New York and California are some of the most alluring, exciting, and even addicting destinations in the US. These two have such eclectic draws that make them ideal for everyone, no matter their age or preference.
But allures come in different flavors. And if you’re trying to figure out which suits you best, you’ll have to get to know both destinations more below.
New York is a dream destination of many, one that many say you’d have to visit at least once in your life. And New York has so many draws to entice people from all over the world, making it a destination for everyone. And anything it does, it spoils you with options and does it well.
There’s always something going on in New York, so it never leaves you bored. But if you need some more convincing to buy plane tickets to New York, the push you need may be below.
What Makes New York Unique?
The Country’s Leading Art Destination
New York is incredibly inspiring in more ways than one. People have written, sung, and made movies about it. And part of what makes New York so inspiring is its world-famous art scene.
And in celebrating art and all its forms, New York doesn’t hold back. It’s home to an astounding amount of art museums and galleries. And behind its artistic prowess are the amazing talents that call New York their home.
New York allows its artists to showcase their talent, whether they’re already a star or they’re still emerging artists. This fuels New York’s art scene, and it excels both in quantity and quality.
This is why art lovers from all over the world flock to New York to get cultured.
On any art tour of the wildly creative New York, visiting the big three of its art museums is a must.
One of them is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is home to over 5000 years worth of art. From Ancient Egyptian to Impressionist artworks, you can explore art throughout history in one place.
Another is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), home to one of the world’s most impressive collections from the 18th to the 21st centuries. Here’s where you’ll find some of the most recognizable and iconic paintings in the world. From Van Gogh’s Starry Night to Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, there’s so much to marvel at here!
The last one is Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, another powerhouse in featuring modern artworks. It’s well-known to house a plethora of abstract masterpieces by Wassily Kandinsky. But what makes this museum truly special is its nautilus-shaped structure, making it stand out from the box galleries around the area.
These big three art museums are only the tip of the iceberg. New York flaunts a plethora of other museums and galleries, sprinkled across its five boroughs. The best ones to indulge your art-loving heart are in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens!
There’s Always an Event Near You
Famously known as the city that never sleeps, there’s always something going on in New York. Whether they’re shows, sporting events, or exciting festivals, there’s plenty of entertainment here.
New York is where tales come to life through its world-celebrated theater scene. Catch a show at the famous Theater District right at the heart of Manhattan.
When you think of Broadway, you’ll have a picture of bright lights and billboards in mind. This is the Great White Way, the bustling and colorful part of the district. With tons of Broadway musicals to choose from, there’s always a show for everyone here.
You can even go Off-Broadway, which is another theater category in New York. There isn’t much difference here apart from the shows that they offer.
With Broadway, you can watch blockbusters with a much larger audience, such as The Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King. But if you’re looking for something more unique, Off-Broadway offers more experimental shows!
If theater isn’t your thing, diving into New York’s exciting gigs or concerts may allure you. No matter which borough you’re in, you always have pub music, outdoor music, local bands, and more, to entertain you.
Are you more of a sports fan? New York is the perfect destination to experience the thrill of a roaring crowd. Whether you’re a football, tennis, baseball, or basketball fan, New York has a sporting event to entice you.
The biggest events are at the famous Madison Square, the home of the New York Rangers and New York Knicks. The Yankee Stadium is another popular venue, the home of the New York Yankees and the New York City FC. Not only that, but New York is also the host of one tennis grand slam, the US Open, held at Flushing Meadows.
Whether you’re a fan or not, or even if you don’t root for the players, the intoxicating energy of these events is like no other.
Its World-Famous Food Scene
New York has a long and exciting love affair with food. Influenced by trends, cultures, and more, New York’s incredible food continues to evolve, and there are tons of room for innovation. More than that, it’s not only considered to be one of the best foodie cities in the country, but also the world.
New York is a massive melting pot of cultures from around the world. And it offers a food menu that features classic, authentic, and fusion food that’s globally inspired.
No matter which borough you’re in, you’re never too far from a worthy restaurant to try. But each borough’s food scene excels in something. So it’s an exciting thing to explore each one and see what they offer.
Manhattan is where you’ll find the best diners and delis in the city. But Staten Island also has tons of Italian delis that can rival this.
Brooklyn is the home of the Asian Food Mafia, a group of renowned chefs that have tons of Asian-American restaurants in the area. If you want a taste of authentic Italian food, the Bronx is what the locals consider the “real Little Italy” of New York.
