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The 31 California Fun Facts You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
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The 31 California Fun Facts You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

The Golden State is known for its unique history and unconventional spirit, but these interesting facts about California will surprise you.

California.com

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5 min read

September 05, 2022

Disclaimer: California.com is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

The Golden State is full of surprises; it's no wonder inspiration and innovation take on many forms in this majestic land of beaches, valleys, and mountains. Recognized internationally for its unique history and unconventional spirit, California (unsurprisingly) has quite a few fascinating stories and interesting facts to share. From the spooky to the intriguing, read on to find out the best of California fun facts.

1. 31st State

In 1850, California became the 31st state. Prior to its statehood, the state was an independent country for one month in 1846, one of the many weird facts about California you probably didn’t know.

2. Bigger than Canada

California is home to approximately 40 million residents, which is about one-eighth of the U.S. population and more than the entire population of Canada.

3. Diversity Central

The majority of California's residents belong to ethnic minority groups; in fact, one out of every four Californians was not born in the U.S.

You can marvel at majestic orchards and more in the Central Valley, the world’s almond capital.

4. Almonds California's Top Export

Almonds are California’s top exports. Most of the state’s almonds are grown in the Central Valley, which is considered the world’s almond capital.

5. Rich Heritage

Many of the Native American tribes — including the Quechan (Yuma), Maidu, Pomo, and Hupa — lived in California.

6. Third Biggest US STate 

The Golden State ranks third amongst the largest territories in the U.S., after Alaska and Texas.

7. Home to Some of the U.S.'s Biggest Cities

Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose are among the top 10 biggest cities in the U.S.

8. Size Matters in San Bernardino

With nearly 20,000 square miles of land, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the U.S.

9. Alpine, the Smallest County

Contrasting San Bernardino, Alpine County is one of California's smallest counties, with 465,030 acres of land — also the smallest in terms of population.

10. CA Is the first state to hit a $1T GDP

There are many interesting facts about California, but one of the most impressive is that it is the first state to reach $1 trillion in GDP.

When traveling in California, make sure to stop by San Diego, the second-largest city in the state.

11. State Tree is the Redwood

 The California redwood tree became the designated California state tree in 1937.

12. "Eureka" Is the state motto

Eureka — the Greek word for “I have found it!” — is a cry of happiness when you've achieved something. Archimedes uttered this very word when he discovered the method of determining the purity of gold. In honor of the California Gold Rush, the state later adopted “Eureka” as its official motto.

13. San Francisco survived the recession

During the Great Depression, San Francisco successfully survived the worldwide recession. None of its banks went bankrupt during this time.

14. California experiences over 100,000 earthquakes/year

On average, California experiences over 100,000 earthquakes a year. Luckily, many of these earthquakes are quite feeble.

Despite its appearance on the state flag, the California grizzly bear hasn't been seen in the state for more than a century.

15. Once Known as the "Grizzly Bear State"

California was initially named “the Grizzly Bear State” (hence the bear on the flag), but as the human population increased in California, trouble escalated between bear and man. As a result, the bears were hunted for sport, thus leading to their extinction. When there were no longer any bears left, California was renamed the Golden State.

16. The Land of Invention

California is truly a hub of innovation and inspires the brightest minds; many innovations were created here, including wetsuits, skateboards, Barbie dolls, Apple products, Frisbee, and even the internet.

17. California has watermelon snow

Here's an especially weird fact about California: In the summer months, the Sierra Nevada surprises and delights visitors with its magnificent “watermelon snow.” As a result of microscopic algae, pink-tinted snow drapes the mountains, and some even say it smells and tastes just like watermelon.

While fortune cookies are often served with Chinese food, they were popularized and invented in California, not China.

18. Home of the Fortune Cookie

What does your future hold? A fortune cookie has got you covered. This post-dinner delight was created in California, with both Los Angeles and San Francisco taking credit for the invention.

19. World's Largest Geothermal Field

Get ready to steam your worries away in California. Sonoma County boasts the world's largest geothermal field. Before power plants were built in the region, native tribes used steam baths for healing purposes for over 12,000 years.

20. Most National Parks in the U.S.

With nine national parks to explore, California is home to the most national parks in the country and offers an abundance of incredibly beautiful scenery.

21. Almost Everyone In the World Has Had a Window to California

The photo of the green hills, which serves as the iconic wallpaper from Windows XP, is actually taken in Sonoma County. And no editing has been done on the photo at all.

22. C.A. is home to the city of dogs

San Francisco is also known as the “City of Dogs," thanks to its unusually large pup population. As of 2016, there are only 115,000 children in the city but between 120,000 and 150,000 dogs. It seems like San Francisco's residents are in favor of having four-legged babies.

Famous for its groves of giant sequoias, California's official state tree is the redwood.

23. California Defies Gravity

California defies gravity, literally. There are several mysterious places in California where gravity just doesn't seem to play the same role as it should. The gravity hills in certain spots of California are known to push your car uphill, without using any power and while the car is on neutral.

24. Home to the Largest Amphitheater

California has the largest amphitheater in the United States: The classic Hollywood Bowl opened in 1922, serving as an amphitheater, public park, and picnic area.

25. Most Film Locations in the U.S.

Most of the movies filmed in the U.S. were filmed in California. Following the Golden State are New York and Texas.

26. Avocado is the Official State Fruit

Enjoying everything from avocado toast to avocado smoothies, Californians are so in love with the avocado that it's become the official state fruit and one of the most iconic foods in California. San Diego County's Fallbrook, known as the "Avocado Capital of the World," hosts an annual avocado festival.

27. C.A. Is Where Blue Jeans were born

The stylish city of San Francisco is where blue jeans were invented. Levi Strauss and business partner Jacob Davis introduced jeans to the world in 1873. Initially worn by factory workers, miners, and farmers, jeans eventually became a staple and made their way into closets around the nation and beyond.

Salute General Sherman, the world's largest tree by volume, and soak in the ancient wisdom of this massive sequoia.

28. The Worl's Largest Tree is in California

In California’s Sequoia National Park, you'll find the world's largest tree by volume. Named General Sherman, this giant sequoia is about 52,500 cubic feet by volume, and its circumference at the ground is 102.6 feet.

29. Beverly Hills Used to be a Farm

The iconic zip code 90210 is one of the state's most expensive zip codes and among L.A.'s most expensive neighborhoods, but Beverly Hills has actually humble roots. What began as a Spanish lima bean ranch quickly transformed into the most prestigious Golden State neighborhood and is now home to many Hollywood starlets.

30. California's Climate is not all sunny

California has an incredibly diverse climate and environment. The weather varies from blazing desert heat to subarctic climates, depending on the latitude and elevation.

31. California Has Hosted Both Summer and Winter Olympics

California is the only state that has hosted both the summer and winter Olympics. The city of Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics, while Squaw Valley hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

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