California Facts
California Facts

36 Interesting California Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published August 26, 2020
  • The San Francisco 49ers, a California-based American football team, was named after the gold-seekers who flocked to the state in 1849.[6]
  • The highest point in California is Mount Whitney, which is 14,494 feet above sea level.[6]
  • The lowest point in California is Death Valley, at 282 feet below sea level.[6]
  • With a population of 39.5 million people, California is the most populous US state.[6]
  • Inventions from California include the hula hoop, the Egg McMuffin, Barbie, WD-40, California rolls (sushi), Cobb salad, the Shirley Temple (alcoholic beverage), and the nicotine patch.[1]
  • If California were a country, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world, larger even than the United Kingdom, France, or India.[6]
  • Random California Facts
    The beach is part of California's culture
  • California is the birthplace of the film industry, hippy counterculture, the Internet, the personal computer, fast food, and beach culture.[1][7]
  • California is the third largest state, after Alaska and Texas.[6]
  • California is about the same size as France, Spain, and Sweden combined, at 1,040 miles long and 560 miles wide.[6]
  • There are more national parks in California than in any other state, with 9 out of the 59 parks.[6]
  • Humans settled in California as early as 19,000 years ago.[2]
  • Californians commute an average of 29 minutes each way to work. They spend at least $1 out of every $5 on car-related expenses.[3]
  • Eight of the 10 most expensive US housing markets are in California. In the two most expensive areas, Newport Beach and Palo Alto, the average home price is over $2.5 million.[3]
  • The Silicon Valley hub of San Jose, California, is ranked as the most overpriced city in America.[3]
  • My heart cried out for you, California.

    - Joni Mitchell

  • At least 115,000 Californians are homeless, which is over 20% of the total US homeless population.[3]
  • During the California Gold Rush, San Francisco grew from a population of 200 to 36,000.[2]
  • California produces nearly all of the United States' almonds, celery, figs, kiwi fruits, walnuts, and much more. The state is the world's fifth-largest producer of food.[2]
  • California Flag Fact
    The original Bear Flag from 1890
  • California was originally called the Grizzly Bear State. However, grizzly bears were hunted to extinction in California, so it's now called the Golden State.[3]
  • California has hosted both the Winter and Summer Olympics, the only state to do so.[2]
  • California is home to the oldest and tallest trees on Earth.[2]
  • Fortune cookies were not invented in Asia; they were invented in California.[6]
  • The original name of Los Angeles was "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora Reina de Los Angeles Sobre el Rio Porciuncula." It translates to "The River of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula."[6]
  • The grizzly bear on the California flag is named Monarch.[3]
  • The name California comes from a book written about 500 years ago. The book was about an island named California that was full of gold.[2]
  • The Iron Door Saloon in Groveland is the oldest saloon in California. It was built in 1852.[2]
  • The entire coastline of California is an official national monument named "California Coastal National Monument."[6]
  • California Coast Facts
    Over half of California's population lives in the coastal region

  • California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850.[2]
  • In the 1920s, several buffalo were taken to Catalina Island, off the coast of California, for a movie. Around 200 of them still roam the island today.[2]
  • In July 2020, the state of California banned singing and chanting in places of worship, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.[4]
  • Mexico ceded California to the United States in 1848, after the Mexican-American War. California was annexed as a free, non-slave state in the Compromise of 1850.[2]
  • The first permanent motion picture theater in California was Tally's Electric Theater, which opened in 1902 in Los Angeles.[5]
  • Golden Gate Bridge Fact
    The U.S. Navy originally wanted the Golden Gate Bridge to be painted in blue and yellow stripes
  • More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the United States.[3]
  • In Pacific Grove, California, there is a $500 fine for bothering butterflies.[6]
  • At almost 3 million acres, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the United States.[2]
  • The hottest and driest place in the United States is Death Valley, California. Temperatures can reach over 115 degrees F.[2]
  • Sequoia National Park (located in California's Sierra Nevada mountains) is home to the largest living tree. Named the General Sherman Tree, it stands 275 feet (83 m) tall and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base.[2]

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