BEST OF Los Angeles, CA and Savannah, GA

Los Angeles, California and Beverly Hills vs. Savannah, Georgia – Which Place Has A Happier Lifestyle?


In this post I’ll discuss some of the differences between the two cities I think of as “Home.” Keep in mind that recent population statistics (from 2017) note Los Angeles County has over 16 million residents, while Savannah's Chatham County only hosts around 290,501 people. Life in 90210 can be “exciting,” whereas I would call life in 31401 “charming.” Even though I was born in Savannah, moving back to the Deep South after 10 years in Beverly Hills was a culture shock. (I came back to help my sick parents, but visit Los Angeles regularly since so many of my closest friends still live there.) As I am only able to write from my own experience you may have a different opinion on something you’re about to read. I’d love to hear it in the comments!

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Savannah and Beverly Hills have polar different cultures. It's not a coincidence that the two places are on opposite coasts. Both cities are walkable, "happy" towns with an abundance of things to do and see. Both places are also aesthetically exquisite film hubs. But Los Angeles is THE center of the motion picture, and television industry.


BEST “GOOD HAIR CITY": LOS ANGELES

• Los Angeles is hands down the best “Good Hair City” with a year round mild-to-hot and mostly dry climate. On our recent trip there Hubby noticed I'd worn my hair down every day for five days in a row. That would NEVER happen in Savannah. The deep South has more distinct seasons, and brutal humidity. My hometown is all about the ponytail. If you ever wanted an excuse to wear hats bigger than the state of Georgia, visit Savannah.

River Street Sweets sells delicious sensory overload addictions.

Cheers to hot cocoa, braids and cute wool caps in 2018 when we got to see our downtown Savannah home covered in snow. The poloroid in this photo represents an extremely rare and special event. Photo: Lauren Miko

• BEST PARK: FORSYTH PARK, SAVANNAH

• Hundreds of movies and television shows, including “Rebel Without A Cause,” featured the picturesque surroundings of Griffith Observatory, in Los Angeles.

Look closely and you'll see the famous "Hollywood" sign, along the top of the mountain ridge.

As for smaller parks in Los Angeles County, I’m partial to the Cactus Garden in Beverly Gardens Park on Santa Monica Boulevard between Camden and Bedford Drives. The exotic cacti and succulent varieties featured include plants from the Mediterranean Biome and the Mediterranean Sea, South America and Northern Mexico, South Africa, and the Southwest USA.

I take my research on how to be happy seriously: It’s a proven fact that a brisk walk can help you reduce stress hormones and deal with mild depression. When feeling prickly I'll often make my way over to a pretty destination where I’ll sit for a bit and practice mindful meditation. The Beverly Hills Cactus Garden is a magical place to relax.

Although there are many unforgettable parks in Los Angeles, my Favorite Park Of All Time Award goes to Forsyth Park in Savannah. The most perfect time of year to see the Forsyth Fountain, which was built in 1858, is in the spring, when the azaleas bloom.

Savannah is known for colorful residents (a.k.a. "characters). We have a friend with a second home in Asheville, NC who "only lives in Savannah while the azaleas are in bloom."

• BEST PERMANENT PUBLIC ART: TIE

There is a massive amount of unforgettable public art in Los Angeles. But my vote for the most iconic work symbolizing The City Of Angels is "Urban Light," in front of the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art.

The mesmerizing “Urban Light” is a large-scale assemblage sculpture by Chris Burden. The exhibit has 202 street lamps, from the 1920s and ’30s.

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, our historic squares are the soul of Savannah. Most of the main statues and monuments in the heart of the squares are located on Bull, which is also known as “The Street of Jewels.” This main artery attracts international attention. But there are other renowned public works of art on River Street. Georgia artist Ivan Bailey designed this cauldron, which was lit by the original Olympic flame from Mt. Olympus at the opening ceremonies on July 20, 1996. This torch burned throughout the Centennial Olympic Games in Savannah, which was home to Olympic Yachting events.

This torch burned throughout the Centennial Olympic Games in Savannah, which was home to Olympic Yachting.

