Los Angeles’s nicknames come in a wide variety of forms. From historic names, to those that derive from the city’s association with blockbuster films and famous popstars! We dive into 11 of LA’s nicknames and their meanings and origins.
Where Do Los Angeles’s Nicknames Originate?
The majority of Los Angeles’s nicknames are somewhat historic, either playing with the town’s ties to the rich and famous or deriving from putdowns from people from other parts of the USA. Those of us familiar with Los Angeles, now there’s more to the city than just Hollywood – but the nicknames do rely on this important part of town.
LA / El Lay
The most common nickname for Los Angeles is simply LA (or L.A.). This is an abbreviation of the long name of the city, which is pronounced ‘El Lay’ hence the other version of this name.
The City of Angels
You’ll often hear Los Angeles nicknamed ‘The City of Angels’ – and no it’s not called this due to its high number of stars. Rather this comes from the English translation of the city’s name ‘the angels.’ Hence, ‘the city of angels.’
When the Spanish first colonized California, the city was dubbed ‘El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Ángeles’ – which translates to The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels.’ Which has since been shortened to Los Angeles.
Another nickname for Los Angeles, stems from the other end of the original name for the city. With ‘El Pueblo’ being another term that people use to refer to LA.
La La Land
Not only does La La Land seem like it derives from the shortened ‘LA.’ By La La Land is often used to describe a mental state where people are living in a dream-like world where they’re out of touch with reality.
Given the city’s reputation for people moving to pursue their dreams of fame in the entertainment industry, this slightly disparaging nickname has stuck (first appearance as early as the 1960s).
Los Angeles is often referred to as simply “Hollywood.” However, those familiar with the city will know that Hollywood is in fact just one neighborhood of LA.
Another LA nickname inspired by its entertainment industry is Tinseltown. Tinsel is a popular Christmas decoration that’s very shiny echoing the sparkle of the films made here.
This nickname for Los Angeles comes from its location in California. Southland is used to refer to LA and nearby orange counties.
Snakey Town is a nickname used by truckers passing through LA.
With use being attributed to the 1920s, Lotusland stems from Greek mythology. The story tells of a land full of lotus flowers, that once eaten a person will forget where they come from or where they intend to go. Forever staying in this city.
The Big Orange
As opposed to New York’s nickname of the Big Apple. The big orange refers to LA as a fruit they produce a lot of each season due to the California sunshine!
Where the Stars Live
Another nickname for Los Angeles which is quite self explanatory is ‘Where the Stars Live.’ Due to the wide number of movie studios, including Warner Bros, Sony, and Universal – LA is in fact a place that the famous gravitate to as much of their work is located here.
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