From the ancient La Brea Tar Pits to the latest hotels and cultural attractions, read on for a timeline of the incredible history of Los Angeles.
Circa 38,000 BC - Los Angeles has been pulling in visitors for tens of thousands of years, as a future fossil is trapped inside what are now the La Brea Tar Pits.
Circa 8000 BC - Chumash people settle the Los Angeles basin.
Circa 300 BC - The Tataviam (later Fernandeno) people inhabit what is now the San Fernando Valley.
Circa 500 AD - Tongva Indians settle in the Los Angeles basin. Some accounts say they displaced the Chumash. By the 16th century, the region’s main village will be called Yang-Na, near present-day Los Angeles City Hall.
1542 - Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo navigates the coast of California. He calls present-day San Pedro Bay the “Bay of Smokes.”
1602 - Sebastian Vizcaino of Spain explores the California coast and meets some of the locals.
1769 - Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola explores the area to open up a land route to the port of Monterey and establishes the first Spanish settlement in the area. The settlers name the local river Rio de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula (River of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula).
1771 - Father Junipero Serra establishes the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, later moved to the present-day city of San Gabriel.
1781 - A group of 11 families comprising 44 Mexicans settles by the river. Felipe de Neve, Governor of Spanish California, names the settlement El Pueblo Sobre el Rio de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula.
1781 - A group of 11 families comprising 44 Mexicans settles by the river. Felipe de Neve, Governor of Spanish California, names the settlement El Pueblo Sobre el Rio de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Río de Porciúncula.
1797 - Father Fermin Lasuen founds Mission San Fernando, named for King Ferdinand of Spain. It later becomes home to the largest adobe structure in California, 30,000 grape vines and 21,000 head of livestock.
1805 - The first American trading ship arrives at San Pedro Bay, south of the Pueblo.
1821 - Mexico achieves independence from Spain.
1841 - History of LA's first census shows a population of 141.
1842 - California’s first discovery of gold is made at Placerita Canyon, near Mission San Fernando, prompting LA’s first population boom.
1846 - Pio Pico is sworn in as governor of California, in Los Angeles. Out-of-towners begin to mispronounce his name (it’s PEE-koh).
1847 - Battle of Rio San Gabriel. The United States takes control of Los Angeles. Treaty of Cahuenga is signed in the pass between Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
1848 - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico formally cedes California to the United States, and all residents are made U.S. citizens.
1849 - That other California Gold Rush. Settlers flood the state, creating great demand for beef from Los Angeles-area ranchos.
1850 - Los Angeles is incorporated as a municipality, and California becomes the 30th state in the union.
1852 - The Gilmore Adobe is built at the site of The Original Farmers Market, where it still stands. Originally called the Rancho La Brea Adobe, it eventually became the home of rancher-turned-oilman Arthur F. Gilmore, whose son Earl turned the Gilmore Oil Company into a legendary part of America's burgeoning car culture.
1854 - The first Jewish services in LA history are held.
1855 - Los Angeles gets its first schoolhouse.
1865 - Civil War ends. African Americans begin heading to Los Angeles in significant numbers.
1865 - Los Angeles’ first college, St. Vincent’s (now Loyola Marymount University), is established. Today Los Angeles County has more than 100 colleges and universities.
1866 - Los Angeles Town Square is established; it will later be renamed Pershing Square.
1868 - The famous nighttime view of Los Angeles begins with the arrival of streetlights.
1869 - Southern California’s first railroad is constructed, connecting Downtown Los Angeles with San Pedro Bay, 21 miles away.
1870 - Whites outnumber Hispanics and Native Americans for the fist time in Los Angeles.
1871 - First rail link established between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
1871 - Isaac Newton Van Nuys buys 60,000 acres of land in the southern San Fernando Valley.
1872 - The Los Angeles Library Association is established and by early 1873, a well-stocked reading room is opened under the first librarian, John Littlefield. Today, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) system spans 73 libraries with a collection of 7.1 million volumes.
1872 - The First African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church is established under the sponsorship of Biddy Mason - an African American nurse, real estate entrepreneur and philanthropist - and her son-in-law, Charles Owens.
1872 - Ventura County is established, ceded from a section of northwest Los Angeles County.
1873 - Hired by Southern Pacific rail baron Henry Huntington, journalist Charles Nordhoff writes the book California for Health, Pleasure and Residence. Today a street bears his name in the San Fernando Valley.
1873 - The city’s first synagogue is built.
1873 - The first trolley line in the city opens.
1873 - The seedless navel orange is introduced to California from Brazil.
1874 - Los Angeles gets its first streetcar. It’s horse-drawn. The first electric streetcars will debut in 1887.
1876 - Cathedral of Saint Vibiana opens.
1877 - Thanks to new refrigerated boxcar technology, California oranges cause a sensation in St. Louis. Agriculture begins to replace ranching as the mainstay of the local economy.
1878 - Los Angeles County Bar Association is established.
1880s - Citrus, wine grapes and other fruits and vegetables are grown in the Los Angeles area. The area of present-day Beverly Hills is largely bean fields, Hollywood is fig orchards.
1880s - Westlake Park is built, later renamed MacArthur Park after the World War II general.
1880 - Founding of the University of Southern California. Its sports teams are known as the Methodists or the Wesleyans until 1912, when a columnist wrote that they “fought like Trojans.” The name sticks.
1880 - The first Chinatown is established, centered on Alameda and Macy Streets (now Cesar Chavez Avenue). Today the area is the site of Union Station.
1881 - The Los Angeles Times debuts as the Los Angeles Daily Times. The Times would later go on to become one of the most distinguished daily newspapers in the U.S. by the latter half of the 20th century, winning 45 Pulitzer Prizes since 1942.
