California Trivia

40 questions and answers about the Golden State’s rich history and its current affairs

Q1: Los Angeles is the state’s most populous city, but how does it rank nationally?

A: It’s the second most populous city in the country

Q2: On what day did California become the 31st state? 

A: September 9th, 1850

Q3: What is the state marine mammal?

A: Gray whale. All gray whale calves are born in the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja, California. (Just “whale” is not an acceptable answer)

Q4: Name one of the people or things featured on the California state quarter.

A: Half Dome/Yosemite Valley/Yosemite, John Muir, or the California Condor (“bird,” “mountain,” or “hiker” would not be acceptable answers)

Q5: Aside from Alaska, California contains the most of what type of land of any state?

A: Forestland. 45% of the state’s total surface is covered by forests. (“Forest” or “trees” are acceptable answers)

Q6: In what Monterey County town is it illegal to eat ice cream while standing on the sidewalk and for a woman to take a bath in a business office?

A: Carmel 

Q7: How many California missions were established between 1769 and 1833?

A: 21

Q8: Aside from Kilimanjaro, what California mountain summit allows visitors to view more of the earth’s surface than any other peak in the world?

A: Mount Diablo 

Q9: What industry is the state of California the national leader in, in terms of output, but only accounts for 1.5% of the state’s economy? 

A: Agriculture (“farming” or “farming and ranching” could also be acceptable answers)

Q10: In total land area, California ranks third behind what two other American states?

A: Texas and Alaska (need to say both for it to be an acceptable answer)

Q11: Because of what event (that took place around the time of California becoming a state) was California able to skip the formal territory process, that all other states have to go through, and jump straight into statehood?

A: The Gold Rush  

Q12: The highest mountain in the 48 contiguous states is located in California. What mountain is it?

A: Mount Whitney 

Q13: In what Bay Area town is it illegal to spit, except for on a baseball mound?

A: Burlingame 

Q14: In 1862, California’s legislative sessions couldn’t be held in Sacramento due to flooding, so they were held in what city instead?

A: San Francisco 

Q15: Californians consume more of what kind of meat than any other state in the country?

A: Turkey. It is estimated they eat three pounds more turkey per year than the average American.

Q16: What is the state’s fossil?

A: Saber-toothed cat (this needs to be the answer for it to be acceptable. “Cat” is not an acceptable answer)

Q17: Coachella, California grows 99.5% of what type of fruit in all of the United States? 

A: Dates

Q18: What Central California town is so heavily influenced by Danish culture that its name can be translated to mean “sunny field” in Danish?

A: Solvang

Q19: Approximately how much space is situated between each California mission?

A: Approximately 30 miles (or 48 kilometers), about a day’s worth of travel from mission to mission on horseback, or three days by horse. (We will accept any answer between 25-35 miles, 40-55 kilometers, or any answer accurately describing the length of travel time)

Q20: What legendary actress was crowned Artichoke Queen in Castroville, California in 1947?

A: Marilyn Monroe

Q21: In Spanish, California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range can be translated to mean what?

A: Snowy range 

Q22: The hottest day ever recorded in the United States was recorded where in California?

A: Death Valley. The temperature was 135°F and it was recorded in 1913. (Death Valley is the only acceptable answer)

Q23: At 3 million acres, what Southern California county is the largest county in the United States?

A: San Bernardino County

Q24: Who is California’s current Lieutenant Governor (as of early 2020)? 

A: Eleni Kounalakis

Q25: What is California’s state insect?

A: California dogface butterfly (“dogface butterfly” is also acceptable) 

Q26: If it were a country, California would have the fifth largest economy in the world. What is the approximate gross state product of California?

A: $3.0 trillion

Q27: There are only two official haunted homes in the state of California—the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose and the Whaley House in what city?

A: San Diego

Q28: During the Gold Rush, it was less expensive to send garments for pressing and cleaning to what capital city (that wasn’t part of the United States until more than fifty years later)? 

A: Honolulu, Hawaii

Q29: The largest and tallest living organisms in the world reside in California. What are they? 

A: The California Redwoods, Coast Redwoods, and Giant Sequoias. (“Trees” is an acceptable answer)

Q30: California has more National Parks than any other state in the U.S. How many does it have?

A: 9–Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, Redwood, Lassen, Channel Islands, Pinnacles, Death Valley 

Q31: What is the state bird?

A: California quail (“quail” is an acceptable answer)

Q32: What are the words that can be found on the state flag?

A: California Republic 

Q33: In 2009, it was reported that 8% of the population of California adheres to this alternative diet.

A: Vegetarianism

Q34: How many schools belong to the California State University system?

A: 23

Q35: The first theme park in California was initially opened in 1920. What theme park was it? 

A: Knott’s Berry Farm

Q36: How many construction workers died in the building of the Golden Gate Bridge? 

A: 11, which, surprisingly, was considered low. 28 construction workers died in the building of the Bay Bridge.

Q37: What group of American people occupied Alcatraz between 1969 and 1971?

A: A Native American group, primarily composed of college students from San Francisco, called Indians of All Tribes. (“Indians of All Tribes,” “IOAT,” “Native Americans,” “college students,” or “American Indians” are acceptable answers)

Q38: Who is the current mayor of San Francisco?

A: London Breed

Q39: What California town is known for its garlic?

A: Gilroy is considered the “Garlic Capital of the World” and produces more than 50% of all garlic grown nationally.

Q40: What is the California state flower?

A: California poppy (“poppy” is an acceptable answer)