If you want a bit of every cuisine there is, go on a food tour in Queens. This borough is among the most ethnically diverse areas in the world. So you can have a plate of Greek food by Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard, Chinese food in Chinatown, and more.
These boroughs are only a glimpse of the incredibly extensive food scene of New York though. So you may want to narrow down your options to neighborhoods. Here are some popular ones that locals and visitors alike can’t get enough of.
Harlem is the place to be for soul food or African and Caribbean eats. SoHo/NoHo is the hotspot for upscale dining and vegan restaurants alike. Meanwhile, East Village or the Lower East Side is home to exciting new diners, but also some restaurants that have served the locals for decades.
The Stunning NYC Buildings
The Big Apple, an incredibly energized American metropolis is home to one of the most recognizable skylines in the world. It’s the backdrop of many Hollywood films, featured time and again in media. And there’s nothing better than to bask in its glory in real life.
New York’s cityscape is a mix of both the old and the new, so there’s always something exciting to see at every turn. Whether you want to see a shiny skyscraper standing at over a thousand feet tall or a centuries-old church, New York has them all.
No trip to New York is complete without visiting its iconic structures. There’s the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. And of course, you can’t miss out on the symbol of New York, the world-famous Statue of Liberty.
But New York, like its many other allures, has an incredible amount of architectural wonders. Some of which don’t stand out from its skyline. But this leaves you with tons more spots to explore, keeping you busy on your trip.
A structure that you may have seen in movies or TV is the Flatiron building. Famous for its wedge-shaped structure that fits into a triangular plot, it’s one of the most unique landmarks in the city.
Another gorgeous landmark is the Waldorf Astoria, an Art Deco hotel that’s welcomed famous patrons in the past, like Marilyn Monroe.
There are still so many architectural wonders to discover in the city. And even if you spend a week here, you’ll never run out of interesting spots to visit. So if you don’t have the time, why not take everything in at once?
Across the city are tons of vantage points from where you can take in New York’s beauty in one frame.
Some of the best views of New York are right at the top of the iconic buildings themselves. You can head up to the Empire State Building or the One World Trade Center to get a panoramic view of this ever-bustling city.
One of the World’s Fashion Meccas
While there are a few fashion capitals in the world, only four cities reign supreme as fashion meccas. One of them is New York, the birthplace of fashion week, and the home of world-class talents and top-notch fashion and design schools.
Being at the forefront of fashion innovation, New York is where trends start, and where it happens first. With fashion trade shows and market weeks happening year-round, New York is a fashionista’s paradise.
The Big Apple has the most fashion showrooms in the world too. So when you’re in one of the most fashion-forward cities in the world, a shopping spree is irresistible.
Though New York is best known for high fashion, there’s something for everyone here. From vintage finds to innovative creations, urban wear to classic pieces, and more, you’ll find them all here.
If you love luxury goods, the Upper East Side is your paradise. Here is where you can find lines of designer shops and luxury department stores on the glamorous Madison Avenue. Prada, Louis Vuitton, and more, you name it, and they have it.
What if luxury shopping isn’t in the cards for you yet? Make your way to Canal Street, a wonderland for bargain shopping.
You’ll find bags, watches, wallets, and even perfumes here that are genuine or look like they’re real. And as long as you can spot the real ones, you’ll get a great bargain here.
For one-of-a-kind finds, Nolita is dense with unique boutiques. If you want retro pieces, head over to East Village. And if you love vintage items, Williamsburg is full of flea markets that offer everything you’d ever want.
The sunny state of California is a scenic destination that has something for everyone. Adventure in nature, thrilling water sports, and heart-pumping rides are only some of them. Get to know the state more below, and see why millions of tourists can’t get enough of California.
What Makes California Unique?
An Outdoor Lover’s Breathtaking Paradise
Nature lover or not, California will leave anyone in awe of its jaw-dropping natural beauty. With valleys, mountains, forests, deserts, and its famous coastline, there are tons of ways for outdoorsmen to enjoy the state. Whether you want to unwind or go on an adventure, you’re never too far from nature in the Golden State.
To experience the best of its natural beauty, California’s national parks don’t disappoint. California is home to nine national parks, more than any other state in the country. Each with its unique appeal, these parks are more than just your usual green oasis.
