Signs of Los Angeles

I have a pet theory that you can tell a lot about a city by paying attention to its signage. So I like to keep my eyes open when I’m in a new place and take pictures of things that strike me as especially interesting. When I was down in Los Angeles, here are a few of the signs that I saw:

Yes, you really can get plastic surgery on Rodeo Drive:

Los Angeles Signs: Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery

Here’s a 90210 sign:

Los Angeles Signs: 90210

What’s unusual about that? Well, I also saw an different 90210 ad with the letters sideways, but it looked like the actors had been photoshopped into the second ad with the same poses. Ah, here we are:

Los Angeles Signs: 90210 sideways

That’s just distracting. They could have at least changed the poses around a little bit. Let’s see, I also visited a book store in Los Angeles. When you buy a copy of Beowulf, you get a script book from the movie:

Los Angeles Signs: Beowulf

Fitness appears to be a big activity in L.A. and they offer some exercise workouts that you might not find in other cities:

Los Angeles Signs: pole dancing

You have your pick of:
– Indoor cycling
Pole dance workout
– Yoga
– Abs and sculpt

I also saw a “Stunts Unlimited” sign; that’s a business you’d probably only see in L.A. I headed to the beach and enjoyed walking along the boardwalk when I saw this swimsuit sign:

Los Angeles Signs: having best price

It says “Come in and having the best price bikini for men and women.” But possibly the sign that took my fancy the most was this one:

Los Angeles Signs: teeth whitening party

It says “Organize a teeth whitening party and get your teeth whiten FOR FREE.” I’ve heard of things like botox parties, but that was the first time I’d heard of a teeth whitening party.

Please don’t take these pictures as mean-spirited; L.A. was a ton of fun and an amazing city to explore for a week. I just took pictures of things that grabbed my eye as I saw them. A few of the other fun things I noticed:

– near the Beverly Center, I saw fruit vendors with vibrant multi-colored umbrellas.

– a huge boat parked on the street with a “for sale” sign in the window.

– L.A. has a ton of Land Rovers compared to Northern California.

– someone wearing a hipster shirt that read “MySpace makes work fun.”

– the funniest street name I saw was Cattaraugus Avenue.

That’s about it. If you want more than that, you’d have to read my twitterlogue of the trip.

43 Responses to Signs of Los Angeles (Leave a comment)

  1. God bless America, Matt! I’m sure you appreciate their refreshing honesty and enterprise. As for me, I’m just going to check whether my bikini (singular) is ready for next season and whizz down to LA if it’s not… from Peter

  2. In the 90210 poster the bottom guy is missing his arm no?

  3. That 90210 poster is funny, I’ve sent it to the Photoshop Disasters blog see if they want to feature it!

  4. So Matt you are not only googler but also interesting person, great pic, keep it up …………….

  5. If you checked the signs in my town you would see John Deere, bail bondsmen and beer advertisements! Really tells you something about the locals!

  6. That is great signage. Looks like some of the cliche type advertising you would see in LA. That 90210 poster is def. the same poses just chopped up in photoshop.

  7. Hi Matt,

    “Organize a teeth whitening party and get your teeth whiten FOR FREE.”

    I know that on the internet, people have referral programs but honestly, this is the first time I saw a Dentistry Referral Program 🙂

    Also, $99 for teeth whitening is little high price. I can get mine whitened for just $8 🙂

    It’s a very nice sign collection and thanks for sharing them, with us.


  8. mm holywood beowolf i can see the conferences

    “this killing mom angles got to go,it wont play in perioa” I belive they sugested somthing similar about DEATH when they where trying to do Terry Pratchets Mort

  9. Hate to say it, but in the UK Pole Dancing is pretty popular as a keep fit thing … I thought it had come over from the states, apparently it is pretty good excercise, works most of the body and it is a lot of fun – (apparently).

  10. I’ve also seen pole dancing as an exercise in the Greater Toronto Area. There’s even a Carmen Electra exercise pole dancing video available for those who … I guess for those who want to look like Carmen Electra. I actually know someone who’s in one of those classes on (I think) Wednesday nights, and she’s one of the more fit people I know. I don’t exactly know what they teach and what each “step” or “pose” or whatever they call it works out, but I suspect it’s at least semi-hardcore.

    Guess Gerry and I both have to burst your bubble on that one, Matt. Sorry.

  11. Hmmm, not sure what’s funny about the name “Cattaraugus” — it’s just the name of a county in NY State (I believe there’s also a village and a creek by that name). Surely it’s pretty common to name some streets in a city after other geographical entities or features…?

  12. Just to be clear, I have no problem with pole dancing as exercise, and I would believe that several cities offer it. That was just the first time I saw a big sign advertising it. 🙂

  13. My favorite local sign is about 30 minutes away – it’s for the Loose Senior Citizens Center. I took a picture of it once, but can’t find at the moment. So many entendres, it’s hard to just pick one.

  14. At least the majority of them are consistant.

    Poor grammar, miss-spellings and plenty of cheese.

  15. Matt,

    I see your concern. I have the same sentiments and I live less than an hour from L.A.

    Let’s face it – L.A. is overly pre-occupied with glamour, beauty, looks, materialism. I think this takes away the other important priorities in life which can cause huge problems for society.

