Skip to main content

11 Famous California Streets and The Stories Behind Them

11 Famous California Streets and The Stories Behind Them

With so many locations to choose from, here are the popular streets in California worth visiting. Team


5 min read

March 22, 2024

California is rich with landmarks that capture the imagination, including its streets, which are destinations in their own right. These thoroughfares are a testament to the adventure and allure of the journey itself, embodying the essence and vibrancy of the state. Each street has its own narrative; Hollywood Boulevard serves as Los Angeles's glamorous showcase, while The Embarcadero pulses at the core of San Francisco. With a multitude of noteworthy avenues across the state, here's a selection of California's must-visit streets that offer their unique charm and history.

California's Famous Streets

Well-known for its nightlife and music clubs, Sunset Boulevard remains one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles.

Sunset Boulevard

For those enchanted by the quintessential image of California streets lined with palm trees, Sunset Boulevard is the epitome of such vistas. Stretching through iconic locales like Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, this famed artery is steeped in the allure of Los Angeles. Among its landmarks is the Sunset Tower Hotel, a gem from the 1920s that captures the essence of Hollywood's golden era, once graced by legends like Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, and Marilyn Monroe.

While Sunset Boulevard was once a hub for rockstars, today it stands as a prime spot for capturing Los Angeles's most picturesque scenes. The boulevard is dotted with contemporary attractions that offer a fresh take on the classic Sunset Strip vibe.

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

Telegraph Avenue

This street starts in historic Downtown Oakland and ends at the southern edge of UC Berkeley's campus. The story behind Telegraph Avenue’s name is quite simple—the telegraph line constructed between Oakland and Martinez ran along this road. In 1869, Oakland’s first horsecar line was also built along this famous California street. 

Home to many 19th century firsts, Telegraph Avenue features historic buildings and murals next to Korean BBQ spots, art galleries, and yoga studios. Stroll along this street to explore some of the coolest neighborhoods in Oakland.

The only wooden road is S.F. is none other than Napier Lane.

Napier Lane

Nestled among colorful cabins and art-deco houses, this famous California street is the only wooden road in San Francisco. Featured in Dark Passage—a film noir starring Humphrey Bogart—Napier Lane winds through quaint gardens and past homes perched on idyllic terraces. This mini urban jungle boasts striking views of Telegraph Hill, best enjoyed when on a refreshing walk.   

San Francisco's Famous Roads

Lombard Street's eight sharp turns make it one of the most popular landmarks in San Francisco.

Lombard Street

While featuring undeniable aesthetic appeal, the flower-laden zig-zags of Lombard Street serve a purpose. Its switchbacks were built to ensure the street’s safety. Set amidst a beautiful neighborhood, this famous road in San Francisco is a must-see. As the city’s most scenic street, this S.F. landmark is home to its most expensive real estate. The “Crookedest Street in the World” is a tourist hot spot with breathtaking views of San Francisco and beyond. 

Castro Street

Located in San Francisco’s historic LGTBQ+-friendly neighborhood, Castro Street is named after politician José Castro, who was the Governor of Alta California prior to California becoming a US state. He was a notable figure against California coming under US rule. While the street is named after Castro, the current significance reaches beyond the name. It's more a landmark and haven for the LGBTQ+ community. A symbol of their struggle and triumph. A joyful center for the past, present, and future. Castro Street runs south through Noe Valley towards Glen Park. 

The Castro Street Fair is held here every year on the first Sunday of every October. Harvey Milk was the icon behind the LGBTQ+ street festival—he gathered over 5,000 protesters in response to local merchants’ discriminatory policies. Nowadays, Castro Street is an epicenter for the worldwide LGBTQ+ community. 

The Ferry Building's infamous clock tower keeps an eye on you as your stroll along the Embarcadero.

The Embarcadero 

The Embarcadero could easily be mistaken for an open-air entertainment hub, given the wealth of attractions it hosts. As one of San Francisco's most vibrant streets, it provides an exceptional urban stroll. Lined with a plethora of dining options, retail outlets, and iconic San Francisco landmarks, the Embarcadero's expansive promenade is a must-visit. Highlights include the historic Ferry Building, the bustling Pier 39, the charming Fisherman’s Wharf, and the gateway to Alcatraz Island ferry tours. A leisurely walk along this famed waterfront offers breathtaking views of the bay, making it a memorable experience.

Famous Streets in Los Angeles

The most popular landmark on Melrose Avenue is the Paramount Pictures Bronson Gate.

Melrose Avenue

Starting at Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue is a famous shopping street in Los Angeles. Paved in 1909, a nostalgic ranch owner named the street after a town in Massachusetts. Melrose Avenue is the birthplace of new wave and punk in Southern California. In no time, the street attracted underground retailers and creative restaurateurs. The press even went on to call Melrose Avenue “the new Rodeo Drive.”

To this day, vintage stores and hipster spots maintain the unmatched vibe of this famous California street.  

An L.A. cultural icon, Hollywood Boulevard is packed with restaurants, museums, landmarks, and other attractions.

Hollywood Boulevard 

No matter how touristy, no SoCal trip is complete without paying a visit to one of the most famous streets in Los Angeles. The palm-studded Hollywood Boulevard is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about the City of Angels. Other than the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame, the street features a range of iconic buildings and attractions. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre offers visitors a glamorous old-fashioned movie experience. 

The Dolby Theater and the luxurious Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel add more color to this historic street. Every year during the holiday season, Hollywood Boulevard transforms into a Christmas-themed destination—essentially becoming “Santa Claus Lane.”

Mulholland Drive

Tucked between the Santa Monica Mountains, Mulholland Drive rings a bell for many. Named after civil engineer William Mulholland, the famous L.A. street was the focus of David Lynch’s eponymous film. Featured in a number of other movies, songs, and novels, Mulholland Drive captures the spirit of Hollywood. 

Celebrities like Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, and Bruce Willis used to reside on this street—Jack Nicholson lives on Mulholland Drive up to this day. While there’s very little chance you’ll meet him, this iconic L.A. street is worth the visit anyway.

Beverly Hills' Famous Streets

The two-mile stretch is filled to the brim with high-end fashion boutiques and designer labels.

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive is perhaps Beverly Hills’ most famous street. With its first store established in 1961, Rodeo Drive now features more than 100 international luxury brands. All three blocks amaze tourists with sophisticated designs—each store is unique and harmonized into a beautiful web of fashion and architecture. 

The infamous boutique store scene from Pretty Woman was filmed on Rodeo Drive. This famous street in Beverly Hills is a true experience if you haven't been—it’s a shoppers paradise.

Santa Monica Boulevard 

Santa Monica Boulevard passes through Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, and West Hollywood. This famous California street has long inspired artists. Here, good times are always guaranteed. Every drive on Santa Monica Boulevard ends with hitting the beach. Rollerbladers skate on the boardwalk by Santa Monica State Beach while families play a friendly game of volleyball.

Whether you visit this famous street to see the West Hollywood Memorial Walk or snap pictures for the ‘gram, Santa Monica Boulevard is a must-see in SoCal. 

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

Enter Your Zip Code

Enter Your Zip Code

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section