With its sunny skies, palm trees, and Hollywood glamour, Los Angeles is one of America’s most iconic cities. But how did it get the nickname ‘City of Angels’?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: There are a few origin stories for LA’s ‘City of Angels’ nickname, including Spanish settlers naming it after angels, the city having a heavenly climate, and a reference to angel investors.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the various theories behind Los Angeles’ heavenly moniker. You’ll learn about the city’s history, religious connections, and pop culture symbolism tied to angels. We’ll also look at how the ‘City of Angels’ nickname has evolved over time.

Religious and Mythical Origin Theories

Los Angeles, famously known as the “City of Angels,” has a rich history intertwined with religious and mythical origin theories. These theories shed light on the origin of the city’s unique name and its association with angels.

El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles

One theory suggests that the name “Los Angeles” was derived from the full name of the city, “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles,” which translates to “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of Angels.” This name was given to the city by Spanish settlers who founded it in 1781.

It reflects the strong influence of Catholicism in the region and highlights the reverence for angels as celestial beings.

The Spanish settlers believed that angels played a significant role in protecting and guiding the city. The name Los Angeles, therefore, serves as a reminder of the city’s spiritual connection and the belief in the presence of heavenly guardians.

Biblical “City of Angels” reference

Another theory behind the name “City of Angels” stems from a biblical reference found in the Book of Revelation. In the Bible, the city of Los Angeles is associated with the concept of angels and divine beings.

The biblical reference can be found in Revelation 21:10-14, where John describes the New Jerusalem, a heavenly city adorned with precious stones and guarded by twelve gates, each named after one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

The angelic imagery and the mention of the city’s gates being guarded by angels may have influenced the naming of Los Angeles as the “City of Angels.”

It is important to note that while these theories provide insights into the religious and mythical origins of Los Angeles’ name, they are not the only explanations. The city’s name holds different interpretations for various individuals and communities, contributing to its diverse and vibrant cultural identity.

References to Los Angeles’ Ideal Climate

Los Angeles, often referred to as the City of Angels, has gained this nickname for several reasons. One of the main references to this title is the city’s ideal climate, which is characterized by sunny, Mediterranean weather.

Sunny, Mediterranean weather

Los Angeles is blessed with a climate that is the envy of many other cities around the world. With an average of 292 sunny days per year, residents and visitors alike can enjoy abundant sunshine and clear skies almost every day.

The city’s location on the coast of Southern California contributes to its mild temperatures, with average highs ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (18-29 degrees Celsius) throughout the year.

This pleasant weather allows for a wide range of outdoor activities to be enjoyed year-round, from beach days and hiking in the nearby mountains to outdoor concerts and festivals. It’s no wonder that Los Angeles has become synonymous with a laid-back, outdoor lifestyle.

Connection to heaven and paradise

Another reason why Los Angeles is called the City of Angels is its connection to the idea of heaven and paradise. The name “Los Angeles” actually means “The Angels” in Spanish, and it was named after the Catholic mission, Our Lady of the Angels of Porciúncula.

The mission was named in honor of the Porciúncula chapel in Assisi, Italy, which was said to be where St. Francis of Assisi received his calling.

This connection to angels and spirituality has led to the association of Los Angeles with a heavenly or idyllic place. The city’s stunning natural beauty, with its palm tree-lined streets, picturesque beaches, and breathtaking sunsets, only further enhances this perception.

Role of Hollywood and Pop Culture

When it comes to answering why Los Angeles is called the City of Angels, one cannot ignore the significant role played by Hollywood and pop culture. Both of these industries have contributed immensely to the mystique and aura surrounding the city.

Film and music industry mystique

Los Angeles is home to the world-famous Hollywood, which has been the epicenter of the film industry for over a century. The glitz and glamour of Hollywood have captured the imagination of people worldwide, and it has become synonymous with the city itself.

The film industry has brought in countless aspiring actors, actresses, and filmmakers to Los Angeles, creating an atmosphere of creativity and ambition. The presence of Hollywood studios, movie sets, and iconic landmarks like the Hollywood Sign have all added to the allure of the City of Angels.

Moreover, the music industry has also played a significant role in shaping the city’s identity. Los Angeles has been a breeding ground for numerous talented musicians and bands, producing chart-topping hits that have resonated with audiences around the world.

The legendary Sunset Strip, which has been a hub for live music venues, has attracted music lovers from all walks of life. The cultural impact of the music industry has undoubtedly contributed to the city’s reputation as a place of dreams and aspirations.

