Los Angeles, or LA, is one of the most well-known cities in the world. But why is Los Angeles so famous? Hollywood stars, the TV & movie industries, and gorgeous beaches all make LA a famous city and a popular vacation spot.
Check out our guide below on what makes Los Angeles famous. It’s full of tips on how to make the most of your LA vacation and has suggestions for LA tourist attractions and destinations including…
- Hollywood attractions
- The best beaches in LA
- Theme parks
- TV, Movie & Music Industries
- LA-inspired pop culture
Top Los Angeles Facts
- Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781.
- The city's original name was El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles (The Town of the Queen of Angels).
- In 2018, 50 million people visited Los Angeles.
- LA has various nicknames like La La Land and Tinseltown.
- Los Angeles is the second-most populous city in the USA, after New York.
- LA is the largest city on the West Coast.
One of the most famous areas in Los Angeles is Hollywood. It’s the neighborhood synonymous with the glamorous movie industry and where many celebrities call home. More importantly, there are so many things to do in Hollywood, so visiting this area should be at the top of your Los Angeles itinerary.
The Hollywood Sign
An advertising company built the Hollywood sign in 1923 to read "Hollywoodland". Initially, the sign advertised a new housing development but was so popular that it became permanent. However, they dropped the “land” in 1946.
Today, you can hike the Hollywood Hills to see the sign up close or find a spot nearby to pose with the sign. Join on to the Hollywood Sign Tour for a guided hike through the Hollywood Hills area to learn all about this famous location. You'll be rewarded at the top with the best views over all of Los Angeles, all the way to the ocean!
Walk of Fame
The Walk of Fame was initially completed in 1961 and contained 1,558 stars. But that number steadily grew (an average of two stars is added each month) and now the Walk of Fame has more than 2,600 stars!
While exploring the Walk of Fame you will get to see other famous landmarks like the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre, too.
Explore Hollywood’s history with a massive 3,500 square foot collection of costumes and props at the Hollywood Museum. You will get to see famous Hollywood artifacts like Marilyn Monroe’s dress and Cary Grant’s Rolls Royce, not to mention fun exhibits like the Dungeon of Doom and Holy Hollywood History. This is a must-see attraction for movie buffs.
Hollywood Movie Stars homes
Many movie stars call Hollywood home, and you can see their glamorous houses on the Hollywood Movie Stars Homes Tour. The two-hour tour will take you around celebrity homes and hangouts in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and other fashionable districts.
Not only will your guide tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about living in Hollywood, but they will reveal celebrity secrets.
Los Angeles Beaches
The gorgeous beaches located on a 75-mile coastline, with stunning spots from Malibu to Long Beach, are one of the many reasons people visit LA. Here are our suggestions for the best Los Angeles beaches to visit...
Santa Monica beach is lovely in its own right. But more importantly, the pier is worth a visit. The Pacific Park Santa Monica Pier is full of restaurants, shops, and of course, the Pacific Park amusement park.
With your pass, you can enjoy admission and unlimited access to Pacific Park’s twelve rides. You especially have to ride on Pacific Wheel, Pacific Park’s Ferris wheel, for amazing views of the beach and ocean.
Malibu is famous for its beaches, and the beautiful celebrity homes located along the coast. Take a tour of Malibu's Celebrity Homes and learn all about which stars call the area home. See homes belonging to Leonardo DiCaprio, Cher, and Bruce Willis, among others. You’ll also get the chance to explore the Malibu beach and pier.
Its artistic and boho vibe makes Venice Beach worth a visit. Therefore, why not explore the area by bike or rollerskate with a full day rental by Perry’s Beach Café? Pick up some cycles or skates and set off down the famous boardwalk to take in the quirky Venice Beach sights.
Plus, keep an eye out for celebrities –you never know who you might see.
Long Beach is a little further down along the coast. Aside from having a stunning beach, there are also plenty of attractions to enjoy in Long Beach. While you’re visiting this area of LA, be sure to check out the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary ship.
