35 Things True Angelenos Should Know About L.A.


By: Maria Trimarchi

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

If you live in L.A., you already know you're special, but exactly how special are you? Only true Angelenos will be able to ace this How Stuff Works Quiz.

Los Angeles is a pretty special place. It is, after all, the second most populous city in the entire US of A and the most populous city in the state of California. Los Angeles has a long and storied history, from its founding by Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, to its becoming part of Mexico, to its initiation into the United States with the rest of California in 1848. Known as the City of Angels, Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, the movie capital of the world. 

If you find yourself in Los Angeles, you know you have to see awesome sights like the Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Griffith Observatory, and the Staples Center. It would also be a good idea to take a peek at what the coast has to offer since the city's placement on the Pacific Ocean has been one of the major reasons that it has thrived throughout the years.

But hey, as a true Angeleno, you knew all that minor trivia, right? Let's dig into this quiz to find out how much you really know about the City of Angels.

What is the "PCH"?

You'll see beautiful coastline driving State Route 1 (SR 1), the north-south state highway that runs 655.8 miles along the Pacific Coast. The 1 includes what locals know as the PCH, or Pacific Coast Highway.


Where is Disneyland?

Disneyland isn't in L.A., although it isn't far. The Disneyland Resort opened in July 1955, in Anaheim, which is in Orange County, California -- and about 25 to 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles.


What valley is "The Valley"?

Geographically, San Fernando Valley is defined by the mountains of the Transverse Ranges. More than 1.75 million people live in the San Fernando Valley, also known as "The Valley" to those living in Los Angeles.


Where will you find Gucci, Versace and other luxury boutiques?

Rodeo Drive is paved with cobblestones and lined with wrought-iron street lamps. There are fountains and flowers, and three blocks packed with luxury stores and restaurants. The "Reg. Bev. Wil." -- aka the "Pretty Woman" hotel -- is also here. Locals know there's free valet parking beneath the Two Rodeo center.


Since 1850, the city's official name has been, City of Los Angeles. What does "Los Angeles" mean?

"Los Angeles," in Spanish, means, "the Angels." The City of the Angels, in its English translation, has been an American city since 1850.


What did the original Hollywood sign say?

Originally, in 1923, the Hollywood sign was erected as an advertisement for an upcoming real estate development -- "Hollywoodland." In the mid-1940s, the "land" was dropped from the sign. The original sign isn't the sign in today's L.A. -- the original was replaced in the 1970s.


What animals help the Getty Museum maintain its well-manicured grounds every spring?

The J. Paul Getty Museum, with locations at the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu, hires a herd of goats (which comes with their own goatherd, as well as a herding dog) every spring to trim the 110-acre hillside at its center in Brentwood.


U.S. 101 is the longest highway in California. How would someone from Southern California refer to it?

When giving directions, people from L.A. -- and Southern California -- use the definite article when referring to freeways and highways. So, U.S. 101 becomes, "the 101," and Interstate 405 becomes "the 405."


Which food was invented in Los Angeles?

Among the foods that were invented in Los Angeles are the Cobb salad and the French dip sandwich, as well as tacitos (in avocado sauce). Sriracha also comes from L.A., as does the hot fudge sundae.


What is the Capitol Records building in Hollywood designed to resemble?

The Capitol Records building, which was built in 1956, was the first circular office tower. The building is designed to resemble a stack of 45 rpm records.


What's the official pronunciation of "Los Angeles"?

Although many have advocated over the years (and still do) for the Spanish pronunciation, Loce AHNG-hayl-ais, the official pronunciation is the Anglicized, Loss AN-ju-less, determined by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Or, just make it easy on yourself and call it L.A.


The La Brea tar pits have been found to be one of the biggest collections of fossils from what time period?

More than 600 species have been found in the La Brea tar pits, from mollusks to mammoths. Excavation in the area has shown it's a big collection of fossils from the Ice Age.


Which hiking trail will take you to the Hollywood sign?

You can't get right up close to it anymore, but you can hike the hills to get a closer look at the Hollywood sign -- and some pretty impressive views. Cahuenga Peak Trail, Canyon Boulevard Trail and Mount Hollywood Trail will all take you there.


Venice Beach is located between which neighborhoods?

The beachfront neighborhood of Venice is located in the Westside of the city. Specifically, it sits between Santa Monica (to the northwest) and Marina del Rey (to the southeast), with the Pacific on its west.


Who is "the voice of the Dodgers"?

"It's time for Dodger baseball! Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant evening to you, wherever you may be." Although he retired in 2016, after spending 67 seasons with them, Vin Scully will always be the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Which is not one of the Beach Cities?

L.A.'s beach communities are known for their legendary surfing and other coastal attractions. The three Beach Cities -- Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach -- are in the South Bay of Los Angeles, south of downtown. Popular Mission Beach, though, is the center of the Golden Strand in San Diego.


What triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riots?

Rioting broke out on April 29, 1992, after a jury acquitted Los Angeles police officers in the use of excessive force during the arrest of black motorist Rodney King. Over the next six days, a series of civil disturbances -- rioting, looting and arson, spread across Los Angeles.


