California Fun Facts & Trivia

The Santa Monica pier at sunset. The pier is the end point of the famous "Mother Road" -- old U.S. Route 66, once the main route west from Chicago. Photo by Carol Highsmith, 2023.

When the sun goes down, fun goes up at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa MonicaCalifornia. Photo by Carol Highsmith.

Iron Door Saloon

Iron Door Saloon

Built in 1852, the Iron Door Saloon in Groveland is the oldest saloon in California.

Around 200 buffalo roam on Catalina Island, and the descendants of a few were taken there in the 1920s for a movie and left there.

In Arcadia, peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways.

All gray whale calves are born in Baja, California’s warm, shallow lagoons.

Ice cream may not be eaten while standing on the sidewalk in Carmel.

Faced with rapid growth due to the Gold Rush, California got a boost when the United States Congress allowed it to jump straight to full statehood without going through the formal territory process most other states went through. Congress accepted California as a free-labor state under the Compromise of 1850 on September 9, 1850.

Every plant in Tomorrowland at Disneyland is edible. Guests are welcome to help themselves to bananas, strawberries, tomatoes, and more.

More avocados are grown in Fallbrook than any place else in the U.S., hence its nickname – the Avocado Capital of the World.

You cannot bathe two babies in the same tub at the same time in Los Angeles.

Approximately 8% of Californians are vegetarians.

In Alhambra, California, leaving your car on the street overnight without the proper permit is illegal.

It is prohibited to sleep in a parked vehicle while in Cathedral City.

The City of Los Angeles, spread over 467 square miles, is the hub of a five-county metropolis of 34,149 square miles.

Drinking intoxicating cement is prohibited in Indian Wells.

Everyone knows Los Angeles is the entertainment capital, but it is also a fine arts Mecca that boasts over 300 museums.

In Cathedral City, it is against the law to ride a bicycle through the “Fountain of Life.”

The Coachella Valley is known as the Date Capital of the world. California grows 99.5% of all dates grown in the United States, and Arizona produces the rest.

In Carmel, it is against the law for women to wear high-heeled shoes.

California produces over 17 million gallons of wine each year.

Fresno, California, is the Raisin Capital of the World.

Frederick's of Hollywood, courtesy Seeing Stars

Frederick’s of Hollywood, courtesy of Seeing Stars.

Frederick’s of Hollywood was started by Frederick Mellinger, inventor of the push-up bra, in 1946. The flagship shop for the well-known lingerie retailer, located on Hollywood Boulevard, has become a local landmark. In addition to a never-ending selection of bras and panties, the location also houses The Lingerie Museum, which features the Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame and exhibits a collection of undergarments worn by Hollywood stars.

If you detonate a nuclear device within the city limits of Chico, you will receive a $500 fine.

The Palm Springs American Legion Post dining room permanently maintains a table for one. It is set for dinner, and no one is allowed to use the table. It is being maintained for a Missing in Action or Prisoner of War serviceman or woman when he or she returns home.

It is illegal to pile horse manure more than six feet high on a San Francisco street corner.

In Santa Monica, it is against the law to play percussion instruments on the beach.

It is illegal to own a green or smelly animal hide in Chico.

The largest three-day rodeo in the United States is held at the Tehama County Fairgrounds in Red Bluff.

Crushing rocks within the Indian Wells city limits is forbidden.

Since it opened in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, more than 1,200 people have plunged 220 feet to their deaths.

Persons classified as “ugly” may not walk down any street in San Francisco.

Mt. Whitney, California

Mt. Whitney, California.

California’s Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the continental U.S. at 14,495 feet.

In Norco, all persons wishing to keep a rhinoceros as a pet must obtain a $100 license first.

It is illegal for women to drive in California while wearing a housecoat.

At Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Salton Sea State Recreation Area, summer temperatures are in the range of 120°

The tallest tree in the world, at 369 feet, is in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

In San Jose, if you have more than two cats or dogs, you are breaking the law.

In the late 1850s, Kennedy Mine, located in Jackson, served as one of the richest gold mines in the world and the deepest mine in North America.

In Pacific Grove, a law on the books establishes a $500 fine for molesting butterflies.

Located in Sacramento, the California State Railroad Museum is the largest museum of its kind in North America.

Bowling on the sidewalk is illegal in Chico.

Death Valley in southern California is the lowest point in the United States at 282 feet below sea level.

If your dogs are found mating within 500 yards of a church in Los Angeles, you could be punished by a fine of $500 and/or six months in prison.

It is estimated that each year, California has approximately 500,000 detectable seismic tremors.

"Cattle Drive Down Main Street," oil painting by Gwendolyn H.  Branstetter, courtesy Branstetter Art Gallery.

“Cattle Drive Down Main Street,” oil painting by Gwendolyn H.  Branstetter, courtesy Branstetter Art Gallery.

Driving a herd of cattle down a street is against the law in Chico.

Los Angeles law forbids you from licking a toad.

Totaling nearly three million acres, San Bernardino County is the largest county in the entire United States.

The hottest day ever recorded in the United States was on July 10, 1913, in Death Valley, California, when the temperature reached a scorching 135 degrees.

Over 30,000,000 Legos were used to construct the attractions and decorations at Legoland in Carlsbad, California.

You may not hunt moths under street lights in Los Angeles.

You are breaking the law if you grow oleander flowers in Norco.

The best view in the United States is at Mount Diablo State Park. From the top of the 3,849-foot summit, more of the earth’s surface can be seen than any other peak in the world, except Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.

If you live in San Diego and don’t take down your Christmas lights by February 2nd, you could be fined up to $250.

Over 200 years ago, winemaking made its debut in California. Although many people think it began in the vineyards of Napa Valley, winemaking actually started in San Juan Capistrano.

