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10 Fun Facts About the LA River

10 Fun Facts About the LA River

The Los Angeles River is one of the many landmarks in the City of Angels. Here's 10 fun facts about the concrete channel. Team


1 min read

August 21, 2023

The Los Angeles River, commonly referred to as the L.A. River, is an iconic waterway that winds its way through the City of Angels. Far from being just a concrete channel, the L.A. River has a rich history and plays a unique role in the city's ecology and culture. Here are ten fun facts that might surprise you:

It's Ancient

The river has flowed for millennia. Before the Spanish arrival in the 18th century, indigenous Tongva people lived along the river, relying on its water and resources for sustenance.

Not All Concrete

Contrary to popular belief, only about half of the L.A. River's 51-mile length is encased in concrete. The soft-bottomed stretches are teeming with wildlife and provide essential habitats.

Film Star

The river's concrete channels have set the scene for many famous movie chase sequences, including the memorable scenes from "Terminator 2" and "Grease." Its cinematic appeal is undeniable.

A Hidden Ecosystem

Believe it or not, more than 200 species of birds have been spotted along the L.A. River. Additionally, it's home to fish, frogs, and even occasional sightings of larger animals like coyotes and deer.

Kayak Adventures

Once forbidden, kayaking on the L.A. River is now a favorite summertime activity. Guided tours and rentals give adventurers an entirely new perspective on this urban waterway.

Artistic Inspiration

Numerous murals and art installations can be found along the riverbanks. The Great Wall of Los Angeles, a half-mile-long mural in the Tujunga Wash, tells the history of California through the eyes of its diverse inhabitants.

Flood Control

 The reason for the concrete makeover? The catastrophic floods of 1938 left a deep impact, leading to the decision to channelize the river for better flood control. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers carried out the project.

Restoration Efforts

Recently, there's been a significant push to revitalize the L.A. River. Projects aim to restore habitats, improve water quality, and provide recreational spaces, turning the river into a green centerpiece for the city.

Bridges Galore

Over its span, the river is crossed by numerous historic bridges, each with its own architectural charm. The Sixth Street Viaduct, originally built in 1932, is one of the most famous and has been featured in many films.

The End of the Line

Where does all the water go? The L.A. River eventually empties into the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach, connecting the city to the vast expanse of the sea.

While the Los Angeles River might often be overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of Hollywood or the city's other attractions, it remains a vital and fascinating component of L.A.'s landscape. These fun facts merely scratch the surface, and the river's evolving story is sure to capture the imagination of Angelenos and visitors alike for years to come.

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