Cultural Differences Within the United States


I’m an American, as I’m positive anyone who has learn my weblog earlier than has in all probability found out by now. One factor I wished to deal with that I’ve been interested by rather a lot recently is simply how totally different this huge nation is from area to area, culturally. I’m not going to speak about politics an excessive amount of on this publish, nonetheless. As a patriotic Californian, my politics lean decisively in a left-leaning path, and though I make no secret of the proven fact that I’m a kind of hippie liberals that isn’t too proud of the present administration, it’s additionally not the level of this weblog and I’m probably not in it to get into an argument with any individual on the different facet. So we’ll go away it at that.

No, this publish is extra about the extra delicate cultural variations I’ve observed when touring round the U.S. or attending to know varied folks from totally different states and areas. One factor that individuals who dwell overseas are inclined to overlook is the proven fact that this nation is totally monumental, and that there are 300 million very totally different, numerous folks residing right here. Depending on the place you go and what you do, your go to to the United States goes to tackle a really totally different form and also you’re going to expertise very various things. But that’s not what this publish is about, both. No, this publish is about delicate issues I’ve observed over the years. It’s typically the little variations which are the most putting. Granted, my experiences and observations will all the time be coloured by way of Californian eyes. As a Californian, I’ve a sure view of the world and my view could differ considerably from the view of any individual from, say, West Virginia. Still…it’s fascinating and I wished to speak about it. So, with out additional adieu, listed here are a few of the observations I’ve remodeled the years…

Accents and Regional Dialects


I watch a number of British homicide thriller reveals as a result of I actually like homicide mysteries and the British appear to be producing them at a better fee than anyone else. In these reveals, there all the time comes an episode the place any individual is meant to be an American character, and sometimes their accents make me cringe. Ugh. Jeez. Couldn’t they’ve simply employed an American actor? Or not less than a Canadian? That individual simply sounds…improper. These are the issues that undergo my thoughts each time the supposedly “American” character opens their mouth (I’m positive the British cringe simply as a lot after we Americans attempt to placed on one in every of their accents).

British folks pretending to be Americans apart, we do have a reasonably huge number of accents and dialects on this nation. Ask a non-American what an American feels like, and also you’ll typically hear some rendition of a Texas accent, or presumably a New Yorker. I’ve additionally heard some notably cringeworthy “California” accents, however possibly I’m extra delicate to it as a result of I’m a Californian. They additionally appear to suppose we’re all loud, as if no dialog on this nation can happen with out yelling at the prime of our lungs. As most stereotypes go, it’s an unfair assumption. There are loads of locations on this nation that aren’t Texas, California or New York, and never everyone feels they have to be as loud as doable to get some extent throughout. Sure, these folks actually exist, however simply as many individuals are the actual reverse. Accents on this nation range wildly from state to state and even regionally inside a few of the bigger states, as does language and dialect. Here are a pair enjoyable movies I discovered that illustrate only a small quantity of what I’m speaking about…



People throughout this nation eat every kind of issues and it’s actually laborious to place everyone in a field. Because……range and stuff. But there are some issues I’ve observed in addition to some amusing observations I’ve made in terms of good on this nation.


Americans love pizza. Really, who doesn’t? But opinions on pizza range significantly relying on the place you’re in the nation. If you head to New York, you’ll hear the opinion that New York type pizza is the best factor on the planet and that every one different pizza is inferior to theirs. They are typically traditionalists with their pizza and like to maintain it traditional of their types and toppings (usually). Head to Chicago, and also you’ll end up in the midst of Chicago type deep-dish pizza. People in Chicago additionally stand strongly behind the notion that their pizza is, in truth, the greatest in the United States. In a few of the smaller cities and extra rural areas of the nation, you’ll discover much less selection and can largely get chain restaurant pizza besides the place enterprising pizza making entrepreneurs have determined to arrange store. Here on the West Coast, we’re a little bit extra relaxed with our pizza. We have a tendency to love pizza in all it’s kinds and everyone has their distinctive choice. I’ll always remember how humorous it was to see the uproar on-line when San Diego was named the best city in the country for pizza. Living in San Diego, nonetheless, this didn’t come as a lot of a shock as a result of rattling does this metropolis love pizza, and I’ve had some good ones! Personally, I’m going for pizza I can eat, i.e. gluten free pizza, i.e. pizza that isn’t going to make my celiac illness harm for days, however that’s one other story altogether.