1881 - The Southern Pacific Railroad links Los Angeles directly with the eastern United States for the first time.
1881 - Los Angeles has its first recorded snowfall.
1883 - Los Angeles gets its first conservatory of music.
1885 - The Santa Fe Railroad opens a second line linking Los Angeles with the rest of the nation.
1886 - Harvey Henderson Wilcox purchases 160 acres of land west of the Cahuenga Pass for a planned residential community. He names it Hollywood, after the estate of an acquaintance of his wife, Daeida.
1886 - The price of a train ticket between Kansas City and Los Angeles falls to one dollar, prompting another population boom.
1889 - USC and St. Vincent’s College play the first college football game in Los Angeles.
1890 - Los Angeles population: 50,000 (a new record in the history of LA).
1890 - The official flag of Los Angeles is designed.
1892 - Edward Doheny discovers oil at “Greasy Gulch,“ near Westlake Park. Soon oil is discovered all over the Los Angeles area.
1893 - Los Angeles gold-mining millionaire Lewis L. Bradbury commissions a five-story office building in Downtown LA. Renowned for its stunning skylit atrium and ornate ironwork, the Bradbury Building has appeared in numerous movies, most famously Blade Runner in 1982.
1896 - Colonel J. Griffith donates nearly five square miles of land near his ranch to the people of Los Angeles. Today, Griffith Park spans 4,210 acres of natural chapparal-covered terrain and landscaped parkland between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. It's one of the largest municipal parks with urban wilderness areas in the United States.
1897 – Five hundred oil wells are operating within Los Angeles. California is the third-largest oil-producing state in America.
1897 - A nine-mile wooden cycleway is built connecting Downtown Los Angeles with Pasadena along the riverbed the Arroyo Seco. The cycleway eventually fails, but the right of way remains.
1897 - The first automobile takes to the streets of Los Angeles.
1898 - Los Angeles gets a symphony orchestra, the fifth in the nation.
1899 - Hollywood Cemetery is founded on 100 acres. Known today as Hollywood Forever, the cemetery is the final resting place for numerous Hollywood luminaries as well as musicians Chris Cornell, Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone, and Scott Weiland.
1899 - First breakwater constructed at the Port of Los Angeles, on San Pedro Bay.
1900 - Los Angeles population: 102,479, which ranks it 36th in the nation.
1900 - Early Japanese immigrants arrive in Los Angeles.
1901 - Angels Flight, a funicular up Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles, opens.
1902 - The first Rose Bowl Game is played. Michigan defeats Stanford.
1903 - The Los Angeles Examiner (later the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner) is founded by William Randolph Hearst.
1904 - Los Angeles establishes the first Playground Department in the United States.
1905 - Tobacco magnate turned real estate developer Abbot Kinney carves out canals near the beach, naming the district the Venice of America. Six of those canals still exist.
1906 - The first fossils are excavated from the La Brea Tar Pits.
1907 - The Los Angeles Auto Show is founded. Today the LA Show is one of the most influential and best-attended auto shows globally and spans more than 1,000,000 square feet.
1907 - The Southwest Museum of the American Indian opens. The museum is renowned for one of the most important collections of Native American art and artifacts in the United States, spanning 2,000 years.
1908 - Philippe The Original opens near Chinatown. Along with another Downtown LA restaurant, Cole's, Philippe's claims to have invented the French Dip roast beef sandwich.
1909 - Los Angeles becomes the first large city in the nation to adopt zoning laws to distinguish between commercial and residential properties.
1910 - Los Angeles population: 319,198 - 17th in the nation.
1910 – D.W. Griffith becomes the first director to shoot film in Los Angeles. His acting company includes Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford.
1910 - Dominguez Field in Los Angeles is host to the world’s first air meet.
1910 - Residents of the municipality of Hollywood vote to join the city of Los Angeles, partially to have access to Los Angeles’ water rights.
1911 - The first Hollywood production company, Nestor Film Company opens in an abandoned tavern. Soon, neighbors erect signs reading, “No dogs, no actors.”
1911-1912 – An 8,500-foot breakwater is completed at the port of Los Angeles, and shipping channels are widened.
1912 - The area around First Street and Central Avenue becomes the gateway to a famous African-American corridor along Central Avenue, which swells in population in the 1920s.
1912 - Los Angeles gets its first gas station.
1913 - Cecil B. de Mille shoots the first Hollywood movie, Squaw Man.
1913 - The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County opens. It remains the largest museum of its kind in the western United States.
1913 - Los Angeles’ first children’s and family camps are established, for recreation in the mountains.
1913 - After a saga of cinematic proportions, the Los Angeles Aqueduct is completed, carrying water from the Owens Valley, about 230 miles north of the city. At the opening ceremony, engineer William Mulholland proclaims “There it is. Take it.”
1913 - Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick becomes the first woman to parachute from an airplane, over Griffith Park. She later demonstrates parachuting techniques for the U.S. military.
1914 - The LA subdivision of Beverly Hills is incorporated as an independent city. From here on out, it’s all swimming pools, movie stars, Beverly Hills Cop and 90210.
1915 - Large parts of the San Fernando Valley are annexed to the city of Los Angeles. Further annexations will continue through 1965.
1915 - Carl Laemmle opens Universal Film Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest motion picture production facility, near the Cahuenga Pass. He charges the public 25 cents to watch films being shot, including a boxed lunch.
1915 – D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation creates the film vocabulary that is known today, despite the controversy it generates. The film’s story seems to justify racial segregation and glorify the Ku Klux Klan.