The largest and hottest one is Death Valley. This is sprawling land of mountain-like sand dunes, salt flats, vibrant sandstone canyons, and more. Adding to its strange yet charming appeal are its sailing stones, rocks that move around with no cause.
Also in California is the famous Yosemite National Park, considered to be among the most beautiful ones in the country. This park’s cascading waterfalls and giant granite formations are its crowning glory. With the unforgettable and serene beauty it possesses, millions of tourists flock here for good reasons.
Boasting its bewitching beauty, Joshua Tree National Park is a land filled with unique and rare Joshua trees. Come here for the Old West–like sights, or rock climb and hike to your heart’s content.
If you love surrounding yourself with big trees, head to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Or see the tallest redwood tree in the world at Redwood National Park.
There are still more incredibly scenic spots in the state for you to discover. These make California such an exciting hiker’s paradise. But these also make camping and going on a road trip irresistible, as you’ll find no shortage of natural spots to visit.
The Iconic Californian Beaches
California has over 1000 miles (1609 km) of sun-kissed, sandy beaches. With year-round warm weather and turquoise waters everywhere, the state is a beach lover’s paradise! Whether you want a bustling beach experience or a tranquil one, there’s a perfect stretch of sand for you here.
The state has a generous variety of beaches to offer, unlike most destinations. You can opt for well-developed beaches, complete with amusements and tons of restaurants. Or you can head out to lesser-known ones that still boast their natural charm.
California’s beaches aren’t only great for sunbathing or swimming. They’re places for some outdoor fun, where you can marvel at breathtaking scenery too.
Scuba diving, surfing, and other water sports are all obvious options. But many beaches in the state also have spots for beach volleyball, basketball, and more. While others are so close to natural wonders that you can even go on a hike if you’re tired of dipping your toes in the sand.
Seaside adventures in California are thrilling, and scenic, and can be whatever fits you best!
What many consider to be the ultimate Southern California beach experience lies in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. These iconic beach towns are what you’d think of when enjoying the state’s coast. And this is due to the vibrant vibe and eclectic allures of their seaside.
Santa Monica has a famous pier, complete with an amusement park, an aquarium, arcade games, and more. Venice Beach is well-known for its boardwalk, lined with colorful buildings, tons of stores, and a whole lot of entertainment. These two are only minutes away from each other, giving you the best of both worlds!
Away from these iconic spots, though, you’ll find postcard-worthy beaches that offer a quiet beach day.
Featuring rolling hills in the background of a palm-lined shore, Avila Beach has such dreamy views. Zuma Beach, in Malibu, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the state. While Capitola Beach feels like you’re in Italy as it features a colorful waterfront village.
Loads of Thrilling Attractions
Both the kids and kids at heart will have a blast in California’s many amusement parks. Conquer heights on a roller coaster, cool off at a water park, meet your favorite characters, or get a chance to experience a fantasy land! In the Golden State, all these are possible, and there’s a theme park that’s right up your alley nearby.
Catch a spectacular live show and take some pictures with famous characters at Disneyland. Tour a world-famous studio and explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. Or explore a LEGO world at Legoland!
These are some of the most popular amusement parks in California. But in a state so dense with these, there are still tons more worthy parks to explore here!
Get up close and personal with animals at SeaWorld San Diego. Go on a heart-pumping ride at Knott’s Berry Farm. Or get to indulge the daredevil in you at Six Flags Magic Mountain!
There’s a seemingly endless list of fun amusement parks in California. So you’ll have tons of spots to choose to make memories with your loved ones here.
If you’re traveling with older kids or if you want a more haunting excitement, California offers another kind of thrill. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the state has tons of haunted locations. And you can tour many of them, offering a unique way to have fun in California.
Arguably the most famous one is Alcatraz in San Francisco, an old prison that used to house notorious criminals. The Queen Mary in Long Beach, according to some, has spooky residents roaming the halls. The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose is an odd building, with doors and staircases that lead to nowhere as a way for the owner to confuse ghosts.
The Incredibly Diverse Food Scene
From the northern part of the state down to the south, California boasts an intensely diverse and innovative cuisine. Chefs working with farmers, cultures of all kinds getting represented, and tons of foodies, all these make up the renowned food scene of the state.
California’s food scene is too diverse to get boxed up as Californian Cuisine. You can get a taste of food from all over the world in just one area, as California is so ethnically diverse.
