Are you a true California native, or just a fan of this West Coast gem? Whether you were born and raised in California, recently moved to this state, or simply love all things West Coast (best coast), this quiz is sure to put your knowledge to the test!
From the iconic landmarks of Hollywood and San Francisco to the hidden destinations of the state’s lesser-known cities and towns, these trivia questions cover all aspects of California culture, history, and geography.
So grab a pen and paper, pour yourself a glass of California wine, and get ready to show off your Golden State smarts!
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California Trivia Questions To Test Your Golden State Knowledge
In which city would you be able to find the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Griffith Observatory, and the Capitol Records Building?
Answer: Los Angeles, California.
What is the name of the famous street in San Francisco that is known for its steep hills and zig-zaggy roads?
Answer: Lombard Street
What is the name of the famous prison that is located on an island in San Francisco Bay?
What is the capital city of California?
Answer: Sacramento, California.
What is the annual event that draws cosplay lovers dressed in elaborate costumes to San Diego, CA each and every year?
Answer: San Diego Comic-Con International.
Where was In-N-Out Burger’s original drive-thru restaurant located?
Answer: In Baldwin Park, California (Los Angeles area).
From which US city and state did Blue Bottle Coffee Co. originate?
Answer: Oakland, California.
What three California cities do the last remaining Japantowns reside in?
Answer: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Jose.
Which California national park features Ribbon Falls, which is nearly 10 times higher than Niagara Falls?
Answer: Yosemite National Park.
Born and raised in Compton, California, this famous rapper began his career as a teenager performing under the stage name K.Dot. Who is he?
Answer: Kendrick Lamar.
Interested in more hip-hop and music trivia? Check out: 120 Rap and Hip Hop Trivia Questions For Music Lovers
What is the name of the famous street in Los Angeles that is known for its ultra high-end shopping and celebrity sightings?
Answer: Rodeo Drive
Prior to the state of California jumping into the coffee game, which state was the only one to grow coffee on US soil?
What is the name of the famous mountain range that runs along the eastern edge of California?
Answer: Sierra Nevada
In which California theme park would you be able to find X2, a 4th dimension roller coaster that features seats that rotate independently of the track, multiple inversions, and a 215-foot drop?
Answer: Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Often considered the “Banff National Park” of California, what hike boasts a series of seven turquoise blue lakes back-to-back as you continue hiking in?
Answer: Big Pine Lakes.
What is the name of the famous university that is located in Palo Alto and is known for its tech startups?
Answer: Stanford University
In Los Angeles, California, the Hollywood sign is a legendary landmark. When it was first built in 1923, what did it spell?
In which city can you find the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and a statue of Yoda?
Answer: San Francisco, California.
What is the name of the scenic drive that runs along the coast from Carmel to Morro Bay and is known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and rugged coastline?
Answer: Pacific Coast Highway (also known as Highway 1).
Which 1990’s NBA player went on to become mayor of a California city?
Answer: Kevin Johnson.
The remains of which Ice Age creature was unearthed by construction workers in 2005 in Southern California?
A trip to this destination would be seeing Emerald Bay State Park and its stunning vistas, Fannette Island, the historic Vikingsholm Castle, and the Heavenly Mountain Resort. Where is it?
Answer: Lake Tahoe.
What is the name of the famous national park in California that is home to the tallest trees in the world?
Answer: Redwood National Park.
In which city can you find the famous Hearst Castle, which was once the home of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst?
Answer: San Simeon, California.
In which Southern California city can you find the historic Old Town district, which features preserved adobe buildings from the early days of Spanish settlement in California?
Answer: San Diego, California.
In which city can you find the famous Winchester Mystery House, which was built by the widow of the Winchester rifle fortune and features bizarre architectural features like staircases that lead to nowhere?
Answer: San Jose, California.
In which city can you find the famous Getty Center, which is home to a collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts?
Answer: Los Angeles, California.
In which national park can you find the famous Jumbo Rocks area?
Answer: Joshua Tree National Park.
In which city can you find the Bowers Museum, which features exhibits on world cultures and art from around the globe?
Answer: Santa Ana, California.
In which city can you find the expansive Balboa Park, which is home to over 15 museums, gardens, and cultural institutions?
Answer: San Diego, California.
Can you list the ingredients that typically make up a California-style burrito?
