People Are Sharing The Culture Shock They Experienced Moving From The East To The West Coast (Or Vice Versa)

Recently, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the culture shock they experienced after moving between the East and West coasts. Here's what they had to say:

1."I moved from New York City to Los Angeles. Having the same weather every day and having to drive everywhere was a culture shock. I had no idea what time of year it was, since it was always 70 degrees. I also had my license in NYC but pretty much never drove except occasionally when visiting my hometown. I had to buy a car in California, and I remember the first time it rained. I had lived in LA for about four to five months without rain, and then it started to pour while I was on the freeway. I freaked out and had to pull over because I had no idea how to turn on the windshield wipers."

A scene through a rainy windshield
Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon / Getty Images

2."I grew up in New York but moved to Hollywood in my late 20s (around 2007). It was a real culture shock. You had to keep moving your car on your street for street sweeping. Plus the houses, even small and ugly, cost millions."


3."The quality of different types of food was surprising. The Mexican food is completely off the charts here compared with what you find on the East Coast."

A plate of tacos


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4."I grew up in California and Oregon. During the pandemic, I moved to Atlanta to serve with AmeriCorps. I was completely unprepared for how different it would be. It was like another country. I got an apartment 2 miles from where I worked, expecting to ride my bike to work, but that ended up being impossible because it was just freeways in between."


5."People in California were really passive-aggressive, and that was how they used humor. Now I live on the East Coast, and people are much more direct and just tell you how they really feel."

Homer hiding in a bush on The Simpsons

6."I moved from the Southern East Coast to the Pacific Northwest. I've been here over four years and still hate being expected to always take my shoes off whenever I enter someone's home. In the South (at least the portion I'm from), unless you literally just walked through mud or snow, wiping your shoes off on both the exterior and interior doormats as you enter is plenty. There, if you don't elect to take your shoes off, a host asking you to do so borders on insulting. Here, it's expected, period (and regardless of weather). But often my feet are cold without shoes, it throws off my outfit, or I honestly just don't feel comfortable going barefoot or sock-footed in someone else's house. Four years in and I still hate that it's the norm here."


7."How small some states are. I remember hopping on a train and being in a completely different state 20 minutes later. I'm from California, and you can barely get to the Valley in 20 minutes."

California freeway traffic at sunset


Robert Landau / Getty Images

8."After 20 years in Pennsylvania, I moved to Southern California. I figured out really quickly a few things I never realized about being an East Coaster. Things I can appreciate and miss is being real and really meaning what you say. Other things, I am glad to have adopted from the West Coast, like being more laid-back."


9."I grew up in California and Colorado and moved to the East Coast for college. It was a huge adjustment. When I rode on public transportation, people just wouldn't talk to me, and I'm used to saying 'Hello' and 'Good morning' and talking to strangers. It felt very cold and unfriendly. Plus, I missed driving my own car around and riding with friends. After college, I moved back to the West Coast sunshine, surf, and tacos, and I'm so much happier."

NYC subway platform


Fraser Hall / Getty Images

10."I moved from Oregon to Maryland for work. The first time I drove in Maryland was a nightmare. When I reached my destination, I sat in the parking spot and cried! East Coast drivers, especially in the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) area, are insane! I have never been so tense while driving. Fearless drivers with zero patience and ZERO qualms with letting you know that you need to move."


11."I'm a West Coaster in South Florida. The food is terrible. Most produce has to be trucked in, and it's past its prime by the time it gets here."

Fruits and veggies at a grocery store


William87 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12."I did experience culture shock when I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast. Not having cold winters restored my health; it was amazing! The people I met were so laid-back, and the feeling of not being judged really was a pleasure. Music, and discovering more than just working and being jaded, totally changed my personality for the better. West Coast still be the best coast!"

West Coast beach with palm tree silhouettes


Matt Henry Gunther / Getty Images

13."While not totally coast-to-coast, I went from upstate New York to Arizona as a child. I went from four distinct seasons to maybe two. The biggest transition was going from a guaranteed white Christmas to seeing Christmas lights on our neighbor's cacti, and running around outside midwinter in short-sleeved shirts."


14."I moved to Utah from the East Coast over a year ago, and I'm still getting used to the fact that most places aren't open on Sundays. Trying to eat out while running errands on a Sunday? Forget about it, not going to happen."

Closed sign in a window


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15."I moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado and was shocked to learn that people had to water their lawns."


16."I knew it was going to be hot in Southern California, but I was unprepared for how relentless the desert heat is. In the mid-Atlantic, we get some relief from trees and rainfall. I really missed the woods and having a good rain."

Rainy day with a black umbrella


Sarayut Thaneerat / Getty Images

17."I recently moved from the Seattle area to the Philadelphia area, and the passion the Philly folks have for their cheesesteaks is awe-inspiring. I didn't know how to order 'a steak,' so I asked for mayonnaise and…it just wasn't a good scene."


18."I miss some of the food we had in California, like In-N-Out Burger and authentic Mexican food, but I don't miss the traffic, smog, and close houses."

Animal Style fries and an In-N-Out burger with a soda


Greenpimp / Getty Images

Did you experience any culture shock during your move from the East to the West Coast (or vice versa)? Tell us about it in the comments!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.