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California takes its strength from its diversity, and celebrates it. California's immigrant populations lend a flair to the state that you won't find anywhere else. Here, 39% of the population speaks a language other than English at home, meaning California has more foreign language speakers than any other state in the country. On city streets from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you'll hear Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Tagalog, Russian, Italian and more.

New age spiritualism, liberal politics, non-Western healing practices, and environmentalism flower here as nowhere else in America. You’ll find organic produce and vegetarian dishes on the menu at restaurants and mom-and-pop cafés alike. Independent bookstores still sell the works of the Beats, plus all manner of broad-minded literature. Stroll the rainbow flagged streets of the Castro, or take a side-trip to reclusive Bolinas in Marin County, and you’ll feel the alternative vibe.

More About the People of California

These are just a few of California’s diverse hotspots. Click on the links below for more fascinating cultural facts & histories.

  • African American - Known as the “Black Greenwich Village,” Leimert Park Village in L.A. is home to African-American owned cafes, shops, and performance venues.
  • Asian and Pacific Islander - Locke, California is the only town in the U.S. built exclusively by Chinese labour for Chinese people.
  • Latino - Latino-heritage festivals flourish around the State. Dia de los Muertos is one of the biggest – huge celebrations take place in Los Angeles and throughout the state.
  • Native American - Archaeological excavations at Grover Hot Springs and Anza-Borrego Desert State Parks are discovering truths about California’s native peoples.
  • Gay & Lesbian - The Castro District in San Francisco is a vibrant community – don’t miss the annual Pride parade.
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