California is undoubtedly one of the most popular states in the U.S. There are countless songs about it, many movies inspired by it, and it is home to more Americans than any other state. It is a beautiful land, bursting with culture, and its nature is nothing short of spectacular.
But why is California so popular? Since many other U.S. states have mountains, beaches, and vibrant nightlife, you might be wondering what it is that makes California so special. This article takes a look at California as a whole and breaks down the main reasons it is such a popular place for residents and tourists alike.
An Overview of California: America’s Most Popular State
To get a true understanding of why California is so popular, it’s important to get an overview of the state. With so many people, cities, and landmarks, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos of what California offers. The more you explore, you quickly realize that it is a multicultural state with contrasting yet stunning nature around every corner.
California is the most population-dense state in America, with over 39.5 million people. This means that around one in eight United States residents lives there. Despite this, it is only the third biggest state in terms of geographical size. California has excellent year-round weather, an array of nature, and a rich agricultural industry, making it a perfect location to live.
With a coastline that runs over 800 miles long, the state is also extremely popular among tourists. Over 200 million visitors hit the California shores each year, bringing billions of tourism dollars to the region. Most of the state’s prominent cities are situated near coastal areas.
Cities in California
You’ve probably heard of California’s major cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. While these hotspots are well-known and popular tourism destinations, there are several other well-served large cities in the state.
California’s biggest cities, in terms of population, are L.A. (3.9 million), San Diego (1.4 million), and San Jose (1.03 million). However, there are 72 cities with populations of between 100,000 and a million. Other noteworthy cities include:
- San Francisco (883,000)
- Fresno (530,000)
- Sacramento (508,000)
- Long Beach (467,000)
- Oakland (429,000)
- Bakersfield (383,000)
- Anaheim (353,000)
Famous Landmarks in California
California is full of famous landmarks and historical sites, some of which are more well-known than others. We have several articles that go into detail on these extraordinary locations. Although there are too many to list, here are a few of our favorite destinations that people come in droves to see:
- Yosemite National Park
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Joshua Tree National Park
- Alcatraz Island
- Hollywood sign
- L.A. County Museum of Art
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Santa Monica Pier
- Griffith Observatory
Why is California Called the Golden State?
All 50 United States have nicknames. These names usually reference something that the state is known for, like a local animal, famous landmark, or plant. If you don’t already know, California is nicknamed the Golden State. This name dates back to the era when gold was first discovered along the west coast.
California was officially named the 31st state in America in 1850. At the time, the region experienced sizeable growth in its population and its economy because of the gold rush. Initially, it was given the nickname “El Dorado”, which is Spanish for “The Golden One”. However, locals eventually began to call it the Golden State.
Why Is California So Popular?
Now that we’ve covered the need-to-know facts about California, let’s take a look at what makes people fall in love with the region. Here are the top reasons why California is so popular.
It’s a Sunseeker’s Paradise
California is world-renowned for having some of the best weather on the planet. The best part about it is that it lasts all year long. While temperatures dip and rainfall is a little more common in northern, mountainous areas, it is generally sunny and winters are mild.
As a whole, the state experiences a Mediterranean climate. The weather is characterized by sunny, dry, and hot summers, as well as cool but mild winters. No matter the time of year, outdoor activities are a possibility in California.
Another reason the pacific coast is so popular is the number of outstanding beaches. While there are sharks in the ocean, it is typically safe and pleasant to swim in. What’s more, most beaches are manned by lifeguards who watch from their iconic towers (just think of Baywatch).
California is one of the go-to destinations for surfing in the U.S., with countless surfing beaches suitable for surfers of all abilities. Some of the top surfing spots include:
- Steamer Lane (Santa Cruz)
- Newport Beach
- Asilomar State Beach
- Rincon Point
- San Onofre State Beach
- Pismo State Beach
- Huntington Beach Pier
The Hollywood Allure
The Hollywood Hills are the epicenter of movies and entertainment. Since most major film production companies established themselves there in the early 1900s, celebrities from all over the world have been setting up shop in California. Hollywood and L.A. are still among the premier locations for filmmaking and the areas are well-equipped for A-lister lifestyles.
Much of L.A. and the surrounding areas developed because of Hollywood. In addition to drawing tourism, the availability of luxury housing, world-class restaurants, and high-end retail make L.A. one of the most popular cities in the country.
Abundance of Nature
California is a state that has it all, especially when it comes to nature. There are very few places on earth where you can ski, hike, and surf on the same day, and still have time to go for a meal at your favorite restaurant at night. California is one of them.
From rolling hills to colossal mountains, and from luscious forests to lakeside hikes, California is abundant in nature. You can also find several deserts, deep valleys, and rich agricultural land. To boot, the vast majority of the state’s natural beauty is well-preserved by the government, ensuring it can be enjoyed by everyone.
Wealth & Economy
California is among the wealthiest states in the country and has a thriving economy. The employment rate has been steadily increasing for a decade. Many of the United States’ largest tech companies are located in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, including Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Metta, and eBay.
The Golden State is also one of the most important regions for agriculture in the U.S. It produces the majority of nuts consumed in the entire country. Other important agricultural products coming out of California are grapes, wine, cattle and calves, and strawberries.
California is home to some of the most popular sports teams in the entire country, across almost every discipline. Whether you grew up in the Bay Area or Bangladesh, virtually everyone has heard of the Los Angeles Lakers. Other popular sports franchises include:
- Los Angeles Clippers (Basketball)
- Sacramento Kings (Basketball)
- Golden State Warriors (Basketball)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (Baseball)
- San Diego Padres (Baseball)
- Los Angeles Angels (Baseball)
- Los Angeles Rams (American Football)
- Las Vegas Raiders (American Football)
- San Francisco 49ers (American Football)
- Los Angeles Galaxy (Soccer)
- Los Angeles FC (Soccer)
- San Diego Wave (Soccer)
Historically, Californian sports teams have been largely successful. If you’re a sports fan, you can enjoy high-level action from local teams. California sports teams always manage to attract big names and top talents as there are few better places in the world to live than the Golden State.
Popular California FAQs
Why is California so rich?
California is the wealthiest state in the U.S., with Californians combining for a net worth of $6 trillion (17% of the national net worth). There are several booming industries within the state, with the most profitable being agriculture, tourism, energy, and technology.
Why is California the best state?
Whether you’re planning to live or visit California, it is the best state because of the year-round sunny weather, geographical diversity, mixture of cultures, excellent economy, and availability of high-paying jobs.
Why is California so hot?
California is uniquely located in the southwest of the United States, where it experiences a Mediterranean climate year-round. Its location means the state, as a whole, gets a lot of sunshine. The terrain is a mixture of desert, mountains, and forest, keeping the air hot and dry.
- Net worth of $6 trillion: https://lao.ca.go
- 35 million people in California: https://datacommons.org/place/geoId/06
- City population sizes: https://www.moving.com/tips/the-10-largest-cities-in-california/