Mexican Food

Mexican meals is one other space that varies wildly from area to area. I’ll always remember occurring a visit to San Antonio, Texas and sitting down at a Mexican restaurant for a pleasant lunch. I ordered the cheese enchiladas, an merchandise I’ve ordered 1,000,000 instances earlier than at 1,000,000 totally different Mexican eating places in my lifetime. When the meals got here out, nonetheless, I used to be shocked to see floor beef in the sauce topping the enchilada. Naturally, I assumed that they had gotten my order improper, so once I politely knowledgeable the server, our interplay went one thing like this…

Me: Ummm…excuse me. I feel I obtained the improper order.

Server: What do you imply? You ordered the cheese enchiladas, proper?

Me: Yes, however there’s beef on them….

Server: Oh, honey…that’s the sauce.

Me: …………the sauce….has….beef?

I had uncared for to appreciate that I used to be in Texas, a.okay.a. Tex Mex territory. Texas has their very own distinctive type of Mexican-American fusion meals. Coming from Southern California and residing not too far North of the Mexican border, I’ve eaten a number of Mexican meals in my lifetime, however I simply wasn’t ready for being thrown for such a loop.

Mexican meals in Texas is way totally different than Mexican meals in California, and they’re each very totally different from Mexican meals in the Northern components of the nation. Not solely do now we have regional variations in our personal meals, however every of those regional specialties are in fact impressed by the regional specialties in Mexico. California is North of Baja California, so we are inclined to have much more fish tacos, ceviche, and so forth. whereas Tex-Mex is adapted from Tejano home cooking from the unique residents of areas like San Antonio, Texas.


Barbecue is one other meals that varies from area to area right here in the U.S. You’ve obtained Kansas metropolis type, Texas type, Carolina Style, Memphis type, and extra. Each area will argue that theirs is, in fact, the greatest, however as a West Coast informal observer with no horse on this race, I have a tendency to love all of them, relying on what temper I’m in. 🙂

Big Cities vs. Rural Areas


I needed to make this a class, as a result of it’s undoubtedly an space of divide. We metropolis slickers love issues like sushi, Korean barbecue, Peruvian meals, and all different method of fascinating worldwide dishes we are able to get our palms on. We love fancy cheeses and artisan breads. Even our doughnuts can get fancy as we are inclined to have a number of hipster doughnut retailers with impeccably dressed bearded males serving up foamy lattes with little designs in them alongside Tahitian Vanilla doughnuts. In rural areas, folks have a tendency to love acquainted consolation meals a little bit extra. It’s to not say there aren’t foodies in rural areas or that individuals in rural areas won’t take pleasure in these meals as effectively in the event that they tried them, however there undoubtedly appears to be a concentrate on consolation meals equivalent to mac and cheese, steaks, diner meals, and so forth. in smaller cities than in greater cities. The similar is true in the cities. I’ve a couple of pals in L.A. who will solely eat burgers and sandwiches….however they’re a minority. And I’ll always remember the look on the face of a lady from Missouri I used to know once I urged that sushi is scrumptious. You imply you eat fish….RAW? Yup. And it’s improbable.

Attitudes and Lifestyle


This varies fairly a bit relying on the place you’re at. Casting apart these pesky politics, which divide us…A LOT…there are different issues that change significantly from state to state and area to area on this nation. There are, in fact…the stereotypes, which though undoubtedly aren’t true of everyone in every area, do exist for a cause. For occasion, folks in the Northeast are sometimes in a rush and, usually, costume properly for work. I’ve


…as illustrated on this hilarious comedian by The Oatmeal

discovered this to be true. Having labored in the company world for the previous decade of my life, I’ve talked with lots of people from throughout the place on the cellphone and have met with visiting enterprise folks from all over the place. The New Yorkers (and different Northeasters) undoubtedly appear to be in additional of a rush and are all the time carrying fits. As a relaxed West Coaster who has been recognized to put on sweatpants and flip flops to work, I discover the go go go angle to be a little bit bit worrying. But to every their very own. In Hawaii, they’re typically on island time and I’ve undoubtedly discovered this to be the case. My dad went on a enterprise journey to Hawaii and mentioned he had bother getting the native employees on his challenge to point out up on time. They simply take issues a little bit extra slowly and extra chill than even we Californians do.