    Why is L.A. like this? I think L.A. is way over populated, which means there is greater competition. With greater competition, there is a greater need to look better and become more competitve at the workplace. In addition, traffic is a huge problem. People have less time for things and their patience is constantly at their limits.

    What do you think?


  16. did you see that huge boat for sale on La Cienega? i saw it the other day and i thought it was a sign of the times…

  17. Morris Rosenthal


    Noticed a semi-serious Google search results error today and as usual, unsure where to report it. If you search on any stock symbol, Google brings up the price and a graph for the day, but the graph is always drawn wrong, it shows about a half hour into the future.

    It would be a really neat widget if you could show future stock prices, but for the time being, I’m going with it being an error. It could be that when Google went from showing 20 minute delayed quotes to real-time quotes, somebody added 20 minutes to the graphing algo at the same time.


  18. – the funniest street name I saw was Cattaraugus Avenue.

    I live in Cattaraugus County (Western NY). Since it was founded in 1808 I assumed that the word was of Seneca Indian origin. I put the question out to the readers of a local site, A reader responded that the word derived from a Seneca word meaning “bad smell”, probably from the oil near the ground or running into the Allegany River. (Oil was first discovered nearby).

    Mike Blumenthal

  19. I was in Boston during August and wrote a post about what I saw in those few hours in downtown.

  20. I flew into San Jose last week and laughed out loud when I saw a gigantic red sign out the window of the airport that meant I was in the land of high tech: Non-Stop Humiliation for Hackers. McAfee.

  21. Good pics.

    A bit off subject, but I have a quick question. In your alt tags, you simply describe the pic. Why not put the quote of what it says into the alt tag as well, or remove what you have and only put the quote? The quote you typed of each describe the picture more than anything in my opinion. Just figured I’d point that out since you did a video on alt tags for Google Images.

  22. Matt, I bet you can get a great Halloween costume at the pole dancing place?

  23. Dave (Original)

    Just to be clear, I have no problem with pole dancing as exercise,..

    Until your Daughter wants to sign-up …………………I HOPE.

  24. Dave (Original)

    BTW, the best one I saw was in London many many years ago. A Supermarket had the sign “No guidedogs allowed inside”.

    They must have super-smart guidedogs in London 🙂

  25. LOL I was driving down the road today from Nashville and saw one of those rip off car lots. On the side of their building in huge white letters the words were posted: LOW INTREST. Had me laughing all the way home.

  26. I love that the last sign uses the Star Trek (ds9/voy) typeface. It’s a beautiful thing.

  27. As per the 90210 – not only is it obviously Photoshopped – they cut off the one blokes arm! In both ads no less! Millions of dollars in advertising and they’ve got people that can’t proof, ouch.

  28. This is tempting. Would i go for bikini or teeth whiting….

  29. Matt, I like the sign which say “Bikini for women” but as for the part on “Bikini for men”? hmm.. Something is new for me here.

  30. For what it’s worth, Matt, they flipped the girl in the leopard spot suit for the second 90210 image.

    Also, your comment form did not ask me to perform an anti-spam exercise. Was that intentional? (If so, it’s MUCH appreciated.)

  31. Lol: haha. That is so LA.

  32. Oye, I can see see my fat butt on one of those poles:)

  33. You should add these to failblog Matt.

    On that note –

  34. Los Angeles is a lot of fun and every time we take a break from Vegas and drive up to L.A. we bring the camera, you never know what great shots you are going to get. There are crazy people in L.A. and you can get some great pics of doing odd things.

  35. That was some wicked photoshop stuff on the 90210 signs.

  36. Betcha those Land Rovers in LA are 2WD and useless, while up here near Tahoe they’re all 4WD and useful.

  37. So would I be right in thinking the best pole dancers to women would be male Fireman?

    Not sure if the best pole dancers to men would be Firewomen though!


    “Be coming in here to price the best bikini clad women and men as pole dancing dancers clad in various 90210 looks.”

    Might have made an even more confusing or funny advrt!

  38. Hey pole dancing is becoming more popular. They sell home models now!

  39. Pole dancing is quite popular in Tokyo right now. They advertise it as good shaping exercise and some girls have a pole at home.

    All those strange L.A. signs remind me of the great English signs in Japan.
    The signs are quite funny:

    but the phrases on the shirts are usually the best because they are “inspiring”:

  40. Speaking as someone in the signage industry here in LA, I have to say I really enjoyed reading your critque 🙂

  41. It’s strange what the marketing people would do, just to get our attention. Sometimes I fill like a lab rabit, with researchers testing products on me! Am I the only one that thinks like this?

  42. Thanks for the posting.
    Yeah, I remember when that poster came out about 90210..but sometimes I don’t pay attention. I was a fan of the original but had no desire to see the ‘remake.’ As for the teeth whitening party…welcome to LA.
    Appearance is almost everything here in LA. A large % of people are involved in the industry, so looking good, and good oral hygiene is important.

    I hope your stay was great!

  43. Yes, everything is plastic in LA. Went there a year ago after Christmas and after 3weeks in NY and DC it was nice to see some warmer weather. Living in Shanghai we see allot of advertising about plastic surgery however it is still quite taboo for women to admit they’ve had it done.