Los Angeles, we did it! We have successfully achieved the highly coveted, incredibly difficult to accomplish distinction of The Worst Traffic in The United States of America. If you weren’t already aware of our current standing in the traffic department, it’s probably because you were very busy spending a record-breaking, mind-numbing 81 hours in your car last year. But hey, you finally got to listen to Hamilton all the way through, so it’s cool, right? Of course it’s not. It’s terrible. So, in celebration of receiving this high honor, we’ve ranked L.A.’s freeways in order from kind of annoying to absolutely atrocious.
10. The 90: Marina Freeway
It might be a bit of a cheat to throw the 90 into the mix, seeing how it’s not exactly a whole freeway (the other half lives in inland Orange County, like a banished divorcee). It’s basically a couple of lanes and a few exits that gently escort you from Culver City to sleepy Marina Del Rey, but it makes you feel like an actual superhero since it’s the closest you’ll come to flying on an L.A. freeway.
9. The 134: Ventura Freeway
The 134 will take you from Pasadena to Santa Barbara — both idyllic Nancy Meyer oases of white pants and small batch tile backsplashes. The only catch is that it becomes a bit of a Bermuda Triangle at the 101/134 interchange. Zone out for a mere moment and you’ll be coming out of a fugue state signing a lease to live at The Americana.
8. The 710: Long Beach Freeway
The thing about the 710 is that you probably never intentionally seek out the 710; Waze just offers it up as a last-minute exit because satellites found a better route. As a workhorse of a shortcut, there might not be anything glamorous about the 710, but it will get the job done. Unfortunately, you’ll be stuck behind trucks on trucks headed to and from the port as you accidentally miss your exit for the 405 and end up stranded at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Good luck with that “sea otter encounter.”
7. The 105: Century Freeway
If there was ever a freeway tease, it’s the 105. You hook up at the 110. Everything goes smoothly for several miles. You’re thinking you’ve really scored by breezing along at 75 miles per hour, and then boom — road blocked. You’re stuck in the LAX muck, sweating in places you didn’t know you could sweat because you’re going to miss your flight. Come to think of it, arrivals and departures are probably the only reason anyone ever takes the 105.
6. The 210: Foothill Freeway
The 210 will take you further east than any Angeleno probably ever needs to go in their life. Rancho Cucamonga is an actual place the 210 will take you, which is basically the fringe of civilization. Use it when you need to get into the heart of Pasadena, but for the love of everything, jump ship before you sit in a parking lot headed toward the bowels of Riverside.
5. The 10: Santa Monica Freeway
The 10 West dumps you out onto a particularly beautiful stretch of PCH, but the slow crawl makes the drive remarkably soul-sucking, especially if it’s to make it to a two-minute audition for a part you probably won’t even book. Rush hour traffic gets even worse on the weekends as everyone heads to the beach. It’s honestly amazing that everyone doesn’t immediately park their cars on the sand upon arrival and walk into the ocean fully clothed, crying tears of joys that they made it from downtown to the beach in the same day.
4. The 5: The Golden State Freeway
Yes, it will take you to the Happiest Place On Earth (Sacramento! Just kidding), but it’s also going to fill you with high school proportions of regret by the time you make it to the medieval-looking Citadel outlets. And it might be the only freeway where a carpool lane is completely for show. It’s looks like the thing is going to be under serious construction until our children’s children have children, and by then all our cars will fly. The only way to have a tolerable commute is to flee in the dead of night, high on 5-Hour Energy, and even then, you’re still running the risk of sitting in gridlock.
3. The 110: Harbor Freeway
The stretch of the 110 leading into Pasadena is scary — as in, stunt driver skills required. As the oldest freeway in LA, it’s definitely giving off “back in the day” vibes with wild turns, exits, and unpredictable potholes, reminding us of a time when cars maxed out at 45 miles per hour. It’s a lot to ask of all of us, but Highland Park is where it’s at, so you’ll need to brave it at some point to check out Block Party or Donut Friend. The rest of the 110? A steaming pile of stop and go with a gorgeous view of downtown L.A. Still not enough to make it worth the drive.
2. The 101: Hollywood Freeway
Statistically, the 101 has the worst traffic delays of any freeway in L.A., which means this is the holy grail of gridlock. I don’t know who needs to get to Studio City so bad at all hours, but clearly the need for Art’s Deli is real. The only redeeming thing about it is that it’s pretty delightful to catch a glimpse of Hogwarts at Universal Studios as you slog along.
1. The 405: San Diego Freeway
One word: CARMAGEDDON.