As far as life-style, once more, it’s laborious to color everyone with one brush, however there are undoubtedly some regional variations and attitudes that change from place to put. Here in California, I don’t actually know anyone who’s into taking pictures weapons, as an illustration. Most folks I do know don’t personal weapons, and even those that do personal them had been in all probability in the army in the previous or one thing and have like…one gun that they maintain locked up in a protected someplace. That’s to not say folks right here don’t personal them, however most individuals don’t and we don’t have a robust gun tradition right here in California. In different areas, folks love their weapons and…once more…politics apart….they appear to take pleasure in doing actions equivalent to going out goal taking pictures on the weekends. To me, that’s a really totally different exercise.

There are additionally smaller issues I’ve observed. For occasion…canines. Here in San Diego, we’re all about being canine pleasant. Do you wish to convey your canine completely all over the place with you? To the financial institution? To eating places? To the seaside? Hiking? At the mall? At the grocery retailer? If so, San Diego is the metropolis for you. We love canines right here, and most eating places with out of doors patios will fortunately not solely permit your canine to hang around, however will doubtless additionally present them with a little bit bowl of water and possibly even a canine mattress to relax on or a canine deal with to snack on. Other cities aren’t as pleasant to canines. My buddy lives in Las Vegas and struggles to search out locations he can take his canine together with him to. Here in California, persons are fairly diligent about maintaining their canine leashed when out strolling and in the yard or in the home when at residence, however once I traveled to the South, I obtained chased by indignant, barking canines that had been simply wandering round wherever they wished in varied neighborhoods. There weren’t too many different folks out strolling, and as the one lone weirdo walker by way of the neighborhood, I used to be typically shocked and a little bit frightened. That simply doesn’t occur at residence. It was fascinating and undoubtedly sudden.



We all wish to be match and head to any state in the nation and also you’ll discover people who find themselves extraordinarily devoted to getting in form, working marathons, and all different method of health actions. However, right here on the West Coast in addition to in a few of the different stylish cities of the nation like New York, and so forth. you’ll discover that individuals get actually particular (and spendy) with their health actions. Why trip a motorbike when you may go to Soul Cycle? Why do yoga when you may go to some fancy schmancy yoga place with some fancy schmancy gimmick? Why go working when you are able to do Zumba? You get the image. It’s a little bit absurd typically, however I’m actually responsible of it myself, and actually…the most vital factor is that you just’re doing issues to enhance your well being and health, so no matter works, proper? Of course, there are many folks simply out working and driving bikes, too…however the presence of fancy health boutiques is one thing I see extra in the bigger cities. In smaller cities, folks are inclined to stroll, play sports activities, or possibly run for health. My grandmother who lives in rural Arizona goes to the group pool to swim, and others I do know are inclined to choose outdoorsy pursuits equivalent to mountain climbing, kayaking, or cross-country snowboarding to get in form.



New Yorkers are typically a reasonably trendy bunch and costume a little bit nicer and extra business-like than the remainder of us. In a number of areas of the South, camouflage is well-liked on issues like pants, shirts, hats…you identify it, actually. We Californians like carrying exercise garments, board shorts, or sweatpants and flip flops. We additionally do ridiculous issues like put on sandals with a jacket, as a result of although it’s chilly, we nonetheless don’t wish to placed on footwear (as a result of actually…who desires to put on footwear?). In Chicago, I discovered that they have an inclination to decorate extra conservatively than they do right here. We’re fairly free and expressive right here on the West Coast, however once I visited Chicago I had folks asking me the place I used to be from. I couldn’t work out why they saved asking till one man who labored at a gallery identified that the pink streak I had in my hair at the time and the funky shirt I used to be carrying was a lifeless giveaway that I wasn’t from round these components. You’ll discover a number of cowboy boots in the Western areas, notably Texas, however actually throughout the Western states like Arizona, Utah, and into the Southern states as effectively. But particularly Texas. Maybe Oklahoma too (not less than in accordance with a buddy who lives in Oklahoma). In L.A., they costume a lot trendier than we do right here in San Diego, the place we’re all dressed like we’d go to the seaside and/or take a nap at any time (even when at work. In truth, I wore sweatpants to work the different day and no person batted a watch). Everybody has their private type, in fact, however these are just a few regional variations you’ll see when touring about the nation.

