Southern California is second only to New York in the number of cultural attractions available to its residents, says professor of geography Curtis Roseman.
Culling various listings of cultural assets, Roseman determined the top-ranking metropolitan areas in 21 measures of “cultural infrastructure.”
On 16 of them, the five-county Los Angeles metropolitan area ranks first, second or third in the nation. Los Angeles lays claim to the most ethnic radio stations and university sports championships and the nation’s second-largest number of volumes in public libraries, instrumental groups, vocal groups, classical radio stations and performance dates by touring artists. It ranks third in number of dance companies, theater troupes, performance dates for resident companies, foundations, three-, four- and five-star restaurants, Fortune 500 headquarters, professional sports teams and professional sports championships since 1970.
Only New York has more cultural assets, coming in first, second or third in 19 of 21 measures.
This “second city” status is consistent with the region’s population. With 16 million people, Southern California has surpassed metropolitan Chicago, which includes southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana, to become the nation’s second most populous region. Metropolitan New York, in-cluding Long Island, northern New Jersey and southeastern Connecticut, remains the most populous.
When cultural attractions are measured on a per capita basis, the San Francisco area – including Oakland and the East Bay, San Jose and Marin County – rises to the top, ranking first, second or third in eight categories. Boston and New York follow with seven categories each. Los Angeles lags far behind with only one: most university sports championships.
“To some extent this can be explained by our population growth,” Roseman says. “Los Angeles is big in culture, but it’s bigger in population.”

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Los Angeles is the Nation's "second city" in terms of sheer volume of cultural activities.

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