1915 - Direct steamship service begins between Los Angeles and Japan.
1915 - There are 55,000 cars on the streets of Los Angeles.
1916 - The Jesse L. Lasky Company, a Hollywood film production house, merges with Adolph Zukor’s New York-based Famous Players to distribute films under Paramount Pictures’ star-ringed mountaintop.
1917 - Grand Central Market opens in Downtown LA. The 30,000 square-foot food emporium and retail marketplace continues its mission to celebrate the myriad cuisines and cultures of Los Angeles.
1917 - Frank Lloyd Wright, who has been labeled by the American Institute of Architects as "the greatest American architect of all time," designs the Hollyhock House for heiress Aline Barnsdall on a hill in East Hollywood in what is now Barnsdall Art Park. The home, featuring Mayan and Spanish Revival architecture, would later be named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019, becoming the first place to earn such a designation in Los Angeles.
1917 - The first Forest Lawn Cemetery opens.
1918 - Brothers Sam, Jack, Harry and Albert Warner, immigrants from Poland via Pennsylvania, open Warner Bros. Studios on Sunset Boulevard. It would wind up as one of the world's most famous movie studios, producing household names in film like Harry Potter and Batman.
1919 - Musso & Frank Grill opens in Hollywood and becomes a favorite of Golden Age Hollywood celebrities.
1919 - The Los Angeles Philharmonic is founded and single-handedly financed by William Andrews Clark, Jr., a copper baron, arts enthusiast, and part-time violinist. Clark selected Walter Henry Rothwell, former assistant to Gustav Mahler, to be the LA Phil's first music director. The orchestra played its first concert at the Trinity Auditorium, just eleven days after its first rehearsal.
1919 - Founding of the Southern Branch of the University of California campus, later named University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
1919 - United Artists is founded by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith.
1919 - The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens opens in San Marino.
1920 - A wooden, outdoor amphitheatre is built as the site of The Pilgrimage Play. In 1976, the Pilgrimage Theatre was renamed the John Anson Ford Theatre in honor of the late LA County Supervisor's significant support of the arts. Today, the Ford Theatres are dedicated to presenting a calendar of music and dance events that reflect the diverse communities of LA County.
1920 – Eighty percent of the world’s films are shot in California.
1921 - Welder Simon Rodia (recently arrived from Italy) begins work on what will become the Watts Towers.
1921 - Amelia Earhart begins her aeronautic career with flying lessons in Los Angeles.
1922 - LA's first radio stations, KFI, KHJ and KNX, take to the air.
1922 – The first concerts are held at the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater, now the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and site of concerts by artists including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, the Beatles, Monty Python, Cher and world music of every stripe.
1922 - The Tam O'Shanter is opened by Lawrence Frank and Walter Van de Kamp (they later founded Lawry's the Prime Rib). Walt Disney and his animators were regulars - his favorite table was #31, right by the fireplace and commemorated by a plaque.
1922 - Rose Bowl Stadium is built in Pasadena. The stadium has hosted five Super Bowls, gold medal matches for two Summer Olympics, two FIFA World Cup Finals, superstar concerts and the annual Rose Bowl Game for which it’s named. In 2019, Sports Illustrated named Rose Bowl Stadium the Greatest Stadium in College Football History.
1922 - The first LA County Fair is held in Pomona. Today the Fair is one of the largest county fairs in North America and ranked in the Top 10 among all North American fairs and exhibitions.
1923 - Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum opens in Exposition Park. Since opening, the Coliseum has become one of the world’s greatest sports venues. It is the only facility in the world to host two Olympiads (X and XXIII), two Super Bowls (I and VII), one World Series (1959), a Papal Mass, and visits by three U.S. Presidents: John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
1923 - The Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel opens across from Pershing Square in Downtown LA. At the time of its grand opening, the Biltmore was the largest hotel west of Chicago. Now known as the Millennium Biltmore, the hotel has appeared in numerous movies and TV series, including Chinatown, Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop and Mad Men.
1923 - Originally created in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development called "Hollywoodland," the Hollywood Sign has become a world-famous icon of Los Angeles.
1923 - Robert Andrews Millikan of the California Institute of Technology, a world-renowned science and engineering institute that today marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address scientific questions, wins the first Nobel Prize for a Los Angeles-area institution. Thirty-seven more alumni and faculty of this Pasadena institute (so far) will follow in his footsteps to win Nobel Prizes including Linus Pauling and Richard Feynman.
1923 - Charismatic preacher Aimee Semple McPherson opens the Angelus Temple (seating 5,000) in Los Angeles’ Echo Park district. Her preaching incorporates speaking in tongues and demonstrations of faith healing.
1923 - A young cartoonist named Walt Disney arrives in Los Angeles with $40 in his pocket.
1923 – Bel-Air becomes a not-quite-gated community in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains. It has been populated by movers and shakers ever since and become part of a centerpiece of some of the highest concentration of real estate wealth in the world.
1924 - The Mulholland Highway (now Mulholland Drive) opens on the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Hollywood Hills. It remains one of America’s most beautiful drives, bisecting a major urban area along a mountainous range.
1924 - Theatre magnate Marcus Loew amalgamates Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures into what will become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Hollywood’s wunderkind, Irving Thalberg, is head of production.
1924 - CBC Film Sales Corporation is renamed Columbia Pictures Corporation. The lady with the torch will soon be introducing Frank Capra films.
1924 - Los Angeles population tops one million.
1924 - Los Angeles gets its first opera company.
1924 - The Original Pantry Cafe opens in Downtown LA. The 24-hour eatery claims to never have closed or been without a customer since it opened.
1925 - Los Angeles Central Library opens.