With tons of choices to try in the state, there’s no wrong way to experience its food scene. Everything is to your taste and liking, and you only have to follow what you’re craving.
Choose from taquerias, farm-to-table eateries, vegan bistros, and more. Grab a plate of Mexican, Italian, or any other cuisine you want. Go for upscale dining at California’s many Michelin-star restaurants or enjoy a nice snack in the beautiful outdoors.
The state is home to some of the top foodie cities in the country.
One of them is Los Angeles, home to celebrity chefs and loads of ethnic food choices. Another is San Francisco, a city that prides itself on offering the freshest ingredients to your plate. San Diego is a famous craft beer haven and a paradise for seafood lovers.
But there’s more to California’s food scene than these major cities. Smaller ones also pack a punch when it comes to indulging every foodie that visits them.
Healdsburg boasts award-winning bakeries, gourmet markets, and tons of fine dining options. Pismo Beach is the perfect place for seaside surf shacks and seafood joints that have been surfing patrons for decades. Julian is a sweet tooth’s delight, as it’s famous for its bakeries and strong pie culture.
A Haven for Creative Minds
Wild creativity runs throughout California, adding color, culture, and character to the vibrant state. While art museums and galleries are aplenty here, California’s art scene isn’t restricted to these. The state’s creative minds get celebrated in many ways, through street art, art shows, and much more.
The big and famous cities in the state are home to prestigious art museums. There’s the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the San Jose Museum of Art.
While it can be tempting to explore the art scene of the big cities for their prestige, don’t miss out on the lesser-known towns in the state. These towns may be small, but they have big-time art scenes you wouldn’t want to miss.
From the golden shores of South California to the foggy slopes of the north, the state has no shortage of cool art towns.
Chico is a college town not far from San Francisco (SF) with a booming art scene. This charming town has attracted artists from SF, turning chico into a haven for modern art lovers. Its art scene revolves around Chico Art Center, a railway-turned-gallery, and the famous 1078 Gallery.
Mendocino is another NorCal town, one that focuses on up-and-coming West Coast artists. It hosts 150 workshops yearly, kickstarts artists’ careers, and more, making it the best place for artists to thrive. This makes it a must-visit place for local art, and you can get a taste of its local art culture at the Willam Zimmer Gallery.
What’s Better – New York or California?
The better destination will solely depend on what you want out of your trip. You can get amazing food and tons of things to see and do in both. So it’s best to look into their differences.
If you’re an art and architecture lover, a night owl, or a fashionista who wants a destination that’s easy to travel in, choose New York. In California, you’ll need a car to explore. But in New York, you can travel to most places on foot.
If you’re a beach bum or outdoor lover, or if you’re traveling with kids, choose California. The state is also perfect for those who want a laid-back vacation, as New York has a fast-paced lifestyle.
California vs. New York Crime Rate
According to Nextburb’s data, California’s crime rate is higher than New York’s.
A crime index that’s higher than 100 means that the crime in a specific area is higher compared to the rest of the country. California’s crime index of 106, which is higher than the national average. Meanwhile, New York’s crime index is 71, which is lower compared to the national average.
In both cities, the highest violent crime rate is robbery. California’s crime rate for this is 142, while New York’s is 113.
When it comes to property crime, California’s rate is still higher at 120. While New York’s property crime is at 56. The burglary rate in California is at 104, while New York’s rate is at 46.
New York vs. California Economy
Looking at the GDP of New York and California, the latter has a better economy.
GDP is what shows the health of an area’s economy. In recent statistics, California’s GDP is 3.3 million USD, while New York’s GDP is 1.9 million USD. California made the highest contribution to the country’s GDP at 14.8 percent, while New York’s contribution is around 7.7 percent.
But when you look into the GDP per capita, New York’s is higher at 95851 USD. Meanwhile, California’s GDP per capita is 85969 USD. This means that New York’s population, on average, earns more than those who live in California.
Is New York or California More Expensive?
These two are among the most expensive states in the US. If you look at rankings online, you’ll find that New York is pricier than California. But there’s still much more to consider here.
Many who have lived and traveled the two feel that California is pricier than New York. And that’s because California has more cities with a high cost of living. Meanwhile, New York feels expensive mainly in one area.
New York has two extremes. You’ll find very affordable areas in the north of Albany, such as Buffalo and Rochester. To the south of Albany are pricier areas, like New York City and Hudson Valley.
