The Opposition Memorial in Hashbury, San Fierro, all of the tombstones read "RIP Opposition 1997-2004". This is a reference to Rockstar, which came out with its first game in 1997. The phrase "RIP Opposition" is referencing Rockstar's rivalry with other game companies, and how all of Rockstar's opposition has not been able to come out with a better video game. The opposition may also refer to the game Driver 3, which was a long-time rival of Rockstar and that came out in the same year and got negative votes from critics.
There are multiple billboard signs around the state referencing a company named True Grime: Street Cleaners. This is a reference to the True Crime series, another open world game of similar gameplay to the GTA series.
During the mission Madd Dogg's Rhymes, a guard remarks: "Tanner, you suck!" while he is playing a video game a reference to Tanner, the protagonist of the game Driver.
In the mission Black Project after the player enters the base and the alarm is raised, one of the voice announcements says "Personnel reminded that running in corridors whilst holding scissors is not permitted". It's a possible reference to the video game company Running with Scissors, best known for its Postal games, which are considered by some to be "GTA Clones".
Zero's quote from the mission Supply Lines..., "The smell, you know that ozone smell, smells like...victory!" is a reference to the movie Apocalypse Now, specifically to Lieutenant Colonel William "Bill" Kilgore's well-known quote "The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.".
The Trip Skip icon features the side profile of the Deluxo, a car mostly inspired by the DeLorean DMC-12 that is otherwise absent from the game. This is a reference to the Back to the Future franchise, which features a DeLorean-based time machine.
The scene in the mission Just Business featuring a Packer jumping off a surface road in slow motion into a storm drain channel, which Big Smoke and CJ are using to escape, is a nod to a similar scene in 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where a large tow-truck executes a similar stunt as it is in pursuit of John Connor.
Advertisements of the movie Reservoir Dregs can be seen at the movie theater in Commerce, Los Santos is a spoof of the real-life movie Reservoir Dogs, directed by Quentin Tarantino, which was released in 1992.
At the end of the mission Air Raid, Zero says "Great kid don't get cocky" which is a reference to Han Solo's Line from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.
If the player looks very carefully, in various shops around Eastern Los Santos, they will see shops whose advertisements contain characters from shows such as Pokémon and SpongeBob SquarePants, animated series which did not exist in 1992, making it anachronistic to the game. It should be noted that the textures for GTA: San Andreas are actually dated to 2003-04, and this was likely an oversight by the developers.