1925 - Fox Film Corporation and Twentieth Century Pictures merge to form Twentieth Century Fox. The next year, the studio acquires 300 acres of open land west of Beverly Hills for its production facilities.
1926 - The Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion is founded. Today it has the largest circulation of any Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, with more than 126,000 copies daily.
1926 - A 2,400-plus mile stretch of road connecting Los Angeles and Chicago is designated as U.S. Highway 66. Roadside architecture and American popular music have never been the same since.
1927 - Talkies arrive, with the first feature-length talking picture, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, and Fox Movietone News, which will be regular feature in cinemas until 1963.
1927 - Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre) opens. Over the years, impresario Sid Grauman and his successors will invite dozens of top stars to leave their handprints and footprints in freshly poured cement out front.
1927 - Establishment of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, with actor Douglas Fairbanks as president. Oscar winners have been thanking the academy ever since.
1927 - The 13-story United Artists Building is built in Downtown LA and is home to the flagship movie theatre of United Artists. Today the site houses the Ace Hotel and the 1,600-seat Theatre at Ace.
1927 – Two hundred thousand people greet aviator Charles Lindbergh.
1928 - Los Angeles City Hall opens. Just the facts, ma’am: the tower, with its distinctive pyramid-shaped roof, later appears on the opening credits of the TV show Dragnet.
1928 - The first Academy Awards ceremony takes place at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Wings, directed by William Wellman, wins Best Picture.
1928 - Walt Disney finds his first lasting success with the release of the animated talking picture Steamboat Willie, starring a mouse named Mickey.
1928 - The first NAACP convention in the west takes place on Central Avenue.
1929 - University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) opens the first four buildings of its current campus in the Westwood district, including the Romanesque-style Royce Hall. UCLA would go on to become one of the world's premier research universities by the late 20th century. It's an international leader in medicine, law, business, engineering, the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences, producing 14 Nobel Prize winners among its alumni, researchers and faculty.
1929 - Ross-Loos Medical Group of Temple Street becomes the first comprehensive medical care organization in the United States, serving employees of the Department of Water and Power and their families. Today it would be better known as a health maintenance organization (HMO).
1930 - Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) opens. The fourth busiest airport in the world, LAX offers more than 700 daily nonstop flights to 100 domestic cities, and over 1,300 weekly nonstop flights to dozens of cities around the world.
1930 - The area of the original Pueblo of Los Angeles is renovated and opens as Olvera Street.
1930 - The Greek Theatre, named because it was meant to replicate a Greek amphitheater, opens in Griffith Park.
1930 - The RKO Pantages Theatre opens at Hollywood and Vine. Now known as the Hollywood Pantages, the restored theatre hosted the Oscars from 1950-1959 and today presents blockbuster Broadway productions.
1931 - Canter's opens at its original location in Boyle Heights. The 24-hour deli moved to the Fairfax District in 1948 and has since welcomed everyone from Marilyn Monroe to President Obama.
1932 - Los Angeles hosts the Games of the X Olympiad. Tenth Street is renamed Olympic Boulevard.
1933 - First publication of the African-American newspaper the Los Angeles Sentinel.
1934 - The Original Farmers Market opens at the corner of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue.
1935 - The Griffith Observatory opens in Griffith Park. From its perch on a promontory, one can view both the skies above and the city below.
1938 - Lawry's The Prime Rib opens on La Cienega's Restaurant Row.
1939 - Union Station opens in Downtown L.A. Its style combines Mission, Spanish Colonial and Streamline Moderne motifs, to dramatic effect. To make way for Union Station, Chinatown moves to its present location at the former Little Italy.
1939 - Raymond Chandler publishes The Big Sleep, the first of his detective novels set in Los Angeles.
1939 - MGM Studios takes viewers over the rainbow, with the release of The Wizard of Oz.
1939 - Pink's Hot Dogs is founded by Paul and Betty Pink as a pushcart near the corner of La Brea and Melrose. The family later opens their current location on La Brea in 1946.
1940 - The Hollywood Palladium opens with a dance featuring Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra and band vocalist Frank Sinatra.
1940 - The Arroyo Seco Parkway opens on the right-of-way between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, becoming the nation’s first controlled limited access highway (aka a freeway). Today the LA area has 27 interconnecting freeways, and the East L.A. Interchange is the busiest in the world.
WWII - Shipbuilding becomes the primary business of the Port of Los Angeles, employing some 90,000 workers. One-third of U.S. warplanes are manufactured in Los Angeles, underscoring the region's dominance in manufacturing and aerospace for decades to come.
1942 - Los Angeles gives the world its first parking meter.
1944 - Bing Crosby’s recording of “San Fernando Valley” reaches No. 1 on the charts, no doubt prompting plenty of GIs to move here after the war.
1944 - Peak of ridership of the Pacific Electric Railway (red car) streetcars, with 109 million riders on more than 1,150 miles of track in four counties.
1946 - The Cleveland Rams football team moves to Los Angeles and become the Los Angeles Rams. Under executive Pete Rozelle (later commissioner of the National Football League), the Rams will become the first team to capitalize on television.
1947 - The telephone area code 213 is assigned to Los Angeles.
1948 - The first In-N-Out Burger opens in Baldwin Park.
1950 - Los Angeles population: 1,970,358 surpasses Detroit as fourth in the nation.
1950 – Sunset Boulevard is released and instantly becomes one of the definitive films about Hollywood.
1950 - The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in Pacific Palisades. The lush, 10-acre site includes the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial - a "wall-less temple" that features a thousand-year-old stone sarcophagus from China, which holds a portion of Gandhi's ashes in a brass and silver coffer.