Los Angeles is also known for its theme parks, so LA is the perfect city for thrill-seekers. Whether you’re traveling with kids or in a group of adults, LA’s theme parks have something for everyone.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is a theme park and a working film studio lot in one. As a result, not only does it have tons of movie-themed rides and rollercoasters, it has an interactive, theatrical Universal Studios Tour, which is partly a guided-tour and partly a ride in its own right.
If you do anything at USH, it has to be the Studios tour. Be sure to check out our Universal Studios Hollywood guide before you go to make the most of your visit.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm was originally a family-run amusement park, that originated sometime in the 1920s. It is now one of the most visited theme parks in the USA. Additionally, its seasonal events, like Knott’s Scary Farm and Knott’s Merry Farm, are famous.
Whichever time of year you visit LA, be sure to visit Knott’s Berry Farm, and read our guide to Knott’s Berry Farm before you go.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Thrill-seekers have to visit Six Flags Magic Mountain. The high-thrill rides including the tallest, fastest and longest flying coaster, Tatsu, and the world’s tallest looping coaster, Full Throttle, make this park famous.
Moreover, Six Flags Magic Mountain also has kid-friendly rides, like a carousel and more in a Looney Tunes-themed area. To make the most of your visit, read our Six Flags Magic Mountain guide.
LEGOLAND Californiais guaranteed to be a hit with the kids. There’s no kid-area in this park – instead, little ones can enjoy access to more than 60 rides. Furthermore, to celebrate their 20th anniversary, there will be special events happening throughout the park all year round.
TV, Movie & Music Industries
One of the things Los Angeles is most famous for is its TV, Movie and Music Industries. LA is the ideal destination for movie fans, as there are so many movie studio tours to take. Plus music lovers will love exploring the music-themed attractions located around the city. Here are some of our favorite TV, movie, and music-themed attractions.
Sony Pictures Studio Tour
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Sony Pictures and see the sets of famous movies like The Wizard of Oz and Spider-Man. Your guide will tell you everything you need to know about the studios as they take you around real, working sets. With this in mind, keep an eye out for actors!
Madame Tussauds is your chance to get up close to the stars that make LA famous. Take a selfie with Marilyn Monroe, and mingle with movie stars like Robin Williams and Nicole Kidman. Pop fans will love ‘meeting’ Beyonce, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. Plus, see stars of the small screen like Jane Lynch and Selena Gomez.
Dolby Theatre Tour
Movie fans have to visit the Dolby Theatre Tour, where the Academy Awards are hosted. On this 30-minute guided tour, you will see an Oscar statue, the Dolby lounge, and exclusive photos from past ceremonies.
The Hollywood Movie Experience
This 90-minute walking tour will take you to famous movie locations, as seen in films like La La Land and Ghostbusters. Firstly, your guide will tell you everything you want to know about the film industry and your favorite Hollywood A-listers. Secondly, you’ll get to ride on the Angels Flight Railway and see famous LA landmarks along the way.
This is a must-visit attraction for music fans. First of all, The GRAMMY Museum’s exhibits take place over four floors and teach you everything about the LA music industry. Secondly, you can see the Clive Davis Theater, where stars like Ringo Starr and Taylor Swift have performed.
Additionally, the GRAMMY museum often hosts events and concerts, so check their schedule before your visit to see what’s on.
As LA is such a famous city, it is no surprise that lots of movies and TV shows have been set there. Additionally, there are hundreds of songs about Los Angeles. Check out some of the most popular TV shows, movies, and songs that have been inspired by LA:
Movies: Loads of movies are set in LA. Why not watch some of them before your trip?:
- La La Land
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
- The Artist
- Blade Runner
- Pulp Fiction
- Pretty Woman
Songs: There are tons of songs about LA. Here are some you might consider adding to your LA playlist:
- West Coast by Lana Del Rey
- Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
- California Girls by the Beach Boys
- California Dreamin' by the Mamas & The Papas
- I Love LA by Randy Newman
- Malibu by Miley Cyrus
- Hollywood by Madonna
- Tiny Dancer by Elton John
TV Shows: Lots of popular TV shows are set in LA – here are a few to watch before your vacation:
- Modern Family
- NCIS: Los Angeles
- New Girl
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
- Beverly Hills, 90210
- The Big Bang Theory
So there’s a guide to why Los Angeles is famous, complete with suggestions of tourist attractions to help you make the most of your trip. Admission to many of these popular Los Angeles tourist attractions is included with a pass forLos Angelesby Go City®. You can make huge savings on admission vs gate price.