But in California, you’ll find a network of expensive cities dotted along the coastline.
It’s no surprise that Los Angeles is one of these. But there’s San Jose and San Francisco too, both of which people consider to be more expensive than New York City. And there are plenty more expensive cities dotted along the state of California.
With this, it’s hard to judge expenses by state, so consider which city you’re going to instead. You’re more likely to spend less in New York though, as long as you avoid New York City.
Legoland New York vs. California
Legoland New York and California both boast several unique areas, stay options, and tons of rides on a massive themed land. But these two theme parks have a few differences that you should consider.
Legoland California is 128 acres (52 hectares) big and features 12 unique areas for you to discover. This does not include the Legoland Water Park and CHIMA Water Park, which feature slides, sandy beaches, and Pirate Reef!
Legoland California has over 60 rides, shows, and attractions for you to choose from. A highlight in the park is the Sea Life Aquarium, where you can marvel at over 5000 sea creatures.
Legoland California has two hotels, the Legoland Resort Hotel and the Legoland Castle Hotel. Thanks to California’s warm climate, this park and its hotels are open year-round.
Legoland New York is larger at 150 acres (61 hectares) big, but it only features 7 unique areas for you to discover. It features over 50 rides, shows, and attractions for you to enjoy. And unlike Legoland California, it’s open seasonally, closing during winter time.
This park only has one hotel, the Legoland Hotel. It doesn’t have as many attractions as Legoland California. But they’re planning to add more.
California Cheesecake vs. New York Cheesecake
Both creamy and rich, a bite of a New York Cheesecake or California Cheesecake is a party in your mouth. But these two sweet delights tickle your tastebuds in different ways.
The iconic New York Cheesecake is world-famous for its slight tanginess and extreme creaminess. What gives it its characteristic denseness is that it uses a ton more cream cheese, more than a regular cheesecake. More than that, it also uses more eggs and egg yolks to provide a smoother consistency.
A New York Cheesecake is no-fuss, often enjoyed without any toppings. But it’s also served with strawberry or raspberry toppings, or any other fruit. Some even add powdered sugar on top to give it some extra sweetness.
A California Cheesecake is still rich and creamy, like other cheesecakes. But compared to New York Cheesecakes, it’s lighter in consistency. It uses lower fat so that the sweet tooth in you can eat without feeling guilty!
Usually, California Cheesecakes have a sour cream topping spread all over the pie. Some opt to use lemon toppings or cheese toppings. Either way, it offers a silky texture that leaves you wanting more!
California Pizza vs. New York Pizza
People know New York–Style Pizza for its massive size. Its thin crust is a characteristic it shares with California-Style Pizza. But there’s more to these pizza styles than their size and crust.
The world-famous New York pizza’s true distinction is its thin base. Thicker around the outside and thin in the middle, you can fold it vertically to eat! If you can’t fold it, it isn’t New York pizza.
The base consists of the usual flour, yeast, and water. But this style adds extra olive oil and sugar to its base. Many believe that the minerals of New York’s water supply add a distinct flavor to the base as well.
Compared to the original pizza, Neapolitan pizza, this style uses more ingredients. Its tomato sauce is heavily seasoned, consisting of olive oil, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper. It always uses low-moisture and grated mozzarella too.
California pizza is much smaller. But it’s unique in that its toppings feature the freshest and healthiest ingredients possible in the state.
Depending on the season, toppings can be steak, grilled chicken, shrimp, or any other protein possible. Vegetable toppings depend on the season. This includes artichokes, avocados, beets, cauliflower, and more.
New York Roll vs. California Roll
Both a New York Roll and a California roll feature a trio of three humble ingredients, combined to create a heavenly flavor and texture. They share two key ingredients, cucumbers, and avocados. But the meats used in these sushi rolls differ.
New York Rolls consist of spongy, sauteed shrimp, crunchy cucumber, and smooth avocado. It looks like an inside-out sushi roll, as the rice is on the outside and the dried nori sheets are on the inside.
Some chefs like to add extra ingredients to a New York Roll. This includes smoked salmon, apples, cream cheese, and shrimp tempura.
A California Roll also resembles an inside-out sushi roll. But wrapped inside this roll is a combination of imitation crabs, crunchy cucumber, and creamy avocado.
Both of these sushi rolls are fully cooked. So you can eat away without any worries!
Is New York in California?
