Culture

California dreaming: 10 things I love about you

California is no enigma. Named “The Golden State”, it attracts creative hopefuls and innovative entrepreneurs to its coastline every day. As a result California boasts the largest and most diverse population in the country.  If the wine, tacos and start-ups do not tempt you- the sun, the mountains and the ocean surely will.

This is a list of 10 reasons why people love California.

The Industry

photo by Ahmet Yalçınkaya

For generations California has acted as a beacon, attracting people from around the world and from all over the country. This is due in large part to California’s global influence in the world’s top industries: technology, film, media, real estate, and investments.

The Golden State is often the home of “C-suite executives” who’ve helped grow the nation’s most valuable companies including Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Witman and media mogul Oprah Winfry. California also houses the world’s social media giants, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.

The Fashion

In the United States, fashion in recent years seems to be pointing towards the West Coast. One city in particular continues to buzz more than any other: Los Angeles. Thank the hyperbole of the LA stereotype and the ‘City of Angels’ lifestyle that tastemakers like Gucci, YSL & Tom Ford declare as their inspiration. 

The Culture

America's Cup San Francisco
America’s Cup competition in San Francisco

The culture of California is tied to the culture of the United States as a whole. However, there are features that are unique to California. With roots in the cultures of Spain, Mexico, and the eastern United States, California integrates foods, languages and traditions from all over the world.

The Architecture

The hills of San Francisco, California photo by Rezaul Karim

Similar to the melting pot of cultures in California, the architecture too has been greatly influenced by the large immigrant population, especially those from Latin America and East Asia cultures.

Epic cities like San Francisco is known worldwide for its particularly eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture.

The Signature Homes

“The Style of the house should be, as far as possible, determined by four conditions: 1st, climate; 2nd, environment; 3rd, kinds of materials; 4th, habits and tastes”
~Charles Sumner Greene, in The Western Architect, July 1908

California is nothing if not environmentally conscious. Especially when it comes to real estate. Of all California’s signature architectural elements, the most distinctive and eco-friendly may be the butterfly roof. The style can be traced to Le Corbusier’s Maison Errázuriz, a vacation home in Chile devised (but never built) for arts patron Eugenia Errázuriz in 1930.

In addition to it’s eye-catching angles, the eco-friendly property has the ability to collect rainwater to help create self-sustainable environments.

The Interior Design

Deane tufted chaise. Photography François Dischinger
Modern tufted chaise lounge photography François Dischinger

Nothing says California living like a sleek home with even sleeker furnishings. California ushered in American Modernism in interior design in the early ’50s. They are perhaps most well known for the Eames Lounge and Ottoman and their molded fiberglass lounge chairs.

The Farmers Market

Gregory Bourolias
photo by Gregory Bourolias

Many of the restaurants, cafes, bistros, and grills use ingredients sourced from California’s local growers and farmers’ markets. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are culinary adventures.

The Food

photo by Myles Tan

The varied range of micro-climates, dominated by a mild Mediterranean climate, together with the health-conscious California lifestyle influences the food culture. California promotes the production, use and consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats.

The California coast, especially the North Coast and Central Coast regions, is a source of seafood which is a staple in the California diet. While battered and fried foods are not as common in California, there are exceptions, such as fish tacos and tempura.

Thanks to the weather, most Californian’s prefer to dine alfresco.

The Wine Country

photo by Maja Petric

Imagine elegant estates at the end of country roads each lined with vineyards. Or low-key wineries housed in converted barns. Something more modern? What about urban wine trails with pop-up style tasting rooms.

California’s wine country is as varied as the state itself. From the redwoods in Mendocino to the historic Napa Valley to the rural charm of Santa Barbara’s new Funk Zone, California wine country has it all.

The Ocean

Santa Monica, California photo by Rob Bye

California’s cold water to the north is very fertile, it brings to the surface nutrient-rich sediments, supporting large populations of whales, seabirds and the important fisheries.

The low temperatures in the south also bring many dissolved nutrients to the California coast, to the benefit farmers.

So, did we miss anything?

cover photo: “San Francisco & the bay” by Sasha Zvereva

 

 

 

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