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City of La Palma

The city of La Palma is one of the smallest cities in Orange County. La Palma’s city motto is “Where tradition and vision come together.” The city has one of the lowest crime rates in Orange County and ranked #31 among small cities in the U.S. in CNN’s Money Magazine 2013 Best Places To Live. The city has an active population with regular community events including the Fitness Run For Fun, a Halloween Carnival, concerts in the park, Memorial Day Ceremony, a holiday tree lighting event, and more. The city of La Palma profile includes city history and information for residential services, shopping, dining, and points of interest throughout the city.

City of La Palma, California
About La Palma
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About La Palma

City Of La Palma

The City of La Palma is located in North Orange County, California along the border of LA County. It is the smallest city in the county at 1.8 square miles. La Palma is bordered by Cypress and Buena Park, and Los Angeles County’s Cerritos. The city is predominantly residential with a population of just under 16,000. For over two decades, the city has hovered between 15,000-16,000 residents.

While La Palma is primarily residential (520 acres), 170 acres are made up of public facilities, and there are 37 acres of parks and open space. On the business side, just over 88 acres of land is dedicated to commercial use, and 76 acres are industrial. The city maintains it’s small town charm, and it has been ranked one of America’s Best Places To Live in 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2015 by Money Magazine thanks to the quaint neighborhoods and low crime rates.

La Palma Is committed to honoring heroes, veterans and fallen citizens of the community with several memorials displayed in the city. The Eternal Flame was dedicated in 1972 and surrounded by a Memory Garden, and a Freedom Tree was planted in 1973. The Memory Garden Wall was was added in 1991, and a Community Commemorative Area was constructed in 2009 to honor community members who made outstanding contributions to the community.

La Palma doesn’t have any major attractions of its own, but fortunately the small city is located comfortably close to a variety of Orange County (and Los Angeles County) attractions and amenities. It’s just a short drive away from Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland, and Medieval Times, and it doesn’t take long to get to the popular Orange County beaches. Although the city is small, it has a good selection of parks and greenspace. The Edison Right Of Way Greenbelt provides a paved path for walking and biking, bordered on both sides by grassy open space, and runs from Valley View Street to Barbi Lane. Central Park, located on Walker, is the largest of the other three La Palma parks. It includes a Community Center, sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds, restrooms, picnic tables, barbecues, and rental facilities like the Bicentennial Gazebo and the Plaza Pavilion. Families will enjoy the fire truck play equipment at Denni Street Park, and El Rancho Verde Park features a playground and picnic table.

Residents of La Palma may find work within the city, but the majority of residents commute to surrounding cities like Anaheim and Santa Ana. Others commute farther away to destinations like Los Angeles and Irvine. Approximately half of La Palma commuters drive more than 30 minutes to work everyday. The largest employers within the city are ADP, La Palma Intercommunity Hospital and BP West Coast Products.

There is a WalMart in the city of La Palma, but for other shopping, residents will have to look to neighboring cities for their retail and entertainment needs.


La Palma History

In the 1940s, farmers from surrounding areas began moving into what is now known as La Palma. The farming families were mostly Dutch, Belgian, and Portuguese. As of the early 1950s, there were a few crop farmers and chicken ranches, and approximately 30 dairy farms. The community was solely farms and residences, with no other developments. While surrounding areas were growing and adding new homes and businesses, the farmers of the area feared urbanization. Rather than being pushed out by builders and population booms, the residents agreed to incorporate their community as a rural city with no subdivisions. The city was incorporated in 1955 under the name Dairyland, with 18 dairies still within the city boundaries.

School districts began purchasing the inexpensive agricultural land in Dairyland and building school houses, and in 1964 Dairyland residents agreed to create a new master plan for the community that included commercial and residential development to accommodate a population up to 18,000. The plan was approved in 1965 and the city changed it’s name to La Palma to reflect the area’s Spanish heritage and La Palma Avenue, the city’s main street. The dairies soon began leaving the area and the first of many subdivisions opened in the fall of 1965.


La Palma Statistics

Size: 1.8 Square Miles
Population: 15,604 (2019)


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Heidi Deal is the author of the Newcomers Handbook to Living In Los Angeles & Orange County, an expert at exploring all that Orange County has to offer, and a children’s book author specializing in history and human rights.