• BEST TOWN TO PLAY TOURIST BY CAR: SAVANNAH

~ BEST TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM DOG VOTE: SAVANNAH

Beverly Hills has a new, free trolley service. And Greater Los Angeles area transportation includes subways, light-rail, buses and shuttles... My hometown has relatively easy breezy traffic if you're driving, even during rush hour, whereas it’s no secret that life in a car during LA rush hour is a horrific experience. There’s even a Saturday night live sketch about getting caught in 405 traffic. This fact established, I love it that you can go from Beverly Hills' neighbor, Santa Monica, to downtown Los Angeles in 45 minutes with no parking problem.


In Savannah we often grab the free trolley around the downtown area that stops just a couple of blocks away from home. It’s always fun to shuttle over to the Coffee Fox, on Broughton Street, which is a short walk to River Street. From River Street we can catch the free ferry to Hutchinson Island.

The words, "Want to go on a bike ride?" are a big no-no at Casa Barton unless we are ready to ride because Valen-tino is a talented speller. If he thinks we're about to go on the ferry ride he starts begging to come with us.

We like to take the ferry boat to Hutchinson Island, for brunch at the Westin and have both played golf on Hutchinson Island many, many times.

You can look down from the top floor of this Westin hotel and see one of the best views of River Street.

Another way to get around Savannah is by pedicab or horse drawn carriage. Our puppy, Valen-Tino, is a wiggly terror when he hears the clop-clop noise of horse hooves passing our home.

A popular way to tour downtown Savannah is by horse drawn carriage.

The LA metro can take you to within easy walking distance of wonderful destinations like Arclight Cinemas Hollywood and Amoeba Music (the world's largest independent record store).

• BEST CITY FOR SPORTS: SUZANA VOTES LOS ANGELES

~ BEST CITY FOR SPORTS DOG VOTE: SAVANNAH

When watching sports I always choose basketball first. My husband at the www.iamnotoldnews.com blog is the former editorial page editor of the Savannah Morning News, and a University of Georgia (UGA) graduate. Tommy lives to write, talk and breathe football. But he's never expressed much of an interest in basketball. It's unfortunate that I’ve never caught the UGA Bull Dawg bug for football (but I'm not dead yet, so there's still time.) Going to a live football game can admittedly be huge fun. And Super Bowl commercials are the best. But don't count me in as a fanatic who wants to paint my face red and black, memorize all the college players' names, and watch every single televised game. Turn that television station to Los Angeles Lakers live basketball, however, and I just scored major interest.


Lakers basketball games at Staples Center are on my I'll-Be-Back-Again-And-Again Bucket List. I expect Hubby will humor me and come along, even though I've never found him to be sincerely interested in basketball.

For the record (and in the spirit of preserving my marriage!) I would like to add that both of us enjoy baseball. Atlanta is a four hour drive from Savannah, and we love to watch the Braves.


As for baseball in Savannah, Puppy Valen-Tino is all about Bark In The Park nights at local Savannah Banana games.

Savannah has the most dog friendly community I have ever seen in America. If you live in "the Lowcountry," you'll make a massive number of furry friends if you walk your dog... The goal of Bark in the Park is to promote animal adoption efforts across the Savannah area in the hope that even more dogs are safe at home.

BEST SHOPPING: J’DIOR LOS ANGELES

Fashion and shopping deserves its own article so I’ll need to circle back to explain why I am LA all the way on this category. Strolling around Rodeo Drive or experiencing the outdoor malls of Los Angeles is pure fashion heaven.



The truth is it’s impossible to say which town offers a better lifestyle because sometimes I want cozy artsy experiences, and other times I want to live ((BIG)). Both towns offer the very best, happiest life styles I could ever imagine.


... Stay tuned for more about the Best Of Savannah and Los Angeles. Are there any cities in the United States you think we should visit? I’d love to hear from you.


XoXo… Suzana


Suzana Barton is the the founder of www.happygreatday.com , a travel and fashion blog. She researches simple ideas to put a smile on your face. 👠💛🚐🧡✈️

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