Last Updated: August 8, 2023

What is Los Angeles Known For? (Not Just Hollywood)

Los Angeles is the second-most populous city in the United States and is located in Southern California. It is one of, if not THE most famous cities on the planet. That’s because the City of Angels touches the lives of everyone around the world whether they know it or not.

Why? The Silver Screen, television, global shipping, and an economy that influences the world directly and indirectly. So, if you are wondering what Los Angeles is known for, here are 20 things we have found…

Hollywood & the Hollywood Sign

It’s safe to say everyone in the world has heard of the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollywood. Today’s “Tinseltown” was actually a real estate development in the early 20th century.

Note: Get to the Hollywood Sign from LAX

It was intended to be a segregated community, and the original sign advertising “Hollywoodland” was only scheduled to be up for a year and a half. More than a century later, with “land” dropped, it’s one of the most iconic signs in the world, thanks to …

The Film Industry

An early pioneer of cinema, the American Film Industry is now the world’s largest, and Los Angeles is the foremost hub for the media entertainment industry. Blockbuster movies and wildly popular television series make the industry the gold standard for the globe. Hollywood celebrities are in a social class of their own, revered by Americans much like the Brits look up to the Royals.

More than that, the American Film Industry generates billions in revenue each year and is one of the nation’s biggest.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Remember Jed Clampett, the “poor mountaineer who could barely keep his family fed?” One day he was “shootin’ at some food” and struck black gold. The kinfolk talked him into moving the family to Beverly Hills, an exclusive LA neighborhood. Beverly Hills is home to the stars, huge mansions, and high-end shopping.

The 90210 zip code is one of the most expensive in the world with multi-million dollar homes. The Beverly Wilshire Hotel was made famous by Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s film Pretty Woman. Not quite a party hotel, but certainly one many celebrities will stay in.

Related: Check out our big list of California quotes and captions for Instagram


Music is another entertainment genre that helped make Los Angeles famous. Tons of popular record labels are headquartered in the city. Some of the better-known ones include Capitol Records, Warner Music Group, and Brushfire Records. The 13-story Capitol Records building in Los Angeles  resembles a stack of records from the outside. It’s home to Capitol Studios where legendary music was recorded by artists like Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, and Nat “King” Cole.

Walk of Fame

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a sidewalk featuring star plaques bearing the name of famous celebrities. It runs down Hollywood Boulevard and covers more than 15 blocks and is one of LA’s top free attractions. The star plaques honor celebrities gaining worldwide fame in the categories of Television, Motion Pictures, Live Theatre, and Radio and Recording. Ceremonies to add stars are held on Hollywood & Vine throughout the year.

Celebrity Watching

Los Angeles and Hollywood are the number one places to spot celebrities. You’ll see more stars here than anywhere else in the world. That’s because many of them live and work in the city. You may not see celebrities every day, but it’s not unusual to see them occasionally. Some of the most likely places to see them are West Hollywood, Bel-air, Malibu, and the LAX airport.

You can also visit the Stars at their final resting place. Founded in 1899, Hollywood’s Forever Cemetery is one of the world’s most visited landmarks. Tons of celebrities are buried here. You’ll find the graves of Stars like Judy Garland, Valerie Harper, Douglas Fairbanks, and hundreds more. One of them is Mel Blanc, a long-time voice actor for Looney Tunes whose gravestone reads “That’s All, Folks.”

Theme Parks

Theme Parks

Millions of visitors experience the thrills of LA’s theme parks every year. The most popular ones are Knott’s Berry Farm, California Adventure Park, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Universal Studios Hollywood, and the granddaddy of them all, Disneyland. The Disney-inspired park is second only to Florida’s Disney World as the world’s most visited theme park.

You’ll meet all your favorite Disney characters here along with fun rides. Visitors to Disneyland must pack their patience and be prepared to pay for pricey food and drink. The park is super-busy 365 days a year.

Expensive Neighborhoods

Los Angeles has some of the world’s most affluent residential neighborhoods. And to coin a phrase from the real estate world, it’s all about “location, location, location.” The city is between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains with the taller peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance.

In addition to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills, and Bel-Aire. The Pacific Palisades is home to Temescal Gateway Park with hiking trails and coastal views, and the Will Rogers State Beach with a 22-mile long beachfront bike path. And along with location, another real estate bonus is…

A Pleasant Climate

Another reason Los Angeles is such a sought-after place to live for people in the nation and internationally is the warm, Mediterranian climate. The city stays nice and warm all winter with temps rarely dipping below 50°F (10°C. ) An arid climate keeps summer temps at an average of 86°F ( 30°C). And the average number of days of sunshine in Los Angeles is 284 with 34 days of precipitation. Yet another big draw for living in and visiting Los Angeles is its…

World Famous Beaches

World Famous Beaches

The beaches around Los Angeles are stunning and popular with worldwide travelers. Each one has its own character. Venice Beach has soft sand, mountain views, and quirky shops and galleries. Santa Monica Beach has the famous Santa Monica Pier with a Ferris wheel, fairground games, cotton candy stands, and an aquarium. Malibu Beach has luxurious oceanfront hotels.