1951 - The Wayfarers Chapel - aka “The Glass Church” - is built in Rancho Palos Verdes on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Architect Lloyd Wright, son of the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, conceived of Wayfarers Chapel as a “tree chapel” - a natural sanctuary set in the middle of a forest. The church is regarded as one of the foremost examples of Organic Architecture, which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world.
1953 - Completion of the “four-level” interchange, the first of its kind, connecting the Hollywood, Pasadena and Harbor Freeways.
1954 - Oil magnate J. Paul Getty first opens a museum of his collections to the public in Pacific Palisades. His Getty Center, perched atop Brentwood, along with the original museum in the Palisades, would collectively later be one of the richest museums in the world.
1954 - Simon Rodia completes the Watts Towers.
1955 - Walt Disney moves to Los Angeles’ ritzy Bel Air district and proclaims his new Disneyland Park in nearby Anaheim as the "Happiest Place on Earth."
1956 - The Capitol Records building in Hollywood, distinctively shaped like a stack of 45-rpm disks, becomes the first circular office tower and an emblematic symbol to the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.
1957 - Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin of the Los Angeles-based toy company Wham-O create a durable plastic ring they call the Hula Hoop. It sells over 100 million in the next two years.
1958 - Television station KTLA becomes the first to use a news helicopter.
1958 - The former Brooklyn Dodgers play for the first time as the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the first Major League Baseball team west of Missouri.
1958 - USC establishes the first schools in the United States for Cinema-Television, Gerontology and Urban Planning & Development. The cinema-television department would later come to rank as the No.1 film school in the U.S., consistently producing Academy Award winners or nominees year after year.
1959 - Los Angeles-based toy company Mattel debuts Barbie on March 9. That makes her a Pisces.
1960 - Los Angeles population: 2,479,015, surpassing Philadelphia as third in the nation. More than 6 million people live in Los Angeles County.
1960 - The Minneapolis Lakers basketball team moves to Los Angeles and is renamed the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, with 16 NBA championships. Legendary Lakers will include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
1960 - The Hollywood Walk of Fame opens with a star dedicated to Joanne Woodward embedded in the sidewalk.
1960 - Los Angeles hosts the national convention of the Democratic Party. John F. Kennedy is nominated to run for president.
1961 - The space-age Theme Building, a prototypical example of Googie architecture of the future influenced by cars and jets, opens as the centerpiece of Los Angeles International Airport. It was thought that this building was influenced by the cartoon series, The Jetsons. But it may have been the other way around because the series didn't premiere on television until the 1962-63 season. Underscoring the historical significance, the Los Angeles City Council designated on Dec. 18, 1992 the Theme Building a City Cultural and Historical Monument.
1961 – Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor, becomes the first film to break the $10 million mark in production budget, and Twentieth Century Fox sells off its backlot to pay for it, which today is known as Century City, now home to a gleaming array of office towers and hotels, as well as a glitzy shopping center.
1961 - The Chouinard Art Institute and Los Angeles Conservatory of Music merge to form California Institute of the Arts, the first degree-granting school for visual and performing arts in the United States. CalArts alumni include directors Tim Burton and Sofia Coppola, Pixar chief John Lasseter, and actors Don Cheadle, Ed Harris and David Hasselhoff.
1962 - Dodger Stadium opens in Chavez Ravine. Many aficionados still call it the most beautiful stadium in baseball.
1962 - The last of the Red Car trolleys ceases operation.
1962 - "Heeeeere’s Johnny!" Johnny Carson becomes host of NBC’s The Tonight Show. Although the show is first broadcast from New York, it later moves to Los Angeles, and Carson becomes synonymous with the city, peppering his monologues with numerous LA-area references.
1963 - The Pacific Cinerama Dome opens with the premiere of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The Dome is now part of ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood.
1964 - Dorothy Chandler Pavilion opens as the cornerstone of the Music Center of Los Angeles County. It is to serve as home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera and Music Center Dance, as well as several Oscar ceremonies.
1964 - The Whisky A Go Go opens on the Sunset Strip. It will host musical acts including The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Talking Heads, Oasis, Nirvana and Soundgarden.
1965 - The Los Angeles County Museum of Art opens. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, anchor of the Museum Corridor along Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile.
1965 - Edith Wyle and Bette Chase open The Egg and the Eye on Museum Row. The innovative gallery/restaurant transitions to the nonprofit Craft & Folk Art Museum in 1973 and is now known as the Craft Contemporary.
1965 - Dedication of Marina del Rey, the largest man-made pleasure boat harbor in the world. Located four miles north of LAX, it is home to more than 5,000 boat slips.
1965 - Restrictions are lifted on immigration from East Asia, setting the stage for the Los Angeles region decades later to have the largest Asian population in the United States, with the largest Korean, Thai and Filipino populations outside their respective countries.
1966 - The Los Angeles Zoo opens in Griffith Park.
1966 - The Beach Boys release Good Vibrations, a No. 1 hit in the United States and UK and widely considered one of the most influential pop songs ever written.
1967 - The first-ever AFL-NFL World Championship Game, aka Super Bowl I takes place at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The NFL champion Green Bay Packers defeated the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
1967 - The Mark Taper Forum opens at the Music Center. It will be instrumental in the launch of successful new plays including Angels in America.
1967 - A peaceful demonstration takes place at The Black Cat in Silver Lake. A plaque mounted on the exterior of bar declares it as "the site of the first documented LGBTQ civil rights demonstration in the nation." The demonstration that’s commemorated by the plaque stemmed from police raids that took place on New Year’s Eve 1967 at The Black Cat and other gay bars in the area.