General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, California

General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, California

The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park, California, is the largest tree in the world, weighing more than 6,000 tons.

In 1925, a giant sequoia in California’s Kings Canyon National Park was named the nation’s national Christmas tree. The tree is over 300 feet in height.

It is against the law to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool in Baldwin Park, California.

Alpine County, one of the smallest in California, has no high schools, ATMs, dentists, banks, or traffic lights.

In Burlingame, it is illegal to spit, except on baseball diamonds.

You are breaking the law if you cry on the witness stand in Los Angeles.

California is bigger than eighty-five of the smallest nations in the world.

In the early 1960s, the Whaley House in San Diego was designated as officially haunted by the U.S. Commerce Department. California’s only other official haunted home is the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose.

n Shasta Lake, you may not raffle off a dog as a gift in any public place.

Ducks have the right of way to cross Rancho California Street in Temecula.

In Walnut, California, if you fly a kite more than 10 feet above the ground, you are in violation of the law.

It is illegal to wear a Zoot Suit in Los Angeles.

In the 1940s, California law made it illegal to serve alcohol to a gay (homosexual) person.

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

More turkeys are raised in California than in any other state in the United States.

During the California gold rush of 1849, miners sent their laundry to Honolulu for washing and pressing. Due to the extremely high costs in California during these boom years, it was deemed more feasible to send their shirts to Hawaii for servicing.

An ordinance in Carmel, California, makes it unlawful for a lady to take a bath in a business office.

Orange County has a Buffalo Ranch in Newport Beach and an Alligator Farm in Buena Park.

No person may show his or her buttocks on a playground in Hermosa Beach.

In 1922, a huge sea monster was spotted in Three Arch Bay at Laguna Beach.

In Lodi, California, it is illegal to shoot “silly string” at parade participants.

Disneyland opened in 1955.

In California, animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.

Castroville, California, is known as the Artichoke Capital of the World. In 1947, Norma Jean, who would later be known as Marilyn Monroe, was crowned Artichoke Queen.

Washing your car in the street in Downey, California, is illegal.

Walt Disney was afraid of mice.

It is illegal to drive more than two thousand sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at one time.

California grows over 300,000 tons of grapes each year.

Bathhouses are against the law in California.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest vertical cable rise in the United States and the second largest in the world.

A Belvedere, California City Council order reads: “No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash.”

In Indian Wells, it is illegal for a trumpet player to play his instrument with the intention of luring someone to a store.

No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.

Foretelling the future for donations is illegal in Indian Wells.

The California Redwoods

The California Redwoods

The California Redwoods, Coast Redwood, and Giant Sequoia are the tallest and largest living organisms in the world.

Using satellite-surveying techniques, scientists have determined that Los Angeles, California, is moving east. At a rate estimated to be about one-fifth of an inch per year, the city is moving closer to the San Gabriel Mountains.

You cannot wear cowboy boots in Blythe unless you own at least two cows.

Californians are the largest consumers of turkey in the country. They eat three pounds more turkey than the average U.S. person.

In Riverside, carrying your lunch down the street between 11 and 1 o’clock is illegal.

In Chico, planting a garden on any public street is illegal.

In Dana Point, you may not use your own restroom if the window is open.

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is said to be haunted by the likes of Montgomery Clift, who continues to play his bugle in Room 928, and Marilyn Monroe, whose image has been seen gazing from a lobby mirror.

In Lafayette, it is against the law to spit on the ground within five feet of another person.

It is disturbing the peace violation in Lompoc to possess, own, or raise roosters.

In Long Beach, putting anything in your garage other than your car is illegal.

The Golden State for such goodies as Popsicles, McDonald’s hamburgers, canned tuna fish, and fortune cookies.

It is illegal to curse on a mini-golf course in Long Beach.

Los Angeles Skyline

Los Angeles Skyline

In Los Angeles, it is illegal for a man to beat his wife with a strap wider than two inches without her consent.

In Norco, California, your vehicle cannot contain a sound system that can be heard outside the car unless you are attempting to sell something.

It is against the law in Ontario for roosters to crow in the city limits.

It is illegal to walk a camel down Palm Canyon Drive between the hours of four and six p.m. in Palm Springs.

In Pasadena, it is illegal for a secretary to be alone in a room with her boss.

With eight National Parks, California claims more than any other state in the nation.

Two bathtubs may not be installed in the same house in Prunedale, California.

In Redlands, motor vehicles may not drive on city streets unless a man with a lantern is walking ahead of it.

Shooting jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar in San Diego is illegal.

San Francisco prohibits elephants from strolling down Market Street unless they are on a leash.

It is illegal to wipe one’s car with used underwear in San Francisco.

California is the birthplace of the Frisbee, Barbie dolls, skateboards, and video arcade games.

Children are required to get a permit from the sheriff before wearing a Halloween mask in Walnut, California.

Until the 1960s, men with long hair were not allowed to enter Disneyland.

Males may not dress as females in Walnut unless a special permit is obtained from the sheriff.

In Walnut, California, leaving sand in your driveway is against the law.

In California, an ordinance makes it illegal for anyone to try and stop a child from playfully jumping over puddles of water.

San Francisco Bay is considered the world’s largest landlocked harbor.

No alcoholic beverages can be displayed within five feet of a cash register of any California store that sells alcohol and motor fuel.


Fisherman's Wharf and San Francisco Bay, California

Fisherman’s Wharf and San Francisco Bay, California

Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated January 2024.

Also See:

Quirky California

Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village

Ghosts of Alcatraz

No Old Woman — Just a Very Large Shoe

Tasty and Fanciful Pez Museum