New York is not in California as these are two different states. New York is on the East Coast of the US, which lies along the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, California is on the West Coast, bordering the Pacific Ocean.
Is New York Close to California?
New York isn’t close to California. New York is on the East Coast, while California is on the West Coast. To travel between the two, you’ll have to cross the United States.
New York to California Distance
The straight line distance between New York and California is around 2441 miles (3928 km). If you plan to travel between the two states, the driving distance will be longer due to road curvature. If you travel via Interstate 40, you’ll be covering a distance of 2902 miles (4670 km).
New York and California Time Zone
New York and California have different time zones. Not only because one is on the East Coast and the other is on the West Coast, but New York is also located up north compared to most of California.
New York follows Eastern Standard Time, with a UTC offset of UTC-5 hours. Meanwhile, California follows Pacific Standard Time, with a UTC offset of UTC-8 hours. With this, California is three hours behind New York.
How Many Hours Is California Behind New York?
California (UTC-8) is three hours behind New York (UTC-5).
California vs. New York Population
California is the most populated state in the US, with a population of 39.03 million. New York is also among the most populated states in the country, home to around 19.68 million people.
California vs. New York Culture
California and New York are some of the most multicultural places in the world. California has strong influences from Spanish, Mexican, and Asian cultures. New York’s Italian, Jewish, Irish, Asian, and Hispanic immigrants in the 20th century formed its culture today.
Because of their interesting culture, both states also have a lively, artistic atmosphere.
New York is a renowned art mecca, home to some of the most recognizable paintings in the world. Other than its museums, art thrives in its world-class theatre scene too.
California has its fair share of impressive museums and galleries as well. But its strong music and entertainment culture are what sets it apart from New York.
The biggest difference in culture between the two is their vibe and day-to-day life.
California has a more laid-back and casual feel, even in the way they dress. Blessed with a stunning coastline and tons of national parks, Californians love to hang out outdoors. Generally, people here are more health conscious, and an active lifestyle and a healthy diet are a way of life.
New York is well-known to have a fast-paced, no-nonsense yet energetic atmosphere. Efficiency, especially with time, is essential, and people are always on the go.
California vs. New York Accent
Generally, the people of California and New York have distinct accents. You may even find varieties of accents within the state.
A good way to differentiate their accents is to look at how they say the words “cot” and “caught”. Those in the Eastern US, such as New York, pronounce these two words in different vowels. But those in the Western US, like California, typically pronounce these two words the same.
The same goes for words like don and dawn and rot and wrought.
How Long Is California From New York?
The travel time from New York to California will depend on your transportation option.
Traveling by plane is the fastest option, with an average flight time of around 8 hours or more. This duration will depend on your inbound and outbound airport though.
If you’re on a budget, taking the bus is one of the more affordable options. It takes around 2 days and 20 hours of travel time though. There are no direct buses between the two, so you’ll need to make transfers along the way.
A train ride is another popular travel option from New York to California. This is a longer option, taking 3 days and 14 hours of travel time.
And if you can drive, you have more freedom to make stops along the way. Driving from New York to California takes around 44 hours of driving time. With this option, you’ll have to make an overnight stop somewhere so the total travel time is a few days.
Distance Between New York and California by Flight
The flight distance between New York and California is around 2435 miles (3919 km). Keep in mind that this is only an estimate. The actual flight distance that you’ll cover will depend on the location of your inbound and outbound airport.
New York to California Flight Time
The average plane ride from New York to California lasts around 8 hours or more. But this will still depend on which airport you’re flying out of and where you’re headed to.
California to New York by Train
There are no direct trains from California to New York, so you need to switch trains along the way. Most have a change of train in Chicago, Illinois.
The travel time and distance will depend on your chosen route. The travel time can be anywhere from 70 hours and 29 minutes to 83 hours and 49 minutes. And the whole trip covers around 2440 miles (3927 km).
The average train ticket price on this journey costs around 280 USD, but it can be as low as 228 USD.
Keep in mind that trains from California to New York are often crowded on a Thursday. And due to the demand, train ticket prices are more expensive on this day too. So if you want a better deal or more space on the train, opt to travel on a Tuesday instead.
Amtrak is the only train service that will take you from California to New York. You have several trains to choose from depending on your route. This includes Empire Builder, Capitol Limited, and Coast Starlight.