1967 - The "Fabulous" Forum opens in Inglewood. The LA Kings play their first games here, as well as the "Showtime" era Lakers. The venue was renamed Kia Forum in 2022.
1967 - The Queen Mary is officially retired from service and sails to Long Beach, where she remains permanently moored as a tourist attraction, hotel and special events venue.
1968 - The Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center is founded by George Drury Smith. Beyond Baroque is regarded as one of the most successful and influential grassroots incubators of literary art in the country.
1969 - The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) is founded in Downtown LA. FIDM has grown to four campuses in California with a student body of 4,200 and nearly 70,000 graduates worldwide.
1969 - The Los Angeles LGBT Center is founded. Today the Center provides services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy that span four categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy.
1970 - The first permitted gay parade in the world takes place on Hollywood Boulevard.
1971 - The Los Angeles Convention Center opens in Downtown LA. The LACC was designed by architect Charles Luckman, who had previously partnered with William Pereira on LA landmarks such as CBS Television City and the master plan for LAX. Luckman's own firm designed the Theme Building at LAX and The Forum.
1971 - Magic Mountain opens in Santa Clarita. Now known as Six Flags Magic Mountain, the 262-acre theme park is known as the "Thrill Capital of the World" - its 19 roller coasters is currently the world record for most roller coasters in an amusement park.
1972 - The famed Memphis label Stax Records presents the Wattstax music festival at the Coliseum. Often dubbed the “Black Woodstock,” Wattstax features performances from the label’s roster of legendary music acts, including Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, the Bar-Kays and many more.
1972 - The South Bay Bike Trail is constructed, linking Pacific Palisades with Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey and other beach cities, and turning the beach into even more of a recreation destination.
1973 - Tom Bradley becomes mayor of Los Angeles, the second African-American mayor of a major United States city. He will serve as mayor for the next two decades and helps guide Los Angeles to become a world city.
1973 - Jewel’s Catch One opens in Arlington Heights on the border of Koreatown. Now called Catch One, the nightclub was the first exclusively gay and lesbian disco for African-Americans in the country. During the club's 40-year run, owner Jewel-Thais Williams welcomed legends like Rick James, Madonna and the "Queen of Disco," Sylvester.
1974 - The J. Paul Getty Museum moves to a recreated Roman villa on a hill overlooking the ocean in Pacific Palisades.
1974 - Nude sunbathing at Venice Beach gets national attention, before the Los Angeles City Council votes to outlaw it.
1974 - Chinatown is released. The Oscar-winning neo-noir features one of the greatest quotes in movie history: "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
1975 - The George C. Page Museum opens adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits.
1975 – Jaws, a film by a young director named Steven Spielberg, inaugurates the age of the modern blockbuster.
1975 - Establishment of the Southern California Air Quality Management District. Air quality in the Los Angeles basin has improved steadily since, with ozone levels down to about one-third their 1975 levels.
1976 - The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites opens in Downtown LA. The 35-story hotel features the rotating Bona Vista Lounge on the 34th floor. Its glass elevators appeared in True Lies and In the Line of Fire.
1976 - Painting of the Great Wall of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, the world’s longest mural at 2,500 feet. Los Angeles is the mural capital of the world, with over 1,500 wall paintings around the city.
1977 - The California African American Museum is founded. The first African American museum of art, history, and culture fully supported by a state, CAAM began formal operations in 1981 and moved to its permanent home at Exposition Park in 1984. The new facility’s inaugural exhibition was "The Black Olympians 1904-1984," timed to coincide with the '84 Summer Olympics.
1977 - Star Wars opens on May 25 and breaks box office records. Today "May the 4th" is celebrated as "Star Wars Day."
1978 - The Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area is established. At over 153,000 acres, it is the world’s largest urban national park.
1979 - The Museum of Contemporary Art is founded, with one of the most comprehensive collections of late-20th-century art in the United States, later helping to underscore L.A.'s status as a global powerhouse in contemporary art. Its main gallery (1986) is on Grand Avenue, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Arata Isozaki. MOCA galleries also include the Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo and MOCA West in West Hollywood.
1979 - The Laugh Factory opens on the Sunset Strip. Over the years, it will host every major North American standup comedian: Rodney Dangerfield, Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, Roseanne Barr and more.
1980 - Los Angeles population: 3,005,072, surpassing Chicago as second in the nation.
1981 - The California African American Museum opens in temporary headquarters in Exposition Park. It moved to its permanent site in 1984.
1982 - Wolfgang Puck, an internationally renowned celebrity chef on cooking and television shows, opens Spago on the Sunset Strip. Now located in Beverly Hills and still a celebrity favorite, Spago ushered in a new era of California Cuisine based on fresh ingredients and light sauces and helped elevate LA to a global culinary destination.
1982 - The NFL's Oakland Raiders move to Los Angeles.
1982 - Taking place in "Los Angeles - November 2019," Blade Runner is a box office disappointment but is later regarded as a sci-fi classic, setting the standard for artistic design and special effects, through its vision of a near future set in global super cities.
1982 – Fast Times at Ridgemont High, set at a fictional San Fernando Valley high school, makes stars of Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
1982 - Legendary musician Frank Zappa and his daughter Moon Unit record “Valley Girl.” Like, oh my God, it will become Zappa’s only top 40 hit.
1982 - OUTFEST comes out, the first gay and lesbian film festival in the country, and the longest continuously running film festival in Los Angeles.
1983 - Randy Newman releases “I Love L.A.,” which will become the city’s unofficial anthem. We love it!
1984 - Los Angeles becomes the only U.S. city to host the Summer Olympic Games twice.
