Unearth what’s hidden in the Los Angeles landscape, from forgotten architecture and fascinating historical sites to tantalizing art forms of decades past.
Delve into a rich cultural scene full of diverse stories that have shaped the city and inspired its citizens. Discover something truly remarkable about this vibrant ‘city of dreams’ that you never knew existed.
Explore a narrative that is constantly shifting, evolving, and growing with every generation. From our neighborhoods to our galleries, there are tales to be uncovered around every corner. Find out how L.A. became home to countless creative minds from all over the world and why it is often referred to as the “creative capital.”
To truly understand Los Angeles, you need to know not only its present but also its past. Understand what it takes to be a part of this unique destination with limitless possibilities awaiting you no matter where you look. Step into an ever-evolving wonderland that has earned its spot on the “world map” for being an iconic place for dreamers and doers alike.
The geography and climate of the region
The sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles spans an area of 1,302 square kilometers, comprising 1,214 square kilometers of land and 88 square kilometers of water. With a population of around 4 million, it is located in a large desert basin bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the San Gabriel Mountains.
The city’s terrain is diverse, featuring both flat and hilly areas, and is divided by the Santa Monica Mountains, with Mount Lukens reaching a height of 5,074 feet as the highest point in the city.
Known for its famous beaches, such as Malibu, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica, as well as its mountainous regions, Los Angeles also sits atop a high seismic zone, leading to frequent high-intensity earthquakes.
With a Mediterranean climate featuring dry summers and mild winters, the city is typically sunny and breezy, with low humidity and minimal rain throughout much of the year.
The city of Los Angeles has a rich and varied history, beginning with its claim by Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1542 from the Chumash and Tongva tribes.
In 1781, Spanish governor Felipe de Neve founded the city, which was originally named “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles,” or “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels,” by a group of 44 Mexican village settlers known as “Los Pobladores.” The city was officially declared a city in 1835.
Following the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, Los Angeles and the rest of California became part of the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
In the 1890s, the discovery of oil in the region drove the economy of Los Angeles upward, making it the third-largest oil field in the country.
Today, Los Angeles is known as the home of the film industry. This is largely due to the fact that Thomas Edison, who owned most film patents in the U.S., lived on the East Coast, prompting filmmakers to go to the West Coast to avoid patent issues with him.
Los Angeles is a major hub of commercial, cultural, and economic activity in Southern California, and is the second most populous city in the United States, surpassed only by New York City.
It is a city rich in entertainment, dining, art, and recreational opportunities and has played host to the Summer Olympics on two occasions, in 1932 and 1938, with plans to host the games for the third time in 2028.
In addition to its status as a major entertainment hub, Los Angeles is also a center of government and media. The downtown area is the second largest government center in the U.S. (after Washington D.C.), and the Los Angeles media market is the second largest in the country (after New York City). The city is also home to a thriving fashion industry, with a larger fashion workforce than in New York.
Los Angeles is known for its cultural diversity, with residents hailing from more than 140 different countries. It has the largest Mexican population in the U.S., and locals are often referred to as “Angelenos.”
The city is also home to 113 universities and colleges, including UCLA and the University of Southern California, and is served by the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the second busiest airport in the country.
Hollywood is a major tourist destination within Los Angeles, known for its iconic sites such as the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame, and the TCL Chinese Theater.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame features over 2,500 stars, honoring some of the biggest names in entertainment, while the Hollywood sign, originally known as “Hollywoodland,” has been a symbol of the city’s film industry since 1923.
Other popular attractions in Los Angeles include Universal Studios Hollywood, one of the world’s oldest film studios and theme parks, and Griffith Park, the largest state park in California.
Located within Griffith Park are the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo, a Greek theater, a planetarium, tennis courts, golf courses, hiking trails, and the riding center used in the 1984 Olympic Games.
Other notable landmarks in Los Angeles include the U.S. Bank Tower, the second tallest building in the city, and the laid-back beach community of Santa Monica, home to the popular Santa Monica Pier and its Ferris wheel, as well as the Santa Monica beach. The city is also home to the Los Angeles Music Center, one of the largest performing arts centers in the U.S., and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, housed in the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Other cultural institutions in Los Angeles include the Getty Center, a museum and research facility located on a hilltop and home to the Getty Museum and programs of the Getty Trust, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the largest art museum on the West Coast.
The city is also home to the California Science Center, formerly known as the California Museum of Science and Industry, and the Staples Center, a sports and entertainment arena that is home to the L.A. Lakers, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Kings, and L.A. Sparks.
Additionally, Dodger Stadium, home to the L.A. Dodgers baseball team, is located in the city, as is Fermin Park in San Pedro, which is home to the only wooden lighthouse in California.