Why I’ve Given My Heart to Southern California’s Spectacular Sunsets
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Until I moved to the Golden State, I don’t think I’d ever had a favorite time of day. I know, truly unfathomable stuff. Bar the obvious feeling of elation I used to experience on weekdays at 5:30pm, there just wasn’t a daily phenomenon that really warranted much more praise over any other daily phenomena. This didn’t ever give me much reason to panic at the time. But now I have a favorite time of day, I’d feel really quite lost without it.
The headline and accompanying graphics may have given it away somewhat, but just to reiterate: my favorite time of day in SoCal is indeed sunset.
Sunsets are just so freakin lush out here. I cannot get enough of them. I’ve seen plenty of great sunsets across the pond, but for some reason they haven’t ever struck me the way they have since I relocated.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Chino Hills, CA
There’s actually some good old-fashioned science behind why California sunsets are so remarkable, especially in the colder months. Oh, yeh, we do have months where it actually drops into single digits (Celsius). I don’t know how I cope.
This KCRW article explains that Winter sunsets in California are particularly stunning because a) the angle and closer position of the earth in relation to the sun causes longer twilights, and b) California is well positioned between the equator and North Pole so those long twilights are extended even further.
I think they’re overthinking it, though. Sure, those things help. I’ll take science’s word for it. But they’re missing some obvious reasons—ones that can only be uncovered by a non-native Californian.
Firstly, the weather is always so bloody spectacular. So of course the sunsets are gonna be good. Sure, a smattering of clouds can help add to an already gorgeous evening portrait, but any more than that and you’re just blocking out all the good stuff.
And then there’s the fact that nearly every time you look up to see the beautifully vivid reds, pinks and oranges, you’re greeted by at least one silhouette of a palm tree. Palm trees and sunsets go together better than the greatest ever TV couple Tim Canterbury and Dawn Tinsley, and that’s saying something.
Dawn & Tim from The Office (UK). I take it back, nothing beats the greatest love story ever
Every single day, that tantalizing time before dark is a vaporwave paradise—an 80s retro enthusiast’s wet dream. It’s basically like temporarily living in that beautifully shot episode of Black Mirror—San Junipero—except not everybody is a horny dead or dying person.
Anyway... I think the main reason why sunsets in Southern California hit me the way that they do is because they just make me realize how lucky I am. Lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world with so much to see and do on my doorstep.
Right by my apartment, CA
Despite over 18 months of coming to terms with having a favorite time of day, it can still take me by surprise: driving back from LA one evening recently, my heart stopped as I looked into the rearview mirror and saw the city skyline bursting into flames. It felt like the end credits of a gripping four-part Netflix limited series on the search for California's Most Wanted.
At least I know this story isn't ending, and I've got plenty more spectacular sunsets to enjoy while I explore this magical State.