Greeks in California

Connecting People, Traditions & Generations

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, large numbers of Greeks immigrants came to America to escape bad economic conditions in Greece. Many of them settled in California – at the time, San Francisco had the largest concentrated Greek population on the West Coast. Since then, Greeks have formed communities all across California, bringing their culture to areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Modesto. Today, California has one of the largest Greek populations in the country.

San Diego’s Greek Festival

San Diego’s St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church puts on an annual Greek festival, where members of the community come together to celebrate Greek culture. The event features authentic Greek food, church tours, a kids’ fun zone, a wine lounge and beer garden, and traditional Greek dance performances and lessons.

Cultures Merge in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter in Los Angeles

Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church was built in an area of Los Angeles so full of Greeks that it was called “Greek Town” in the 1950s. In the decades that followed, immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua also made the area their home. Though crime became a problem in the 1990s, Saint Sophia’s Father John Bakas worked hard to bring the community together and revitalize the area. Today, the Byzantine Latino Quarter is an inclusive and multicultural community. Learn more.

Greeks in San Francisco

In 2016, the Greek Historical Society of the San Francisco Bay published Greeks in San Francisco (Images of America). Through historical images of Greek-Americans as well as Greek areas of the city, the book tells the story of the San Francisco Greek community and its influence on the city’s industry, culture, religion, and politics from the late 19th century to the present day.

San Diego People: The Hellenes

In 1981, The San Diego City Schools Community Relations Division produced this video about the history and customs of the San Diego’s Greek community. It includes a workbook for teaching.