borders) enjoys mild daytime winter temperatures, but the winter nights may be chillier than the coastal region. Summer temperatures in the inland section can be extremely hot -for example, daytime temperatures in Palm Springs average 108(F) in July. Although it is a dry heat, hot is still hot!
Most rain comes between late November through the end of March for Southern California, and sunshine is a stable throughout much of the year!
Southern California is most easily divisible by counties. The following counties are completely in the Southern California region:
Due to their vast size (San Bernardino County is larger than nine of the states in the U.S.) and varied topography these counties are split among two different regions. The westernmost urban portions are considered part of Southern California and the eastern desert sections are part of Desert region.
Southern California is divided culturally, politically, and economically into distinctive regions, each containing its own culture and atmosphere. A region with both national and global recognition, Southern Cali is often considered the home to many tourist destinations and the hub of economic activity for its respective regions. Each region is further divided into many culturally distinct areas, but as a whole they combine to create the Southern California atmosphere.
Out of these regions, three are major metropolitan areas, each of which have over 3 million people. The Los Angeles area has over 12 million inhabitants, the Riverside-San Bernardino area has over 4 million inhabitants, and the San Diego area has over 3 million inhabitants. The region as a whole is practically identical in population to Texas, with more than 24.2 million people, and is the nation's most populous region behind the urban seaboard of the Northeastern United States.
Some of the major cities and areas of Southern California include:
Urban Landscape. Southern California consists of a heavily developed urban environment, along with vast areas that have been left undeveloped. It is the second largest urbanized region in the United States, after the New York/Philadelphia/Boston northeastern area. Many Southern California cities have dense populations, and the region is famous for its large, spread-out, landscape and dependence on automobiles. Public transportation is adequate enough, but not as comprehensive as it should be for a region this size. The areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside/San Bernardino, each of which are the centers of their respective metropolitan areas, are composed of numerous smaller cities and communities.
Natural Landscape. Southern California consists of geologic, topographic, and natural ecosystem landscapes in a diverse setting. The region spans from the Pacific Ocean islands (such as Santa Catalina and Santa Cruz among others), to beaches, and to desert, through the Peninsular Ranges with their peaks, and into small and large valleys, and wine country. Every year the area has about 10,000 earthquakes, but nearly all of them are so small that they are not felt. Only several hundred are greater than magnitude 3.0, and only about 15-20 are greater than magnitude 4.0.
Southern California is home to numerous attractions such as:
English is the official language of California and is the predominant language in Southern California. However, Spanish is also spoken by large Hispanic populations and it is not uncommon in Southern California to see store and street signs written in both English and Spanish. Chinese, Tagalog, Japanese, Hindi, Korean, and Vietnamese are also spoken by various immigrant groups.
Unless you are visiting for a short stay, and/or have a very short trip between where you will be staying and your destinations, then a car is going to be the best option for you. Transportation in Southern California consists of buses, rail transit, and taxis. However, buses may run anywhere from every 30 minutes to every 90 minutes depending on the route. The more frequent service usually is found on routes near the downtowns of Los Angeles or San Diego during weekday rush hours. Service outside the central core of these cities as well as in the Inland Empire is usually less frequent. Some routes may end service in the early evening or have no service whatsoever on weekends. The light rail lines of Los Angeles and San Diego have been growing over the years, but still are not expansive enough for the size of those regions. Taxis are required to be called to come and pick you up; they cannot be hailed off the street such as in New York City or Chicago.
An extensive network of freeways and highways are a trademark of Southern California. Freeways in the Los Angeles and Inland Empire areas, however, can get backed up with traffic anytime of the day, but are still a better option than buses -unless your destination is a relatively short ride away.
Some public transportation in Southern California includes:
The metropolitan regions of Southern California consist of many small cities that run into one another. It can be confusing and you can get lost very easily if you do not have a map, even with detailed directions. A Thomas Guide, which contains detailed maps of all neighborhoods, is a useful tool if you plan on doing any driving in Southern California. This book can be found in local stores and bookstores.
