Los Angeles is known for its glitz and glamour, beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and diverse population—not to mention its interesting slang and expensive neighborhoods. But there's much more than meets the eye when it comes to the City of Angels. While you may know some California fun facts, you probably don't know everything about L.A., even if you live here. So, take note of these strange but true fun facts about Los Angeles. They're bound to surprise you.
Historical Facts About Los Angeles
1. When Los Angeles was founded in 1781, its full name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de Los Ángeles Sobre el Río Porciúncula.” (Imagine saying that five times fast.) Loosely translated, the original Spanish name meant “The town of our lady queen of the Angels on the Porciúncula River.”
2. In 1892, oil was discovered near today's Dodger Stadium.
3. By 1923, one-quarter of the world's oil was produced in the Los Angeles Basin. Now, the basin still ranks as the third-largest oil field in the United States.
4. Los Angeles is known for its mild weather year-round, but when it rains, it pours. In 1926, a gauge in the San Gabriel Mountains was filled with an inch of rain in just one minute. In February of 1978, almost one foot of rain fell in one day.
5. Another interesting fact about Los Angeles is that the City of Angels was home to the first movie theater in the state. Tally’s Electric Theatre opened its gates on April 2, 1902.
6. Until 1848, Los Angeles belonged to Mexico. It was annexed during the Mexican-American War.
7. Los Angeles is where the Internet was born. In 1969, the first ARPANET transmission was sent from the University of California, Los Angeles to the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park.
Interesting Facts About Los Angeles
8. Ever wondered why the entertainment industry ended up in Los Angeles? Filmmakers traveled to the West to avoid Thomas Edison’s intellectual property claims—he lived in New Jersey but owned the majority of the country’s film patents.
9. The state’s most affluent city had a rather modest start. Beverly Hills first began as a Spanish ranch where lima beans were grown.
10. Nothing beats an afternoon at Santa Monica Pier, with the sun shining down over the glimmering waters of the Pacific. However, this romantic destination wasn’t always so lovely. The pier was first initially constructed so that a sewage pipe could flow from the city to the ocean, far away from the beach.
11. If Los Angeles were its own country, its economy would be bigger than those of Saudi Arabia and Switzerland.
12. The Hollywood sign originally read “Hollywoodland;” it was meant to be an advertisement for a new housing development in the area.
13. Home to more than 10 million residents, Los Angeles County is the most populated county in the country.
14. Los Angeles is the biggest U.S. city (by land area), stretching over 460 square miles. In terms of population, Los Angeles is second only to New York.
15. The Los Angeles Harbor Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in the world that contains a green light.
16. Los Angeles has more than 105 museums and 225 theaters.
17. The oldest building in Los Angeles County is the 1795 Gage Mansion in Bell Gardens.
18. The iconic palm trees of L.A. are actually native to South Africa and India.
19. In Hollywood, more than 90 percent of the housing units are occupied by renters.
20. Built in 1818 by Francisco Ávila, the Ávila Adobe is the oldest standing residence in Los Angeles and is one of the city's architectural wonders.
21. Los Angeles has 80 neighborhoods and 16 districts.
22. San Francisco is known for its hills and elevations, but Los Angeles has it beat with one street: Eldred Street in Highland Park is considered to be the steepest street in California, with a 33-percent grade in elevation.
23. While most libraries in the world are used for research, Los Angeles has a different plan in mind. The Huntington Library, in addition to being one of the world's best places for research, also boasts spectacular gardens and has been used in almost 30 different film sets.
24. Los Angeles boasts more than 200,000 small businesses. No wonder everyone comes to L.A. to achieve their dreams.
25. L.A.’s earthquakes are infamous, but the Chateau Marmont hotel—a top destination for celebrities—was built to be earthquake-proof and was done so successfully. The building has survived every major earthquake that has struck the city thus far.
Weird Facts About Los Angeles
27. There's a strange Los Angeles law that prohibits licking toads.
28. The Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 aren't forgotten, but the clothes sure are. After the riots ended, the iconic baggy suits worn during the riots were forbidden in Los Angeles.
29. If you're crossing Hollywood Boulevard, keep in mind that it's illegal to drive more than 2,000 sheep at once.
30. Los Angeles has secret tunnels. There's an underground maze of tunnels stretching from Temple and Spring Streets to First Street and Grand Avenue. A few of those tunnels are abandoned subway underpasses, while the rest date back to the Prohibition era when people used them to smuggle liquor.
31. One of the weirdest facts about Los Angeles is that it's illegal for two babies to bathe at the same time in the same bathtub.
32. Residents of Long Beach, take note: You're not allowed to have anything in your garage except for your car.
33. Los Angeles’ traffic is world-renowned. This is because there are more cars than people in L.A. In fact, according to concurring studies, Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the world, followed by San Francisco and Honolulu.
34. The city of Baldwin Park prohibits riding your bicycle in a swimming pool.
35. The J. Paul Getty Museum hires goats to maintain the lush grounds during springtime.
36. Los Angeles’ cameras are constantly busy. Every day, there are more than 100 movie and T.V. crews filming around the city.
37. There are more than 224 languages spoken in L.A.
Interested in more Golden State trivia? Here are all the California fun facts you'll wish you knew sooner.
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