In Defense of San Diego….

Tyler Cowen has a beef with San Diego.  As a long time San Diego resident I can tell you, quite confidently, that it’s the best city in America.  I also happened to spend the first 25 years of my life in Cowen’s home city, Washington DC.  As great as DC is it’s got NOTHING on San Diego (except maybe a superior football team who I still root for vigorously).   And I can tell you that anyone who says DC has a great deal of culture probably hasn’t been to NY City enough times….

Anyhow, you’re probably wondering how I know San Diego is the best city in America?  Well, it’s where WD-40 and the Navy Seals claim home to.  Without these two products Americans would basically be wandering hopelessly through life looking for meaning.   Throw in the fact that the weather is 65 degrees and sunny 85% of the year and the fact that you can live by the beach for less than living in rural DC and the argument is pretty much settled right there.

But Cowen thinks there’s no culture in San Diego.  Well, that’s only true if you ignore the fact that no city has produced and sent more shows to Broadway, ignore the 90 awesome museums, avoid the San Diego Symphony, don’t gorge yourself on the amazing San Diego craft brews, refuse to spend a few nights in Old Town where the Mexican American Cuisine and culture is unrivaled, avoid the arts scene in La Jolla and Balboa Park, ignore the military history on display at the Midway or basically just close your eyes while you’re here.  After all, the city itself is a work of art.  Aside from San Francisco I can’t think of a more beautiful city in the USA.  You just need to spend some time perusing the landscape from downtown to Balboa Park to Del Mar.  If you don’t fall in love with the harbor you’ll definitely fall in love with La Jolla or Del Mar.   And you won’t be itching to go back to DC any time soon.  Trust me, I know the feeling….



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Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

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  • eludog

    CR, if you are a skins fan, you better get ready for a 12th man beatdown this Sunday. I’ve never seen Seattle as pumped for our squad as we are right now. The whole city is on fire. Now all we need is for you to shoot some of your sun and warmth up our way this city would compete with SD or SF!

  • Cowpoke

    I’ll remain silent on the skins since it could get a poke fan banned from round these parts, the rivalry runs deep. :)

    I will say that I have lived from the east coast to mid west and Hawaii,
    And Texas has the best looking women, and the Big Island of Hawaii the most interesting for diverse climates and landscapes.
    Cali is nice, but the people just seemed aloof.
    New Mexico was kinda spiritual with the whole native american appeal and all.

  • KainIIIC

    yet another terrible argument by Tyler Cowen

  • MG

    To each his own….both are happy where they are…MG

  • jjames

    and i can confidently tell you san diego is an expensive, rat race.

    tucson, az is the best town in the country. great weather, affordable, clean air, laid back people, old west character, and the beautiful sonoran desert.

  • Jason H

    San Diego is great! I’ll like to add that here in Laguna Beach & Newport Beach are also great beautiful cities similar to La Jolla & Del Mar

    Waikki & the other major towns of Hawaii are also beautiful

    If you go worldwide, the women of Russia, Ukraine (and most of Western Europe as well as Norway, Sweden, Finland) have the most beautiful women .. whereas the US has about 70% overweight & 36% obese women, there’s only about 8% obese & only 24% overweight women in Ukraine, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Sweden, etc

    –this is mostly because they don’t eat much hi-fructose corn syrup (which Princeton Medical Center 6+ month studies showed that animals fed hi-fructose corn syrup gained 48% more fat, especially belly fat, than rats fed other food even though CALORIES WERE KEPT THE SAME)

    They also drink much more tea (same as Asia), where dozens of 6+ month studies showed that 4-6+ cups of green tea per day increased fatloss by 50%+ versus placebo

  • Jason H

    oops, correction to my previous post, I meant to type ‘Most of EASTERN Europe’, NOT ‘Western Europe’… Western Europe unfortunately has skyrocketing obesity/overweight rates with their introduction & greater use of hi-fructose corn syrup like the US since the 1980s too

  • JH

    Why anyone would want to defend San Diego is beyond me. Let people say all the bad things they want about San Diego and hopefully enough people will beleive it to reduce the population back to the point where it was a much better place to live.

  • Tom Brown

    Cullen, good job on defending San Diego. I too am a fan. If I wanted to live in a bigger city (which I don’t) I’d consider moving there (I live in Santa Barbara, which I love).

  • ES71

    San Diego is in California. Who can afford to live there?

  • Cullen Roche

    The cost of living in CA is actually pretty reasonable. Better than many east coast cities. It’s the price of coastal real estate that’s outrageous. If you want to buy a home in SD you have to be willing to spend a pretty substantial amount if you’re in a coastal community. If you don’t have a few million in the bank you’re priced out of anything nice.

  • Cullen Roche


  • Geoff

    Looks like your buddy Paul Krugman is heading to your town today. Please buy him a beer for me.

  • Steve W

    I think the large cities in California are all over-rated. Having said that, I’d say San Diego is the best of the bunch. Great weather (especially compared to San Fran), better traffic situation than LA, better air quality than LA, and probably better than San Fran if another major earthquake happens. The Laguna Beach/Newport Beach areas have nice sections and great weather, but I put them in the “nice to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” category. To each, his own. There are very nice things about many, many different cities and towns in the USA. I live in SW Florida, grew up in the Midwest (MO, MI, IN), and plan to retire in or near Lexington, KY (and keep a place in Florida for the winter).

  • http://None Pete

    La Jolla is a small area with many notable thinkers, shakers and Nobel laureates in sciences. If you go there on Sunday morning, you may see a few guys sitting in a nice restaurant talking about something interesting. That area may have the highest density of Nobel laureates than anywhere else on the planet. Is that culture enough?