Answer: A California-style burrito typically includes a large flour tortilla filled with carne asada (grilled steak), French fries, cheese, guacamole, and salsa or pico de gallo. Some variations may also include sour cream, rice, or beans. The fries are the most defining thing, though!
In which city can you find the famous Point Reyes National Seashore, which is a protected area often shrouded in fog that features rugged coastline, beaches, and wildlife?
Answer: Point Reyes Station, California.
____ is a charming Danish village in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, known for its quaint architecture, authentic Danish pastries, wine tasting, and unique shopping experiences.
What is the name of the touristy street in LA that is known for its movie studios and celebrity handprints?
Answer: Hollywood Boulevard.
What is the name of the famous lighthouse in San Francisco that is located at the entrance to the Golden Gate?
Answer: Point Bonita Lighthouse.
What is the name of the island off the coast of Southern California that is home to getting around by golf cart, a famous casino, and bison?
Answer: Catalina Island.
What drama depicts the teenage years of Ryan Atwood, a tough kid taken in by the wealthy Cohens of Orange County, California?
Answer: The OC.
What is the name of the famous street in San Francisco that is known for its colorful houses and panoramic views of the city, and was even featured in the TV show Full House?
Answer: Painted Ladies.
What is the name of the famous museum in Los Angeles that is free of charge to visit and is home to a collection of contemporary art, including the statue of Michael Jackson and Bubbles?
Answer: The Broad.
What is the name of the always-buzzing neighborhood in San Francisco that is known for its Italian restaurants and cafes such as Caffe Trieste, Sotto Mare, and Betty Lou’s?
Answer: North Beach
Can you name all six hikes/peaks that make up the The Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge?
Answer: Mt. Wilson, Cucamonga Peak, Mt. San Antonio (aka Mt Baldy), San Bernadino Peak, Mt. San Jacinto, San Gorgonio.
Influenced by The Beat Generation, a literary group defying the social norms of the ’50s, an influx of hippies flooded into which SF neighborhood in the ’60s?
Answer: Haight-Ashbury. The colorful homes and cheap rent would attract young people from all over America, excited about counterculture ideals.
What 1995 film stars Alicia Silverstone as a wealthy high school student in Beverly Hills?
What 1990 film features Julia Roberts as a prostitute who falls in love with a wealthy businessman in Beverly Hills?
Answer: Pretty Woman
What 1974 film stars Jack Nicholson as a private investigator hired to investigate a case in 1930s Los Angeles?
From which US city and state did Peet’s Coffee originate?
Answer: Berkeley, California.
At what 2018 California music festival did Beyonce briefly reunite Destiny’s Child?
After Coachella Arts & Music Festival, the same location hosts what country music festival that draws large crowds of fans from all over the world?
In what Silicon Valley city would you be able to find the Apple Park Visitor Center?
Answer: Cupertino, CA.
What California company introduced the first pocket calculator as well as a successful line of computers, printers, and peripherals?
Answer: Hewlett-Packard Company.
Which NFL team’s owner, Stan Kroenke, bought 60 acres of land in California in 2014 to build a stadium for the team’s return?
Answer: The Los Angeles Rams (formerly St. Louis Rams).
A Marvel-themed land within Disney’s California Adventure launched in 2021 — what is this new land called?
Answer: Avengers Campus.
Which famous California-based director/producer/writer attended the opening week of Disneyland in 1955 at 11 years old?
Answer: George Lucas (The Star Wars guy!)
Where is recognized as the location of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth?
Answer: Death Valley, California.
Known as one of the world’s largest inland seas and lowest spots on earth at -227 below sea level, this offbeat destination is known for its eerie abandoned buildings, unique and vibrant birdlife, and stunning sunsets over the water.
Answer: Salton Sea.
Which group did Chris Rock call the “quintessential California band” when he inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012?
Answer: Red Hot Chili Peppers.
What small city lies in the corridor between Berkeley and Oakland in California’s East Bay?
What is the name of the premiere destination in California that is known for its wine country and hot air balloon rides?
Answer: Napa Valley.
What song by The Beach Boys talks about the joys of surfing and cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway in California?
Answer: “Surfin’ USA”.
What song by Katy Perry celebrates the carefree lifestyle and sunny weather of California?
Answer: “California Gurls”.
What song by The Mamas & The Papas talks about the beauty and allure of California, with lyrics like “All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray”?