When can you expect the Santa Ana winds to blow?

The Santa Ana winds are hot and dry, and blow in from the L.A. Basin during the cooler months in L.A., usually sometime between September and May.


At what temperature do you feel it's cold outside?

Los Angeles has a Mediterranean climate, which means it's dry in the summer and rainy in the winter. While temperatures can vary a lot from the coast to San Fernando Valley, the average daytime temps average in the 60s and 70s. Anything below 60 degrees to a lot of Angelenos seems chilly.


What is an "animal style" burger at In-N-Out Burger?

Your usual order: animal style, a fresh beef patty with mustard cooked in, slathered with tangy Thousand Island and onions hot off the grill. When you’re feeling healthy: protein style, which swaps the bun for a lettuce leaf.


Which area code services Beverly Hills, Malibu and Compton?

The 310 area code services Beverly Hills, Malibu and Compton. And it's one of two most-wanted area codes in Los Angeles. (The other is 424, which also services West Los Angeles and South Bay).


When the Rams returned to Los Angeles in 2016, how long had they been gone?

From 1936 to 1945, they were the Cleveland Rams, before they were the Los Angeles Rams from 1946 to 1994. In 1995, they moved to St. Louis, where they stayed until they returned to Los Angeles in 2016 -- which means they were gone from Southern California for 22 years.


How do you pronounce "Los Feliz"?

"Los Fey-LEASE" may seem like the logical and correct way to pronounce, "Los Feliz," based on the Spanish pronunciation. Angelenos, though, pronounce Los Feliz as "Los FEE-liss" or "Los FEE-lus," which is nothing like it. Los Feliz isn't the only one to see its pronounciation changed by Angelenos -- the list also includes "San PEE-dro" (San Pedro).


In what region of Los Angeles will you find North Hollywood?

Hollywood, East Hollywood and West Hollywood are all in Central L.A., near the Hollywood Hills and downtown. You'll find North Hollywood, though, in the San Fernando Valley, with Encino and Van Nuys.


Unless you live in the Valley, what's one good reason to go to the Valley?

The "Valley," where the '80s "Valley Girl" came from, isn't really much of a desired destination for those living in L.A. -- it's kind of a drive, and it's kind of the suburbs. The Hollywood Burbank Airport, also known as the Bob Hope Airport, is the only reason for most Angelenos to go.


What cemetery hosts summer movie screenings, under the stars with the stars?

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery, on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, is the resting place for many Hollywood legends. And since 2002, it's held movie screenings under the stars on its Fairbanks Lawn during the summer months.


Is it true there are more cars in L.A. than there are people?

It feels true because it is true: there are more cars than people in the city. In fact, vehicles make up almost one-quarter of L.A.'s total land space.


Who is L.A.'s unofficial billboard queen?

There's always at least one billboard featuring her somewhere in L.A., but you might also catch a glimpse of the famous-for-being-famous Angelyne behind the wheel of her pink Corvette.


What kind of bun is a Dodger Dog on?

More than 2.5 million Dodger Dogs are sold at Dodger Stadium every season. It's a 10-inch pork dog that's on a steamed bun. If you want to be traditional, get it grilled with mustard and relish.


There is more than one Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in Los Angeles. Which isn't one of them?

The Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Los Angeles include the Ennis, the Hollyhock, and the Millard, as well as the Freeman and Storer homes. The Heller House is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.


What are the speed "bumps" in the neighborhoods of L.A. called?

There's more than one type of speed bump, and the ones you find in the residential neighborhoods of L.A. are called speed "humps." Why not a "bump"? It has to do with the size and shape. Because of their size and shape, cars can safely drive over speed humps no faster than 10 or 15 mph, or risk car damage.


What metro rail line will take you from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica?

The Blue Line may be the busiest, but if you want to get to Santa Monica from downtown L.A., take Expo. The Expo Line, which runs along Exposition Boulevard, is part of the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and runs between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.


The steepest street in California isn't in San Francisco. It's in Los Angeles. Which street is it?

Although the grade of Baxter Street has caused busses to get stuck, it's Eldred Street, in Highland Park, that has the greatest incline. At a 33.3 percent gradient, it's not only the steepest street in California, it's also one of the Top 3 steepest in the U.S.


Bevery Hills was originally what kind of ranch?

Before Beverly Hills had its luxury shopping and neighborhoods, the land was owned by Henry Hammel and Andrew H. Denker, who farmed lima beans there. In 1906 they sold their property to the members of the Amalgamated Oil Company, who named it Beverly Hills. The first house in the first Beverly Hills subdivision was built in 1907.


Where was California gold first discovered?

When James W. Marshall struck gold at Sutter's Mill in the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1848, he ushered in a flood of settlers in a Gold Rush that would last through 1855. The best-known California Gold Rush wasn't the first, though. Earlier, in March 1842, a man named Francisco Lopez discovered gold in Placerita Canyon, near the San Fernando Mission. Later that same year, Lopez would also discover gold in the San Feliciana Canyon.


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