No matter which train and route you choose, you’ll have stunning scenery throughout your journey.
Scenic Train From California to New York
There’s nothing like a coast-to-coast train ride from the West Coast to the East Coast. With a train ride from California to New York, you can choose from several trains depending on your route. But if you want spectacular views throughout your journey, choose the trains below.
Since there are no direct trains from California, you’ll have to make a transfer to Chicago, Illinois. From California to Chicago, hop on the California Zephyr, which goes through one of the most scenic train routes in the country. And from Chicago to New York, board the Lake Shore Limited, which also has breathtaking views.
California Zephyr starts in Emeryville in San Francisco. It goes through Salt Lake City, Denver, Omaha, and finally, Chicago.
The train climbs up to the heart of the Rockies and continues through the snowcapped peaks of the Sierra Nevada. It winds through the Colorado canyons, then takes you through vast open plains and arid hills, and other beautiful views.
The ride on Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to New York is also breathtaking. You’ll go through the farmlands of Indiana, pass through Finger Lakes in Albany, and run along one of the prettiest shorelines in the country.
Train From New York to California – How Many Hours?
A train ride from New York to California can be as fast as 67 hours or so. But it usually takes anywhere between 70 hours to 83 hours.
Train From New York to California in 45 Minutes
Train rides from New York to California take at least two days of travel time. There are no faster trains that will get you to California in under an hour. With this, you need to prepare yourself for an overnight train journey.
New York to California by Car
You have tons of route options when traveling from New York to California by car. But the most popular one is driving on Interstate 40. With this option, you’ll cover 2918 miles (4696 km) which takes around 44 hours of driving time. Keep in mind that this travel time doesn’t take traffic into account.
On this route, you’ll go through 10 states before you reach California. These are the states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada. With this, you’ll have tons of impressive landmarks to visit along the way!
In Illinois, you can make a stop at Gemini Giant and Route History. In Texas, there’s the Leaning Tower of Texas and the Cadillac Ranch. There’s the Blye Hole in New Mexico, Meteor Crater in Arizona, Calico Ghost Town in California, and more!
Also on this route, you can pass through the iconic and historic US Route 66, a staple on any road-trip bucket list in the country.
Keep in mind that while traveling by car gives you full freedom on your trip, it’s quite pricey. The gas price alone from New York to California can take around 510 to 736 USD.
What Road Goes From New York to California?
Interstate 80 takes you from New York to California almost directly, and this is the fastest route you can take. It runs from Teaneck, New Jersey, which is right outside New York City. And on this route, you’ll end your trip in San Francisco, California.
Fast routes often don’t come with great views. But with Interstate 80, you won’t have to sacrifice breathtaking scenery. You’ll be driving across the Midwest, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, giving you tons of scenic views along the way.
But one thing to keep in mind while driving through Interstate 80 is the tolls. You’ll be going through several of them in Ohio and Indiana.
The weather is another factor you should consider when driving on this route. This route takes you up north, so it’s not the best choice during winter.
You can also take Interstate 40, the shortest route. You’ll be covering 2918 miles (4696 km). And it takes around 44 hours of driving time without traffic.
You can consider this an alternative if you’re driving from New York to California during winter. Year-round, it’s a safe option. Interstate 40 is a toll-free road, but you’ll still run into some of them on your drive.
Route 66 From New York to California
If you’re driving from New York to California on Interstate 40, you can include the historic Route 66 on your trip! The interstate runs parallel to Route 66. Although this will add a few more days to your trip, it’s a classic American road trip that you can tick off your travel bucket list.
Driving on Route 66 takes you down memory lane. Also called the Mother Road, you’ll find iconic roadside attractions sprinkled along this long road. The nostalgia alone more than makes up for the longer travel time.
On Route 66, you can go through some of the US’ greatest historic towns. This includes Chicago in Illinois and Amarillo in Texas.
Amarillo is particularly known for its Historic Route 66 heritage. You’ll find tons to learn about the iconic route’s great past here. Cadillac Ranch and Texas Air & Space Museum are popular stops in Amarillo.
You can also stop by Santa Rosa in New Mexico. Here, you can go to Route 66 Auto Museum to learn more about the route’s history and the vehicles that graced it in the past.
Going through Route 66 can also take you to the breathtaking Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Southern Route From New York to California
Taking the Southern Route from New York to California takes you through historic cities, deserts, and tons of popular sites. If you have time, you can also take a detour to the beautiful Grand Canyon once you reach Flagstaff. With all these combined, it’s no wonder travelers chose the Southern Route.