If you will not have a car while visiting the region, mass transit is available, just be sure to allow adequate travel time. Check travel schedules to ensure the bus routes you need will still be running upon your return as some routes end service in the early evenings. The local L.A. commuter train Metro, and its regional counterpart MetroLink  may connect you easier to any outreaching areas you need to reach in the L.A. metro area or Inland Empire. The Metrolink train system may come in handy when you need to get from one area to another, even with their limited schedule.
The San Diego Trolley is an option for light rail travel in the San Diego region.
Hitchhiking is not worth trying. Safety issues aside, each metro area of Southern Californa is so large that it may be extremely hard to find someone going your way. And with traffic generally being so heavy, must drivers will not want to veer off their routes to drop a hitchhiker off somewhere else. The best bets are the 101 north of Ventura, and the 5 north of Santa Clarita, where you have escaped the sprawling cityscape and may find it easier to find somebody traveling your way.
Southern California is home to many motion picture, television, and recorded music companies. This region is home to the world's largest adult entertainment industry, located primarily in the San Fernando Valley, and Hollywood (the center of the motion picture industry, at least in name). Headquartered in Southern California is The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures, Universal, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Dreamworks, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers.
SoCal is home to many sports franchises and sports networks such as Fox Sports Net. Professional teams that are located in the region include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Galaxy, Chivas USA, and San Diego Chargers. Southern California also is home to a number of popular NCAA sports programs, such as the UCLA Bruins, the USC Trojans, and the San Diego State Aztecs.
Most types of food can be found in the towns and cities of Southern Californian-especially popular are Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Salvadoran, Korean BBQ, Indian, Pilipino, and Armenian.
Southern California is the birthplace of modern day American fast food such as McDonald's (now headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan area). One should not miss out on In-N-Out Burger, which has multiple locations throughout the SoCal region. The menu is pretty straightforward, but a "secret" menu allows you to customize by ordering "animal style" fries and burgers.
For a taste of California, you can visit a farmers’ market and rub shoulders with celebrity chefs and foodie insiders picking out the finest organic produce. You can also step into sleek restaurants serving innovative, ultra-fresh California cuisine. You can taste gelato made with locally-produced chocolate and toasted hazelnuts, or handmade cheeses from local farms. Drive down a tree-lined lane to wineries in grand chateaus, or relaxed, family-run vineyards where the guy pouring and chatting in the tasting room is a world-class winemaker.
The tourist areas of Los Angeles are generally quite safe, as well as many parts of Orange County and San Diego. Many residential neighborhoods in metro L.A. and the Inland Empire are generally safe. However, crime can also be high in certain parts of Southern California, particularly in parts of the Los Angeles metro area and parts of the Inland Empire. The Los Angeles and Inland Empire areas both comprise a high proportion of gang members and activities, however, these areas are large in geographical area, and therefore have both affluent as well as struggling neighborhoods.
In recent years, latino gangmembers who are either illegals from Mexico or Mexican-Americans, have been killing black Americans in an attempt to run blacks from certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles, or from certain suburban cities entirely. These attacks have been ordered by the Mexican Mafia gangmembers inside prisons in Southern California. Their gangbanging latino counterparts on the outside have been ordered to kill random black people, regardless of whether the black person is in a gang or not, in an effort to drive them from certain neighborhoods and towns as part of an ethnic cleansing. Murders and/or attacks have been committed by gangbanging illegal Mexicans and Mexican-Americans against random black Americans in some areas of Southern California, where the latino population heavily outweighs many other ethnic groups, especially blacks. Federal prosecutors have stepped in to prosecute some of these crimes as they are motivated by nothing more than hate. These heinous murders and attacks have been concentrated in some areas of Los Angeles and its suburbs, but have not affected the San Diego area as of yet.
Some tourists may suffer respiratory problems because of the major cities' air pollution. Drink plenty of fluids and reduce outdoor activities.
There are some animals of which you may want to be aware in Southern California.