Kindness and Acceptance


I wished to place this in as a result of I hear a number of issues on-line and from my worldwide pals that they appear to suppose the United States is an unfriendly place for foreigners. Please, please, please don’t suppose that. Yes, there are some disturbing incidents which have taken place on this nation. But do not forget that this is a gigantic nation of over 300 million folks. Furthermore, the United States as an entire is simply barely smaller than the whole continent of Europe. The distance between California and New York is just like the distance between Western Spain and someplace in Russia. The distance between San Diego, California and Miami, Florida is just like the distance from Madrid, Spain to Damascus, Syria. I level this out as a result of folks appear to like to color us all with one brush, but it surely’s vital to notice that simply because one thing dangerous occurred in a single space of the United States, that in no way is a sign of what persons are like in the complete of this nation. I do know our present political local weather is….unlucky…however please don’t suppose all of us hate all foreigners. Where I dwell, as an illustration, no person would even bat a watch at assembly any individual of any race, faith, or nationality. We’re such a giant melting pot and it truly is a world group. Maybe they could let you know your accent is cute, however that’s about it.

That being mentioned, don’t be afraid to go to rural areas, both. For occasion, I went on a whitewater rafting journey in rural Eastern Tennessee a pair years in the past. We had a Muslim couple who was visiting from overseas on our raft, and never solely was our native river information variety to them, however he additionally was excited to fulfill them as he had been finding out the Arabic language and was eager to check out his language abilities with him. I’ve met folks in areas of the nation the place, as a Californian with very Californian political views, one may suppose they wouldn’t be variety to me, both…however I discover that most individuals are nice, courteous, and type whenever you meet them in individual and relate on a person-to-person stage. Sure, you’ll discover the odd loopy jerk, however these folks exist in each nation on Earth.

On that observe, I might additionally like so as to add that although we Angelinos (colloquial time period for L.A. folks…I could dwell in San Diego now however I’m from the L.A. space initially and I’m pleased with it) have a little bit of a status for being…effectively…jerks. I’m going to say that on the freeway, that is very a lot true. Traffic is a nightmare and going wherever by automotive is past irritating, made worse solely by the way it’s even more durable to park your automotive and truly get out of it. This could cause tensions to rise and also you’re going to see quite a lot of center fingers flying in the air on the street. Ok. That’s honest. However, what’s much less recognized is that I’ve discovered folks in L.A. to be a few of the friendliest folks whenever you hang around with them in individual. People are fairly open and accepting of every kind of various folks, and since it’s such a melting pot full of recent folks on the town from throughout, it’s a reasonably simple metropolis to make new pals in as effectively. They say folks don’t get to know their neighbors, however one weekend staying with my aunt in North Hollywood and I’m assembly all her neighbors as we stroll round the condo advanced, from the very good neighbor man who took the outing of his day to assist me get my different bag that I couldn’t perform of the automotive as a result of, and I quote, “don’t go away something in there even for a second…there’s folks on this avenue that can rip that shit out of your automotive so quick as quickly as you allow you gained’t even know what occurred…I’ll assist”, to the girl upstairs who invited us as much as do some papier mâche crafts in her condo, that pleasant neighborly angle is alive and kicking in the metropolis of Angels.

I might go on and on and on and finally write sufficient to publish a whole e book on the topic, however I’ll cease right here. The level is…the United States is a various place stuffed with numerous folks, and if you happen to look previous the alarmist studies on the information, you’ll discover that most individuals are variety and excited to share their particular tradition with others so long as you’re open and prepared to partake. We could also be totally different. We could have totally different accents, totally different political beliefs, totally different meals preferences, and totally different outlooks on life, however deep down, we’re all folks. Thus concludes one other (rambling) episode of cultural observations with Art. Travel. Eat. Repeat. Hope you loved!

Are you an American or have you ever visited the U.S. and observed the regional variations from state to state and area to area? What did you observe or what did you discover the most shocking about what you observed?

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