1984 - Los Angeles becomes the first city in America with two telephone area codes, as the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys are designated as 818.
1984 - A new international terminal opens at LAX, named for Mayor Tom Bradley. Today, some 30 airlines operate out of this terminal.
1984 - The Mazda Miata is designed in Los Angeles. In addition to Mazda, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo and the "Big Three" U.S. automobile manufacturers all have design centers in LA.
1984 - The San Diego Clippers move to LA.
1986 - Running on Olympic fever, the first City of Los Angeles Marathon takes place. It is the largest first-time marathon, at nearly 11,000 people.
1987 - Pope John Paul II visits Los Angeles. His activities include meeting with communications industry leaders and celebrating two outdoor masses.
1987 - James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia is published, the first of his series of Los Angeles novels, which also includes L.A. Confidential.
1988 - Dodgers outfielder Kirk Gibson hits his legendary World Series home run, widely considered the greatest sports moment in L.A. history.
1988 - The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum opens.
1990 - Nelson Mandela visits Los Angeles as part of a historic 12-day, 8-city tour of the U.S. Mandela stays at the Millennium Biltmore and addresses a crowd of 70,000 at the Coliseum: "We could not have left the United States without visiting the city which daily nourished the dreams of millions of people the world over."
1990 - US Bank Tower opens. At 73 stories, it would be the tallest building on the West Coast for nearly three decades.
1990 - The Hammer Museum opens in Westwood.
1990 - When the Metro Blue Line connects Downtown to Long Beach, light-rail for commuters returns to the Los Angeles area.
1991 - Lakers star Magic Johnson retires, announcing that he is HIV-positive, giving HIV/AIDS a new platform and making it clear that this disease can affect anyone.
1991 - The 310 area code comes into use for western, southern and eastern Los Angeles.
1992 - Esa-Pekka Salonen takes the baton as conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
1992 - Opening of the Japanese-American National Museum in Little Tokyo, the only museum in the United States telling the story of Japanese Americans.
1992 - Jay Leno takes over as host of The Tonight Show. "Jaywalking" begins.
1993 - The Museum of Tolerance opens in West LA. Although focused on the Nazi Holocaust, it also examines general issues of tolerance and racism.
1994 - The Petersen Automotive Museum, one of the world's largest automotive museums, opens on Museum Row at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire. The museum now spans 100,000 square feet of exhibits, 25 galleries, and over 300 vehicles in its collection.
1994 - The eyes of the world are focused on L.A. as football great O.J. Simpson is arrested for the murder of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, following a spectacular slow-speed car chase. “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” soon enters the American lexicon.
1994 - The FIFA World Cup is held at venues throughout the United States. Brazil beat Italy 3-2 on penalties in the final match at Rose Bowl Stadium.
1996 - The Skirball Cultural Center opens in Brentwood as a museum of Jewish history and culture.
1996 - The first Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is held. Today more than 150,000 attend the weekend event, making it the largest festival of its kind in the country.
1996 - LA Galaxy begins play as one of eight charter members of Major League Soccer.
1996 - The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is founded in Long Beach and serves the greater Los Angeles area. MOLAA is the only museum in the United States dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art.
1997 - Perched on a hilltop above Brentwood, Getty Center opens with views of the entire Los Angeles Basin. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier designed the buildings with a façade of travertine marble - the Central Garden by Robert Irwin draws equal praise.
1998 - Hey man, The Big Lebowski is released and Jeff Bridges' The Dude becomes a pop culture icon.
1998 - The area surrounding the Downtown LA core is given the area code 323.
1999 - STAPLES Center opens, the new home for pro basketball and hockey teams and the beginning of a renaissance in Downtown Los Angeles. (It was renamed Crypto.com Arena on Christmas Day, 2021)
1999 - The United States beats China in the FIFA Women's World Cup Final at Rose Bowl Stadium. Brandi Chastain celebrating her winning penalty kick has since become an iconic image of women’s athletics in the U.S. Twenty years to the day, Chastain was immortalized with a bronze statue that was unveiled outside Rose Bowl Stadium on July 10, 2019.
2000 - A section of East Hollywood is designated as America’s first and only Thai Town. So many ethnic Thais live in Los Angeles (roughly 80,000), that the city is sometimes referred to as Thailand’s 77th province.
2001 - The Kodak Theatre opens as the new venue for the Academy Awards ceremony (it was renamed the Dolby Theatre in 2012). Hollywood & Highland, a retail and entertainment center that also has an eye toward Hollywood history, opens next door.
2001 - Amoeba Music opens on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Occupying an entire city block, the massive store features the biggest, broadest, and most diverse collection of music and movies ever housed under one roof.
2002 - The 11-story Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels opens in Downtown LA, replacing St. Vibiana’s as the main center of worship for the archdiocese. The contemporary design by a Spanish Pritzker Prize-winning architect, José Rafael Moneo, has virtually no right angles and a plaza that evokes Old World cathedrals.
2003 - Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Los Angeles-based Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry and the home of the acclaimed Los Angeles Philharmonic, opens in Downtown LA and instantly becomes an iconic architectural emblem for the city.
2003 - Home Depot Center opens in Carson. Now known as Dignity Health Sports Park, the multi-use sports complex is located on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills and features a soccer stadium (home pitch of the LA Galaxy), tennis stadium, track and field facility, and a world-class velodrome, the VELO Sports Center.
2005 - Antonio Villaraigosa becomes mayor of Los Angeles, the city’s first mayor of Hispanic descent since 1872. After his election, Newsweek features him on the cover with the headline “Latino Power.”
2006 - Following years of renovations, the Getty Museum in Pacific Palisades reopens as the Getty Villa, housing the foundation’s significant collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities.