The Southern Route from New York to California is the Interstate 40 East. This route will take you to some of the most scenic and iconic sites in the country.
There is a plethora of gorgeous natural views on the Southern Route.
You can stop by the Great Smoky Mountains and the famous Appalachian Mountains. You can also enjoy the mountain view of Shenandoah National Park or enjoy the tranquility of Cherokee National Forest. Or maybe you want to see animals at the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge.
Other than that, this route also takes you to some vibrant cities. This includes Nashville, Memphis, and the iconic Washington DC.
The Southern Route has a distance of around 3000 miles (4828 km) and it’s one of the longer route options. You can expect a driving time of around 46 hours on this route.
Scenic Route From California to New York
There are dozens of scenic route options from California to New York. This cross-country road trip takes you through various landscapes and popular attractions. But the best one for you will depend on what you want to see on your journey.
Among the scenic options you can choose from, below are the two that never fail to wow any traveler.
One option is going through Route 66, the legendary and historic route that oozes with nostalgia. You can’t completely cross the country on this route, but you can combine it with the scenic Interstate 40.
This route connects Santa Monica and Chicago. And you can stop by beautiful southern cities along the way. This route also has some detour options, such as the bustling city of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
Once you reach the end of Route 66 in Chicago, you can visit the Great Lakes before reaching New York.
Another route option is the Denver route. With this, you’ll drive across the Nevada desert, pass by Las Vegas, and drive through the Rocky Mountains. You’ll even go through the breathtaking plains of the Midwest and cross the northern part of the Appalachians before heading to New York.
Best Driving Route From New York to California
You have two route options when traveling from New York to California by car. You can take the Northern Route or the Southern Route. No matter which one you pick, you’ll be covering a lot of miles.
The best route option depends on how much time you have and what you want to see on your trip.
If you want to reach California right away, choose the Northern route. You’ll cover a distance of 2290 miles (3685 km) and this will take around 45 hours of driving time.
The Northern Route has tons of beautiful attractions along the way. This includes the stunning mountain views of White River National Forest. Other highlights include the McInnis Canyons National Park and Arches National Park.
Keep in mind that the Northern Route is not ideal for wintertime travel. So you can take the alternate route below if you’re traveling during winter.
The Southern Route is longer, with a distance of 3000 miles (4828 km). Expect a travel time of around 46 hours on this route.
This route is the more scenic option, so choose this if the scenery is your priority. Drive through Route 66, go to historic towns, visit national parks, and more!
Road Trip to New York From California
You have a few route options when traveling from California to New York. These options give you distinct attractions along the way. So the best pick will depend on what you want to see on your drive.
One option is driving through Route 66. If you choose this, you’ll be covering a distance of around 2900 miles (4667 km). This option has a driving time of 43 hours.
There’s also the Washington DC Route, which also has a distance of 2900 miles (4667 km). This route also has the same driving time as Route 66.
An alternative is the Denver Route, which has a distance of around 2800 miles (4506 km). The average driving time on this route is 42 hours.
You can also incorporate the Blue Ridge Parkway as a detour on your trip. This is a great add-on option to combine with the Washington DC Route. The total drive distance of this option is 3040 miles (4892 km), which takes around 47 hours to complete.
New York to California Road Trip Time
The road trip time from New York to California will depend on your chosen route. The Northern Route is faster, with a driving time of around 45 hours. Meanwhile, the longer Southern Route has an estimated driving time of 46 hours.
Cheapest Way to Get to California From New York
Luckily, the cheapest way to travel from New York to California is also the fastest. Taking the plane is a cost-effective way to travel, as it can cost as low as 110 USD. And this option has a travel time of around 8 to 10 hours, depending on your inbound and outbound airport location.
Keep in mind that you have several factors to consider to get the best prices for plane tickets on this trip. You have to be flexible about your travel details to get cheaper tickets.
The most obvious consideration is the airline that you choose. But the cost will also depend on which airports you use, your travel time and date, and the number of stops along the way.
For example, you can save a ton of money when flying from Newark to Santa Ana. Plane tickets on this option cost around 119 to 432 USD.
Flying from New York JFK to Los Angeles is obviously more expensive. Plane tickets on this route can cost around 164 to 494 USD.