The largest city in California and the second largest in the United States, Los Angeles, commonly known as L.A., is home to 3,844,829 people (2005). Los Angeles' fame comes from its position at the top of the entertainment industry for motion picture, television, and music production. It is also a center for science and technology, higher education and international trade. The Mediterranean climate zone in which Los Angeles lies supports an ecosystem rich in native plant species, although many of these have become endangered, such as the Los Angeles sunflower. The diversity of exotic flowers and flowering trees that bloom year round lend themselves to a lush and colorful background for this bustling city.
World-famous as it is, Los Angeles is filled with landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Disney Concert Hall and the Getty Center. Well-known communities include Venice Beach, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and Koreatown. West Hollywood is home to the Sunset Strip, one of L.A.'s nighttime hot spots. Los Angeles is home to the Los Angeles Dodgers, a major league baseball team, the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, as well as major league teams in soccer and lacrosse. Los Angeles is credited with being the home of modern beach volleyball, windsurfing and skateboarding. Surfing culture is also prevalent in this area. On the sports horizon, Los Angeles hopes to be the home of the 2016 Olympics, which would be the third time for this city to host the Olympic Games.
Los Angeles' economy is driven by entertainment, technology, fashion and tourism; it is also one of the largest manufacturing centers in the US. International trade is also very important, with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach forming the most significant port in North America, and one of the most important in the world, as it is vital for trade in the Pacific Rim. Among the score of upper level educational institutions located in Los Angeles are the University of California- Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, California State University- Los Angeles and the California Institute of Technology.