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Cars are tools used by almost everyone every day. However, they can also be more than just tools. Cars can be a lot of fun. One fun thing car owners do is get creative with their license plates. For folks curious about what license plates other people have, you can even use a website to look at all of them.

The great fun of the license plate game

Two license plates from California on black cars.
license plates | Getty Images

When you’re stuck in traffic, there’s not much to do to pass the time that’s also safe. Many people may impulsively check their phone, but it’s probably not safe to do that, and in some places, it may even be illegal. One perfectly safe thing to do to pass the time when you’re in traffic is to look at other people’s license plates. 

Usually, license plates aren’t anything to write home about. However, many drivers take the opportunity to customize theirs and choose something funny or interesting to say. Since it’s generally rare to have the same license plate number as someone else, it can be a fun game to spot folks with those unique, customized plates.

On top of having unique numbers, some plates may also have some unique designs. Whether it’s something to do during traffic or just a hobby, looking at people’s license plates can be fast and family-friendly fun. While most people have the opportunity to play this game when they’re outside, it’s possible to look at license plates while you’re in the comfort of your own home, too.

Here’s a website that shows them all

The site is called WorldLicensePlates, and it will, like its name suggests, allow you to look at all kinds of plates from around the world. This site is excellent for history buffs, as it features some old license plates from way back in the day when few people even had cars. For those who are wary of privacy issues, this site doesn’t feature all of them literally. Instead, it features a lot of unique license plates from around the world.

For example, the site has three categories for the state of California. There are ones for passenger vehicles, military-related plates, and special interest plates. One unique plate from the 1910s is a license plate shaped like a bear, which is the state’s official animal and on the state flag. 

There’s even a license plate that honors Pearl Harbor survivors. On the left half of the plate, there’s the text that says “Pearl Harbor Survivor,” while on the right half there are the actual plate numbers. In terms of special interest plates, California has quite a few, including plates featuring firefighters, the UCLA Bruins, and Yosemite National Park. Other states have their unique plates that folks can look at as well.

The purpose of license plates

License plates are pretty complicated. While there are some standards, all 50 states can have their own designs. The purpose of these plates is to allow people, usually the police, to quickly identify who the owner of a car is. These plates also show that your car is registered, and thus, you or someone else paid for its fees.

Since license plates are used to help law enforcement identify owners of cars, regular people don’t need to worry about other people looking at their plates. Only law enforcement can get personal info from plate numbers.


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