Antelope Valley


In the path of growth in Southern California

Antelope Valley

LOCATION:  Antelope Valley is a region in Los Angeles and Kern Counties, located approximately 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The San Gabriel Mountains form a southwestern border and the Tehachapi Mountains form a northwestern border.
The Antelope Valley Freeway (State Route 14) connects Antelope Valley to northern Los Angeles. State Route 58 runs east-west, connecting with I-5 in Bakersfield and I-15 in Barstow.
HISTORY:  For many years, Antelope Valley was a fruitful agricultural region. The major cities—Lancaster, Palmdale, and California City—were important farm towns. Following World War II, the U.S. Air Force established Edwards Air Force Base north of Lancaster, changing the development of the region.
As the Air Force began operations, the region attracted businesses—particularly aerospace and manufacturing—and thousands of people followed. The major cities grew and smaller towns popped up. Today, the region’s population is over 520,000.

Economic Development & Growth

While the aerospace, agriculture, and manufacturing industries are still the main driving forces in Antelope Valley’s economic development, the region is home to many other businesses and attracting more—the city of Palmdale was named LA County’s “Most Business-Friendly City” in 2015 and Lancaster won the award in 2013.
The region has earned a reputation for innovation in its business practices and achievements, especially in the aerospace industry:
  • Edwards Air Force Base, home to the Air Force Flight Test Center, was the site of the first flight to break the sound barrier, the takeoff and landing site of the first non-stop round-the-world flight, and a landing site for the Space Shuttle. The base has played a role in the development of countless aircraft—if the Air Force or NASA are researching or testing some new technology, they’re likely doing so at Edwards AFB.
  • Mojave Air and Space Port is sometimes referred to the “Silicon Valley of space.” What was once a Marine Corps training base is now the nation’s first licensed inland spaceport. It’s home to Scaled Composites, which was the first to successfully launch a privately-funded flight into space, and nearly 70 other companies that are leading the emerging commercial space industry.
  • United States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale is home to Boeing, Lockheed Martin (including the Advanced Development Programs, also known as Skunk Works), Northrup Grumman, and several other aerospace contractors. It supports facilities for the production, testing, engineering, final assembly, and flight-testing of high performance aircraft.
The Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance publishes an annual report on the region, with information on demographics, the economy, housing, education, and recreation opportunities.

Major Areas of Interest

As aerospace and manufacturing companies have created jobs in Antelope Valley, the major cities have worked to create communities where those employees and their families want to live—and many Antelope Valley residents would say they’ve succeeded! Palmdale, Lancaster and California City are among the largest cities in the region. Mojave, an unincorporated town in Kern County, is home to the Mojave Air and Space Port, a significant source of jobs and home to some of the most exciting developments in aviation and aerospace.


Major employers and companies:

  • Air Force Plant 42 (including Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and other leading aerospace and aviation companies)

  • Anywind Energy

  • Kinkisharo International

  • Granite Construction

Palmdale is the center of some exciting new projects and developments, including The Oasis Wellness Village, a new real estate development that is designed to promote health and wellness and provide hospitality, retail, and dining opportunities for residents. Part of the California High Speed Rail Project includes a connection from the Palmdale Transportation Center to the Burbank Airport, which will provide fast transportation between Antelope Valley and San Fernando Valley.
While much of Palmdale’s economy is centered around aviation, like the rest of the region, Palmdale residents have plenty of opportunities to relax, including shopping at Antelope Valley Mall, golfing at the Rancho Vista Golf Course, watching summer concerts at the Palmdale Amphitheater, or cooling off at the Dry Town Water Park.


Major employers and companies:

  • Edwards Air Force Base (including Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and other leading aerospace and aviation companies)

  • BYD Motors

  • Morton Manufacturing

  • Lance Camper

  • eSolar

Lancaster was named the “Most Business-Friendly City in Los Angeles County” in 2013. With new projects at Edwards Air Force Base and Plant 42 adding jobs, the city is poised to continue its growth.
The BLVD, a stretch of Lancaster Blvd., was redesigned in 2010 to create a modern downtown experience. It’s now the city’s main hub for shopping, dining, entertainment and personal and professional experiences. It also hosts the weekly farmers’ market and community events throughout the year.
The California Poppy Festival takes place at Lancaster City Park every spring, and the California Poppy Reserve, with eight miles of trails throughout rolling fields full of the state flower, is just west of Lancaster.
Throughout the year, residents enjoy a jazz festival, a beer festival, the Antelope Valley Fair, the Los Angeles County Airshow, minor league baseball, and performances by the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra at the Antelope Valley College Performing Arts Theatre.


Major employers and companies:

  • Mojave Air and Space Port (including Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company, Masten Space Systems, and others)

  • Incotec

  • CalPortland Cement

  • Golden Queen Mining

Although Mojave got its start as a railroad town (it still serves as a crossroads for several rail lines, it’s probably now best known as the home of the Mojave Airport, now the Air and Space Port. This is the only private airport in the U.S. with a commercial space flight license. It’s the site of the first private spaceflight and numerous other significant firsts and milestones in aviation and aerospace. The wind, aviation, and commercial aircraft industries all rely the research and development and fabrication occurring at the Air and Space Port. Mojave is also home to the Alta Wind Energy Center, the largest wind farm in the United States and third-largest in the world, and a 10,000-acre industrial park.
Every year, the community celebrates its mining history with the Gold Rush Festival in October. Since it sits right at the intersection of State Routes 14 and 58, it’s easy to access the rest of Antelope Valley and beyond from Mojave. Mojave residents are used to seeing Pacific Crest Trail hikers stop in town for a break from the trail, and Mojave residents have the opportunity to explore miles of hiking trails (by foot or on horseback) right in their own backyard.
There’s a strong community feel in Mojave, and it offers many services for families, including schools (which offer STEM-based programs at all grade levels), churches, shopping areas, and locally-owned businesses and restaurants. Mojave is also served by Kern Transit, with public busses providing transportation within Mojave and to other cities and communities in the region.

California City

Major employers and companies:

  • Edwards Air Force Base

  • Mojave Air and Space Port

  • Honda North America

  • Hyundai-Kia Motors

  • 8 Minute Energy Renewables

  • Bolthouse Solar

California City, the third-largest city in area in the state (with 208 square miles within its boundaries), is known as a mecca for off-road enthusiasts, with Borax Bill Park, Jawbone Canyon OHV Park, and other OHV riding areas, recreation areas, and campsites. A 25,000-acre Desert Tortoise Preserve is located six miles northeast of California City, and they celebrate an annual Tortoise Days festival every May.
There’s plenty of recreation within the city as well, including the Tierra Del Sol Golf Club (a PGA course), adult and youth sports leagues, and an annual Renaissance Festival. Central Park features a 26-acre artificial lake, swimming pool, playground, senior center, and multi-purpose recreation center. California City is also home to several schools, churches, hotels, and community organizations.
Honda is currently renovating its Proving Center of California, a test track for Honda and Acura vehicles. The Hyundai-Kia Motors Proving Ground is a similar 4,300-square foot facility. Thanks in part to the California City’s great climate (averaging 271 sunny days per year), it is attractive to solar and renewable energy companies, with several building or planning to build new facilities or test sites.

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