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What was Los Angeles known for? ›
Los Angeles, or LA, is one of the most well-known cities in the world. But why is Los Angeles so famous? Hollywood stars, the TV & movie industries, and gorgeous beaches all make LA a famous city and a popular vacation spot.What are 5 interesting facts about Los Angeles? ›
- By 1930, Los Angeles produced a quarter of the world's oil. ...
- The film industry moved to LA to flee Thomas Edison's patents. ...
- Los Angeles' 'HOLLYWOOD' sign originally said 'HOLLYWOODLAND' ...
- Los Angeles has the most diverse population of Buddhist sects in the world.
One is simply the city's initials, L.A. It is also called the City of Angels because Los Angeles means “the angels” in Spanish. Los Angeles often has warm, sunny weather. So another nickname is City of Flowers and Sunshine.What is unique about Los Angeles? ›
Los Angeles is the only North American city to have hosted the Olympics twice. The Los Angeles Zoo also encompasses a substantive botanical garden with a renowned collection of native plant species. Los Angeles is home to the largest historic theatre district on the National Register of Historic Places.Why famous live in Los Angeles? ›
Some celebrities moved to Los Angeles because of their business space for your dollar out in LA. Also, they wanted to be closer to their managers who venture. For example, Martha Stewart moved to LA to establish herself as a TV host and eventually move into the world of film.Why is Los Angeles called the City of Angels? ›
Los Angeles has several nicknames. One is simply the city's initials, L.A. It is also called the City of Angels because Los Angeles means “the angels” in Spanish. Los Angeles often has warm, sunny weather. So another nickname is City of Flowers and Sunshine.Is Los Angeles a pretty city? ›
Los Angeles isn't the celebrity and paparazzi-filled la-la-land it's made out to be in the movies and TV. It is, however, a beautiful, diverse and sometimes confounding city.When did LA become popular? ›
The city really started growing around World War I. It steadily densified by World War II, then sprawled out in the 1970s.How did Los Angeles get so big? ›
Los Angeles had a strong economic base in farming, oil, tourism, real estate and movies. It grew rapidly with many suburban areas inside and outside the city limits. Its motion picture industry made the city world-famous, and World War II brought new industry, especially high-tech aircraft construction.Why do they call it LA? ›
The Beginnings of The City Of Los Angeles
The name comes from the Spanish language about a river called – El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula. El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles was the second pueblo (town) created during the Spanish colonization of California.
Do celebrities prefer nyc or LA? ›
Do more celebrities live in LA or New York? Since LA is home to Hollywood it's no surprise that most celebrities live in LA, although New York City has plenty of celebrities as well.Is it common to see celebrities in LA? ›
Is it common to see celebrities in LA? Not if you don't know where to look. It may not be the central aim of your LA trip, but celebrity spotting in Lalaland is a tourist pastime. Catching a glimpse of your favorite superstar is at least worthy of a story back home.Why is Hollywood called Hollywood? ›
Legend has it that early residents of SoCal were so inspired by a lovely holly-like bush that they were inspired to call their new digs Hollywood.What are nicknames for Hollywood? ›
The city is sometimes called Tinseltown. This nickname comes from the shiny, bright and often unreal nature of Hollywood and the movie industry.What city owns the angels? ›
The Los Angeles Angels are a professional baseball team based in Anaheim, California.What is the nicest city in LA? ›
- Westwood. Perfect for young single professionals and students of UCLA wanting to move to one of the best areas in Los Angeles.
- Culver City. Perfect for young professionals or young families looking for a safe, well-connected area. ...
- Silver Lake. ...
- Echo Park. ...
- Santa Monica. ...
- Los Feliz. ...
