Strange State Laws: Things You Didn't Know Were Illegal in California

Strange State Laws: Things You Didn't Know Were Illegal in California

The purpose of this series of posts is lots a fun, and a little education. If you know of any wacky laws that should be added to this list, let us know and look forward to our future posts.

Strange Law by City:


  • In Carmel, a man can’t go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match.
  • In Carmel, women may not wear high heels while in the city limits.


  • In Chico, you are prohibited from owning a smelly animal hide.
  • In Chico, bowling on the sidewalk is illegal.
  • In Chico, one must obtain a permit from the city to throw hay in a cesspool.
  • Driving a herd of cattle down a street is against the law in Chico.
  • Detonating a nuclear device within Chico city limits results in a $500 fine.
  • Kids are not allowed to play on the sidewalk in Chico.

El Monte:

  • In El Monte, sandboxes may not be used as ashtrays.
  • In El Monte, pinball machines are outlawed, as well as mock horse racing games.


  • Eureka hates baseball: “It shall be unlawful to throw or hit or knock any baseball with a ball bat or any other instrument or engage in or play the game of baseball in any other manner on any city park or playground without first obtaining written permission to do so from the Director of Public Works.”
  • In Eureka, men who wear moustaches are forbidden from kissing women.
  • In Eureka, it is illegal to fall asleep in public.


  • In Fresno, no one may annoy a lizard in a city park.
  • In Fresno, it is against the law to hold a private bingo game.
  • It’s also illegal to play bingo drunk in Fresno.
  • In Fresno, permanent markers may not be sold in the city limits.
  • In Fresno, it is illegal to sell gasoline to a drunken person.
  • It’s illegal to injure or disturb a rock in Fresno’s City Park.


  • In Glendale, it is illegal to jump into a passing car.
  • In Glendale, cars may not be driven in reverse.

Los Angeles:

  • In Los Angeles, it is illegal to cry on the witness stand.
  • In Los Angeles, you may not hunt moths under a street lamp.
  • Releasing more than one Mylar or foil balloon into the air is a crime in Los Angeles. According to ordinance 11.69.010, it is unlawful to allow one or more metallic balloons to float, rise, or remain aloft outdoors at a height of five feet or more for any advertising, promotional, or commercial purpose.
  • In Los Angeles, bathing two babies in the same tub at the same time is prohibited.
  • You may only throw a frisbee at the beach in Los Angeles County with the lifeguard’s permission.
  • In Los Angeles, it is illegal for a man to beat his wife with a strap wider than 2 inches without her consent.
  • In Los Angeles, it is against the law to lick a toad.
  • Zoot suits are prohibited in Los Angeles.
  • It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
  • It is a crime for dogs to mate within 500 yards of a church.
  • In Los Angeles, it is against the law to complain through the mail that a hotel has cockroaches, even if it is true.

Redwood City:

  • In Redwood City, it is illegal to have a monkey or a reptile.
  • Redwood City has outlawed the frying of gravy.

San Francisco:

  • In San Francisco, it is illegal for used underwear to be employed in wiping off cars in a car wash.
  • In San Francisco, elephants walking down Market Street must wear leashes.
  • In San Francisco, there are rules against piling horse manure higher than 6 feet on any street corner.
  • Persons classified as “ugly” may not walk down any street in San Francisco.
  • In San Francisco, it is illegal to store things in your garage (except for your car).
  • San Francisco is said to be the only city in the nation to have ordinances guaranteeing sunshine to the masses.
  • Prostitutes in San Francisco are not obliged to make change for bills larger than $50.


  • In Walnut, kites may not be flown above 10 feet over the ground.
  • In Walnut, children may not wear a halloween mask unless they get a special permit from the sheriff.
  • In Walnut, males may not dress as a female unless a special permit is obtained from the sheriff.

Other Cities:

  • In Arcadia, peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways.
  • In Baldwin Park, nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.
  • It is illegal to whistle for a lost canary before 7 am in Berkeley.
  • In Blythe, you are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows.
  • In Burlingame, it is illegal to spit, except on baseball diamonds.
  • In Dana Point, one may not use one’s own restroom if the window is open.
  • In Hollywood, it is illegal to drive more than two thousand sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at one time.
  • In Indian Wells, it is illegal to drink cement.
  • In Lafayette, you are forbidden from spitting on the ground within 5 feet of another person.
  • In Lodi, it is illegal to shoot “silly string” at parade participants.
  • In Long Beach, it is illegal to curse on a mini-golf course.
  • The city of Mountain View proscribes calling pet fish by “names of aggressive content, e.g. ‘Biter’, ‘Killer’, ‘Sugar-Ray.’”
  • In Pacific Grove, you can be fined up to $1,000 for “molestation of butterflies.”
  • In Palm Springs, it is illegal to walk a camel down Palm Canyon Drive between the hours of four and six PM.
  • In Portola, no person may carry a fish into a bar.
  • In Prunedale, two bathtubs may not be installed in the same house.
  • In Redlands, motor vehicles may not drive on city streets unless a man with a lantern is wallking ahead of it.
  • In San Diego, its illegal to shoot a rabbit from the back of your car.
  • In San Jose, it is illegal to have more than two cats or dogs.
  • In Santa Clara, it is forbidden to dedicate parking spaces to the patron saint of television.
  • In Simi Valley it is illegal to play soccer, baseball, or football in public.