2006 - The Griffith Observatory reopens after extensive renovations, including the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater, named for the actor who played Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek series.
2006 - City population is 3,976,071. Los Angeles County population is 10,245,572 - it's by far the nation’s largest county.
2008 - L.A. LIVE opens in Downtown LA.
2008 - The GRAMMY Museum opens to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Awards. The museum educates visitors about the history and cultural significance of American music through exciting exhibitions, innovative programming, and cutting-edge interactives.
2008 - The Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world, opens at LACMA.
2009 - Madame Tussauds opens in Hollywood and the Annenberg Space for Photography opens in Century City.
2010 - Angels Flight reopens, connecting the historic and financial districts of Bunker Hill.
2010 - The first CicLAvia takes place. Inspired by Bogotá’s weekly ciclovía, CicLAvia temporarily closes streets to car traffic and opens them for Angelenos to use as a public park. More than 1.6 million people have experienced CicLAvia, making it the biggest open streets event in the U.S.
2011 - In Downtown LA, La Plaza de Cultura y Artes opens across from the Olvera Street marketplace, and Dinosaur Hall opens at the Natural History Museum.
2011 - The Los Angeles Philharmonic extends music director Gustavo Dudamel's contract through the end of the 2018-2019 season, the orchestra's 100-year anniversary.
2012 - Transformers: The Ride-3D launches at Universal Studios Hollywood, and the Space Shuttle Endeavour goes on public display at the California Science Center.
2012 - Battleship IOWA celebrates its grand opening as a floating museum. The "Battleship of Presidents" is permanently docked at Berth 87 at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.
2012 - The Los Angeles Kings win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
2013 - Eric Garcetti becomes L.A.'s first elected Jewish mayor and its youngest in more than a century.
2013 - Several of L.A.'s cultural landmarks celebrate milestone anniversaries: Walt Disney Concert Hall (10th), Fowler Museum (50th), Hollywood Sign (90th), Natural History Museum (100th).
2014 - Hotel openings include The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles and LINE Hotel in Koreatown.
2014 - Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem opens at Universal Studios Hollywood.
2014 - Cultural milestones include the Music Center's 50th anniversary and the opening of The Broad contemporary art museum in Downtown LA.
2015 - Fast & Furious - Supercharged and The Simpsons Ride open at Universal Studios Hollywood.
2015 - Los Angeles hosts the Special Olympics World Games, the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2015.
2016 - The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Studios Hollywood.
2016 - The Metro Expo Line connects Downtown LA and the Santa Monica Pier.
2016 - The Rams return to Los Angeles after a 22-year hiatus.
2017 - The Dodgers unveil a statue of Jackie Robinson. Sculpted by Branly Cadet, the 800-pound monument depicts Robinson stealing home during his rookie season. Located at Centerfield Plaza, the eight-foot bronze sculpture was commissioned to mark the 70th anniversary of Robinson breaking the MLB color barrier.
2017 - The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approves the motion to rename 3.5 miles of Rodeo Road at the Rancho Cienega Sports Complex in South L.A. as Obama Boulevard.
2017 - Grand Central Market celebrates its centennial and Angels Flight reopens.
2018 - The Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrates its centennial season.
2018 - Banc of California Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Football Club, opens at Exposition Park.
2018 - Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star is Born features the showstopper "Shallow," the duet with Lady Gaga and Cooper that wins the Oscar for Best Original Song.
2018 - The Venice Pride Lifeguard Tower is dedicated to Bill Rosendahl, the first openly gay man elected to the L.A. City Council.
2019 - Jurassic World: The Ride opens at Universal Studios Hollywood.
2019 - UCLA, Musso & Frank Grill and The Huntington Library celebrate their centennials.
2019 - The Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrates "50 Years of Queer," the Petersen Automotive Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary, and STAPLES Center celebrates its 20th anniversary.
2019 - Quentin Tarantino's "love letter to LA," Once Upon a Time in Hollywood opens to critical acclaim. It would later land 10 Oscar nominations, winning for Best Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt) and Best Production Design.
2020 - SoFi Stadium opens in Inglewood. The state-of-the-art stadium is the home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. The 3.1 million square-foot stadium is the largest in the NFL, as well as the first indoor-outdoor stadium to be constructed.
2020 - LAX, Olvera Street, the Greek Theatre and the Hollywood Pantages celebrate their 90th anniversaries.
2021 - The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens on Museum Row in the Miracle Mile. The museum houses more than 13 million objects in a 300,000 square-foot campus designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Renzo Piano.
2021 - Based on the hit animated films, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash opens at Universal Studios Hollywood.
2021 - The Los Angeles Convention Center and Six Flags Magic Mountain celebrate their 50th anniversaries.
2022 - The Hollywood Bowl, Tam O'Shanter, Rose Bowl Stadium and the L.A. County Fair celebrate their centennials. The Getty Center celebrates its 25th anniversary.
2022 - SoFi Stadium hosts Super Bowl LVI, the eighth time that Los Angeles has hosted the Big Game. It was a Super Sunday for LA - the hometown Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20, and the epic halftime show featured Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and Snoop Dogg.
2022 - Tail o' the Pup reopens on Historic Route 66. The beloved hot dog stand was restored by 1933 Group, which did similar work on Formosa Cafe, Highland Park Bowl and Idle Hour.
2022 - LA Pride returns to its roots with its world-famous parade, which stepped off at the historic intersection of Hollywood and Vine.
2022 - Boasting more roller coasters than any other theme park in the world, Six Flags Magic Mountain opens Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage, the world's longest and tallest single-rail roller coaster.