Long Beach has a retired ocean liner that’s now a museum, and Huntington Beach, popular for surfing, has a long pier and a surfing museum. These should not be confused with the more cultural Getty Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. But all of them are worth a visit for sure. 

Rodeo Drive

If you have loads of disposable cash, you can go shopping on Rodeo Drive to buy major luxury brands like Gucci and Chanel. It’s where Julia Roberts (yes, back to her) went shopping for new threads in Pretty Woman with her um, new employer’s credit card. If your bank account can’t handle shopping on Rodeo Drive, join the flocks who window shop along the $200-million faux cobbled walkway.

It’s also a mecca for celebrities but isn’t a good place to Star watch since they will likely be in disguise. But it’s fun guessing.

A Huge Economy

Did you know that if Los Angeles was a country, it would have the fifth-largest economy in the world? The city, together with the state of California plays an important role in the United States’ overall wealth. The huge economic center has a GPD of around a trillion dollars a year. Additionally, Los Angeles has the busiest port in the U.S. and is the biggest in North America.

Surfing Culture

Surfing Culture

Los Angeles leads the world in promoting a surfing culture. The Pacific has huge waves, and you’ll find excellent surfing spots for both beginners and professionals. The sport has influenced pop culture, clothing, and more around the world. Good places to hit the waves include

  • Manhattan Beach
  • Huntington Beach
  • Surfrider Beach

Hispanic Culture

Before becoming a part of the U.S., California belonged to Mexico. Around 14 million Hispanics are Californians. Almost half of Los Angeles residents are Latinos with descendants from small villages in Central and South America. You’ll find Latino influences in murals, markets, and other public places, especially in the older parts of town. And, of course, Los Angeles has lots of restaurants that specialize in authentic Mexican cuisine.


Los Angeles sports teams are recognized around the world. All major sports leagues in the U.S. are represented by teams in LA. The Los Angeles Lakers (basketball) are probably the most famous. They have fans around the world and have won the most championship titles. Other Los Angeles sports teams include

  • the Dodgers (baseball)
  • the Rams (football)
  • the Anaheim Ducks (hockey)
  • the Los Angeles Galaxy (soccer)


California has been a blue state and has been for a very long time. The majority of residents are Democrats with left-leaning liberal views. Some of the issues Angelenos favor that anger conservatives are gay marriage, climate change, income distribution, and socialized health care.

California was the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use in 1996 and the second state (after Colorado) to legalize it for recreational use in 2016. Dispensaries across Los Angeles sell all sorts of cannabis products.

The residents of California have also been very embracing of the Electric Vehicle movement and continue to be the biggest buyers of EVs in the USA. 

A Famous Police Department

Famous Police Department

The LAPD, short for Los Angeles Police Department, is notorious around the world. That’s because they have been a major part of movies, television, and music for over 50 years. The Los Angeles swat team is one of the best in the nation and was one of the first in the USA to create one.

For the most part, the LAPD has a good reputation. One stain the department still bears is the Los Angeles riots caused by the brutal police beating of black activist Rodney King after a high-speed chase for driving while intoxicated in 1991.

Traffic Jams

Unfortunately, Los Angeles is one of the worst cities in the nation for jam-packed highways. The average Angeleno will spend about five years over a lifetime sitting in traffic, which is around 44 minutes more than anyone else each day. The dilemma the city faces is between the suburbs and residents who live in the more densely populated areas.

The city dwellers want to build up like New York, use public transit, and have more green spaces. Suburban homeowners in Los Angeles want more roads and freeways and don’t want their property value to fall. But the biggest issue is the growing population.

Dolby Theatre

Formerly called the Kodak Theater, the Dolby Theater is part of the Hollywood and Highland Center shopping mall and entertainment complex. It’s known around the world as the venue for the Academy Awards and the American Idol finals. Over the years, the theater has hosted a long list of prestigious performers such as Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, and more.

The Dolby is equipped with the world’s most state-of-the-art sound system for a lifelike, natural sound experience. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 3,400. Some of the lobby design elements were inspired by Michelangelo’s Campidoglio in Rome. Twenty-six images of former Oscar winners are on display over the four lobbies. Guided tours are offered every day unless they interfere with a scheduled event.

Griffith Observatory & Park

Griffith Observatory & Park

Built in 1911, the Griffith Observatory is the most visited one in Los Angeles and the world. The multi-purpose building has an observatory for viewing the planets and stars in the night sky, a planetarium, and an exhibition hall. Before the 10 p.m. closing, you can look through the refracting telescope on the roof. You can also look through the reflecting telescope on the lawn where it’s less crowded.

The observatory is also the site for Griffith Park where you can see the iconic Hollywood sign. The park has hiking trails and excellent views of the Los Angeles skyline. The view from the hilltop is especially stunning after dark when the city lights twinkle.

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

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