Pop culture portrayals and symbolism

Los Angeles has been widely portrayed in popular culture as a city of dreams and opportunities. Countless movies, TV shows, and songs have showcased the city’s iconic landmarks and its vibrant lifestyle.

From the glitz of the Hollywood Walk of Fame to the palm-lined streets of Beverly Hills, these portrayals have helped create a romanticized image of the City of Angels.

Furthermore, the symbolism associated with angels in religious and spiritual contexts has also influenced the city’s nickname. Angels are often seen as celestial beings who bring messages of hope and protection.

The name “Los Angeles,” which translates to “The Angels” in Spanish, is a nod to the city’s connection to the spiritual realm. This association with angels has further enhanced the city’s reputation as a place of divine inspiration and dreams.

Other Possible Origins

While the official origin of Los Angeles being called the City of Angels is attributed to the Spanish colonizers, there are a few other theories that suggest alternative reasons for this nickname.

Influx of Midwesterners

One theory suggests that the nickname “City of Angels” came about due to the influx of Midwesterners moving to Los Angeles during the early 20th century. These newcomers were drawn to the city’s booming film industry and its sunny climate.

As the story goes, they referred to Los Angeles as the City of Angels as a way to express their excitement and awe at the opportunities and beauty they found there.

While this theory lacks concrete evidence, it does provide an interesting perspective on how the nickname might have evolved among the residents themselves.

Angel Investors

Another theory ties the nickname to the presence of angel investors in Los Angeles. Angel investors are individuals or groups who provide financial support to startups and entrepreneurs. Being home to a vibrant startup ecosystem, Los Angeles attracts a significant number of angel investors who play a crucial role in the city’s economic growth.

These angel investors are often seen as “guardian angels” for startups, providing the necessary funding and guidance to help them thrive. It is believed that this association with angel investors led to the city being called the City of Angels.

While this theory may seem more modern, it highlights the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that is prevalent in Los Angeles.

It’s important to note that these alternative theories are not widely accepted or acknowledged as the official origin of the nickname. However, they offer interesting perspectives on how the City of Angels came to be known by this iconic moniker.

Evolution of the Nickname Over Time

Los Angeles, the sprawling metropolis on the West Coast, has long been affectionately referred to as the “City of Angels.” The nickname holds a special place in the hearts of Angelenos and has become an integral part of the city’s identity. But how did Los Angeles earn this celestial moniker?

Let’s explore the evolution of the nickname over time.

The origins of the nickname can be traced back to the early 1900s when Los Angeles was experiencing rapid growth and development. The city’s boosters and civic leaders wanted to promote it as a place of beauty, opportunity, and dreams.

They believed that Los Angeles was a “heavenly” place where dreams could come true.

In 1901, the Los Angeles Times held a competition to come up with a new nickname for the city. The winning entry was “City of Angels,” proposed by a local artist named Gerald Desmond. The nickname quickly caught on and became a popular way to refer to the city.

As Los Angeles continued to grow and attract tourists, the nickname “City of Angels” became an essential part of the city’s marketing and tourism efforts. It was used in brochures, advertisements, and promotional materials to highlight the city’s allure and charm.

The nickname also played a significant role in promoting the city’s association with the film industry. During the early days of Hollywood, Los Angeles became synonymous with glamour and stardom. The nickname “City of Angels” further enhanced the city’s image as the entertainment capital of the world.

Today, the nickname “City of Angels” has taken on a broader meaning. It not only represents the city’s physical beauty but also its diverse and vibrant culture. Los Angeles is known for its artistic and creative communities, its thriving music and food scenes, and its multicultural population.

The nickname continues to capture the imagination of residents and visitors alike, reminding them of the city’s unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and endless possibilities. Whether it’s the iconic Hollywood sign, the stunning beaches, or the bustling streets of downtown, Los Angeles truly lives up to its nickname as the “City of Angels.”


In summary, while the exact origin is unclear, Los Angeles’ ‘City of Angels’ nickname emerged from a mix of religious history, references to its ideal climate, Hollywood associations, and more. The moniker evokes images of beauty, paradise, and dreams coming true.

Through looking at the various theories around this famous nickname, we’ve explored the mythology and symbolism that surrounds this sunny Southern California metropolis. Los Angeles continues to proudly bear the ‘City of Angels’ name today.

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