Answer: “California Dreamin'”
What man was the first openly gay elected official in the history of California? He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978.
Answer: Harvey Milk.
This Southern California city is known for its affluent neighborhoods and celebrity residents and has been the site of several high-profile events, including the Kardashian family’s reality TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in January 2020.
Answer: Calabasas, California.
Which city in Northern California is known for its Old Fishermans Wharf and Cannery Row districts?
Answer: Monterey, CA.
This popular tourist attraction is located in the redwood forests of Santa Cruz and is known for its unusual gravitational and optical illusions that make visitors feel like they are standing at odd angles or that objects are defying gravity. What is it?
Answer: The Mystery Spot.
Technically a national park, this area is a breathtakingly beautiful and isolated group of islands off the coast of Southern California, where visitors can explore stunning sea caves, hike scenic trails, and observe unique wildlife like island foxes and sea lions. What is its name?
Answer: Channel Islands National Park.
In what city did Thomas Keller open up his headquarters for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, as well as a handful of restaurants including The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon, Bar Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and Ad Hoc?
Answer: Yountville, CA.
In what theme park would you be able to find extreme thrillers like Goliath, Tatsu, and Twisted Colossus?
Answer: Six Flags Magic Mountain.
For otherworldly landscapes, including the lowest point in North America, the stunningly colorful badlands of Zabriskie Point, and the mysterious sliding rocks of Racetrack Playa, where would you go?
Answer: Death Valley National Park.
What famous author lived in Big Sur and wrote several books about the area, including “Big Sur” and “On the Road”?
Answer: Jack Kerouac.
What iconic bridge spans Bixby Creek in Big Sur and is one of the most photographed landmarks in California?
Answer: Bixby Creek Bridge.
What is the name of the volcanic peak that dominates the skyline of Morro Bay and is home to a state park and bird sanctuary?
Answer: Morro Rock.
This beach town is known for its stunning coastline, picturesque pier, ATVing on sand dunes, and the opportunity to witness thousands of monarch butterflies congregating in the nearby eucalyptus groves during the winter months.
Answer: Pismo Beach.
Can you describe how a California king differs from a king bed?
Answer: A California king bed is longer and narrower than a standard king bed, providing more length for taller individuals but less width for two people to sleep comfortably.
What Southern Californian airport code is mentioned in the following lyrics from the 2009 Miley Cyrus hit “Party in the U.S.A.”: “I hopped off the plane at ______ with a dream and my cardigan”?
Which Major League Baseball (MLB) team is based in Los Angeles and has won multiple World Series championships?
Answer: Los Angeles Dodgers.
Half Dome is an iconic granite formation located in which national park in California?
Answer: Yosemite National Park.
What is the oldest city in California?
Answer: San Diego, established in 1769.
Napa Valley is known for producing a specific type of wine grape. Which grape variety is Napa Valley particularly famous for?
Answer: Cabernet Sauvignon.
What was the term used to refer to the period of rapid population growth and economic prosperity that resulted from the California Gold Rush?
Answer: The Gold Rush Boom.
The city of Santa Rosa is the largest city in which California county, known for its wine culture and scenic landscapes?
Answer: Sonoma County.
In which Gold Rush town can you visit the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, where gold was first discovered in 1848?
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is known for its stunning McWay Falls, which cascade directly into the ocean. In which famous California region is this state park located?
Answer: Big Sur.
Lands End is a scenic coastal area located in which city in California?
Answer: San Francisco.
Joshua Tree National Park is known for its unique landscapes and rock formations. What two desert ecosystems converge in this park?
Answer: The Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert.
Which iconic attraction in San Diego is known for its historic collection of ships, including a famous aircraft carrier?
Answer: USS Midway Museum.
Palm Springs is located in the southern region of California. What type of climate is characteristic of this area?
Answer: Desert climate.
What ancient grove of giant sequoia trees is known for having the world’s largest tree by volume, named General Sherman?
Answer: Sequoia National Park.
The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a striking architectural landmark in Los Angeles. Who is the renowned architect behind its unique design?
Answer: Frank Gehry.
The Hearst Castle, a lavish estate, is perched on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Who was the media magnate associated with its creation?
Answer: William Randolph Hearst.
The Sacramento Kings play in which professional sports league?
Answer: National Basketball Association (NBA).
In which California city can you find the NHL team known as the “Sharks”?
Answer: San Jose.
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