- Downtown LA. ...
- Beverlywood & Cheviot Hills. ...
While Malibu, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica are home to many of L.A. County's most expensive neighborhoods, you'll also find some of West Los Angeles proper's wealthy enclaves near the top of the list. Mansions abound in L.A.'s wealthy Westside neighborhoods.Is LA cheap to live? ›
The cost of living in Los Angeles, CA is 7% higher than the state average and 51% higher than the national average. Los Angeles, CA housing is 132% more expensive than the U.S average, while utilities are about 8% pricier.Is L.A. a good place to live? ›
One of the things everyone knows about Los Angeles is that it's an expensive place to live, but few cities in the U.S. offer as much as LA does for residents—diverse art and culture, incredible year-round weather and outdoor recreation, amazing views of the ocean, and some of the best dining and entertainment in the ...Was L.A. built on a desert? ›
It's hard to go a day in Southern California without overhearing someone say, “Well, you know LA is a desert.” Let's get this out of the way immediately — Los Angeles is one hundred percent, categorically not a desert.
Does Los Angeles have a culture? ›
The culture of Los Angeles is rich with arts and ethnically diverse. The greater Los Angeles metro area has several notable art museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J.Why do most celebrities live in LA? ›
Offering long, winding driveways, state-of-the-art security systems, quiet streets and cul-de-sacs, and the mature landscaping needed to block out tourists and paparazzi, Beverly Hills is a quiet oasis for celebrities and their families. Furthermore, many of the homes in Beverly Hills were built with privacy in mind.Why do many celebrities live in LA? ›
Actors, producers, directors, and prominent screenwriters all find homes in Hollywood because of its proximity to the center of the industry, especially in Studio City, where the great studio backlots have stood for decades.Why is everyone moving away from LA? ›
As mortgage rates and home prices continue skyrocketing, nearly one-quarter of homebuyers nationwide looked to move to a different metro area, marking a record high, Redfin reported.Is Los Angeles a Hispanic name? ›
The name Los Angeles comes from the Spanish language,and it means "The Angels". The name is an abbreviation from the original name of the place.What do L.A. residents call themselves? ›
As a whole, residents of Louisiana are Louisianians. You might run into neighbors who call themselves Cajuns or Creoles, too!
The city really started growing around World War I. It steadily densified by World War II, then sprawled out in the 1970s.What is the history behind LA? ›
Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood. The discovery of oil in the 1890s brought rapid growth to the city. The city was further expanded with the completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913, which delivers water from Eastern California.What was invented in Los Angeles? ›
Eat like a local — have a California roll, a French dip and a Moscow mule, all invented in L.A. - Los Angeles Times.What was Los Angeles city original name? ›
The original name is "El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula" (in English, "The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of the River Porciúncula"), giving it both one of the longest and shortest (referring to its shortening of "LA") place names in the world.
What made LA so big? ›
Los Angeles had a strong economic base in farming, oil, tourism, real estate and movies. It grew rapidly with many suburban areas inside and outside the city limits.Was LA built on a desert? ›
It's hard to go a day in Southern California without overhearing someone say, “Well, you know LA is a desert.” Let's get this out of the way immediately — Los Angeles is one hundred percent, categorically not a desert.What was Los Angeles named after? ›
A permanent colonial settlement was established on 4 September 1781 as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles di Porciúncula. It was named in honor of the shrine to the Virgin Mary, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Our Lady of the Angels, on the plain below Assisi, Saint Francis' native village in Italy.Is LA a good place to live? ›
One of the things everyone knows about Los Angeles is that it's an expensive place to live, but few cities in the U.S. offer as much as LA does for residents—diverse art and culture, incredible year-round weather and outdoor recreation, amazing views of the ocean, and some of the best dining and entertainment in the ...What is something Los Angeles has lost? ›
The Satellite in Silverlake closed on March 13, 2020. The historic venue originally opened as a gay disco called Dreams of L.A., then became Spaceland in 1995, and finally the Satellite in 2010. The owners removed the stage and have posted on Instagram that it may reopen as a restaurant.